You can't win if you don't score. While simplistic, this was the basic premise of the West Michigan Whitecaps' loss to the Cedar Rapids Kernels in Game 1 of the Midwest League Championship Series on Wednesday night. Righty Spencer Turnbull took the loss, but teams don't win many games with just five hits on offense.
Righthander Spencer Turnbull took the loss after a very inefficient outing. Turnbull allowed two runs on four hits with six strikeouts, but needed 96 pitches to make it through 4 2/3 innings. That fifth inning would prove to be the difference, as the Kernels scored a trio of runs to break a scoreless tie. Reliever Trey Teakell was charged with the third earned run after allowing a pair of hits in the frame.
The Kernels added to their lead in the eighth off Whitecaps reliever Spenser Watkins. T.J. White and LaMonte Wade singled with one out, and then Wade stole second. Max Murphy's two-out single scored them both, extending Cedar Rapids' lead to 5-0.
On the other side, the Whitecaps' offense barely mounted a scoring threat. They had just seven baserunners all game long, and only three at-bats with runners in scoring position. Christin Stewart and A.J. Simcox combined to reach base five times in eight plate appearances, while the bottom four hitters in the lineup went a combined 0-for-12 with one walk.
Trey Teakell: The Tigers' ninth round pick in 2015 settled down after a rough fifth inning. He worked 2 1/3 innings while allowing one run on four hits.
Christin Stewart & A.J. Simcox: They were nearly all of the Whitecaps' offense tonight, reaching base five times. The rest of the offense combined for two appearances on the basepaths.
Spencer Turnbull: The loss was hardly his fault, but the Whitecaps were expecting more from their staff ace. Turnbull's final line was solid, but it would have been nice to see him get deeper into the game without such a high pitch count.
The Whitecaps offense: After pounding out 12 runs in the series clincher against Lansing on Monday, West Michigan's bats went cold against Cedar Rapis starter Felix Jorge.
The Whitecaps and Kernels will take the field at Fifth Third Ballpark for Game 2 of the best-of-five series on Thursday evening.