Springfield won its home opener for the second consecutive season with a 9-4 win over the Frisco RoughRiders. Matched up against the top prospect in the Rangers organization, the Cardinals were unable to do much early in the game offensively. Martin Perez, all of 20, had nine strikeouts and looked the part. The Cardinals rallied later in the game with an eight-run seventh inning and that made Matt Frevert the winner.
After a rainout on Friday night, Springfield and Frisco reconvened with a double-dip on Saturday. The RoughRiders took game one of the double header, as Deryk Hooker absorbed the loss. Matt Adams and Niko Vasquez combined for four of the six Springfield hits.
In game two, the Cardinals made the most of a bullpen game. Richard Castillo was thrust onto the hill to start the ballgame after Kevin Thomas was scratched due to a skin rash. Matt Adams hit his first home run in Double-A, a three-run blast that landed on top of the training facility far beyond the outfield fence. Adams added one more RBI and the Cardinals won game two, and the series, by the score of 6-5.
After taking two of three from the RoughRiders, the Cardinals welcomed the Midland Rockhounds to town. Mike Blazek started game one of the series and wound up taking the loss after he surrendered four solo home runs to the RockHounds.
On Monday evening, Springfield got a quality start from Scott Schneider, as he went six innings and gave up just two runs on three hits. He also struck out three, as he improved his season ERA to 4.50 after a rough season debut.
Still looking for their first winning streak of the season, the Cardinals went in to Tuesday's afternoon game looking to take their second straight series. Alas, Midland had other ideas. The RockHounds took advantage of four errors committed by the Cardinals and scored six unearned runs on the way to doubling up the Cardinals, 14-7.
Matt Adams - Adams began his Double-A career 0-for-9. Since then, he has been one of the hottest hitters in the league, maybe even hotter than Jackson. Adams is hitting .474 with one home run and five driven in over his last five games. Several times in the homestand, the RockHounds employed an extreme shift, only to have Adams go the opposite field. If this is any sign as to what kind of hitter he is, this past homestand has been very heartening.
Nick Greenwood - Greenwood was called up to Springfield prior to the home stand, and he was very impressive. In two appearances out of the bullpen, the left-hander notched 3 1/3 scoreless innings and struck out three, while walking two.
Mike Blazek - Blazek yielded four solo home runs this homestand, which gives him five long balls surrendered on the year, tied for most in the Texas League. Although Blazek made only four real mistakes, they just happened to all end up on the other side of the wall. So while the stats certainly aren't impressive, they may be misleading.
The Cardinal Nation Top 40 Prospect Watch
#40 Niko Vasquez - Vasquez appears to be getting acclimated quite well to Double-A. He went 6-for-21 (.286) on the homestand and drove in two runs. He is hitting .255 with two home runs and eight RBI on the season.
#36 Tyler Henley - Henley is one of the coldest hitters on the Springfield roster. He was 0-for-7 on the homestand, but did draw five walks. Henley is still waiting for the offensive output from 2009 to resurface, as he is now hitting just .120 on the season, with one home run.
#34 Ryan Jackson - Jackson has been a big part of the Cardinals offense thus far. He is second in the Texas League with a .431 average and has driven in six runs. While he might still be searching for his first Double-A home run, he does have seven doubles, which is tied for tops in the league.
#33 Matt Adams – The first baseman bounced back from an 0-for-9 start to the season…and in a big way. He was 11-for-24 (.458) on the home stand, including a home run and six RBI. Adams has led the organization in hitting each of the past two seasons and after two weeks of play, it is easy to see why.
#31 Steven Hill - Placed on the club's seven-day disabled list due to a knee injury.
#23 David Kopp - On the club's seven-day disabled list. Continues to rehab in Jupiter, Fla.
#22 Aaron Luna - Promoted to Triple-A Memphis after going 5-for-5 in the home opener.
# 19 Tommy Pham - Pham struggled a little bit during the first homestand of the 2011 season. He was just 3-for-22 (.136) and struck out six times. His season average stands at .209 and he is sporting a .314 on-base percentage. The Cardinals are going to expect more from their leadoff hitter.
#18 Deryk Hooker - The right-hander was roughed up in his Hammons Field debut. He went five innings giving up six runs on seven hits. There was a bright spot, as Hooker set down six via punchouts.
Around the Texas League
The Cardinals are 5-7, and are in the basement of the Texas League North Division, two games back of the Northwest Arkansas Naturals.
The Cardinals are fifth in the league in pitching, with an ERA of 4.79. Their offense enjoyed the trip home as they moved up a few slots from last week, now third in the league in hitting, with a .274 team batting average.
Springfield does have a few players at, or near the top of the league leader boards.
Ryan Jackson is second in the Texas League with his .431 average. Casey Mulligan is leading the league with four saves. Unfortunately, Alex Castellanos is tied for the most strikeouts in the league, as he has been punched out 14 times already.
The Cardinals will have a short four-game road trip to Tulsa and then are back home for an I-70 showdown of sorts with their divisional rival, the Northwest Arkansas Naturals.
Josh Thompson can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter.
© 2011 The Cardinal Nation, thecardinalnation.com and stlcardinals.scout.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.