Palm Beach Cardinals Notebook: 2011 Week 16

After a solid week, Palm Beach is one game out of first place. OF Kyle Conley is hot at the plate.

This report covers the period of July 22 through July 28.

The Palm Beach Cardinals started the week off with a bang, picking up two victories over their rivals, the Daytona Cubs. Friday night saw the team pull out an 8-3 victory with Rainel Rosario and Kyle Conley each picking up three hits. Both drove in a pair of runs while one of Conley's was his fifth home run. Starter Blaine Boyer picked up his first win after allowing only one run in five innings of work. Keith Butler picked up the logged his fifth save after striking out five in 2.1 innings.

Palm Beach squeaked out another victory on Saturday after plating a run in the bottom of the tenth. Kyle Conley homered again as did Starlin Rodriguez. Starter Arquimedes Nieto allowed only one earned run over 7.1 innings but did not factor in the decision. Jesse Simpson picked up the win while Jordan Swagerty notched save number three.

The Cardinals could not pull out the series win, dropping the final game to the Cubs, 8-2. Starter Richard Castillo was roughed up for five runs in only a three-inning outing. Conley had two more hits including another homer.

The Cards left Daytona and headed to Lakeland to play the Flying Tigers. In game one, Eric Fornataro found himself on the wrong side of a 1-0 decision. The starter allowed only one run while scattering seven hits in 6.2 innings. Palm Beach had only five hits with Adam Melker collecting two of them.

Palm Beach rebounded on Tuesday night behind a strong performance from Carlos Martinez. The "Phenom" allowed only one run over six while striking out six. Jordan Swagerty struck out the side in his only frame. Rainel Rosario was the hitting star with two home runs while three other Cardinals had three hits as well. Conley, Rodriguez and Xavier Scruggs all homered for the visitors.

Wednesday's action was lost to the weather so Palm Beach and Lakeland played two on Thursday.

In game one, the Cardinals jumped out to a 6-0 lead before Tyler Lyons gave up five runs in the fourth to allow the Flying Tigers back in the game. Palm Beach was able to hold onto the one run lead for the victory. Lyons was credited with the win. Butler picked up his sixth save. At the plate, Greg Garcia homered and tripled. Niko Vasquez and Roberto De La Cruz had a pair of hits as well.

In the nightcap, only three Cardinals managed to collect hits but the team maximized them for a 3-1 victory. Garcia, Melker and Robert Stock each had a pair of hits. Reliever Jesse Simpson picked up the win while Swagerty logged his fourth save.

Who's Hot

Kyle Conley has four home runs in his last seven games and has driven in seven runs during the stretch.

Since moving to the bullpen, Jordan Swagerty has posted a 0.69 ERA with 16 strikeouts and only four walks in 13 innings.

The Cardinal Nation Top 40 Prospect Watch

#40 Niko Vasquez. The infielder is now hitting .232/.307/.367 with six home runs and 22 RBIs.

#39 Robert Stock. In 23 games since being promoted from Quad Cities, the backstop is hitting .296/.363/.407 and has not committed an error.

#30 Rainel Rosario. Struggling of late, Rosario now has a slash line of .274/.337/.409 with nine home runs and a team high 60 runs batted in.

#24 Jordan Swagerty. In 49.1 combined innings, the former Arizona State Sun Devil has 46 strikeouts while posting an ERA of 1.82.

#5 Carlos Martinez. The right-hander is now 2-1 with a 4.44 ERA. In 24.1 innings, Martinez has 23 strikeouts while allowing 14 walks.

Around the League

Palm Beach is now 19-16 and sits a single game behind first place St. Lucie.

On the Florida State League leader board, Rainel Rosario ranks eighth in RBIs with 60.

Xavier Scruggs' 92 strikeouts is the ninth highest total on the circuit.

Eric Fornataro ranks fifth in losses with nine and tenth in total innings.

Up Next

The Cardinals will welcome Clearwater on Saturday to start a four-game series. After that set, Fort Myers will make their way to Roger Dean Stadium for a three-game series.

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