Springfield won Wednesday's afternoon game 4-3 after a two-and-a-half-hour rain delay. Jose Rada blew a save and spoiled a tremendous start from Nick Additon. Additon went eight innings, giving up just two runs while striking out seven and walking just one. The Cardinals offense rallied in the bottom of the ninth and won on a "walk-off" suicide squeeze put down by Nick Derba, giving Rada his first win in Double-A.
On Thursday, the Cardinals went for the series win against their rivals, but had to settle for the split as the Naturals won 5-2. Will Smith was almost unhittable for much of the day, as he went 7.1 innings and allowed just one run. Deryk Hooker had one of his better starts thus far, but was still tagged with the loss and fell to 0-3 on the season.
The Cardinals welcomed the Tulsa Drillers to Hammons Field for a four-game set starting on Friday night. Springfield took game one of the series, 7-4. The play of the ballgame was a three-run home run off the bat of Matt Adams. Drillers starter Michael Scahill made the mistake of assuming that Adams was taking on a 3-0 pitch, Adams took a get-me-over fastball to the opposite field for the go-ahead home run. Mike Blazek would be credited with the win, but Nick Greenwood and Matt Frevert combined for 3.1 scoreless innings out of the bullpen.
Saturday night, the Cardinals continued to get great production from Tommy Pham, as he was 2-for-4 with an RBI from a solo homer. The Cardinals carried a lead into the top of ninth when Jose Rada again failed to nail down the victory, blowing his second save in as many opportunities. The Cardinals could not rally and dropped game two of the series 3-2.
The rains returned to Springfield on Sunday, but not before the seventh inning. By that time, the Drillers had gotten to Kevin Thomas for three runs in five innings and that was all the Drillers' starter, Juan Nicasio would need. Nicasio pitched 6.2 innings, shutting out the Cardinals on just four hits while striking out 10. Nicasio was departed the ballgame with a runner on and two outs in the bottom of the 7th inning, when just as his replacement out of the bullpen was warming up the skies opened up. The game was delayed for 37 minutes before it was called, making a winner out of Nicasio.
On Monday, the Cardinals and Drillers wouldn't even get as far as warming up. On get away day, the two teams waited for an hour and a half before making the decision to postpone the game until June 17.
Springfield departed their water logged home for the slightly less water logged Springdale, Arkansas on Tuesday. The Cardinals and Naturals renewed their rivalry just five days after last seeing each other. The Cardinals took game one of the series 9-5, behind another strong pitching performance by Nick Additon. Additon went 6.1 innings, giving up three earned runs on six hits, and he struck out five, lowering his season ERA to 2.91. Matt Adams provided some thunder for the offense, as he hit his sixth home run of the season, another two on, two out shot. Additon earned the win, as he moved to 2-0 in 2011.
Alex Castellanos – Castellanos continued his hot hitting, earning The Cardinal Nation Player of the Month award for April. In his past ten games, the outfielder has hit .382 with two home runs and eight driven in.
Matt Adams – It seems like we might have to permanently list Matt Adams in this category. The first baseman is hitting .400 in his past five games with three home runs and seven RBI.
Tommy Pham – Pham is the hottest Cardinals hitter. He is hitting .433 in his last 10 games, with four home runs and five RBI. In his past five games, Pham is hitting at a .563 clip. The outfielder had been struggling to reach base leading off, but as of late it has been extremely difficult to keep him off of the bases, no matter what the situation.
Nick Derba – Derba is certainly not known for his offense, and it is tough to stress enough how important his defense and ability to handle a pitching staff is to the organization. That being said, he isn't going to be able to get past Double-A without the bat becoming somewhat passable. As of now, he is hitting .154 with one home run and eight RBI in 16 games. He is hitting just .083 in the past ten games.
The Cardinal Nation Top 40 Prospect Watch
#40 Niko Vasquez – Vasquez has to be marked down as an April disappointment. He is hitting just .215, with two home runs and nine driven in. His average is just .176 against right-handed pitching and is only 4-for-23 (.174) with runners in scoring position.
#36 Tyler Henley – Henley is still trying to get back to his 2009 form. Thus far in 2011, Henley is hitting just .156 with only one home run and three RBI against Texas League pitching that he has dominated in the past.
#34 Ryan Jackson – Jackson was named the organizations' Player of the Month for April despite the fact that he has been cooling off. Jackson is hitting just .182 in his past 10 games, to bring his average down to .322. Jackson had a tremendous April and if the Springfield shortstop can put together another couple months similar to his April performance, then he might put even more pressure on Pete Kozma than he already is.
#33 Matt Adams – Adams is torching the Texas League. He is hitting .400 with three home runs and seven RBI in his past five games and has his season average up to .316. Adams continues to showcase some impressive power, including, as of late, opposite field power. After leading the organization is batting average the past two seasons, I suppose we shouldn't be surprised.
#31 Steven Hill – On the club's 7-day disabled list.
#23 David Kopp – On the club's 7-day disabled list but may return as soon as next week.
#19 Tommy Pham – Pham is one of the hottest hitters in the Texas League. He is hitting .433 in his last 10 games, with four home runs and five RBI. In his past five games, Pham is 9-for-16 with a pair of solo home runs. Entering last week, Pham was well below .200 when leading off an inning, but he currently boasts a .343 average in such spots. As the Springfield leadoff hitter, that is a very good sign, along with the fact that his season on-base percentage is now .375.
#18 Deryk Hooker – Hooker used his last start to bring his season ERA below 10.00, but he only got it down to 9.16. Opponents are hitting Hooker at a .329 clip.
The Springfield Cardinals will continue their series in Springdale, Arkansas against Northwest Arkansas before coming back home on Saturday to take on the Arkansas Travelers, as the Cardinals will get their first look at Mike Trout.
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