The Johnson City Cardinals were 5-1 this week (25-13 overall). They extended their first place lead in the five-team Western Division of the Appalachian League, moving five games ahead of the Elizabethton Twins and 7 ½ games ahead of a playoff spot. The Cardinals played well against the fourth and fifth place teams this week, won the games they were expected to win, and ended their five game losing streak.
I was able to attend four of the six games in person this week. I attended the home games on Sunday and Monday against the Greeneville Astros and on Thursday and Friday against the Bristol White Sox. Those observations provide the basis for this report.
In case you missed a previous 2011 report, you can review them here:
|Manuel De La Cruz, Jesus Montero, Anthony Garcia|
LHP Manuel De La Cruz (0-0, 0.00
ERA) was promoted to the Batavia Muckdogs in the New York-Penn League after his
appearance on Monday night. De La
Cruz had not allowed a run over eight innings pitched and was second among the
16 pitchers in both walk rate (1.13 BB/9) and strikeout rate (12.4 K/9). De La Cruz also led all 16 pitchers in
both ground outs (39% of batters faced) and strikeouts (36% of batters
faced). De La Cruz struck out two
of the three batters he faced on Wednesday night against
The roster decreased from 31 to 30 active players (max of 35).
|David Bergin – awkward swing|
Injuries and Playing Time
RF Anthony Garcia (.353) suffered a minor groin injury during Monday's game according to manager Mike Shildt. Garcia has missed four games since being assessed as "day-to-day".
1B/DH David Bergin (.284) missed four games over five days earlier this week as the coaches did some extra hitting work with him. Bergin appears to have struggled recently with pitch recognition and swing/no-swing decisions.
Team Statistical Review
The offense, after three
consecutive down weeks in a row, performed great this week. The batters posted an impressive
.322/.366/.577 line this week after a .252/.319/.465 line last week. They hit 23 doubles, six triples, and
six home runs in just six games this week.
Their AVG/OBP/SLG line through 38 games this year is .277
(1st)/.338 (3rd)/.453 (1st). The Cardinals now lead the league in
runs (233), hits (369), doubles (90), total bases (604), average (.277),
slugging (.453), and OPS (.789).
They are second in the league in triples (17), home runs (37), and RBIs
(199). They are last in the league
in drawing walks (106).
The defense committed just five errors that contributed to just two unearned runsthis week. SS Matt Williams (11 errors) added two errors this week. The defense was solid this week though with Williams making one very nice backhand play in the hole to end an inning.
The Cardinals pitching staff struggled again this week and dropped to third in team earned run average (3.62) after posting a 4.33 ERA this week. Through 38 games, the pitchers have the third best walks plus hits per inning pitched (WHIP) in the league (1.31), the most wins (25), the fewest losses (13), the most holds (20), the fewest walks allowed (104), and the second fewest earned runs allowed (137). The starters were 5-1 this week while the relievers were 0-0 with three holds and two saves. The relievers inherited 13 runners this week and allowed just 4 runners to score (24% scored). On the season, the pitchers have allowed 38% of inherited runners to score.
The Cardinals brought a five-game
losing streak into the week and desperately needed a win. There is no better cure to that problem
than facing the last place team.
RF Anthony Garcia (.353) extended his hit streak to 10 games on Monday prior to his groin injury and CF Steven Ramos (.331) and RF Gary Apelian (.319) each recorded 8-game hit streaks this week. Apelian's is still active but Ramos' ended Saturday night.
|Roberto De La Cruz|
DH Roberto De La Cruz (.292) led the team with two home runs this week. Matt Williams (.262) had five stolen bases this week and three doubles in one game. Tyler Rahmatulla (.308) had six of the Cardinal's 13 walks this week. LF Ronald Castillo (.211) and CF Steven Ramos (.331) each had two triples this week.
Kyle Hald (4-0, 1.30 ERA) had a tremendous outing on Sunday night to close out the win and break the five-game losing streak. Hald threw just 48 pitches over five innings and struck out the side in the ninth to record his team leading fourth victory. None of the three singles he allowed were solid hits. Hald leads all the starters in strikeout rate (35% of batters faced and he has the second lowest walk rate among the starters (5% of batters faced).
Jenkins was feeling good as he started the first inning of his start on Friday. He touched 96 MPH on one pitch and hit 95 MPH on five others as he threw just eight pitches, all fastballs, to complete a three-batter first inning that included a walk and a double play. Jenkins appeared to over throw a little bit to the leadoff hitter and that led to the walk.
Jenkins added his curve ball in the second to record one swinging strikeout (79 MPH) however; he also gave up four hits and a walk in the 23-pitch inning. One double and two singles were on his fastball while another single was on high curve ball. Jenkins benefitted from a 1-3 pickoff (the old fake-to-third, throw-to-first actually worked) and a rather entertaining 9-6-5-4 outfield assist after a single on the last at bat of the inning. Jenkins sat 93-94 MPH in the second and touched 96 MPH.
Jenkins faced just two batters over the minimum over the last four innings of his 80-pitch outing. He threw his best changeups of the year (82-86 MPH) in the sixth inning and got through the fifth inning on just five pitches (all strikes). Perhaps because his changeup was so good, he recorded three of his final four strikeouts on fastballs. His fastball velocity touched 94 MPH in the sixth inning and he sat 92-93 MPH.
Greeneville 3 @
Greeneville 2 @
Greeneville 7 @
Starting Pitchers and Pitch Counts
As a reminder, listed below are
the starting pitcher rotations for
Starting Pitchers (7):
RHP Tyrell Jenkins (1)
RHP Josh Lucas (2)
LHP Kyle Hald (3A) and LHP Ryan Sherriff (3B)
RHP Eduardo Hiraldo (4)
RHP Jose Pasen (5)
LHP Ben Freeman (6)
7/24: Ryan Sherriff: 66 pitches, 39 strikes, 9-for-17 first-pitch strikes.
7/24: Kyle Hald: 48 pitches, 32 strikes, 11-for-17 first-pitch strikes.
7/25: Eduardo Hiraldo: 88 pitches, 61 strikes, 15-for-24 first-pitch strikes.
7/28: Ben Freeman: 80 pitches, 49 strikes, 10-for-21 first-pitch strikes.
7/29: Tyrell Jenkins: 80 pitches, 51 strikes, 12-for-23 first-pitch strikes.
Who's Hot (Hitters)
Virtually the whole team hit well this week as nine different hitters hit .308 or better. That list, in decreasing order of weekly batting average, included: Gary Apelian (.458), Jonathan Keener (.429), Tyler Rahmatulla (.400), David Washington (.368), Matt Williams (.350), Anthony Garcia (.333), Ronald Castillo (.333), Steven Ramos (.320), and Kolby Byrd (.308).
Both Gary Apelian and Tyler Rahmatulla hit .400 or better this week over 20 or more at bats. They are each tied for the team lead in RBIs (24).
Gary Apelian (.319) was 11-for-24 (.458) with six doubles, one home run, and ten RBIs over six games this week. Apelian is tied for second in the league in doubles (12).
Tyler Rahmatulla (.308) was 8-for-20 (.400) with eight runs, four doubles, one triple, one home run, seven RBIs, three stolen bases, and six walks over six games this week. Rahmatulla posted a .538 on-base percentage (OBP) and 1.388 on-base plus slugging percentage (OPS) this week. Rahmatulla is first in the league in doubles (14), tied for fifth in walks (19), sixth in slugging (.581), sixth in OPS (.988), tied for eighth in triples (3), tied for ninth in runs (27), and ninth in OBP (.407).
RF Anthony Garcia (.353) is third in the league in average (.353), fourth in OBP (.432), fifth in OPS (1.001), seventh in slugging (.569), tied for eighth in triples (3), and tenth in doubles (10).
David Washington (.229) is tied for eighth in the league in triples (3).
Steven Ramos (.331) is tied for first in the league in hits (49), second in runs (37), third in stolen bases (17), sixth in at bats (148), and seventh in average (.331).
Roberto De La Cruz (.292) is fifth in the league in slugging (.584), tied for fifth in home runs (8), and tenth in OPS (.928).
Matt Williams (.262) is seventh in the league in stolen bases (11), tied for ninth in walks (18), and tied for ninth in runs (27).
Who's Not Hot (Hitters)
Three hitters hit at or below the
3B Hector Garcia (.200) was 2-for-10 (.200) over three games this week.
C Jesus Montero (.226) was 1-for-8 (.125) with four strikeouts over two games this week.
3B Neal Pritchard (.257) was 3-for-16 (.188) over five games this week.
Who's Hot (Pitchers)
Only one pitcher allowed no earned runs this week with a WHIP of less than 1 over at least three innings pitched. Another pitcher has proven that he doesn't give up home runs or walks; a great combination for a reliever.
Logan Billbrough (2-0, 2.04 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, 1.02 BB/9, 10.7 K/9) has allowed no home runs over 17 and two thirds innings pitched this year. Billbrough is leading all 16 pitchers with a 1.02 BB/9 walk rate. He has yet to hit a batter either.
Kyle Hald (4-0, 1.30 ERA, 0.65 WHIP, 1.63 BB/9, 11.38 K/9) was 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA, 0.60 WHIP, 0.00 BB/9, and 10.8 K/9 over five innings pitched this week.
Who's Not Hot (Pitchers)
Three pitchers posted ERAs of 4.5 or greater over three or more innings pitched this week. Those four are listed below in order of decreasing ERA for the week.
Ben Freeman (see gallery below) (2-2, 5.97 ERA, 3.45 BB/9, 7.22 K/9) was 0-1 with a 14.52 ERA, a 2.07 WHIP, and a 6.22 BB/9 over four and one third innings pitched this week.
Jose Pasen (3-2, 4.18 ERA, 3.06 BB/9, 7.79 K/9) was 1-0 this week with a 5.40 ERA and 5.40 BB/9 over five innings pitched this week.
Ryan Sherriff (1-1, 4.35 ERA, 2.18 BB/9, 5.66 K/9) recorded a 4.50 ERA over four innings pitched this week. On a positive note, the lefty walked none.
Week Seven Schedule
Game 39 (Sun): Hald/Sherriff @ Elizabethton Twins
Game 40 (Mon): Hiraldo @ Elizabethton Twins
Game 41 (Tue): Pasen @ Elizabethton Twins
Game 42 (Wed): Freeman @ Bristol White Sox
Game 43 (Thu): Jenkins @ Bristol White Sox
Game 44 (Fri): Lucas @ Bristol White Sox
Game 45 (Sat): Sherriff/Hald vs.
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