Friday, September 3rd – Catcher Charles Cutler placed on the 7-day Disabled List (broken foot); Catcher Luis De La Cruz called up from A-Advanced Palm Beach
Cutler's absence left the catching
duties almost exclusively to Nick Derba during the post-season. Derba performed better than his career
Monday, September 6th – Right-handed reliever Adam Reifer called up to Triple-A Memphis
Wednesday, September 8th – Left-handed starter Ryan Kulik placed on the 7-day Disabled List (undisclosed); Right-handed reliever Matt Frevert, right-handed starter Kevin Thomas: called up from A-Advanced Palm Beach
Reifer and a healthy Kulik's
absence may have significantly impacted
That resulted in Pop Warner
starting Trey Hearne in game five.
Hearne had already lost his rotation slot due to poor performance so
would certainly have not been a candidate for a post-season start under optimal
circumstances. Yes, Kulik had been
(surprisingly) ineffective since his last August return from
More on the Cardinals' serious
case of homer-itis:
Looking at the Hot bats, four of the five posted an OPS over .900 and Matt Carpenter posted an OPS over 1.100. Catcher Nick Derba is included in the Hot group because of his excellent batting average and on-base percentage. Shortstop Pete Kozma did not draw a walk but did hit for high average and slugging. His two home runs in game one were the difference in the game.
|Brian Broderick||1||1||6||5||0||5||2 / 2|
|Ramon Delgado||2||0||3.2||1||1||3||1 / 1|
|Blake King||3||0||2.1||2||2||4||0 / 0|
The list of ‘Hot' pitchers is comprised of one starter and two relievers. Brian Broderick had the best performance among the starters and compiled an excellent 0.83 WHIP and .217 BAA. Further, he did not walk a batter so his K/BB ratio is north of 5:1. Broderick's 3.70 FIP, however, is not in the sub-3.00 range usually needed for ‘Hotness'. Reliever Ramon Delgado and closer Blake King were the best of the bullpen. Each pitcher inherited and stranded two runners while King saved both of his opportunities. King's 1.72 WHIP is certainly not a ‘Hot' number but the balance of his stats, along with his two saves, tilts the decision in his favor.
Daryl Jones' line was much better than the other three ‘Not' batters but he is included here because that entirely mediocre line was compiled with a .353 BABIP. Aaron Luna and Chris Swauger both posted a sub-,500 OPS with BABIPs in the lower end of the standard range for that stat. Xavier Scruggs makes the list because of his low batting average and on-base percentage. Two of Scruggs' five hits were a triple and a home run which boosts his slugging percentage. Both Luna and Scruggs struck out more than once every three at bats.
|Nick Additon||1||1||6||4||1||7||4 / 4|
|Thomas Eager||2||0||4||3||2||4||3 / 3|
|Scott Gorgen||2||0||1.2||2||1||2||1 / 1|
|Trey Hearne||1||1||0.0||3||2||0||4 / 4|
|David Kopp||1||1||5.1||5||4||5||3 / 2|
|Kevin Thomas||2||0||5.1||7||3||4||3 / 3|
There were numerous candidates for the pitching ‘Not' nod, unfortunately. Nick Additon's performance was marred by his two two-run home runs which really impacted both his FIP and ERA. Thomas Eager and Scott Gorgen both posted FIPs that were in the 10.00 range for their limited work. Many areas of Trey Hearne's performance cannot be calculated since he did not record an out during his start.
The Games -
North Conference Championship Series – Game 1: Thursday, September 9th;
The game turned into a pitching duel between Cardinals' starter Scott McGregor and the Naturals' Danny Duffy, a 21-year-old lefty making his eighth Double-A start and was knotted at one all going into the eighth. Pete Kozma gave Springfield a 2-1 lead in the top of the eighth with a solo shot over the left field wall but the Naturals came back to tie it up in the bottom of the frame. McGregor was charged with the unearned run which was caused by first baseman Xavier Scruggs' throwing error.
Antonio DeJesus led off the 12th with a triple but it looked like he would be stranded there when pinch hitter Chris Swauger grounded out and Daryl Jones struck out swinging. But Pete Kozma's second home run of the game plated both players and turned out to be the game-winning hit.
Scott Gorgen pitched a scoreless 11th, allowing only a one-out walk with two strikeouts, for the win and Blake King picked up his first professional save by pitching around a bases-loaded situation in the 12th. (Box)
Game 2: Friday, September 10th; Northwest Arkansas 5,
The second game of the series saw
Northwest Arkansas downing
Starter David Kopp took the loss,
allowing three runs, two earned, on five hits and four walks in five and
one-third innings. Two of the five
hits Kopp gave up were solo home runs and two of the five runs given up by
The Cardinals did not manage to plate a run until the ninth inning when Aaron Luna, Andrew Brown and Matt Carpenter opened the frame with consecutive singles. Carpenter's single scored Luna for the first run. Andrew Brown scored when Chris Swauger grounded into a double play. Nick Derba came to the plate representing the tying run but flied out to right to end the game. (Box)
Game 3: Saturday, September
Brian Broderick gave up just the two runs in the first on a two-run home run by the Naturals' first baseman Eric Hosmer. Broderick got the win, going six innings and allowing five hits while not walking a batter. He struck out five. Jason Buursma was completely ineffective in the ninth which necessitated Blake King's entry with two outs and two on. King struck out left fielder Tim Smith swinging to record his second save. (Box)
Game 4: Sunday, September 12th; Northwest Arkansas 6,
The series turned on game four as
the Cardinals blew two leads to fall to the Naturals 6-5 and send the series
Starter Nick Additon gave up only
four hits and one walk in six innings against seven strikeouts but two of the
four hits were home runs that plated four runs in all. Scott Gorgen took the loss when he gave
up Hosmer's second home run of the game.
One of the two runs allowed was charged to Ramon Delgado and it was the
only inherited runner that the
Second baseman Jermaine Curtis drove in two runs and Andrew Brown, Nick Derba and Matt Carpenter each drove in a run. Carpenter's was a solo bomb. (Box)
Game 5: Monday, September
13th; Northwest Arkansas
Game five is where the absence of
a healthy Ryan Kulik was keenly felt as manager Pop Warner was forced to start
Trey Hearne in the decisive game match-up.
Hearne had already lost his starting slot due to lack of performance and
he was unable to turn things around in this game. He did not retire any of the five
batters he faced, giving up four runs, earned, on three hits and two walks
before he gave way to Kevin Thomas.
Thomas gave up three runs of his own in the second inning to put the
Cardinals in a 7-1 hole through two.
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