The Palm Beach Cardinals are suffering through the team's worst season in recent memory. The week started off no differently with a 7-0 loss at Fort Myers. Rehabbing Bryan Augenstein was the starter and gave up three in the bottom of the first on a three-run homer to Twins' all-star catcher Joe Mauer. The Cardinals managed only five hits, two which came off the bat of Xavier Scruggs.
The team left Fort Myers and traveled to Charlotte but the results were similar. The Cardinals dropped a 8-2 decision to the Stone Crabs after starter Jordan Swagerty was knocked around for five runs in 5.2 innings. Once again, the team managed only five hits with Edgar Lara collecting the only one for extra bases.
Xavier Scruggs played the hero on Sunday to get the Cardinals back in the win column with a two-run blast in the bottom of the tenth. Leadoff man Greg Garcia collected four hits and scored two runs. Kevin Siegrist weathered a tough first inning that saw two earned runs cross the plate and gave Palm Beach six solid innings. Keith Butler picked up the win with two shutout inning of relief.
Monday's action was rained out and the Cardinals pitching struggled once again on Tuesday. The offense exploded for ten runs including a seven-run eighth to take a 10-8 lead. Unfortunately, Tyler Lyons gave up three runs in the bottom of the inning and the Cards fell 11 to 10 to St. Lucie. Eric Fornataro was tagged for six runs in four innings. Garcia had another good game in the leadoff spot with three hits. Another recent addition, Robert Stock, had three hits as well including a home run on the first pitch he saw as a member of the Palm Beach squad.
Wednesday saw more bad weather and another game cancelled so the Cardinals played two on Thursday. In game one, the team won a slugfest 9-6. Luis De La Cruz banged out two hits including a three-run home run. John Gast picked up the win though he was roughed up for five runs in six innings of work.
Palm Beach finished the week on the wrong side of a slugfest, falling to St. Lucie, 6-5. Daniel Calhoun was saddled with the loss after allowing a run in the bottom of the sixth. Starter Justin Smith made it through only three innings after being roughed up for five runs. Five Cardinals hitters finished with a pair of hits, including Alan Ahmady who finished with a single, double, and two RBIs.
In eight games since joining Palm Beach, infielder Greg Garcia is hitting .419/.486/.581 while collecting a hit in six of those contests.
Xavier Scruggs is hitting .315 and slugging .593 in his last 14 games. During that stretch the first baseman has four home runs and is tied for the team lead with seven.
The Cardinal Nation Top 40 Prospect Watch
#40 Niko Vasquez. Since returning from Double-A, the young infielder has struggled. Vasquez is hitting .186/.273/.288 in 17 contests with 18 strikeouts in 59 at bats.
#39 Robert Stock. After struggling at the plate for Quad Cities, Stock was promoted last week. The backstop has three hits in two FSL games including a home run.
#30 Rainel Rosario. In 230 at bats, Rosario has posted a slash line of .274/.348/.391 with five home runs and 30 RBIs.
#28 John Gast. In a team high 74 innings, the southpaw is 4-4 with an ERA of 4.14.
#27 Joe Kelly. The right-hander with the heavy fastball is 3-2 with a 2.70 ERA while earning himself an all-star game appearance.
#24 Jordan Swagerty. The former reliever has had a few bumps in the road since being promoted. Swagerty is 1-2 with an ERA of 2.67. He has 22 strikeouts and 10 walks in 30.1 innings of work.
Around the League
The Cardinals are now 27-39 and sit 7.5 games behind first place St. Lucie.
As a team, Palm Beach ranks last in batting average, on base percentage, hits, doubles, and runs. In other offensive categories, it ranks in the bottom third.
On the pitching side, the squad ranks fourth in team ERA and fifth in strikeouts. Joe Kelly ranks sixth on the circuit with his 2.70 ERA while John Gast is sixth in innings pitched.
After closing out the series with St. Lucie, the team will have the weekend off for the Florida State League All-Star Game. Palm Beach returns to action at home on Monday, hosting Fort Myers.
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