Palm Beach Cardinals Notebook: 2011 Week 8

Shelby Miller may have left the Florida State League, but Joe Kelly and John Gast are still dealing.

The big picture

This report covers the week from Friday, May 27 through Thursday, June 2.

Manager Luis Aguayo's Palm Beach Cardinals began the week with final three games of their home series against Lakeland (Tigers) before taking Memorial Day off. Four games at Dunedin (Blue Jays) kicked off on Tuesday, the first three of which occurred during this reporting period.

As the result of the 3-3 week, the 22-32 Cardinals are tied for fourth place in the six-team Florida State League South Division. They are seven games behind first-place leader St. Lucie (Mets). Palm Beach's "magic number" for first-half elimination is 10.

Game summaries

Friday, May 27: Lakeland 3 at Palm Beach 2
Shelby Miller struck out a regular-season career-high 12 batters and Kyle Conley matched a career-high with four hits, but it wasn't quite enough. Miller allowed just three hits, only one after the first inning, one walk, and one earned run in seven innings in what would be his final appearance with Palm Beach.

Saturday, May 28: Palm Beach 2, Lakeland 0
John Gast matched a career-high with 11 strikeouts and allowed just three hits. Jorge Rondon recorded his fourth save and secured the Cardinals' first shutout victory of the season. D'Marcus Ingram singled, doubled and scored, but was also picked off first base and was caught stealing. Xavier Scruggs launched a solo home run.

Sunday, May 29: Lakeland 5 at Palm Beach 3
In his fourth start with the Cardinals, Jordan Swagerty suffered his first loss after allowing four runs, three earned, on six hits and three walks through five innings. Ingram and Rainel Rosario each singled and doubled. Rosario scored twice. Scruggs doubled and plated two.

Monday, May 30: No FSL games

Tuesday, May 31: Palm Beach 3 at Dunedin 1
Joe Kelly took a no-hitter into the eighth inning in his second consecutive start. This time, the 22-year-old right-hander lasted went 7 2/3 before allowing a single and leaving the game. The only Dunedin run scored in the sixth on a bases-loaded free pass following two early walks and a hit batter. Kyle Conley had three hits and scored one. D'Marcus Ingram and Xavier Scruggs had RBIs before Niko Vasquez hit a solo home run in the ninth to close the scoring.

Wednesday, June 1: Dunedin 5, Palm Beach 0
Eric Fornataro's slump continues as he yielded 10 hits and five runs to suffer his third straight loss. Relievers Brett Zawacki and Daniel Calhoun combined for three shutout innings, but the offense could not mount a threat. Outfielder Rainel Rosario went 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles, but the rest of teammates had just two hits combined.

Thursday, June 2: Palm Beach 10 at Dunedin 9
The Cardinals outslugged the Jays, pounding out 16 hits, just one short of their season high. Palm Beach came back with three runs in the top of the eighth to take back the lead for good. Eight of the nine Cardinals' starters recorded at least one hit and eight also recorded at least one RBI. Xavier Scruggs led the way by going 3-for-4 with a home run and two RBI, while Domnit Bolivar and Rainel Rosario also added three hits apiece.

On the Move

In an unusual action, Shelby Miller announced his own promotion to Springfield last Saturday. He led the Florida State League with 81 strikeouts in 53 innings. The move with 20-year-old was made official on Wednesday and he will make his Double-A debut on Friday night.

Hot-pitching left-hander Kevin Siegrist has been promoted from Quad Cities to step into Miller's rotation spot. The 21-year-old went 8-1 with a 1.15 ERA in 54 2/3 Midwest League innings.

Outfielder Jarred Bogany was given his unconditional release after hitting just .183 in 21 games this season.

Infielder Ted Obregon re-joined Palm Beach from extended spring training. The 21-year-old Venezuelan appeared in 22 FSL games in 2010, batting .174, before returning to Quad Cities.

On the Mend

Right-handed reliever Aaron Terry and outfielder Adam Melker came off the disabled list this past week.

Infielder Packy Elkins was placed on the seven-day DL.

Recognition

The Florida State League announced Thursday that right-handed pitcher Joe Kelly and outfielder Edgar Lara will represent Palm Beach on the FSL South squad in the league's All-Star Game. Pitcher Shelby Miller was also a first-team selection, but has been replaced on the roster due to his promotion to Double-A.

The 50th Annual Florida State League All-Star Game will be played Saturday, June 18, at 7:05 p.m. EDT at Bright House Field in Clearwater, Fla.

Who's Hot

Gast
John Gast. Over his most recent two starts totaling 16 innings, the 22-year-old left-hander has allowed just one earned run. Last time out, Gast punched out 11 opposing hitters over seven innings.

Joe Kelly. The 22-year-old not only flirted with one no-hitter, he took his second consecutive no-hit bid into the eighth inning on Tuesday. The right-hander ended up with a pair of one-hit outings to conclude a 2-1, 2.48 ERA May.

D'Marcus Ingram. The outfielder went 8-for-26 (.308) on the week and has four multiple hit games in his last seven. The 23-year-old had a solid May with a line of .324/.429/.437.

Kyle Conley. The outfielder is 13 for his last 31 (.419). Overall in his 21 games with Palm Beach, the right-handed hitter has 13 RBI and a line of .291/.333/.519.

Rainel Rosario. The 22-year-old is batting .359 (14-for-39) in his last ten games and started off particularly well in June with three hits in each of his two contests.

Who's Not

Eric Fornataro. The right-hander has yielded 16 earned runs in his last three starts for a 9.19 ERA.

Aaron Terry. Since the first of May, the reliever has surrendered ten earned runs in 10 1/3 innings (8.71 ERA).

Luis De La Cruz. Since the catcher's May 21 activation, he is batting just .150 (3-for-20).

Juan Castillo. Having joined the Cardinals on May 11, the catcher is just 5-for-31 (.161) at the dish.

Luis Mateo and Xavier Scruggs. The right side of the infield each batted .190 in May. Mateo's season total is down to .194, which the first baseman is at .211 for the year.

Niko Vasquez. The third baseman is hitting just .211 in his first six games since being returned to Palm Beach from Double-A Springfield.

Florida State League individual leaders

Now that Zack Cox has been promoted, almost no Cardinals are among the league top 20 FSL qualifiers offensively (2.7 plate appearances per team game). Ingram is tied for eighth with 12 stolen bases (and has been caught just once).

On the less positive side, Rosario is tied for 20th with 46 strikeouts.

Among the pitchers, Kelly's 2.67 ERA is sixth and Gast's 3.09 is 14th-lowest in the FSL. Jorge Rondon is ninth in the league with six saves.

Kelly is tied for eighth with 25 walks and is tied for second in the league with seven home runs allowed. Gast is among a group tied for sixth-most at five enemy long balls served up.

FSL team rankings

There is no good way to say this. Collectively, the Palm Beach hitters are ranked 12th of 12 in the FSL with a combined .248 batting average, .313 on-base percentage and are also dead last in runs scored.

The Cardinals are currently fourth in the league in team ERA at 3.46. Their 429 strikeouts are third-most. With 188 walks, the staff ranks sixth.

Up Next

On Friday, the Cardinals wrap up their set in Dunedin with one final game on Friday before returning home on Saturday to open a three-game set entertaining St. Lucie (Mets). The clubs will take Monday off between games two and three. Palm Beach then invades Ft. Myers (Twins) for three midweek games on Wednesday through Friday.



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Brian Walton can be reached via email at brian@thecardinalnationblog.com. Also catch his Cardinals commentary daily at The Cardinal Nation blog. Look for his weekly minor league column on Thursdays at FOXSportsMidwest.com. Follow Brian on Twitter.

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