CEDAR RAPIDS — Mitch Garver and Chad Christensen, all-star snubs? Their manager sure thinks so.
“I nominated both of them,” said Jake Mauer, whose Cedar Rapids Kernels walked off Burlington, 7-6, Saturday night at Veterans Memorial Stadium.
League managers selected players for the Western and Eastern Divisions. Mauer could nominate but couldn’t vote for his boys.
The Midwest League All-Star Game is Tuesday night at Grand Rapids, Mich., and the Kernels will be represented by pitcher Kohl Stewart and third baseman Bryan Haar. It’s easy to say they should be joined by catcher Garver and outfielder-first baseman Christensen.
“I would argue they both should be there,” Mauer said. “I don’t think there are any better guys than those two in the league. In my opinion, anyway.”
Garver ranks fifth in the league in RBIs with 44 and also is fifth in OPS (on base percentage plus slugging). Despite missing time early in the season with an injured elbow, hometown boy Christensen is among the team leaders in virtually every offensive category.
Garver’s batting average is .310, Christensen’s .298.
Christensen went 3-for-5 with a home run and two RBIs Saturday night. Garver went 1-for-4, walking leading off the bottom of the ninth inning and scoring the winning run when losing pitcher Ben Carlson threw wildly past first base on Jason Kanzler’s bunt hit.
“Just one of those things where you’re trying to take advantage of your opportunities,” Christensen said. “Try to get better every day. I came in here expecting to hit, expecting to do good things. I didn’t expect to hit .240.”
“I might be biased, but I don’t any guys playing outfield or catcher who are better than Christensen and Garver,” Mauer said. “They probably both should be at the all-star game.”
Stewart was bumped up a day in the rotation and limited to four innings and 65 pitches in order to be able to throw an inning Tuesday night. He gave up six hits and three walks but no runs.
Haar had a single up the middle following Garver’s walk in the ninth, the ninth and final Kernels starter to get a hit. Cedar Rapids had 18 of them, building a 6-0 lead but watching Burlington tie it in the top of the ninth on back-to-back home runs from Mike Fish and Eric Aguilera.
The teams conclude their respective first halves Sunday afternoon at 2:05.
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