When the River Bandits returned to the team hotel after Tuesday night’s 4-2 win in Kane County, manager Steve Dillard found a new present waiting outside.
Meet Scott Schneider, a right-handed pitcher from California who was just called up from Batavia. Schneider was a 20th-round pick out of St. Mary’s College in June and blazed through the New York-Penn League, going 2-0 with a sparkling 0.92 ERA and a rediculous 47-to-8 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 39.1 innings of work with the Muckdogs. He will be plugged into the starting rotation to make his River Bandits debut on Thursday, and Miguel Tapia – after starting tonight in Kane County – will return to the bullpen.
Although I’ll probably regret saying it, this move likely represents the final piece of the puzzle as the River Bandits continue their charge towards the playoffs. Of course, now that I did say it, expect another 14-transaction day any time now. The series of transactions on August 3 revamped the offense, and now the additions of Schneider and Eric Fornataro have solidified the rotation. Combine that with a bullpen that has steadily improved with the likes of Ramon Delgado and Dave Carpenter, and suddenly this team has emerged as one to be reckoned with around the Midwest League.
Did you know that the starting rotation has combined to post a 2.64 ERA while issuing just 13 walks over the last 13 games? That the offense has averaged more than six runs per game since August 3? That closer Dave Carpenter has gone more than two months without blowing a save and has a 1.42 ERA over his last 16 appearances?
Twenty-five games left in the season, and Quad Cities is currenlty tied with Clinton for the Western Division’s second-half wild card spot. Game on.
HUGE homestand coming up at Modern Woodmen Park starting Saturday. In addition to eight key games against the teams the River Bandits are currently battling with for a playoff spot, there is also a ton going on promotionally. I’ll blog about the highlights in the coming days, but can anybody say “dueling pianos”? I love that stuff!