Springfield Cardinals Notebook: 2010 Week 23

The Cardinals' 2010 season ended with a Game 5 loss to Northwest Arkansas in the Texas League North Conference Championship Series.

Roster Moves:

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 numbers during Springfield's post-season run.


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 Springfield's post-season run.  The loss of Reifer to Memphis pushed Blake King into Reifer's closer role and left King's normal role to others that were not as adept as King.  Ryan Kulik's absence left Springfield with four starters in a five-game series. 


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 Memphis but that merely raises the question of how long he had been pitching hurt and how that injury affected him.



Of Interest:

Springfield's pitching staff gave up nine home runs for the series that resulted in 13 runs overall.  Five of the nine home runs were hit by first baseman Eric Hosmer, a first round selection back in 2008.  Three of the nine came in game four and were the difference in that contest.  Two of the three home runs were by Hosmer. 


More on the Cardinals' serious case of homer-itis:  Springfield averaged less than a home run allowed (0.87) every nine innings during the regular season but that more than doubled in the post season (1.76).  They gave up an average of a home run every 9.7 hits during the regular season but that number went to a home run every 5.5 hits against Northwest Arkansas.


Springfield's bullpen inherited eight runners during the series and only one scored.  That one, however, was absolutely crucial as it plated the tying run in the pivotal game four.  Unfortunately, while the bullpen did an excellent job in preventing inherited runners from scoring, they were not nearly that good at keeping the batters they were facing from scoring.  Opponents hit .293 against them with a .288 BABIP that resulted in 15 runs, 14 earned.  That works out to a 6.00 ERA (5.15 FIP).  The bullpen gave up 24 hits and nine walks in 21 innings for a 1.57 WHIP.  They struck out 20 and had a 2.22:1 K/BB ratio. 


Springfield's rotation did not put up pretty numbers either but their totals are impacted by Trey Hearne's horrific start in game five.  Overall, the rotation gave up 26 hits and eight walks in 25 innings for a 1.36 WHIP, .277 BAA and .250 BABIP.  The allowed 15 runs, 13 earned for a 4.68 ERA and 5.76 FIP.  They struck out 19 and had a 2.4:1 K/BB ratio. 


Springfield's offense went .285/.354/.452/.806, 53-for-186, collectively with a .374 BABIP.  They struck out an average of once every 3.65 at bats. 



Who's Hot: 

Player G  AB  H AVG  OBP  SLG  OPS 
Andrew Brown 5 18 6 0.333 0.478 0.500 0.978
Matt Carpenter 5 20 8 0.400 0.458 0.650 1.108
Jermaine Curtis 3 14 6 0.429 0.467 0.500 0.967
Nick Derba 5 16 5 0.313 0.450 0.438 0.888
Pete Kozma 5 23 7 0.304 0.333 0.609 0.942
Andrew Brown 3 0 0 5 4 4.5 0.429
Matt Carpenter 2 0 1 2 2 10.0 0.412
Jermaine Curtis 1 0 0 1 2 7.0 0.500
Nick Derba 2 0 0 4 5 3.2 0.455
Pete Kozma 1 0 2 0 8 2.9 0.385

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.


Pitcher G GS IP H BB SO R/ER
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
Brian Broderick 3.00 3.70 0.83 0.217 0.235   23
Ramon Delgado 2.46 2.38 0.55 0.083 0.100 3.00 13
Blake King 0.00 2.34 1.72 0.222 0.286 2.00 11

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.



Who's Not:  

Player G  AB  H AVG  OBP  SLG  OPS 
Daryl Jones 5 23 6 0.261 0.292 0.435 0.726
Aaron Luna 5 22 4 0.182 0.250 0.227 0.477
Xavier Scruggs 5 21 5 0.238 0.273 0.476 0.749
Chris Swauger 5 14 3 0.214 0.200 0.286 0.486
Daryl Jones 4 0 0 1 6 3.8 0.353
Aaron Luna 1 0 0 1 8 2.8 0.286
Xavier Scruggs 0 1 1 1 10 2.1 0.400
Chris Swauger 1 0 0 0 3 4.7 0.273

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.


Pitcher G GS IP H SO BB R/ER
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
Nick Additon 6.00 5.70 0.83 0.182 0.143 7.00 23
Thomas Eager 6.75 9.95 1.25 0.214 0.091 2.00 17
Scott Gorgen 5.39 10.39 1.80 0.333 0.250 2.00 7
Trey Hearne       1.000 0.600 0.00 5
David Kopp 3.38 8.45 1.69 0.278 0.188 1.25 24
Kevin Thomas 5.07 5.08 1.88 0.350 0.318 1.33 26

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; 

Springfield 4, Northwest Arkansas 2 (12 innings)

Springfield began the best-of-five series on the road against the team that was a full ten games better than Springfield for the season overall and the Cardinals had the second-best regular season record in the Texas League.  Northwest Arkansas and Springfield split the regular season series with 16 wins each.


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, Springfield 2

The second game of the series saw Northwest Arkansas downing Springfield 5-2 as the series evened up at one game each.  Springfield's loss hinged mainly on a lack of timely hitting as the Cardinals were 1-for-6 with runners in scoring position and stranded seven runners in total. 


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 Springfield's pitching staff were unearned.


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 11th;  Springfield 13, Northwest Arkansas 9

Springfield opened their home portion of the five-game series with a win that was a slugfest.  Northwest Arkansas took an early 2-0 lead in the top of the first for what turned out to be the Naturals' only lead of the game.  The Cardinals tied the game up at two all in the bottom of the third then broke the game open with eight more runs in the fourth.  They added another two runs in the fifth to take a 12-2 lead.  Northwest Arkansas scored two in the seventh and Springfield replied with a run in the bottom of that frame.  The Naturals made things interesting in the ninth, however, by scoring five runs to close the gap to 13-9.


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, Springfield 5

The series turned on game four as the Cardinals blew two leads to fall to the Naturals 6-5 and send the series back to Northwest Arkansas for the final game.  The Naturals scored two runs in the top of the first on a home run by Eric Hosmer but the Cardinals fought back with single runs in the first three innings to take a 3-2 lead after three.  Northwest Arkansas regained the lead in the sixth on another two-run home run but Springfield battled back with two runs of their own in the bottom of that frame for a 5-4 lead.  The deciding runs of the game came in the eighth inning on yet another two-run home run, this one by Hosmer again. 


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 Springfield bullpen allowed to score during the series.


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 8, Springfield 4

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.  Springfield's offense was unable to overcome a dreadful performance by Hearne, Thomas and Thomas Eager who gave up another run (on another bloody home run) in two innings of work.   (Box)



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