Springfield Cardinals Notebook: 2011 Week 13

The Double-A Cardinals are still struggling to consistently put together all aspects of their game.

The Springfield Cardinals started the second half of their schedule with a six-game road trip through Texas which started last Thursday.

In the opening game of the series against the Frisco RoughRiders, the Cardinals picked up where they left off prior to the All-Star break, unfortunately enough. Frisco defeated the Cardinals, 7-6, in John Gast's Double-A debut. Gast went six innings, allowing five earned runs on eight hits, but he did strike out seven. Gast would not figure in the decision. Instead, Chase Reid was tagged with his first loss of the season. Eric Duncan did add another June home run, his ninth long ball of the month.

The Cardinals went 10-18 in the month of June. On the first day of July, they had reason to think that a new month would mean new results. Springfield knocked off Frisco 9-6 on Friday night to give Shelby Miller his fourth Double-A win. Miller went six innings, allowing two earned runs on six hits, while striking out five. Miller threw 90 pitches in the start. Ryan Jackson went 3-for-5 with three RBI to spark the offense. In his first appearance out of the bullpen, David Kopp went one innings, allowing an earned run on a hit (a solo home run) and he struck out one. Jorge Rondon came in to handle the ninth inning in a non-save situation, but made it interesting anyway, allowing three runs, only one earned, on three hits in one inning of work. But when the smoke cleared, Springfield was 1-0 in July.

Unfortunately, the second day of July would not be as kind. The Cardinals lost to Frisco 3-1, as the RoughRiders took the series. The Cardinals continued the unfortunate trend of not being able to put all facets of the game together on the same night. On a night that they got a quality start from Scott Schneider (six innings, one run, on only two hits), their offense failed to provide much punch. Chris Swauger provided the lone RBI for the Springfield attack, as he went 1-for-3. Samuel Freeman handled the seventh inning, and he allowed the eventual winning runs to come around to score. Freeman gave up two earned runs in the frame, tagged with his first loss of 2011.

Starting a new series with the Midland Rockhounds, Springfield sent Mike Blazek to the hill to make the start. Making his first start after representing the Springfield Cardinals in the Texas League All-Star team, Blazek grabbed his league-leading ninth win of the season. Blazek worked five innings, allowing three earned runs on seven hits, but he also walked four and struck out six. The Cardinals received home runs from Chris Swauger, his seventh of the year and Alex Castellanos, his 16th of the season. Matt Adams provided two RBI, to bring his season total to 54 driven in. The Cardinals took game one 6-3, as the Springfield bullpen pitched four scoreless innings to hold on.

Celebrating Independence Day on Sunday, it was the Midland offense that provided the fireworks on the field, winning 15-5. Kevin Thomas was roughed up yet again. Thomas went just 1 1/3 innings, giving up 11 earned runs on nine hits, while walking two. Thomas was pinned with his seventh loss of the year. One positive note for the Springfield pitching staff, David Kopp pitched a scoreless inning out of the bullpen… other than that, it was another Fourth of July performance that Springfield would not mind forgetting.

In his second Texas League start, John Gast powered the Springfield Cardinals to a series win against Midland, as they took game three of the series, 5-3. Gast ptiched seven innings, giving up just one earned run on five hits, while striking out six. The Cardinals got RBI from Ryan Jackson, Matt Adams, Audry Perez, Charles Cutler and Chris Swauger. Jorge Rondon came in and nailed down save number five on the year.

Who's Hot

Jermaine Curtis – Curtis is hitting .391, with two RBI over his last ten games.

Eric Duncan - Duncan remains red hot, hitting .310, with three home runs and six RBI over his last ten games.

Nick Greenwood – Greenwood put some mid-June troubles behind him, as in the last ten games, he has not allowed an earned run in 5 2/3 innings. He has not allowed a run since June 23, a span of 9 2/3 innings.

How They Stack Up – Second half standings, Texas League North

W L PCT GB Home  Away  Div  Streak Last10
Arkansas 7 4 0.64 - 4-0 3-4 6-0 L2 6-4
Tulsa 6 5 0.55 1 3-4 1-4 4-2 L2 6-4
NW Arkansas 3 8 0.27 4 2-3 1-5 1-5 W1 2-8
Springfield 3 8 0.27 4 1-5 2-3 1-5 L1 3-7

The Cardinal Nation Top 40 Prospect Watch

#34 Ryan Jackson – Jackson finished June with a .323 batting average, three home runs and 17 RBI. Jackson is now hitting .275 on the season, with six homers and 40 RBI.

#33 Matt Adams – Adams is hitting .333 with a pair of home runs and nine RBI over his last ten games. Adams finished June with a ridiculous .450 batting average, with three home runs and nine RBI, in an injury shortened month, playing in only nine games. Adams is second in the Texas League in batting average and third in home runs. He continues to lead the league in at bats per home run, with a home run every 13.94 at bats.

#28 John Gast – Gast made his Double-A debut this past week and logged two starts. Gast went 1-0 in his two starts, allowing six earned runs in 13 innings. But, his second start was much better than the first, as he earned the win and only allowed one run in seven innings of work.

#23 David Kopp – Kopp made his first appearance out of the bullpen while on the road trip, as he appeared in two games, totaling two innings of work. In those two innings, he allowed an earned run. Kopp is now sporting a 4.50 ERA as a reliever, while still carrying a 2-6 record with 7.16 ERA overall in 2011.

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

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

#2 Zack Cox – Cox is 4-for-9 in the last five games, but overall he is still sputtering at the plate. Cox is hitting .217 with two home runs and 11 RBI on the year.

#1 Shelby Miller – Miller made one start on the road trip, and earned his fourth win of the season. The right-hander went six innings and allowed just two earned runs on six hits his last time out. He is now 4-1 with a microscopic 1.89 ERA in 38 Double-A innings. Miller has recorded 38 strikeouts in those 38 innings.

Up Next

The Springfield Cardinals start a six game homestand on Thursday night against the same two teams they just played on the road trip. Eduardo Sanchez will be rehabbing with Springfield when the gates open at Hammons Field on Thursday, and as of now, Shelby Miller is still scheduled to pitch on Thursday as well.

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