This report covers the week from Friday, June 3 through Thursday, June 9.
Manager Luis Aguayo's Palm Beach Cardinals began the week with one final game in Dunedin (Blue Jays) on Friday before they returned home on Saturday for a three-game set entertaining St. Lucie (Mets). The clubs took Monday off between games two and three. Palm Beach then invaded Ft. Myers (Twins) for the first two of three midweek games on Wednesday through Friday.
As the result of the 3-3 week, the 25-35 Cardinals are now in a three-way tie for fourth place (and fifth and last place) in the Florida State League South Division, six games back of leader St. Lucie with 10 games remaining in the first-half schedule. They picked up one game on the Mets this past week.
Palm Beach is 4-9-4 in overall series thus far. They secured their first road series win last week and are now 1-4-2 in road series and 3-4-2 at Roger Dean Stadium.
Friday, June 3: Dunedin 6, Palm Beach 5
15 hits were not enough for the Cardinals as they settled for a split of the four-game road series. Left-hander John Gast took the loss for the Redbirds, on six hits and six runs, five earned, in 5 1/3 innings. He walked five and struck out three. Luis De La Cruz singled three times in four at-bats, Kyle Conley also had three hits, including a triple, Xavier Scruggs homered and plated two and D' Marcus Ingram scored twice.
Saturday, June 4: Palm Beach 3, St. Lucie 0
Four Palm Beach pitchers combined to hold the Mets to just four hits. Jordan Swagerty gave up just three hits and walked one through five innings, but Aaron Terry took the win with two hitless innings of relief, walking two and striking out a pair. Brett Zawacki pitched a scoreless frame before Keith Butler earned his first save of the season with Palm Beach. Kyle Conley tripled in his second consecutive game and plated two.
Sunday, June 5: Palm Beach 3, St. Lucie 2
Xavier Scruggs hit a walk-off infield-single with the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth. The first baseman finished 2-for-4 with two RBI. Left-hander Kevin Siegrist made his FSL debut as the Cardinals starter after being promoted from Quad Citiesk. Siegrist allowed just three hits and one earned run through six innings while walking two and striking out five.
Monday, June 6
Scheduled day off
Tuesday, June 7: St. Lucie 5 at Palm Beach 0
Bryan Augenstein made his first rehab appearance as he started the game and allowed two runs on three hits and one strikeout in 2/3 of an inning. Joe Kelly threw six innings and allowed three runs (two earned) on seven hits while striking out four. The offense managed just x hits.
Wednesday, June 8: Ft. Myers 5, Palm Beach 1
Eric Fornataro started and took the loss as he allowed four runs (though only one was earned) on five hits in six innings. Alan Ahmady had the lone RBI, his first since rejoining Palm Beach from Double-A Springfield on June 4.
Thursday, June 9: Palm Beach 11 at Ft. Myers 5
Outfielder Edgar Lara hit a two-run home run, stole a base and recorded a season-high four RBI. Rainel Rosario collected a pair of hits and two RBI as every starter in the lineup finished with at least one hit except for Kyle Conley, who walked twice. Starter Justin Smith walked seven in 2 2/3 innings but escaped with just three runs, two earned, against him. Tyler Lyons followed and picked up the win after yielding one run in 3 1/3 innings. The 11 runs are the season-best for Palm Beach.
On the Move
On Saturday, three players were promoted to Springfield, while two were returned from Double-A and one was bumped up from Quad Cities. Right-handed pitcher Jorge Rondon, infielder Domnit Bolivar and catcher Travis Tartamella moved up. Right-hander Jesse Simpson and outfielder Alan Ahmady were demoted and infielder Grag Garcia, a Midwest League All-Star, was promoted from the River Bandits.
On Monday, outfielder D'Marcus Ingram was promoted to Springfield.
On the Mend
On Monday, right-handed reliever Chris Corrigan was activated from the seven-day disabled list.
St. Louis reliever Bryan Augenstein joined the club on a maximum 30-day rehab assignment that began on Tuesday, with the details noted in the game recaps above. His second outing is scheduled for Friday night.
Kevin Siegrist has been named the May Topps Player of the Month for the Midwest League. The 21-year-old left-hander went 5-1 with a 1.47 ERA for the Quad Cities River Bandits during the period. Siegrist had been promoted to Palm Beach on June 1.
Xavier Scruggs. The first baseman has hit safely in his last 12 games after enduring an 0-for-15 skid in mid-May. During his streak, Scruggs has three home runs, 11 RBI and seven runs scored and has recorded a RBI in 8 of the 12 games.
Daniel Calhoun. The right-hander threw one shutout inning in relief on Tuesday to extend his scoreless streak to ten innings over six appearances.
Alan Ahmady. The outfielder is just 3-for-14 (.214), all singles, since his return from Springfield.
Eric Fornataro. The right-hander has taken four consecutive losses, though as noted above, he deserved better this past week. Three of the four runs scored during this most recent outing were unearned.
Justin Smith. In his two June starts, the righty has yielded four earned runs in 6 2/3 innings for a 5.40 ERA. He has walked a whopping 12 batters while fanning seven.
Luis Mateo. The second baseman's season average is down to .187 after a 1-for-13 June start.
Niko Vasquez. The third baseman is hitting just .186 (8-for-43) in his first 13 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 ninth with 13 stolen bases (and was caught just once).
Among the pitchers, Kelly's 2.70 ERA is seventh lowest in the FSL. Jorge Rondon is tenth in the league with six saves.
Kelly and Justin Smith are tied for 13th with 26 walks and Gast is right behind with 25 free passes issued. Gast is tied for 10th in the league with six home runs allowed.
FSL team rankings
Collectively, the Palm Beach hitters are ranked 12th of 12 in the FSL with a combined .248 batting average, same as last week. Their .312 on-base percentage is also last and down a point from last week. Palm Beach also remains dead last in runs scored.
The Cardinals are still fourth in the league in team ERA at 3.41, a slight improvement from their year-to-date 3.46 last week. Their 469 strikeouts are fourth-most. With 217 walks, the staff is up to fourth-most in one category they would like to be last.
The Cardinals finish their three-game series at Fort Myers on Friday night. Dunedin arrives at Roger Dean Stadium for three starting on Saturday evening before the Cardinals hit the road for three against the Mets at Port St. Lucie to close out the first half.
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Brian Walton can be reached via email at email@example.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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