Kernels Lose Again in Close Fashion

By Jeff Johnson, Reporter

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By Grant Burkhardt

CEDAR RAPIDS — Andy Workman’s reaction said it all.

The Cedar Rapids Kernels outfielder was informed that Saturday’s 4-3 loss to Kane County before 4,774 fans at Veterans Memorial Stadium was his team’s 42nd one-run game this Midwest League season. That’s a ton.

“Really? Oh, my gosh,” Workman said. “That’s crazy you just said that. I had no idea.”

Throw another 25 games decided by two runs in there, and this club has been just good enough to lose most nights, especially in the second half. The Kernels dropped to 14-34 and 46-73 overall, worst in the 16-team league.

They play hard every day, which they should get full credit for. But their record has become plain unsightly.

Going into Saturday, the Triple-A Iowa Cubs had the fewest wins in full-season affiliated minor-league ball (44), with Toledo, Tucscon, Stockton and Cedar Rapids all perilessly close.

“It’s definitely been hard,” said Workman, who went 1-for-3 with a double, walk and run. “Tough loss after tough loss. Every game we’re in, we haven’t hung up our hats, yet. I’m proud of this team and our coaches for helping us stay positive.”

Cedar Rapids is 17-25 in one-run affairs, by the way, and 8-17 in two-runners. They had a 3-1 lead last night after five innings, but Kane County (59-59, 25-23) scored three times in the sixth against relief pitcher Michael Johnson (4-6), and that was that.

The Kernels need to win eight of their remaining 22 games to avoid becoming the worst team record-wise in the 20 years they’ve been married to the Los Angeles Angels. The 2000 Kernels went 53-86.

“As long as these guys are getting better,” Kernels Manager Jamie Burke said. “The win and losses are obviously a struggle, but we’ve been in every single ballgame it seems like. We’ve just come up short numerous times this year. There’s one thing that seems to trigger it every single night. When we think we have it all cured, then something else happens out of the ordinary.”

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