The Johnson City Cardinals were 3-3 this week (38-20 overall). They maintained their first-place position in the five-team Western Division of the Appalachian League, five games ahead of both the Elizabethton Twins and the Kingsport Mets. The Cardinals have the best record in the league by three games and are two games ahead of the pace set by the 2010 Championship team.
I was able to attend five of the
six games this week. I missed
Tuesday night's game in
In case you missed a previous 2011 report, you can review them here:
P Ryan Sherriff (2-2, 4.54 ERA)
was promoted to the Batavia Muckdogs in the New-York Penn League earlier this
week (Sherriff: Checking Out A New
Town). The lefty made a successful debut
The roster decreased from 32 to 31 active players (max of 35).
Injuries and Playing Time
P Josh Lucas (4-1, 3.97 ERA) told me this week just before he left for the season that he would not need surgery on his ailing right elbow (Lucas: Elbowed Out). Rest should have him ready for Spring Training 2012. Lucas joins 2B Trevor Martin and 1B/DH/LF David Bergin as members of the 2011 Johnson City Cardinals who had their Appy League season ended prematurely due to injury.
Team Statistical Review
The offense took a big step
backward this week as they faced some good pitching and had all six games
against teams chasing playoff spots.
Hitting Coach Ramon "Smokey" Ortiz was pretty vocal this week from the
dugout as the batters posted an extremely meager .220/.275/.369 line this
week. They hit 17 doubles and five
home runs in six games. Their
AVG/OBP/SLG line through 58 games this year is .275 (1st)/.337
The Cardinals lead the league in runs (356), hits (566), doubles (145),
home runs (60), total bases (929), average (.275), slugging (.451), and on-base
plus slugging or OPS (.788). They
are third in the league in triples (19), third in on-base percentage or OBP
(.337), second in at bats (2058), and second in RBIs (303). They remained ninth in the league in
drawing walks (160).
The defense committed 11 errors that contributed to five unearned runs this week. LF/CF Ronald Castillo (4 errors) made two more weird errors this week. Castillo had an easy fly ball go in and out of his glove. He also threw wildly through the infield from shallow centerfield with no runners trying to advance after tracking down an errant pickoff attempt from the catcher. SS Matt Williams, 2B Tyler Rahmatulla, and RF Gary Apelian each had two errors this week. LF Anthony Garcia also had a critical misplay (no error) when he called for a catchable fly ball with two outs in extra innings that he then let drop untouched for a double and an earned run allowed. CF Steven Ramos (seven outfield assists) continued to play superior defense as he added two impressive assists at third base. RF Gary Apelian has shown off his strong and accurate arm this season also by recording a team leading eight outfield assists.
The Cardinals pitching staff had
another good week (3.15 ERA) but remained second in team earned run average
(3.56) for the season. Through 58
games, the pitchers have the second best walks plus hits per inning pitched
(WHIP) in the league (1.28), the most wins (38), the fewest losses (20), the
most holds (31), the most saves (18), the fewest walks allowed (158), and the
second fewest earned runs allowed (208).
Probable first round playoff opponent
Jenkins again struggled with keeping his mechanics consistent. His delivery became more over the top and his velocity decreased as his pitch count increased. Jenkins touched 94 MPH and sat 92-93 MPH in the first inning but saw his velocity decrease in his last inning (pitches 68-79) when he touched 91 MPH and sat 86-88 MPH. Jenkins' movement and location was pretty good as he recorded two walks and five strikeouts. All five of his hits allowed were singles, four of his strikeouts were on curve balls (three swinging), and one strikeout was on a changeup (called). Jenkins still needs to work on his delivery mechanics to continue to improve.
Friday night's loss actually
occurred early Saturday morning as the Cardinals lost their opener against the
Danville Braves by a score of 5-4 in 16 innings. It was the longest game of the year in
both innings and time (five hours and four minutes).
Saturday night's win was an exciting one as Venezuelan 1B Hector Garcia (.261) and Venezuelan P Roberto Canache (2-1, 2.60 ERA) made major contributions in a 6-4 come-from-behind victory. Garcia had a double and a home run and Canache, pitching for the second consecutive night, closed out the Braves in the ninth with a runner on third and the tying run on second and just one out. Saturday night starter Eduardo Hiraldo (2-2, 3.95 ERA) helped out a tired bullpen by completing the longest outing of the year for a starter (31 batters faced). RF Gary Apelian (.298) continued his good performance against the best pitching staff in the league with a big, game-tying, two-run double in a four-run eighth inning. Most people stayed after the late inning fireworks for more fireworks twenty minutes after the victory.
Hopefully, the playoffs will not
come down to a tie-breaker but if it does,
Tyler Rahmatulla saw his ten-game hit streak end on Wednesday night while Anthony Garcia's five-game hit-streak ended the following night. Matt Williams (six games), Neal Pritchard (six games), and Gary Apelian (five games) all take active hit streaks into Sunday night's game against the Danville Braves.
Starting Pitchers and Pitch Counts
With an end to Josh Lucas' season
and with the promotion of Ryan Sherriff,
Starting Pitchers (6):
RHP Tyrell Jenkins (1)
LHP Kyle Hald (2)
LHP Nick Gillung (3)
RHP Eduardo Hiraldo (4)
RHP Jose Pasen (5)
LHP Ben Freeman (6)
|Kyle Hald and coach Doug White|
8/14: Jose Pasen: 87 pitches, 60 strikes, 16-for-23 first-pitch strikes.
8/17: Tyrell Jenkins: 79 pitches, 47 strikes, 13-for-21 first-pitch strikes.
8/18: Kyle Hald: 84 pitches, 54 strikes, 18-for-26 first-pitch strikes.
8/19: Nick Gillung: 65 pitches, 41 strikes, 11-for-17 first-pitch strikes.
8/19: Chris Costantino: 41 pitches, 24 strikes, 7-for-12 first-pitch strikes.
8/20: Eduardo Hiraldo: 88 pitches, 57 strikes, 21-for-32 first-pitch strikes.
Who's Hot (Hitters)
Four different batters hit .300 or better this week. That list, in decreasing order of weekly batting average, included: Gary Apelian (.364), Ronald Castillo (.333), Neal Pritchard (.316), and Matt Williams (.300).
LF/CF Ronald Castillo (.237) was 4-for-12 (.333) with a double over four games this week. Castillo is tied for eighth in the league in triples (4).
3B Neal Pritchard (.277) was 6-for-19 (.316) with five runs, a double, a home run, and five RBIs over five games this week.
SS Matt Williams (.280) was 6-for-20 (.300) with two runs, four doubles, three stolen bases, and three walks over five games this week. Williams is third in the league in runs (44), tied for sixth in doubles (16), seventh in stolen bases (17), and tied for eight in walks (25).
Despite slow but not cold weeks, Tyler Rahmatulla (.263 this week) and Anthony Garcia (.211 this week) continue to lead the league in several categories.
2B Tyler Rahmatulla (.328) is first in the league in doubles (23), third in OPS (0.991), fourth in total bases (108), fifth in slugging (.581), fifth in runs (41), eighth in OBP (.410), tied for eighth in walks (25), and ninth in batting average (.328).
LF Anthony Garcia (.314) is sixth in the league in OPS (.945), seventh in OBP (.413), eighth in slugging (.533), and tied for eighth in triples (4).
Who's Not Hot (Hitters)
CF Steven Ramos (.269) continues to see his average plummet as he was 2-for-20 (.100) with seven strikeouts and one caught stealing over five games this week. Despite the cold streak, Ramos is fourth in the league in runs (42), fourth in at bats (219), and sixth in stolen bases (18).
DH Roberto De La Cruz (.274) has cooled off dramatically after going just 3-for-21 (.143) this week. De La Cruz is not getting cheated with his swings though as all three of his hits were for extra bases (two doubles and a home run). "De La" (his nickname) is third in the league in home runs (13), fifth in total bases (106), sixth in slugging (.558), tied for eighth in RBIs (39), and tied for tenth in doubles (15).
C/DH Kolby Byrd (.226) was 2-for-14 (.143) over three games this week.
C/DH Jonathan Keener (.214) was 1-for-7 (.143) over two games this week.
SS/2B Breyvic Valera (.341) was 2-for-12 (.167) over three games this week.
Who's Hot (Pitchers)
Eight pitchers either allowed no earned runs this week or had a WHIP of 1 or less over at least three innings pitched. In order of decreasing innings pitched, those pitchers were: Jose Pasen (0.83 WHIP), Kyle Hald (0.00 ERA), Michael Santana (0.33 WHIP and 0.00 ERA), Dyllon Nuernberg (0.53 WHIP and 0.00 ERA), Chris Costantino (0.75 WHIP and 0.00 ERA), Logan Billbrough (0.00 ERA), Heath Wyatt (0.33 WHIP), and Roberto Canache (0.00 ERA).
Kyle Hald (6-0, 1 SV, 2.08 ERA, 0.90 WHIP, 2.08 BB/9, 10.6 K/9) is first in the league in WHIP (0.90), tied for second in wins (6), second in ERA (2.08), and tied for third in strikeouts (56). Hald has somewhat quietly become the ace of the pitching staff this year and should garner several votes for Appy League All-Star left handed starting pitcher despite pitching in the tandem for much of the year.
Jose Pasen (4-2, 3.93 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 2.32 BB/9, 8.0 K/9) is fourth in the league in WHIP (1.11) and tied for seventh in wins (4).
Logan Billbrough (3-0, 5 SV, 1.29 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, 1.93 BB/9, 11.25 K/9) has allowed no home runs over 28 innings pitched this year, is tied for first in the league in games (20), and is tied for fifth in both holds (4) and saves (5).
Heath Wyatt (3-1, 5 SV, 2.95 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 2.95 BB/9, 11.8 K/9) is tied for fifth in the league in saves (5).
Who's Not Hot (Pitchers)
Four pitchers posted ERAs of 5.4 or greater or WHIPs of 2 or greater this week: Ben Freeman (Loss, 19.31 ERA, and 3.43 WHIP), Matt Rein (Loss, 2.0 WHIP), Tyler Mills (9.0 ERA and 2.0 WHIP), and Tyrell Jenkins (Loss, 5.40 ERA).
Week Ten Schedule
Game 59 (Sun): Pasen vs.
Game 60 (Mon): Freeman @
Game 61 (Tue): Jenkins @
Game 62 (Wed): Hald @
Game 63 (Thu): Gillung @
Game 64 (Fri): Hiraldo @
Game 65 (Sat): Pasen @
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