Springfield Cardinals Notebook: 2011 Week 15

The Double-A Cardinals are 9-15 in the second half but Daryl Jones and Shane Robinson, down from Memphis, are contributing.

The Springfield Cardinals went on the road for a short trip, starting a four game series with the Northwest Arkansas Naturals on Thursday evening.

Matt Adams hit his 20th home run of the season, and the Cards received a quality start from Mike Blazek, but it would all be lost due to another blown save for the bullpen. Springfield carried a 6-2 lead into the bottom of the ninth inning. Jorge Rondon gave up four runs, all while only recording out, as the Cardinals dropped game one of the series, 7-6.

On Friday, Springfield bounced back behind the start of Shelby Miller. Miller went five innings, giving up two earned runs on six hits while striking out five. Zack Cox hit his third home run in Double-A and Ryan Jackson added his seventh, and the Cardinals received three RBI from Jose Garcia, who went 3-for-4. Add to that the bullpen throwing four scoreless innings, and the Cardinals cruised to an 8-2 victory.

Saturday night, the Cardinals made it two straight, as Joe Kelly turned in a sterling effort. Kelly pitched eight innings, giving up just two runs on three hits, while striking out six. Kelly earned the win to even his record at 1-1 since being called up. Shane Robinson returned to Double-A Springfield and batted leadoff, and he was 1-for-3 with two RBI in his return. Chris Swauger added his ninth home run of the year, as the Cardinals took game three, 7-3.

John Gast was given the start on Sunday, and turned in a rather forgettable performance. Gast went five innings, giving up four earned runs on six hits, while walking six and striking out only one. However, he would not factor in the decision. In fact, despite the line on Gast, he was in line to be the winner if the Cardinals bullpen could hold the lead. Brett Zawacki came in to handle the sixth, and gave up three earned runs to be slapped with a blown save, and later the loss. The Cardinals had used Eric Duncan's 11th home run and three RBI from Chris Swauger to establish the lead early in the game, but would be unable to rally, and dropped the final game of the series, 7-5.

Springfield returned back home on Monday night for a short four game homestand with the Tulsa Drillers. On Monday, starter Scott Schneider was rocked for seven runs on seven hits, after he only lasted 2 1/3 innings. Daniel Calhoun came out of the bullpen and allowed a couple more to score in the top of the third, as the Cardinals trailed 9-0 going to the bottom half of the third. Springfield got a home run from Daryl Jones in the third and another home run from Matt Adams, an absolute rocket that landed deep on the training facility in right field. Ryan Jackson was 2-for-5 with three RBI and his eighth homer of the season. The Cardinals came as close as 9-6, but alas, their bullpen couldn't keep the game in hand and they dropped game one of the series, 13-8.

Tuesday night felt like a replay of Monday's game. Tulsa drilled the Cardinals' starter, Mike Blazek, for eight runs on nine hits in just 3 2/3 innings. Blazek gave up three home runs and walked two, all while notching nine strikeouts. With the three home runs surrendered, it brings his season total to 21, the most allowed in the league. Springfield was down 8-0 heading to the bottom of the fourth. The Cardinals chipped away and trailed 9-5 going into the bottom of the 7th. Springfield struck for six runs in the inning, including what appeared to be a game tying home run off of the bat of Alex Castellanos…but was ruled to have hit the top of the wall, and was instead an RBI triple. Video would show that the ball had indeed cleared the wall, but it wouldn't come back to hurt the Cardinals as Zack Cox came through with an RBI groundout to tie the game on the very next pitch. All of the rallying was in a losing effort, as Tulsa struck back with six of their own in the eighth, three coming off Samuel Freeman, who would be tagged with the loss. Tulsa hit back-to-back-to-back homers against Brett Zawacki, as he gave up five earned runs, including another home run in the ninth. Springfield dropped a tough one, 17-11.

Who's Hot

Daryl Jones – Daryl has apparently enjoyed his return to the Texas League and to the everyday lineup. Jones is hitting .378 with two home runs and ten driven in since coming back down from Memphis.

Shane Robinson – Robinson too, has enjoyed his time with Springfield. Robinson is hitting .450 with a home run and five driven in.

How They Stack Up

Second half standings – Texas League North

W L PCT GB Home  Away  Div  Streak Last10
Arkansas 13 11 0.542 - 7-5 6-6 8-4 L3 3-7
Tulsa  12 12 0.500 1 5-7 7-5 8-4 W3 5-5
NW Arkansas 11 13 0.458 2 5-5 6-8 5-7 W3 5-5
Springfield 9 15 0.375 4 4-10 5-5 3-9 L3 4-6

The Cardinal Nation Top 40 Prospect Watch

#34 Ryan Jackson – Jackson is hitting .280 with two home runs, and already has 14 RBI in the month of July. He is now hitting .274 with eight home runs and 50 RBI on the season.

#33 Matt Adams – Adams is in a little bit of a slump…for him anyway. He is hitting .262 with four home runs and nine RBI over the last ten games. That qualifies as a slump for Adams in 2011, at least the closest thing to one. The 22 year old first baseman is hitting .336 with 21 home runs and 66 RBI on the season. Adams is third in the Texas League in batting average, second in home runs and fourth in RBI.

#28 John Gast – Gast was roughed up a little his last time out, going five innings, giving up four runs on six hits and he walked six as well. Gast was in line for the win, but the bullpen couldn't preserve the game. Gast is 1-0 with a 3.60 ERA in four starts in Double-A.

#27 Joe Kelly – In Kelly's second start in Double-A he turned in a gem. Kelly went eight innings giving up just two runs on three hits. Kelly notched six strikeouts and earned his first win as a Springfield Cardinal. He is now 1-1, with a 6.75 ERA.

#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 2.70 ERA as a reliever. Compare that to the 2-5 record and 7.28 ERA as a starter and it's easy to see why the Cardinals have to be happy with Kopp in the bullpen. With struggles in the back of the bullpen this season, it wouldn't be too surprising to see Kopp given the closer's role.

#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 .265. Cox is hitting .393 in July with a home run and nine driven in. Cox continues to do a nice job of getting on base, as he has a .333 on-base percentage on the year.

#1 Shelby Miller – Miller made his first start after the Futures Game on the road, and earned his fifth win of the season, going five innings and giving up two runs on six hits, while striking out five. Miller is now 5-1, with a 2.08 ERA in 47 2/3 innings in Double-A. He has notched 48 strikeouts, while issuing just 11 walks.

Up Next

The Springfield Cardinals finish up a short four game homestand with Tulsa before heading back out on the road for a four game series with Northwest Arkansas.

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