The Johnson City Cardinals were
5-2 this week (30-15 overall). They
extended their first place lead in the five-team Western Division of the
Appalachian League to six games ahead of the Elizabethton Twins. They are eight games ahead of the
Kingsport Mets for a playoff spot.
The Cardinals have the best record in the league.
I was able to attend six of the sevengames in person this week. I missed Sunday's game in Elizabethton.Those observations provide the basis for this report.
In case you missed a previous 2011 report, you can review them here:
The roster increased from 30 to 31 active players (max of 35).
Injuries and Playing Time
RF Anthony Garcia (.317) returned Sunday night from a groin injury after missing four games. Garcia appears to have lost his considerable momentum at the plate after the injury as he struggled to just a .167 batting average over six games this week.
1B/DH David Bergin (.284) injured
his shoulder on July 29 when he slid head-first into second base on a successful
pickoff by the
3B/2B Neal Pritchard (.267) suffered back spasms on Tuesday night after pulling a single down the left field line in the first inning in Elizabethton (Pritchard: Back Off). He has missed four games so far with rest being prescribed as the best treatment. Pritchard is listed as "day-to-day" by Manager Mike Shildt.
Team Statistical Review
The offense, as expected, took a
step back toward the norm this week.
The batters posted an impressive .276/.353/.412 line this week after a
.322/.366/.577 line last week. They
hit 18 doubles, one triple, and five home runs in seven games. Their AVG/OBP/SLG line through 45 games
this year is .277 (1st)/.340 (2nd)/.447
(1st). The Cardinals now
lead the league in at bats (1589), runs (276), hits (440), doubles (108), home
runs (42), RBIs (234), total bases (710), average (.277), slugging (.447), and
on-base plus slugging or OPS (.787).
They are second in the league in triples (18) and on-base percentage or
OBP (.340). They are last in the
league in drawing walks (129).
The defense committed six errors
that contributed to six unearned runs this week. SS Matt Williams (12 errors) added two
errors this week but continued to play very solid defense with good range. Williams had nine putouts and several
impressive plays on Thursday night in
|Doug White pitchers' pre-game meeting|
The Cardinals pitching staff had an average week but improved to second in team earned run average (3.66) after posting a 3.92 ERA this week. Through 45 games, the pitchers have the second best walks plus hits per inning pitched (WHIP) in the league (1.33), the most wins (30), the fewest losses (15), the most holds (23), the most saves (14), the fewest walks allowed (128), and the second fewest earned runs allowed (164). The starters were 3-1 this week with one save while the relievers were 2-1 with three holds, two saves, and two blown saves. The relievers inherited 9 runners this week and allowed just 3 runners to score (25% scored). On the season, the pitchers have allowed 39% of inherited runners to score.
The Cardinals opened the week with
a six-game road trip. The first
three games were in
Sunday was an exciting 10-6 win in
ten innings. Roberto De La Cruz
(.290) had two home runs and five RBIs as
|Team pre-game workout|
The Cardinals bounced back well in
|Tyrell Jenkins signs|
After Jenkins' start on Thursday
night, I heard reports that the Bristol White Sox MiLB internet broadcasters had
stated that Tyrell was using a "cutter".
My first thought (later confirmed) was that they had not actually talked
with Jenkins before making this statement but I confirmed that by talking with
Tyrell before Friday night's game in
|Unsigned 42nd-rounder Cody Poarch|
Tyrell did tell me that he "cut a
couple of change-ups". I will be
the first to admit that I don't fully understand exactly what that means. He stated that he remains a fastball,
curve, change-up pitcher. He
played-down the two-seam fastball when I brought it up. He said he focuses on the four-seam
fastball and location down in the zone to generate good results. Hopefully this will put the "cutter"
comments to rest. However,
I charted every pitch Jenkins
threw (velocity, location, and pitch type). I sat behind the three Cardinals
pitchers charting the pitches (Hiraldo, Sherriff, Lucas) and sat near the St.
Louis Cardinals executives that were at the game. I also saw one of the executives talking
with 42nd round (unsigned) 2011 draft pick Cody Poarch outside the
|Umpire Dale Ford|
Saturday night was a good win in
what could be an Appy League playoff preview. Former MLB Umpire Dale Ford worked home
plate in an entertaining and quick game.
The Cardinals beat first place
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)
8/1: Eduardo Hiraldo: 81 pitches, 50 strikes, 11-for-20 first-pitch strikes.
8/2: Jose Pasen: 83 pitches, 50 strikes, 12-for-24 first-pitch strikes.
8/3: Ben Freeman: 88 pitches, 58 strikes, 13-for-20 first-pitch strikes.
8/4: Tyrell Jenkins: 84 pitches, 58 strikes, 18-for-23 first-pitch strikes.
8/5: Josh Lucas: 67 pitches, 44 strikes, 14-for-24 first-pitch strikes.
8/6: Ryan Sherriff: 75 pitches, 47 strikes, 15-for-23 first-pitch strikes.
8/6: Kyle Hald: 54 pitches, 34 strikes, 8-for-15 first-pitch strikes.
Who's Hot (Hitters)
Six different batters hit .333 or better this week. That list, in decreasing order of weekly batting average, included: Ronald Castillo (.462), Breyvic Valera (.455), Neal Pritchard (.429), Tyler Rahmatulla (.417), Gary Apelian (.346), and Matt Williams (.333).
2B/3B Tyler Rahmatulla hit .400 or better this week over 20 or more at bats. He led the team this week with ten hits. Rahmatulla leads the team in batting average (.326), OBP (.419), and OPS (.979). Rahmatulla (.326) was 10-for-24 (.417) with three runs, one double, three RBIs, three stolen bases, and two walks over six games this week. Rahmatulla is tied for second in the league in doubles (15), third in OPS (.979), fifth in OBP (.419), sixth in slugging (.560), seventh in batting average (.326), tied for ninth in walks (21), and tied for tenth in triples (3).
|Roberto De La Cruz|
Roberto De La Cruz (.290) is second in the league in slugging (.593), tied for second in home runs (11), fifth in total bases (86), and sixth in OPS (.929).
Gary Apelian (.324) was 9-for-26 (.346) with four doubles, five runs, two walks, and three RBIs over six games this week. Apelian is first in the league in doubles (16) and eighth in batting average (.324).
Ronald Castillo (.241) is tied for fifth in the league in triples (4).
David Washington (.236) is tied for tenth in the league in triples (3).
Who's Not Hot (Hitters)
C/DH Kolby Byrd (.221) was 0-for-14 (.000) with four strikeouts over three games this week.
CF Steven Ramos (.297) was 3-for-27 (.111) with eleven strikeouts over six games this week. Ramos is second in the league in runs (40), tied for third in at bats (175), fourth in stolen bases (17), and tied for fifth in hits (52).
C Jesus Montero (.217) was 1-for-7 (.143) four strikeouts over two games this week.
RF Anthony Garcia (.317) was 4-for-24 (.167) over six games this week. Garcia is tied for fifth in the league in in triples (4), tied for sixth in doubles (12), eighth in OBP (.401), and eighth in OPS (.925).
Who's Hot (Pitchers)
Three pitchers either allowed no earned runs this week or had a WHIP of 1 or less over at least three innings pitched.
Ben Freeman (3-2, 5.08 ERA, 1.51 WHIP, 3.74 BB/9, 7.75 K/9) was 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA, a 1.20 WHIP, and a 10.8 K/9 over five innings pitched this week. This, of course, was just one week after making the "Who's Not Hot" list for pitchers.
Eduardo Hiraldo (1-2, 3.82 ERA, 1.42 WHIP, 3.31 BB/9, 6.4 K/9) was 0-1 with a 0.00 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, and 9.66 K/9 over four and two thirds innings pitched this week.
Ryan Sherriff (2-1, 3.94 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, 1.82 BB/9, 6.1 K/9) is the only pitcher on the staff to have not thrown a wild pitch or hit a batter (29 and two thirds innings pitched).
Logan Billbrough (3-0, 3 SV, 1.66 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, 1.66 BB/9, 11.6 K/9) was 1-0 with a save, a 0.00 ERA, a 1.00 WHIP, and a 15.75 K/9 over four innings pitched and three games this week. Billbrough has allowed no home runs over 21 and two thirds innings pitched this year.
Who's Not Hot (Pitchers)
Two pitchers posted ERAs of 6.75 or greater over three or more innings pitched this week. Kyle Hald (6.75 ERA) recorded his first save over eight innings pitched and Josh Lucas (7.20 ERA) gave up two home runs over five innings pitched.
Dyllon Nuernberg (2-2, 7.23 ERA, 1.82 WHIP, 5.8 BB/9, 10.1 K/9) was 0-1 with a 47.0 ERA over one and one third innings pitched this week.
Matt Rein (1-0, 2.70 ERA, 1.50 WHIP, 4.50 BB/9, 11.7 K/9) recorded his second blown save, a 5.39 ERA, and a 2.40 WHIP, over one and two thirds innings pitched this week.
Week Eight Schedule
Game 46 (Sun): Hiraldo vs.
Game 47 (Mon): Pasen vs.
Game 48 (Tue): Freeman vs.
Game 49 (Wed): Jenkins vs.
Game 50 (Thu): Lucas vs.
Game 51 (Fri): Hald/Sherriff @ Elizabethton Twins
Game 52 (Sat): Hiraldo @ Elizabethton Twins
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