Johnson City Cardinals Notebook: 2011 Week 5

RF Anthony Garcia was 10-for-22 (.455) with three doubles, a triple, and five walks this week. Garcia is in the top ten in the Appalachian League in all four slash hitting categories.

The Johnson City Cardinals were 2-5 this week (20-12 overall).  The Cardinals have lost a season-high five games in-a-row. They remained in first place in the five-team Western Division of the Appalachian League, one game ahead of the Elizabethton Twins and four games ahead of a playoff spot.  The Cardinals still have the best record in the league while the Twins have the second best.  As a point of comparison, the Cardinals started their 2010 Championship season with a 21-11 record.


I was able to attend three of the seven games in person this week.  I attended Sunday's home game against Princeton and Friday and Saturday's games in Kingsport.  I listened to the Princeton Rays' internet radio broadcasts of Kyle Cooper (Monday and Wednesday) and Keith Thompson (Tuesday) in Princeton, WV.  Those observations provide the basis for this report.


In case you missed a previous 2011 report, you can review them here: 


Johnson City Cardinals Notebook: 2011 Week 4

Johnson City Cardinals Notebook: 2011 Week 3

Johnson City Cardinals Notebook: 2011 Week 2

Johnson City Cardinals Notebook: 2011 Week 1

Johnson City Cardinals Pre-Season Notebook


Roster Changes


3B/1B Hector Garcia has been promoted from the Gulf Coast League Cardinals.  Garcia was hitting .321 with three doubles, one home run, and no errors over 21 games.  Garcia played 10 games at third and 8 games at first in the GCL.  He had 82 putouts, 6 assists, and started 4 double plays at third as he put together an 8.80 range factor per game.  For comparison, 3B Roberto De La Cruz had 12 errors in 17 games at third base with a .776 fielding percentage and a 2.24 range factor per game.  See also:  Garcia: GCL Return Ended. 


Manager Mike Shildt explains the ground rules


The roster has increased from30 to 31 active players (max of 35).


Note:  Jeff Luhnow, Brent Strom, Mike Matheny, and other Cardinals officials have all been recently seen in Johnson City.  Roster changes seem to occur when they are in town.  My guess would be that Roberto De La Cruz will be promoted but his hit-by-pitch injury may be complicating plans. 




C Kolby Byrd (.244) missed four games after suffering concussion-like symptoms but being cleared by team doctors.  Byrd was hit in the side of the head with a swing follow-through while catching last week. 


Manuel De La Cruz


P Manuel De La Cruz (0-0, 0.00 ERA) suffered some discomfort while pitching early last week.  As a result, the lefty was given three days of complete rest and then had to go through a six day build-up to get back into the active pitching rotation.  De La Cruz has completed the rehab and should be available (if needed) to pitch Sunday evening in Johnson City against the Greeneville Astros.


3B/DH Roberto De La Cruz was hit by a pitch on Thursday night in Kingsport.  De La Cruz was removed for a pinch runner and has missed two consecutive games since the incident. 


Team Statistical Review


The offense decreased for the third week in a row this week.  The batters posted a .252/.319/.465 line this week after a .269/.333/.524 line last week.  Their AVG/OBP/SLG line through 32 games this year is .269 (2nd)/.333 (6th)/.431 (1st).  Their best placement in the league is first in total bases (484) and slugging (.431).  They are second in the league in at bats (1124), runs (191), hits (302), home runs (31), and average (.269).  They hit eleven home runs for the second week in a row.  They are last in the league in drawing walks (93).  Johnson City is still the most efficient stolen base team in the league despite stealing just three bases this week and being caught three times. 


Roberto De La Cruz


The defense committed 11 errors that contributed to seven unearned runs this week.  3B Roberto De La Cruz (13 errors) had four errors this week, three throwing and one fielding.  Middle infielders Tyler Rahmatulla (three errors) and Matt Williams (two errors) each added two errors this week.


The Cardinals pitching staff struggled this week and dropped to second in team earned run average (3.48) after posting a 4.45 ERA this week.  Through 32 games, the pitchers have the best walks plus hits per inning pitched (WHIP) in the league (1.30), the most wins (20), the fewest losses (12), the most holds (17), and the fewest walks allowed (83).  The starters were 1-3 this week while the relievers were 1-2 with three blown saves.  The relievers inherited 17 runners this week and allowed nine runners to score (53% scored).  On the season, the pitchers have allowed 39% of inherited runners to score. 


Weekly Summary


The week started with two wins against the first place Princeton Rays and then ended with a five game losing streak.  The team had a season low three hits on Wednesday in Princeton in a 5-3 loss and then followed that up by being shutout for the first time this year in a four hit night in Kingsport on Saturday night.  Their most frustrating loss was probably Thursday night in Kingsport when they produced the second most hits this season (15) in a 7-6 walk-off loss. 


The Cardinals were a combined 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position in the entire three game series in Princeton but they followed that up with a very respectable 12-for-32 (.375) in Kingsport.  The only problem was that the pitchers allowed Kingsport to go 13-for-33 (.394) with runners in scoring position during the Mets' three game sweep.  Johnson City hit seven of their eleven home runs in their only two wins of the week. 


Doug White with Jose Pasen


Although Tyrell Jenkins (1-1, 4.03 ERA) had poor results Friday night in Kingsport, Pitching Coach Doug White indicated that he expects Jenkins to bounce back well.  White told me that Jenkins has a great mental attitude about days like Friday and that he should suffer no ill effects.  Although Jenkins gave up a lot of hits, many of them were off-balance weak liners that dropped in or were inches fair.  He struggled to consistently throw his curve ball for a strike and had to rely on fastballs and a still developing changeup more than he would like. 


Princeton 4 @ Johnson City 6, Cardinals Minor League Notebook: 07/18/11

Johnson City 4 @ Princeton 1, Cardinals Minor League Notebook: 07/19/11

Johnson City 3 @ Princeton 5, Cardinals Minor League Notebook: 07/20/11

Johnson City 3 @ Princeton 5

Johnson City 6 @ Kingsport 7, Cardinals Minor League Notebook: 07/22/11

Johnson City 8 @ Kingsport 11, Cardinals Minor League Notebook: 07/23/11

Johnson City 0 @ Kingsport 3, Cardinals Minor League Notebook: 07/24/11


Starting Pitchers and Pitch Counts


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 are slowly inching above their 85-pitch limits from earlier in the year while the two tandem starters are also getting above their early-season 60-pitch limits.  Two specific examples this week were Lucas and Hald. 


Starting Pitchers (7): 

RHP Tyrell Jenkins (1)

RHP Josh Lucas (2)

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

RHP Eduardo Hiraldo (4)

RHP Jose Pasen (5)

LHP Ben Freeman (6)


7/17:  Josh Lucas:  79 pitches, 58 strikes, 23-for-27 first-pitch strikes.

7/18:  Kyle Hald:  81 pitches, 55 strikes, 13-for-22 first-pitch strikes.

7/18:  Ryan Sherriff:  32 pitches, 18 strikes, 5-for-9 first-pitch strikes.

7/19:  Eduardo Hiraldo:  85 pitches, 52 strikes, 14-for-24 first-pitch strikes.

7/20:  Jose Pasen:  69 pitches, 47 strikes, 17-for-23 first-pitch strikes.

7/22:  Tyrell Jenkins:  59 pitches, 38 strikes, 11-for-17 first-pitch strikes.

7/23:  Josh Lucas:  90 pitches, 65 strikes, 24-for-28 first-pitch strikes.


Note:  The pitch count for Hiraldo on 7/19 is a rough estimate since the internet broadcast was lost at times and the announcer missed a few pitches. 


Who's Hot (Hitters)


Four different hitters hit .300 or better this week.  Those four are featured below in decreasing order of batting average for the week.  


Roberto De La Cruz signs for a young fan


DH/3B Roberto De La Cruz (.304) was 6-for-10 (.600) with three runs, two doubles, two home runs, and four errors in three games this week.  De La Cruz is tied for seventh in the league in home runs (6), is eighth in slugging (.587), and is ninth in slugging plus on base percentage or OPS (.947). 


RF Anthony Garcia (.354) was 10-for-22 (.455) with three doubles, a triple, and five walks in seven games this week.   Garcia is fourth in the league in batting average (.354), fourth in OPS (1.000), fifth in on base percentage (.427), sixth in slugging (.573), and tied for sixth in triples (3).


David Bergen


1B/DH/LF David Bergin (.286) was 5-for-13 (.385) with three runs and a double in four games this week.  Bergin's parents were in town from Tampa, FL this week. 


CF Steven Ramos (.333), despite hitting just .217 this week, led the team with five RBIs and is still a league leader in several other categories:   tied for first in stolen bases (16), tied for first in hits (41), second in runs (32), fifth in at bats (123), and seventh in batting average (.333). 


2B Tyler Rahmatulla (.289), despite hitting just .250 with seven strikeouts this week, is tied for third in the league in doubles (10). 


Kolby Byrd


C/DH Kolby Byrd (.244) was 4-for-13 (.308) with two RBIs and his first professional home run over three games this week.  The home run by Byrd leaves C Jesus Montero as the last batter without a home run. 


SS Matt Williams (.245), despite going just 4-for-24 this week (.167) with seven strikeouts, is tied for eighth in the league in walks (16). 


Who's Not Hot (Hitters)


1B David Washington (.202) was 2-for-17 (.118) in four games this week.


Jesus Montero


C Jesus Montero (.241) was 1-for-8 (.125) in three games this week.  Montero's parents have also been in town all week to see Jesus play.  They had planned to bring his brother down to see Jesus play also while he was on the DL with the AAA-Yankees however, he recovered quickly enough to miss the trip south to Tennessee. 


RF Gary Apelian (.283) was 3-for-23 (.130) in six games 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 Roberto Canache (0.30) and Kyle Hald (0.50).


Pitchers with strikeouts per nine innings pitched (K/9) of 9 or more with at least three innings pitched this week included Roberto Canache (16.2) and Kyle Hald (9.0).


Roberto Canache


Roberto Canache (1-0, 1.76 ERA, 1.43 WHIP, 1.20 BB/9, 9 K/9) allowed no runs and just one hit this week over three and one third innings pitched.  The 21-year-old from Boca de Uchire, Venezuela walked none and struck out six in two games. 


Who's Not Hot (Pitchers)


Jose Pasen (8.44), Tyler Mills (6.00), and Eduardo Hiraldo (5.07) were the only pitchers with ERAs above four with at least three innings pitched this week.  Hiraldo allowed two home runs this week, Pasen struck out just two over five and one third innings pitched, and Mills allowed a 2.00 WHIP and 6.0 BB/9 over two games and three innings pitched. 


Week Six Schedule


Game 33 (Sun):     Sherriff/Hald vs. Greeneville Astros

Game 34 (Mon):     Hiraldo vs. Greeneville Astros

Game 35 (Tue):     Pasen vs. Greeneville Astros

Off-Day (Wed)      

Game 36 (Thu):     Freeman vs. Bristol White Sox

Game 37 (Fri):       Jenkins vs. Bristol White Sox

Game 38 (Sat):      Lucas vs. Bristol White Sox


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