Springfield Cardinals Notebook: 2011 Week 12

The Cardinals' slump came home with them as the second half started like the first ended. Infielder Eric Duncan is one of the team's hottest hitters.

The Springfield Cardinals followed a rough week with yet another rough week, but this time the losses came on their home field.

The Cardinals had split the first two games of the series with the Arkansas Travelers, but on Wednesday, it was all Arkansas, as the Travelers outslugged the Cardinals 13-5. Kevin Thomas was tagged with the loss, going three innings and giving up seven earned runs. Rehabbing big leaguer, Nick Punto did provide three hits in five at bats for the offense.

The story wouldn't be much different on Thursday night, as the Travelers would score 10 or more runs for the third straight game. The ‘Travs took the series with 13-3 win. Scott Schneider absorbed the loss for the Cards, only going 4 2/3 innings, giving up six earned runs on eight hits. Steven Hill hit two home runs and collected two RBI, while Ryan Jackson hit a home run as well.

The Cardinals started a four-game series with the Tulsa Drillers on Friday night and finally broke out of their slump, crushing the Drillers, 10-5. Mike Blazek got the start and the win, going six innings, allowing one earned run on five hits while striking out seven. Blazek earned the first quality start by a Springfield Cardinal other than Shelby Miller, since June 8th. Matt Adams returned from the disabled list, and picked up right where he left off. Adams went 2-for-5 with a home run and three RBI. Eric Duncan continued his hot streak as he crushed two home runs, his second multi-homer game of the homestand.

The Cardinals had to feel confident of at least earning a split in the series with the Drillers after they took game one and were sending Shelby Miller to the mound on Saturday. Unfortunately, it was not to be. Miller made another quality start, but was provided with exactly zero runs in support. Miller went six innings and gave up two earned runs on three hits, while striking out eight. He made one mistake, but that mistake was a two run home run that proved to be the game-winner. After the home run, Miller settled in and allowed just one hit, while seven of his eight strike outs following the home run. Miller finished with just 81 pitches thrown, but was removed for a pinch-hitter in the bottom of the sixth inning. The Drillers took game two, 2-0.

On Sunday, David Kopp, recently outrighted off of the 40-man roster, looked better, but was still roughed up and tagged with the loss. Kopp went five innings, allowing four earned runs and seven hits, while setting down four on strikeouts. Matt Adams hit his 17th home run of the season, a solo shot that cleared the corner of the training facility over the right-centerfield fence. The Cardinals trailed 4-3 when Tulsa turned it over to their bullpen, and the three pitchers shut down the Springfield offensive, not even allowing a single baserunner in their three innings of work. The Cardinals dropped game three, 6-3.

On the getaway day before the All-Star break, the Cardinals looked to earn a split with the Tulsa Drillers and it looked like they were well on their way to doing just that, when disaster struck. Kevin Thomas made the start for the Cardinals, and earned a quality start, by going six+ innings and giving up three earned runs, on seven hits while striking out four. He turned it over to the bullpen in the seventh, and Nick Greenwood was nothing short of excellent. Greenwood tossed two scoreless innings, while striking out three and a walk was the only runner he allowed to reach base. The Cardinals carried a 5-3 lead into the top of the ninth inning, thanks to RBI from Chris Swauger, Ryan Jackson, Matt Adams and two RBI from D'Marcus Ingram.

As they turned it over to Jorge Rondon, it looked like the Cardinals were heading into the break with a win… until the Drillers put two on with two out for the league leader in home runs, Tim Wheeler. Rondon had Wheeler down to his final strike when the wind began to pick up, blowing out to left. Wheeler crushed the next pitch to left field, into the Tulsa bullpen, to give the Drillers the 6-5 lead. The Cardinals were unable to rally in their half of the ninth inning and lost a heartbreaker, 6-5.

Who's Hot

Eric Duncan – Duncan hit .351 with six home runs and 13 RBI on the week. Amazingly, Duncan was passed over for Texas League Player of the Week, despite him having superior numbers to the player selected.

Matt Adams – Adams returned from the disabled list and is hitting .389 with two home runs and five RBI since his return. The Cardinals badly missed their number three hitter.

Jermaine Curtis – Curtis is hitting .476 with a home run and four RBI in his last 10 games.

Who's Not

Cardinals pitchers, not named Shelby Miller – When you remove the Shelby Miller starts, the team has given up 66 earned runs in their last 77 innings.

How They Stack Up

Second half standings – Texas League North

W L PCT GB Home  Away  Div  Streak Last10
Arkansas  6 0 1.000 - 4-0 2-0 6-0 W7 6-0
Tulsa  4 2 0.667 2.0 1-1 3-1 4-2 W3 4-2
NW Arkansas  1 5 0.167 5.0 0-0 1-5 1-5 L5 1-5
Springfield  1 5 0.167 5.0 1-5 0-0 1-5 L3 1-5

The Cardinal Nation Top 40 Prospect Watch

#34 Ryan Jackson – Jackson is hitting .319 in June, with three home runs and 17 RBI. Both of those power numbers are season highs for any single month. Jackson is now sporting a line of .270, with six homers and 36 RBI.

#33 Matt Adams – Adams continues to absolutely dominate the Texas League. Adams picked up right where he left off before being placed on the disabled list. Adams is hitting .389 with two home runs and five RBI since his return. Adams is leading the league with his .357 batting average and is second with 17 home runs. Adams is averaging a home run every 12.53 at bats, which is also tops in the league.

#31 Steven Hill – Steven Hill was promoted to Triple-A Memphis.

#23 David Kopp – Kopp had a rather tough week. He was outrighted off of the 40-man roster and went unclaimed by another team. In talking to one scout with an American League club, it wasn't the talent that kept his team away. This particular scout liked Kopp, but his club didn't have the 40-man roster room to make a claim for him. Kopp was 0-1 on the week, as his record dropped to 2-5, with a 7.28 ERA. His last win came on June 4th.

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

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

#2 Zack Cox – Cox had another rough week. He is hitting .118 over his last 10 games, with no home runs and 3 RBI. Cox is now hitting .207 with two home runs and 10 RBI in Double-A.

#1 Shelby Miller – Miller continues to live up to the lofty expectations. The 20-year-old righty has been nothing short of dominant. He was tagged with his first loss, despite the fact that he only allowed two runs on three hits - one of those hits just happened to be a two-run home run. Miller is now 3-1, with 1.69 ERA and has notched 33 strikeouts in 32 innings of work. Opponents are hitting .224 against him.

Up Next

The Springfield Cardinals start the second half of their schedule, after the All-Star break, with six game road trip down to Texas. The Cardinals have three with Frisco, followed by three in Midland.

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