Springfield Cardinals Notebook: 2011 Week 14

Catcher Charles Cutler is batting .517 since June 1 but the Double-A Cardinals have yet to get hot.

The Springfield Cardinals opened up a six-game homestand with a rematch with the same two teams they played last week.

On Thursday, the Cardinals used a solid start from top prospect Shelby Miller to propel them to victory. With Miller set to appear in the Futures Game, he was on a strict pitch count, but only gave up one run on four hits in 4 2/3 innings, striking out five. The Cardinals got RBIs from the first three in their order, Jose Garcia, Ryan Jackson and Matt Adams. That is all the bullpen would need. Eduardo Sanchez made his first appearance in his rehab stint, going 1 1/3 innings, giving up a run and striking out one. David Kopp, now the team's setup man, inherited a tight spot, with the tying run in scoring position and facing the heart of the Frisco lineup in the eighth. Kopp was flawless, going 2/3 of an inning, striking out one to strand the tying run on base and earn his first career hold. Jorge Rondon nailed down his sixth save in the ninth, making a winner out of Brett Zawacki, as Springfield won 3-2.

On Friday night, Springfield and Frisco got into a slugfest and the RoughRiders came out on top, 15-11. Jose Garcia and Daryl Jones both had three RBI in the game. The Cardinals' starter, Scott Schneider was tagged with the loss, as he went 3 1/3 innings, giving up 10 runs, five of them earned, on nine hits. Daniel Calhoun had a nice Double-A debut, eating 3 2/3 innings out of the pen, giving up an unearned run, five hits and striking out four.

Trying to tie the season series, the Cardinals came up just a little short on Saturday evening. Springfield received a quality start from Kevin Thomas, as he went six innings, giving up just one run on five hits, while striking out seven. Thanks to two RBI from Zack Cox and another from Daryl Jones, Springfield carried a lead into the eighth inning and turned things over to rehabbing big leaguer, Eduardo Sanchez. Unfortunately, Sanchez was not sharp. He two runs, one earned, and struggled mightily with command. Sanchez was given the blown save and the loss, as Springfield lost to Frisco, 5-3.

On Sunday, the Cardinals welcomed the Midland Rockhounds to Hammons Field for a three-game set. In game one, the RockHounds dragged Springfield into another slugfest. Matt Adams hit his 18th home run of the season, and went 2-for-5. Charles Cutler went 3-for-3 with three RBI. The Cardinals also received two RBI from Garcia and Jones. Joe Kelly made his Double-A debut, and pitched much better than his line would indicate. Kelly went four innings, giving up seven earned runs on seven hits, while striking out six. Kelly was not helped out by his defense at all, as five errors were committed by Springfield in the ballgame. The Cardinals once trailed 10-0, but rallied to cut it to 10-8, before the bullpen let it get away. Springfield lost game one of the series, 15-12.

Springfield needed to take the final two games of the series in order to tie the season series with the RockHounds and they did their part on Monday night. John Gast's home debut was nothing short of phenomenal. He went seven shutout innings, only giving up five this, walking one and striking out nine, all while throwing just 99 pitches. Unfortunately, the bullpen couldn't hold the lead. David Kopp was given a blown save and was staring at another loss next to his name after giving up two earned runs in 1 1/3 innings. But, Springfield rallied in the bottom of the ninth. Trailing 3-2, Chris Swauger tied up the game with an RBI ground out, but Ryan Jackson would be the hero. Jackson extended his hitting streak to 13 games with the game-winning hit to left field to bring home Eric Duncan as the Cardinals won 4-3.

There would not be much drama in store on Tuesday night. The Cardinals scored four times in the opening frame and never looked back. Springfield used home runs from Jose Garcia, Daryl Jones, Charles Cutler and a grand slam from Matt Adams, to make a winner out of Scott Schneider. Schneider went five innings, giving up a run on three hits, while striking out four, as he collected his fourth win of the year. Eduardo Sanchez was the first pitcher out of the bullpen, and he was much sharper than his last time out. Sanchez pitched two scoreless frames, striking out two while allowing a hit and a walk. Springfield earned a split in the season series with Midland with a 13-3 laugher.

Who's Hot

Charles Cutler – Cutler is 16-for-28 over his last eight games and is hitting over .500 since June 1. Cutler, one of the hottest hitters in the league, has all but forced manager Ron "Pop" Warner to keep writing his name into the lineup. Cutler is now hitting .394 with three homers and 19 RBI in 33 games on the season.

Jose Garcia - Garcia has been absolutely scorching the ball since being sent back down from Memphis. He is hitting .388 with a home run and 12 RBI in the month of July.

Daryl Jones – Daryl has apparently enjoyed his return to Hammons Field and to the everyday lineup. Jones is hitting .409 with a home run and seven driven in since coming back down from Memphis.

How They Stack Up

Second half standings – Texas League North

W L PCT GB Home  Away  Div  Streak Last10
Arkansas 11 7 0.611 - 7-3 4-4 6-0 L3 5-5
Tulsa 8 10 0.444 3 3-5 5-5 4-2 L3 3-7
NW Arkansas 7 11 0.389 4 3-3 4-8 1-5 L2 6-4
Springfield 7 11 0.389 4 4-8 3-3 1-5 W2 5-5

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 hitting .286 with nine RBI already in the month of July. He is now hitting .274 with six home runs and 45 driven in for the year.

#33 Matt Adams – Adams is hitting .341 with two home runs and 10 RBI in the month of July. Adams is second in the Texas League in batting average (.351) and second in home runs (19). He continues to lead the league in at-bats per home run, with a home run every 13.79 at bats.

#28 John Gast – Gast has been very good his last two times out. He has allowed just one earned run in his last 14 innings, while notching 15 strikeouts. Gast is 1-0, with a 2.70 ERA on the year.

#27 Joe Kelly – Kelly made his Double-A debut, and it was a bit rocky. Kelly went four innings, giving up seven earned runs on seven hits, while striking out six. He is 0-1 with a 15.75 ERA for Springfield.

#23 David Kopp – Kopp has looked much better coming out of the bullpen, consistently hitting the mid to high nineties with the fastball. He is 1-0, with a 4.50 ERA out of the bullpen and has notched one hold.

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

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

#2 Zack Cox – Cox was hitting .200 on June 30. He is now hitting .256. Cox is hitting .452 with five RBI over his last ten games. After having just six extra base hits in his first 120 Double-A at bats, he has five doubles in his last 36.

#1 Shelby Miller – Miller was named to the Futures Game roster, so was kept to a limited pitch count in his lone start of the week. He went 4 2/3 innings, giving up an earned run on four hits, while striking out five. Miller is 4-1 with a 1.90 ERA. In his Futures Game appearance, he pitched a scoreless frame, giving up a hit, walking one and striking out a batter.

Up Next

The Springfield Cardinals hit the road for a short road trip, playing in Northwest Arkansas for four before coming back home for four with the Tulsa Drillers.

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