Springfield Cardinals Notebook: 2011 Week 11

The Cardinals fell just short in the first-half race in the Texas League North Division.

This would more than likely qualify as a week to forget for the Springfield Cardinals. Just a few short weeks ago they had the same number of wins as the division leader, but a dreadful road trip sank the hopes of playoffs… at least for the first half.

Shelby Miller would prove to be virtually the only bright spot on the Cardinals pitching staff for the week. Miller was dominant on Wednesday, going eight innings without giving up a run while striking out eight. Miller earned the win as the Cardinals won 8-1. Steven Hill had five RBI on two home runs as the Cardinals finished up their series with Arkansas.

On Thursday, the Cardinals were slugged 7-1 by Northwest Arkansas, as David Kopp took the loss. Kopp gave up four earned runs in six innings, while the Cardinals offense was unable to provide anything other than a RBI from Ryan Jackson.

Friday night wasn't much better. Northwest jumped all over Cardinals starter Kevin Thomas and the rest of the pitching staff, winning 15-6. Steven Hill continued to see the ball well, as he hit his ninth home run of the season.

Saturday would see Springfield grab a win against the Naturals, 3-1 behind the pitching efforts of spot starter Scott Schneider. Schneider went 5 1/3 innings to earn the win, giving up one run on four hits. Charles Cutler provided two RBI.

Finishing up the road trip on Sunday, the Cardinals were outslugged 15-10. Mike Blazek got the start, but it would be Nick Greenwood who would be tagged with the loss after allowing six earned runs in just 1/3 of an inning. Eric Duncan was 3-for-6 with a homer and three RBI.

The Cardinals started an eight game homestand on Monday night and Shelby Miller continued his dominance, facing the Arkansas Travelers for his second straight outing. Miller struggled through the first inning, giving up an earned run, but that would be the last tally he would allow. Miller went six innings, giving up one run on six hits while striking out just three. The Cardinals offense took care of the rest, winning the game 14-4. Eric Duncan hit a grand slam and a solo home run as well. He finished with five driven in. The Cardinals would also get homers from Audry Perez, Ryan Jackson, Chris Swauger and a pinch-hit home run from Jermaine Curtis.

Arkansas was playing for the first half crown in the Texas League North Division. With a win, they would punch their ticket to the post season. There would not be much drama in this one. Arkansas blew out the Cardinals 17-6. David Kopp got the start and was shelled, giving up nine earned runs on nine hits in just 3 1/3 innings. His ERA now stands at 7.29 for the season and the loss dropped his record to 2-4. Eric Duncan did homer for the fourth time in his last three games and rehabbing major leaguer Nick Punto was 3-for-4 with an RBI.

Who's Hot

Eric Duncan – The infielder is hitting .333 his last ten games with five home runs and 10 RBI.

Charles Cutler – The catcher is 11-for-18 in his last six games, with two home runs and nine RBI.

Who's Not

Cardinals pitchers not named Shelby Miller – The team has given up 21 earned runs in their last 43 innings.

How They Stack Up

Final First Half Standings – Texas League North

W L PCT GB Home  Away  Div  Streak Last10
Arkansas 36 31 0.537 - 22-14 14-17 24-19 W1 7-3
NW Arkansas  35 32 0.522 1 18-15 17-17 23-20 W1 7-3
Tulsa  33 37 0.471 4.5 16-18 17-19 22-24 L1 3-7
Springfield 32 38 0.457 5.5 16-18 16-20 20-26 L1 3-7

The Cardinal Nation Top 40 Prospect Watch

#34 Ryan Jackson – Jackson is hitting .348 in June with two home runs and 12 RBI. He had 10 RBI in May. He is now hitting .273 with five homers and 31 RBI on the season.

#33 Matt Adams – On the club's disabled list.

#31 Steven Hill – Hill is hitting just .263 over his last 10 games, with three homers and 11 RBI. He is now hitting .270 with nine home runs and 24 RBI on the season.

#23 David Kopp – Kopp was shelled yet again on Tuesday night, as he fell to 2-4 on the season and is the owner of a 7.29 ERA. The 25 year old righty, who is on the St. Louis 40-man roster, continues to look for his form that produced 12 wins in 2010.

#19 Tommy Pham – On the club's disabled list.

#18 Deryk Hooker – On the club's disabled list.

#2 Zack Cox – Cox' batting average has plummeted down to .232. He has two home runs and nine RBI on the season. He does still own a .313 on-base percentage.

#1 Shelby Miller – Miller continues to live up to the lofty expectations. The 20 year old righty has been nothing short of dominant. He is now 3-0 with a very tidy 1.38 ERA on the season. He has 25 strikeouts in 26 innings of work.

Up Next

The Springfield Cardinals finish up their series with the Arkansas Travelers and then will host the Northwest Arkansas Naturals. The second half of the season starts on Wednesday, as everyone's record is reset to 0-0.

Questions for Josh Thompson about this Springfield report or any other Cardinals minor league topic? Check out our premium, subscriber-only message board today!

Josh Thompson can be contacted at joshthompsonusa@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter.

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

The Cardinal Nation Top Stories