Cougars during pre-game warm ups.

After a sluggish finish to the first half of the season, the Cougars are trying to turn things around. Before the all-star break the Cougars finished the first half of the 2012 season on a five game losing streak. Now in the first few weeks of the second half, the Cougars are just one game over .500 (18-17) and are three games behind the division leading Clinton Lumber Kings. The Cougars overall on the 2012 campaign are 52-53 but are still managing to hang onto third place in the Midwest League’s Western Division, they are only one game behind Burlington.

A win today followed by a Burlington Loss tonight would put the Cougars in second place and give them a one game lead over the Bees. And they hope to do so behind the right arm of 21-year-old Angel Baez. The Dominican pitcher is a solid 5-3 this season with a 2.68 ERA, opponents are only batting .198 against him. Baez is one of six Dominican players on this Cougars team. The Cougars are just 4-6 in their last 10, and combine that with the 5 straight losses before the first half of the season ended one can only ask what is wrong with the Kane County Cougars?

Part of the reason for their recent misfortune is a lack of offense. In their last 14 games the Cougars have only managed to score a total of 40 runs compared to the 50 runs they have given up in that time. Their pitching has struggled to some degree as well. Angel Baez in his last three starts has gone 1-1 with a no decision. If the Cougars can get a good game out of him today and give him some run support, the Cougars have a good chance of winning today. Their opposition on this Monday is the Quad Cities River Bandits, they are the Class-A team for the St. Louis Cardinals.

The Cougars have already won the first two games of this three game series and are looking to bring out the brooms and sweep this series before heading onto Beloit for a four game series there. A sweep today would give the Cougars a big confidence boost, plus Beloit trails the Cougars by three games and sits in seventh place. Not to mention that the Cougars are looking for payback after Quad Cities took two out of three from the Cougars earlier this month. This would be a huge opportunity for the Cougars to get back in gear and play like they did early on in the season. The Cougars have not had a series sweep since the July 1-3 series at Peoria.

This is the time for the Cougars to get the engines running as they make a push towards the playoffs in September.

Here are today’s starting lineups:

It must be noted that prospect outfielder Lane Adams is not with the Cougars today. He has moved on to the next level in his career, and we here at Q101 wish him the best.

You can follow me during the game on Twitter: @GabeSalgado82 Hashtag: #Q101Sports

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