Springfield Cardinals Notebook: 2011 Week 19

The Cardinals went a disappointing 2-4 in the just-completed homestand and slipped into third place. Jermaine Curtis has been a pleasant surprise on offense and even serves as an emergency pitcher.

Springfield opened up a six-game homestand on Wednesday, as they were attempting to stay in the playoff hunt. It did not go as hoped.

On Wednesday night, the Cardinals faced off against the best team in the league, the San Antonio Missions. The Cardinals sent their top prospect, Shelby Miller to the mound, but what followed was just the beginning of a rough week for the 20 year old, Miller. He lasted just 2/3 of an inning, allowing four earned runs on two hits, while walking three. Miller's rough start put the Cards in a hole from which they could not climb out. Audry Perez would have the only strong showing for the offense, going 4-for-4 with a pair of RBI. Springfield dropped game one of the series 11-4.

Thursday would see the Cardinals lose again following another sub-par pitching performance. Joe Kelly made the start, but he only lasted two innings, giving up five runs, only one earned run however. Kelly gave up three hits and struck out four. However, coupled with the fact that Shelby Miller only went 2/3 of an inning the night before, the bullpen was suddenly taxed. Jeff Lyman, Samuel Freeman, Nick Greenwood and David Kopp combined to only give up two earned runs over the next seven innings of work. Yet again, the Springfield offense was given a hole to try to dig out of. This time, the offense didn't go away without a fight. Eric Duncan hit a home run, his 17th of the season, and drove in three runs, while Zack Cox drove in two. But alas, Springfield came up just short, losing 7-5.

The Cardinals were able to salvage one game in the series, sending Nick Additon to the mound. He was just what the doctor ordered for the well-worked bullpen. Additon pitched seven innings, allowing just one run on five hits, while striking out six and walking four. Ryan Jackson went 2-for-4 and Audry Perez hit a solo home run and that was all the offense the Cardinals needed. Jorge Rondon came in to pitch the final two innings, walking two, but nailing down his seventh save of the season. The Cardinals took game three, 3-1.

On Saturday, Springfield welcomed Corpus Christi into town, and the Hooks were really struggling. Corpus Christi had lost ten straight as they came into Hammons Field. That would quickly turn into 11 straight losses. Well, maybe not quickly. The Hooks and Cardinals would play two extra inning games, one of them coming on Saturday night.

Corpus Christi carried a 7-1 lead into the eighth inning, having gotten to the Cardinals' starter, John Gast, for three runs in 5 2/3 innings of work. Springfield scored five times in the bottom of the eighth to bring the game within one. In the bottom of the ninth, the Cardinals were down to their last out, as they sent Matt Adams to the plate. Adams promptly deposited his 27th home run over the wall down the right field line on a high, towering shot. Tying the game at seven, there would not be another run scored until the bottom of the 12th. Audry Perez pinch hit, and lined a single to left field. Manager Ron "Pop" Warned aggressively waved Charles Cutler around to score the winning run, as Springfield won 8-7.

On Sunday night, Mike Blazek pitched perhaps his best game of the season. He was nothing short of dominant the first seven innings, only allowing three hits while striking out six, and not allowing a run. But, Blazek went back out to start the eighth inning, and promptly walked the first two men he faced. Nick Greenwood came in with two on and nobody out. He allowed a three-run home run to T.J. Steel, who had been just 2-for-his last 35 coming into the series, but was 4-for-7 with two home runs and six driven in against Springfield. The Cardinals suddenly found themselves down yet again, this time 3-1. Springfield rallied to tie the game and had the bases loaded for Matt Adams, but he grounded out to end the threat. Francisco Samuel was tagged with the loss in relief, as he gave up two earned runs. Springfield dropped game two, 5-3.

On Monday, Springfield sent Arquimedes Nieto to the mound. He was called up to replace Nick Additon, who was promoted to Triple-A Memphis. Nieto went five innings and surrendered two earned runs on six hits, while striking out four. Unfortunately, the offense was kept in check by Paul Clemens, who came to the Astros in the Michael Bourn deal. Matt Adams hit his 28th home run of the season, a line drive to the opposite field, to bring him within one of Colby Rasmus' franchise record for home runs in a season. The Cardinals lost the ball game, and the series to the Hooks, with a 4-2 defeat.

Springfield was off Tuesday.


Who's Hot

Samuel Freeman - Freeman has now pitched 11 straight innings without allowing an earned run. He owns a 2-2 record with an ERA of 3.40 on the season.

Jermaine Curtis - Curtis is hitting .500 (14-for-28) in August, and is now hitting .318 with five homers and 29 RBI on the season. Not only that, but for the second time this season, Curtis was asked to pitch. He has now retired all five men that he has faced. Unfortunately for Springfield, he qualifies as one of their better relievers.

How They Stack Up

Second half standings – Texas League North

W L PCT GB Home  Away  Div  Streak Last10
NW Arkansas 26 24 .520 - 12-9 14-15 17-15 L1 5-5
Arkansas 25 25 .500 1.0 15-12 10-13 15-17 L1 7-3
Springfield 23 27 .460 3.0 13-16 10-11 15-17 L2 4-6
Tulsa 21 29 .420 5.0 10-13 11-16 17-15 L6 2-8

The Cardinal Nation Top 40 Prospect Watch

#35 Francisco Samuel – Placed on the disabled list after giving up two runs in the 10th inning and leaving the game due to apparent injury on Sunday.

#34 Ryan Jackson – Jackson is hitting just .211 in August with a home run and 10 RBI. Jackson is now hitting .278 on the season, with 10 home runs and 69 RBI.

#33 Matt Adams –Adams is within one home run of Colby Rasmus' franchise record for home runs in a single season. Adams is hitting a home run every 13.78 time to the plate, tops in the Texas League. Adams is hitting .316, with 28 home runs and 90 RBI. Adams is leading the league in RBI, and is second in home runs, only one off the pace of Tulsa's Tim Wheeler.

#28 John Gast – Gast went 5 2/3 innings in his start on the last homestand, giving up three earned runs on seven hits. Gast is now 4-1, with a 3.97 ERA on the season. He is 2-0, with a 1.69 ERA at home.

#27 Joe Kelly – Kelly was roughed up a bit in his previous start, only going two innings and giving up five runs, only one of those was earned however. Kelly was tagged with the loss as he fell to 3-3, with 5.79 ERA in Double-A.

#23 David Kopp – Promoted to Triple-A Memphis.

#19 Tommy Pham – On the club's disabled list and out for the season.

#18 Deryk Hooker – Reassigned to Palm Beach.

#2 Zack Cox – Cox was hitting .200 on June 30. He is now hitting .307. Cox saw a 12 game hitting streak come to an end on Monday night, as he went 0-for-4. But Cox still owns the third highest batting average of any full-season minor leaguer since July 1, who has played in at least 30 games, with .388 average. Cox has been more selective at the plate, and he owns a .375 on-base percentage.

#1 Shelby Miller – Miller had his worst start of the season last time out, only going 2/3 of an inning and getting pegged with his third Texas League loss. However, his bad week was just beginning. Shortly after the rough outing, it was announced that the Cardinals were pushing his next start back until the team went on the road. He won't be making that start. Miller was suspended by the Cardinals for violating team rules. No official date has been set for his next start, but he did not make the trip to Texas.

Up Next

The Springfield Cardinals will head to Texas to play the exact same two teams that they just faced. Springfield will come home on August 23 to play host to the Northwest Arkansas Naturals, in what could be a deciding series to see who goes to the playoffs.

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