THE MONDAY HIVE: Bees miss out on playoffs, but second half is ahead

The records should have been good enough to get the Burlington Bees into the Midwest League playoffs as a first-half qualifier.

The Bees, 39-31 overall, were 19-9 in one-run games, the most wins of any team in the league and second-most among all teams in Minor League Baseball.

They were 6-2 in extra-inning games, also the most wins of any team in the league.

They were 23-13 at home, 16-18 on the road.

The one record that hurt was the one that kept them out of the playoffs. They were 4-6 against the Cedar Rapids Kernels in the first half, and that’s why the Kernels got the second playoff spot on a tiebreaker after sweeping Sunday’s home doubleheader with Clinton, while the Bees lost, 7-2, at Peoria.

The Bees went into the final weekend of the season needing any combinations of wins and Kernels’ losses totaling two. Instead, the Bees lost two out of three to Peoria, while Cedar Rapids swept the LumberKings.

There is still a second half, and the Bees seem to be in good position to be playoff contenders.

The second half of the season always brings changes. Some of the top players will be promoted. Some of the Los Angeles Angels draft class will be coming in.

A look at some of the second-half story lines:

• Hot hitters. Catcher Harrison Wenson has just a .200 batting average, but he’s been hitting the ball well in June. He has a .323 average for the month after hitting just .170 in May.

Justin Jones drove in a team-high eight runs in the month. Wenson and outfielder Nonie Williams have each driven in seven runs.

Outfielder Jordyn Adams, the Angels’ first-round draft pick last season, kept up his hitting from May. Adams is hitting .274 in June after hitting .296 in May, bringing his overall batting average up to .253.

• The pitchers. The Bees’ first-half success had a lot to do with pitching, particularly among the starters.

The Bees’ ERA for June is 3.57, but they’re still getting good starts.

Luis Alvarado has an 0.56 ERA in June with a 1-1 record. He has struck out 18 in 16 innings.

Jose Soriano is 2-0 with an 0.59 ERA in June. He has struck out 15 in 15 ⅓ innings.

• Power. Now that the weather is warmer, the Bees are showing a little more power.

Wenson, outfielder Spencer Griffin and first baseman/designated hitter D.C. Arendas each have six home runs to lead the team.

• Flying under the radar. The Bees has several players who have interesting seasons even if some of their statistics don’t show it.

Pitcher Kyle Tyler is 2-0 with a 4.31 ERA. But Tyler has struck out 53 in 54 ⅓ innings, and opposing hitters are batting .217 against him.

Pitcher Hector Yan is 2-2 with a 3.47 ERA. Yan has struck out 71 in 49 ⅓ innings, and has allowed only one home run.

• Help on the way? The draft usually means roster moves, especially in the lower levels of an organization.

The Angels went deep with college pitching again this season, but several of those pitchers were starters, meaning their innings probably will be limited for the rest of the season.

Last season, the Bees got relievers Austin Warren and Andrew Wantz in the second half. Expect some similar moves this season.

Infielder Will Wilson, the Angels’ first-round pick out of North Carolina State, is at the Angels’ Rookie League team in Orem, but suffered a thumb injury in Friday’s season opener.

Wilson is one of five 2019 picks to start in Orem.

Among the other prospects to watch in Orem is infielder Jeremiah Jackson, a second-round pick last season who is ranked No. 8 among the Angels’ prospects by MLB.com, and outfielder D’Shawn Knowles, the No. 9 prospect.

FALLING SHORT

Yan and Cole Duensing were one out from a no-hitter on Saturday night at Peoria before Chiefs catcher Ivan Herrera singled to break up the gem, and the shutout, in what turned into a 7-1 win for the Bees.

Herrera’s single on a 1-0 pitch kept the two pitchers from recording the Bees’ first no-hitter since Danny Duffy and Juan Abreu combined for one against Peoria in 2008.

There have been 10 no-hitters in the Bees’ Midwest League history. The Bees were on the opposite side of one of three no-hitters in the league this season, when Cedar Rapids’ Austin Schulfer and Jose Martinez combined for their no-hitter in the second inning of a May 21 doubleheader at Cedar Rapids.

Yan, the starter, allowed just one walk and struck out five in five innings. Duensing didn’t walk anyone, although he hit Wadye Infante with a pitch in the ninth, and struck out four.

THE HALF THAT WAS

Record: 39-31

Position: T-2nd

Batting average: .215

Opponents’ average: .223

ERA: 3.50

Opponents’ ERA: 3.55

THE WEEK THAT WAS

Record: 3-4

Batting average: .270

Opponents’ average: .242

ERA: 5.10

Opponents’ ERA: 4.14

THE WEEK AHEAD

• Kane County (6:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday) — After Tuesday’s All-Star Game in South Bend, the Bees open the second half with four games against the Cougars, an affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Bees went 5-4 against Kane County in the first half, including winning two games in last week’s three-game series.

ALUMNI REPORT

• Andrew Wantz (2018) had a strong start after being promoted to Double-A Mobile this week. Wantz allowed two hits and struck out six in six innings in Thursday’s 2-1 win over Mississippi. Wantz is 5-3 with a 3.33 ERA this season, with 64 strikeouts in 54 innings.

• Wantz was one of five players at High-A Inland Empire to be selected for the California League All-Star Game. Among the others picked from Inland Empire were former Bees Oliver Ortega (2018), Jorge Tavarez (2018) and Torii Hunter Jr. (2018).

• Jo Adell (2018) has started well in his move to Double-A Mobile after missing most of the early part of the season recovering from ankle and hamstring injuries suffered in spring training. Adell is batting .361 in 10 games at Mobile.

• Brandon Marsh (2018) was named the Angels’ midseason minor-league player of the year by Baseball America. Marsh, currently on the 7-day injured list, is batting .292 at Mobile. Marsh and catcher Jack Kruger (2017) were selected to the Southern League All-Star Game.

Photo of Jordyn Adams courtesy of Steve Cirinna/Burlington Bees

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