Gnats Summer Review into the September Stretch

By
Updated: January 19, 2018

CRYSTAL LAKE HERALD

SPORTS – GNATS NOW
Gnats Summer Review into the September Stretch
Updated: September 14, 2026 – 11:58PM CDT

By Howard Heskin, Staff Writer – Twitter @HowardHeskin1

Sandgnats Fans – in this episode of the Sandgnat reviews, I’m going to look back at a summer stretch that found the Gnats climb back to a tie for the division lead, only to fall back 5 games to Duluth going into half way through September. The last 2 seasons, the Gnats have shown a “gnack” for a strong push down the stretch into the playoffs. Can future hall of fame manager Joe Matterson get this group through recent adversity? Who will step up this year for a team known lately for coming up big when it counts?

“We have a next up attitude on this team.”, stated Joe Matterson at the September 12th press conference. Miguel Cantú blew out his meniscus in the 5th inning victory over Kalamazoo. “He just landed wrong when he came out of a pitch. My heart bleeds for him. He was just hitting his stride from some early struggles this season. Now its time for our young guys McNeil and Nitro to step up and show they can be the leaders of this organization.” emphasized Matterson. “We have a strong unit. I haven’t quite decided who to place in the rotation with Tatsui struggling with his back spasms. We are hopeful to have him back next week.” GM Ermola and I are going to meet tonight and make a few decisions on who we might call up from AAA and pull out of the bullpen in to a starting role.

The Gnats were able to post 16-2 in June with a 1.14 WHIP and OAVG of .238 with 22 home runs and 96 RBIs over those 18 games. July continued with a 17-6 record with a 15-2 record at home. The pitching stats remained comparable to June, but with 36 home runs and 106 RBIs over 18 games. Then in the August dog days of summer, the Gnats went cold with a 13-16 record with pitching being shelled for 4.51 runs per game. Fortunately the staff still ranks 3rd in ERA for starting pitching and 1st in ERA for relievers in the SL. The big question mark for the Gnats will be can the production of Cantú who stood at an ERA of 3.29 and career high WHIP of 1.29 since his rookie year be replaced by any reserves?

Gnats rookie of the year honors look like it will be headed to catcher Tony Parker who has had a break out season with 22 home runs so far and OPS of .860 ranking only behind Mr. Fountain of Youth Rob Raines who is the team MVP this season with 32 home runs and reaching his 500th career home run.

The remainder of September features match-ups with Toyoma and Bakersfield at home then Shin Seiki on the road and returning home to face Reno. The Gnats then end September on the road at Bakersfield with the final 3 game set in October at Kalamazoo. Where will this team head this season? In a PEBA league with so many injuries – it’s anyone’s guess.