On Wednesday, Springfield continued the homestand with game two of a three-game set with the Arkansas Travelers. The Cardinals received a great start from John Gast, as he went eight innings, allowing just one run on three hits, while striking out one. The Cardinals provided plenty of offense, including a 3-for-5, three RBI performance from Ryan Jackson as the Cardinals coasted to victory, 6-1.
On Thursday, Springfield finished the sweep of the Travelers with a 12-6 victory. Nick Additon was roughed up in his start (3 1/3 IP, 4 ER, 7 H, 3 BB, 3 K), but Scott Schneider came on and provided much-needed relief out of the pen. Schneider pitched 2 2/3 innings of perfect baseball and notched two strikeouts. Zack Cox hit his fifth home run of the season and drove in two, while Daryl Jones plated four runs.
On Friday night, Springfield welcomed Northwest Arkansas to Hammons Field with an 11-5 victory. Mike Blazek turned in a quality start, going 6 2/3, giving up three earned runs on six hits and striking out seven. Blazek earned his 10th win of the season with the performance. Ryan Jackson had quite the night, going 2-for-5 with a home run and driving in four. Jackson also made some dazzling plays in the field. Cox and Jose Garcia each had two RBI.
On Saturday, the Cardinals made it five in a row with a 11-5 win over Northwest. Shelby Miller made the start, but only went four innings, giving up three earned runs on six hits. Miller did strike out seven, but departed the game having thrown 101 pitches. Scott Schneider earned another win as the long man, coming in and throwing two scoreless innings out of the pen. The offense was powered by four RBI performances from Matt Adams and Eric Duncan. Clearing the bases with a two-out double that nearly left the park for a grand slam, Adams drove in RBI number 81 and took the Texas League lead.
Sunday night would see an end to the winning streak, as the Naturals bested Joe Kelly and the Cardinals, 9-1. Kelly went six innings and allowed three earned runs to earn the quality start, but he was tagged with his second Double-A loss. Newly-added Jeff Lyman gave up a grand slam to Cardinal-killer Jamie Romak to blow the game wide open.
Monday night saw Springfield rally behind their starting pitcher, John Gast, as they blew out the Naturals 7-1. Gast turned in another splendid home start, as he went six innings, allowing just one run on six hits while striking out six. Gast improved to 2-0, with a 0.86 ERA in three starts at Hammons Field. Eric Duncan hit a three-run home run and Daryl Jones added two RBI as the Cardinals took six of seven on their homestand and cruised right back into the pennant race.
On Tuesday, Springfield headed south to take on the first-half champions, the Arkansas Travelers. Arkansas had just welcomed back Mike Trout from the big leagues the night before Springfield arrived in town. The Cards sent Nick Additon to the hill, and he was very good, going six innings, giving up no earned runs on only three hits, while striking out five. Only four Cardinals had hits in the ballgame. Zack Cox had two, while Aaron Luna, Jermaine Curtis and Daryl Jones each had one. Springfield still carried a 5-4 lead into the ninth inning, and turned the ball over to David Kopp. It had been more than a week since Kopp last appeared in a save situation, but he remained perfect in the closer's role, nailing down his third save.
The Cardinals' offense – The team continues to play catch us if you can, as they averaged 7.1 runs per game in the month of July. Springfield boasts the highest team batting average in the league (.284) and has the most home runs (131) in the circuit as well.
Ryan Jackson – Jackson was hot enough to earn the Texas League Player of the Week award. Jackson is hitting .366 with a home run and eight driven in over his last ten games.
How They Stack Up
Second half standings – Texas League North
The Cardinal Nation Top 40 Prospect Watch
#35 Francisco Samuel – Samuel has appeared in five games since being sent to Springfield. He is 0-0 with a 1.80 ERA. The right-hander has five strikeouts and only one walk in five innings of work.
#34 Ryan Jackson – Jackson was named the Texas League Player of the Week and turned in a July line of .323, with three home runs and 23 RBI. The shortstop in now batting .282 with nine homers and 59 RBI on the season.
#33 Matt Adams – Adams is actually in a little bit of a slump, hitting just .242 with two home runs and 10 RBI over his last nine games. If only everyone's slumps looked like that. The first baseman hit just .270 in the month of July, but he did hit seven home runs and drive in 29. Adams is hitting .321 with 24 home runs and 81 driven in on the season.
#28 John Gast – Gast improved to 2-0, with a 0.86 ERA in three starts at Hammons Field with a victory on Monday evening. He is now 3-1, with a 3.89 ERA in Springfield.
#27 Joe Kelly – If John Gast can't lose at home, then Joe Kelly can't win. Kelly earned a quality start his last time out, but was given the tough luck loss. Kelly has had much more success on the road, going 1-0, with a 2.25 ERA on the road. He is 1-2, with an 8.14 ERA at home.
#23 David Kopp – Kopp has looked much better coming out of the bullpen, consistently hitting the mid to high nineties with the fastball. Since being moved to the bullpen, he is 1-0 with a 1.80 ERA in 15 innings of work. Kopp has been moved to the closer's role and has nailed down all three saves since being given the job.
#19 Tommy Pham – On the club's disabled list.
#18 Deryk Hooker – On the club's disabled list. Pitching in rehab in the Gulf Coast League.
#2 Zack Cox – Cox was hitting .200 on June 30. He is now hitting .292. Cox has an on base percentage of .366 and is slugging .415, as he owns five home runs and 30 driven in.
#1 Shelby Miller – In his last start, Miller could only go four-plus innings, giving up three earned runs on six hits, while he did strike out seven. Miller is now 6-2 with a 2.57 ERA on the season.
The Springfield Cardinals finish up a three-game set with Arkansas this week and then will head to Tulsa for four before coming back home to host San Antonio.
Questions for Josh Thompson about this Springfield report or any other Cardinals minor league topic? Check out our premium, subscriber-only message board today!
© 2011 The Cardinal Nation, thecardinalnation.com and stlcardinals.scout.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.