Palm Beach Cardinals Notebook: 2011 Week 6

Though as a team, Palm Beach continues to struggle, Zack Cox is one of the hottest hitters in the St. Louis Cardinals minor league system.

This report is for the period of May 13 through May 19.

The Palm Beach Cardinals did not let Friday the 13th frighten them as they started the week with a 7-3 victory over Clearwater. Eric Fornataro continued his solid performances as he picked up the win in six innings of work. Zack Cox was a one-man wrecking crew with three hits including a home run and three RBIs.

The Cardinals returned to the field on Saturday, welcoming the Tampa Yankees to town. Shelby Miller was not a very polite host. The right-hander struck out 10 in only five innings to pick up the win. Brett Zawacki earned the save. Rainel Rosario and Edgar Lara both contributed a pair of hits. Cox had two hits as well, including a double.

Tampa broke the Cards' two-game win streak with a 5-4 victory on Sunday. Lara had two hits including a home run. Rosario homered as well. It was both players' fourth long ball of the season. Justin Smith allowed four runs in five innings to be charged with the loss.

The next night, starter John Gast was roughed up by the Yanks. The southpaw gave up five runs on 11 hits in six innings. Gast is now 1-3 on the season. Edgar Lara doubled and drove in two.

On Tuesday, Palm Beach used the long ball to blast Tampa. The team hit four home runs with Cox, Lara, Kyle Conley, and Jarred Bogany contributing to the fun. Lara and Conley had three hits. Cox, Bogany, D'Marcus Ingram, Domnit Bolivar, and Travis Tartamella each chipped in a pair of hits. Jordan Swagerty picked up his first Palm Beach win by allowing two runs in five innings. Daniel Calhoun was credited with his first save.

The Cardinals welcomed the Daytona Cubs to Roger Dean Stadium on Wednesday. Starter Joe Kelly pitched a season-high seven innings but was tagged with the loss after allowing two runs, one earned. The team only managed four hits, with Jarred Bogany collecting half of them.

An early game on Thursday gave the Cards a chance to quickly get back on the winning track. Unfortunately, the Cubs had different plans and hung seven runs on Eric Fornataro in 4.2 innings. Kyle Conley tripled and homered, his third home run in eight games.

Who's Hot

After struggling to find his power stroke, Cox appears to be zoned in. Cox is slugging .627 since May 1 after posting a mark of only .312 in April.

Another player finding his stroke is outfielder Edgar Lara. The 22-year-old has been red hot over his last 17 games. During the stretch, the Dominican is hitting .350/.394/.517 with a pair of long balls.

Who's Not

Left-hander John Gast has really struggled in two of his last three starts. During the stretch, he is 1-2 while giving up 11 runs in 9.1 innings in his two losses.

The Cardinal Nation Top 40 Prospect Watch

#30 Rainel Rosario. The 22-year-old is hitting .252/.331/.385 with four home runs and 16 RBIs.

#28 John Gast. The former Florida State Seminole is now 1-3 with an ERA just north of four.

#27 Joe Kelly. The ex-college reliever is coming off a seven-inning outing, his longest of the season. Kelly is now 1-2 with an ERA of 3.23.

#2 Zack Cox. The third baseman has been on a hot streak and is now hitting .329/.358/.434 with three home runs and seven doubles.

#1 Shelby Miller. The right-hander is now 2-2 with a 3.15 ERA. In 40 innings this season, he has 59 strikeouts and has allowed only 31 hits.

Around the League

The Cardinals are now 15-26 which is tied with two other teams for the worst record in the Florida State League. Palm Beach is 10 games behind the first-place St. Lucie Mets in the South Division.

Shelby Miller is still the circuit's strikeout king with 59 in 40 innings. Tyler Lyons' three holds is tied for the eighth-best mark in the league.

Zack Cox is tied for fourth in hits and ninth in batting average. Edgar Lara is tied for tenth with multiple players in home runs.

Up Next

The Cardinals will play two more games with Daytona before hitting the road to Brevard County. Palm Beach will then return home to host the Lakeland Flying Tigers.

Questions for Dustin Mattison about this Palm Beach report or any other Cardinals minor league topic? Check out our premium, subscriber-only message board today!

Dustin can be contacted at Follow Dustin on Twitter

© 2011 The Cardinal Nation, and All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

The Cardinal Nation Top Stories