Johnson City Cardinals Notebook: 2011 Week 2

Middle infielder Tyler Rahmatulla was 7-for-20 (.350) with one double, two triples, and one home run in six games this week. Rahmatulla leads the team in slugging (.600) and triples (2). He posted a .350/.435/.750 line this week.

The Johnson City Cardinals were 5-2 this week (10-2 overall) and have won all four of the three-game series they have played.  They are in first place in the five-team Western Division of the Appalachian League, four games clear ofa three-way tie for second between the Bristol White Sox, the Kingsport Mets, and the Elizabethton Twins. 


I was able to attend six of the seven games in person this week.  I listened to Sunday's Internet play-by-play broadcast of Steve Wilhoit of the Greeneville Astros.  Those observations provide the basis for this report.


In case you missed last week's report, you can review it here:  Johnson City Cardinals Notebook: 2011 Week 1. 


Eric Binder, Kyle Deese, Nick Gillung

Roster Changes


There were two roster deletions this week while one left-handed pitcher made his professional debut. 


RHP Eric Binder was promoted to the Batavia Muckdogs:  "Binder: Packing his Bags Already". The soon-to-be 25-year-old was more than two years older than the next oldest player on the Johnson City roster.  Binder made two very inconsistent New York-Penn League appearances over the last week.  His Muckdogs debut resulted in a win after he struck out four and allowed just one hit over two and one third innings.  Binder struggled against Mahoning Valley in his second outing when he gave up a home run, allowed two runs, and walked two over just one third of an inning.


RHP Kyle Deese, who had been recovering from elbow surgery, has unfortunately had his contract voided before ever making a debut:  "Deese: Bad News". 


LHP Nick Gillung was medically cleared and made his debut on Saturday.  Gillung threw 20 pitches (12 strikes and 8 balls) while allowing one hit, striking out one, and allowing both of Ben Freeman's inherited runners to score. 


The roster drops from 31 active down to 29 active (max of 35). 


Trevor Martin



2B Trevor Martin separated his shoulder in the first game of the season:  Martin: Bad Break in the Opener.  Martin saw some first-base coaching duties earlier this week, however, he is out of action indefinitely and may have already left the team for surgery.  I will try to get an update for next week. 


Team Statistical Review


The offense picked it up this week after a mediocre start last week.  The batters posted a .287/.340/.426 line this week after a .250/.338/.364 line last week.  Their best placing in the league is second in batting average (.271).  They hit four home runs this week but are ninth in the league with six.  They are last in the league in drawing walks (30) and stolen bases (7) after 12 games.


After the defense committed 17 errors that contributed to 8 unearned runs in the first week, they rebounded with a solid effort and several web gems this week (4 errors and 2 unearned runs).  2B Tyler Rahmatulla, 3B Neil Pritchard, CF Steven Garcia, and CF Ronald Castillo all made memorable defensive plays. 


The Cardinal pitching staff took a bit of a beating this week, allowing 12 home runs to tie for the lead league in that category (13).  They still have the third best earned run average (3.03 ERA) as most of the home runs were solo.  Through their first twelve games, the pitchers have the best walks plus hits per inning pitched (WHIP) in the league (1.15) and they have allowed the fewest hits of any team in the league (91).  The relievers were 5-0 this week while the starters were 0-2.


Ben Freeman



P Ben Freeman (0-1, 6.23 ERA) made his season debut on Sunday as the Cardinals swept the Astros in Greeneville with a 9-2 victory.  SS Matt Williams (.366) extended his hit streak, which ended the next day, to five games.  LF David Bergin (.333) had a two-run home in a six-run third inning that blew the game open.  Freeman got into trouble in the fifth inning to narrowly miss getting the win.


Although they never trailed, Johnson City had to score early and late on Monday night to beat their rival, the Elizabethton Twins, by a score of 10-5.  P Tyrell Jenkins (5.79 ERA, 1.39 WHIP) saw his velocity drop just a bit toward the end of his second start of the season on Monday.  He maxed out at 94 MPH but hit that 23 times in the first four innings.  He maxed out at 93 MPH (twice) in a thirteen pitch fifth inning.  Reigning Appy League Player of the Week Eddie Rosario of the Elizabethton Twins hit a 94 MPH 2-2 pitch for a home run in the third inning.  The lefty lined it to the opposite field to barely clear the scoreboard in left field.  Top Twins SS prospect Miguel Sano hit a monster home run to dead centerfield off Jenkins on the first pitch of the fourth inning.  The 92 MPH fastball went at least 450 feet.  Jenkins saw the Twins swing and miss just 8-of-51 strikes (16 percent).  However, one third of his strikes were called and three of those, including one knee-buckling curve, resulted in strike outs.


Tyrell Jenkins


Tuesday saw Johnson City fall behind the Twins 4-0 in the first inning behind a shaky start from Josh Lucas (1-0, 7.45 ERA).  Lucas got several of his pitches up and the good hitting Twins team took full advantage.  The Cardinals however, scored seven runs over the first three innings and the game remained tied 7-7 for the fourth through seventh innings.  Neil Pritchard (.290) came up with a two-out RBI single in the bottom of the eighth.  The single was originally scored an error after an uninspired fielding effort from Twins third baseman Miguel Sano.  Johnson City went on to win 8-7.


Johnson City went for a sweep on Wednesday but came up short by a score of 4-3.  All the runs scored on three Twins' home runs as the tandem combo of Ryan Sherriff (1-1, 2.00 ERA) and Kyle Hald (0-0, 1.35 ERA) never allowed a runner into scoring position the entire game.  The loss was the first of the season for Johnson City. 


Thursday brought the first place Pulaski Mariners to town.  Johnson City got off to a good start in the three game series by plating three runs in the seventh to break a 3-3 tie and win 6-3.  Submariner Heath Wyatt (2-0, 1.59 ERA) got reliever Roberto Canache (1-0, 3.38 ERA) out of trouble to record his second win. 


David Bergin

Friday ended up being the Cardinals' first walk-off win and first ninth inning comeback of the year.  Johnson City scored two in the ninth and one in the tenth to win 5-4.  DH David Bergin (.333) led off the ninth with a single and eventually scored the third Cardinal run and then he ended it with a two-out RBI bloop single on a 0-2 pitch.


Johnson City again went for a sweep on Saturday but came up short for the second series in-a-row, this time by a score of 6-3.  The Cardinals fell behind 6-0 during Ben Freeman's second start of the week but couldn't muster enough offense or clutch hitting to get close in the late innings. 


Johnson City 9 @ Greeneville 2, Cardinals Minor League Notebook: 06/27/11

Elizabethton 5 @ Johnson City 10, Cardinals Minor League Notebook: 06/28/11

Elizabethton 7 @ Johnson City 8, Cardinals Minor League Notebook: 06/29/11

Elizabethton 4 @ Johnson City 3, Cardinals Minor League Notebook: 06/30/11

Pulaski3 @ Johnson City 6, Cardinals Minor League Notebook: 07/01/11

Pulaski 4 @ Johnson City 5, Cardinals Minor League Notebook: 07/02/11

Pulaski 6 @ Johnson City 3, Cardinals Minor League Notebook: 07/03/11


Tandem Starting Pitchers


As a reminder, listed below are the starting pitcher rotations for Johnson City.  As published previously (Cardinals Short-Season Minor League Rotations), Johnson City utilizes a six-man starting rotation that includes seven different pitchers.  This is a change from the last four years, which saw Johnson City use a "piggyback" system:  Cardinals Move to Six-Man Minors Rotation.  The third position in the six-man rotation includes a "piggyback" or "tandem" of two pitchers.  The six lone starters currently have 85-pitch limits while the two tandem starters have 60-pitch limits.


Starting Pitchers (7): 

RHP Tyrell Jenkins (1)

RHP Josh Lucas (2)

LHP Ryan Sherriff (3A) and LHP Kyle Hald (3B)

RHP Eduardo Hiraldo (4)

RHP Jose Pasen (5)

LHP Ben Freeman (6)


Starter Pitch Counts


Ben Freeman:  70 pitches, 41 strikes, 9-for-17 first-pitch strikes.

Tyrell Jenkins:  79 pitches, 51 strikes, 12-for-21 first-pitch strikes.

Josh Lucas:  78 pitches, 53 strikes, 15-for-22 first-pitch strikes.

Ryan Sherriff:  60 pitches, 41 strikes, 15-for-20 first-pitch strikes.

Kyle Hald:  56 pitches, 33 strikes, 7-for-12 first-pitch strikes.

Eduardo Hiraldo:  75 pitches, 48 strikes, 15-for-24 first-pitch strikes.

Jose Pasen:  77 pitches, 42 strikes, 7-for-21 first-pitch strikes.

Ben Freeman:  81 pitches, 52 strikes, 12-for-23 first-pitch strikes.


Note:  Freeman's first start of the week was based on the Internet radio call by Steve Wilhoit of the Greeneville Astros and it is possible that a couple of pitches may not have been announced. 


Neal Pritchard, Anthony Garcia, Matt Williams

Who's Hot (Hitters)


3B/2B Neil Pritchard (.290) was 9-for-22 (.409) with one double in six games this week after starting the season 0-for-9.  Pritchard is tenth in the league in on-base percentage (.436). 


LF/DH David Bergin (.333) was 7-for-18 (.389) with two doubles and a home run in four games this week. 


RF Anthony Garcia (.346) was 7-for-19 (.368) with two doubles and a triple in five games this week.  Garcia has been one of the most consistent hitters so far.  He is also barreling up the ball better than anyone right now. 


CF Steven Ramos (.293) was 7-for-19 (.368) with seven runs, two doubles, and a home run in six games this week.  He is tied for second in the league in runs scored (12).


SS Matt Williams (.366) was 8-for-24 (.333) with a double, a home run, four walks, and three stolen bases in six games this week.  Williams is tied for sixth in the league in hits (15), seventh in on-base percentage (.447), eighth in batting average (.366), and tied for ninth in stolen bases (3). 


Tyler Rahmatulla (.300) was 7-for-20 (.350) with seven runs, one double, two triples, and one home run in six games this week.  Rahmatulla istenth in the league in slugging (.600) and on-base plus slugging percentage (1.017). 


RF Gary Apelian (.308) was 6-for-20 (.300) with two doubles in five games this week. 


David Washington

Who's Not Hot (Hitters)


1B David Washington (.154) was 3-for-21 (.143) with six strikeouts in five games this week. 


C Kolby Byrd (.225) was 3-for-21 (.143) with nine strikeouts in five games this week. 


C Jonathan Keener (.083) was 0-for-5 (.000) this week. 


Who's Hot (Pitchers)


Pitchers with walks plus hits per inning pitched (WHIPs) of 1 or less with at least three innings pitched this week included Michael Santana (0.46), Ryan Sherriff (0.67), Jose Pasen (0.71), and Kyle Hald (1.00).


Pitchers with strikeouts per nine innings pitched (K/9) of 9 or more with at least three innings pitched this week included Kyle Hald (18), Michael Santana (12.5), Heath Wyatt (10.8), Tyrell Jenkins (10.4), Logan Billbrough (9.5), and Eduardo Hiraldo (9.0).


Jose Pasen (1-0, 2.53 ERA) is tenth in the league with a 1.03 WHIP.


Michael Santana (0-0, 0.00 ERA, 0.50 WHIP) is tied for second in the league lead in holds (2).


Manuel De La Cruz (0-0, 0.00 ERA, 0.33 WHIP) is tied for second in the league lead in holds (2).


Who's Not Hot (Pitchers)


Josh Lucas (1-0, 7.45 ERA, 1.34 WHIP), in the curse from last week's cover picture, was the only pitcher this week with at least three innings pitched that also had a walks plus hits per inning pitched (WHIP) of 2 or greater and an earned run averages (ERA) of 5 or greater. 


Tyrell Jenkins (0-0, 5.79 ERA, 1.39 WHIP, 9.65 K/9) had a 10.39 ERA this week. 


Ben Freeman (0-1, 6.23 ERA, 1.73 WHIP) had a 6.23 ERA this week. 


Week Two Schedule


Game 13 (Sun):  Jenkins vs. Kingsport Mets

Game 14 (Mon): Lucas @ Kingsport Mets

Game 15 (Tue):  Hald/Sherriff @ Bluefield Orioles

Game 16 (Wed): Hiraldo @ Bluefield Orioles

Game 17 (Thu): Pasen @ Bluefield Orioles

Game 18 (Fri):  Freeman @ Pulaski Mariners

Game 19 (Sat):  Jenkins @ Pulaski Mariners

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