The Palm Beach Cardinals waited until August to find the consistency the team struggled with all season. The Cardinals hoped to continue this during the last full week of August.
Unfortunately, the team started off the week facing a nasty lefty, Rob Rasmussen. The southpaw shut out the Cards to pick up his tenth win on Friday. Eric Fornataro was the tough luck loser, allowing only two runs in seven strong innings.
The Cardinals got back to their winning ways on Saturday with a 9-3 victory over Jupiter. Kyle Conley doubled twice and drove in three runs. Starlin Rodriguez and Greg Garcia chipped in a pair of hits as well. Starter Kevin Siegrist lasted only 1.2 innings after walking six. Seth Maness got the win after spinning 3.1 shutout innings. Maness became the first Cardinals 2011 draft pick to make it to the Florida State League.
Palm Beach closed out the Hammerheads series with a 3-1 victory. Rodriguez had three hits out of the leadoff spot but struggled on the bases. The young second baseman was picked off and caught stealing. Xavier Scruggs singled, doubled, and scored a run. Tyler Lyons continued his dominance with a one-run over seven innings performance. It was the southpaw's eighth victory. Keith Butler picked up his ninth save by recording the final out of the game.
After a day off, Tuesday's game in Bradenton was washed away after only a few innings. The team's finished the game on Wednesday but it was a bad outcome for the Cards. Reliever Justin Smith was tagged with the loss after allowing three runs in only three innings. Scruggs was the offensive hero with three RBIs.
In the second game of the night, Palm Beach came out on top, 7-4. Four Cardinals players collected two hits including Rodriguez out of his primary leadoff spot. Eric Fornataro labored through 4.2 innings so it was reliever Jesse Simpson that picked up his sixth victory with a shutout inning.
The Cardinals dropped the final game of the week 3-1. Lefty Kevin Siegrist was charged with the loss and is now 0-3 after being promoted from Quad Cities. Greg Garcia led the offense with three hits. Conley hit his 12th home run in the fifth inning.
In his last four starts, Tyler Lyons is 4-0 with a 2.16 ERA. During that stretch, he has posted 17 strikeouts and allowed only a .191 average against.
Starlin Rodriguez is hitting .305/.348/.407 over his last 15 games.
The Cardinal Nation Top 40 Prospect Watch
#40 Niko Vasquez. Continues to struggle at the plate and is now hitting .221 in 253 at bats.
#39 Robert Stock. Is hitting only .231 in August and has seen his average drop to .275.
#30 Rainel Rosario. The outfielder is now hitting .264/.328/.395 with nine home runs and 68 RBI.
#5 Carlos Martinez. The phenom is now on the disabled list and with only 11 games to go, is probably done for the season.
Around the League
Palm Beach is now 34-25 and sits three games out of first place with 11 to go. The team is 10th in the league in batting average while sitting ninth in on base percentage and slugging. On the mound, Palm Beach ranks third in ERA and second in strikeouts.
The team returns home on Friday to face Jupiter. Palm Beach will then welcome Bradenton to Roger Dean Stadium.
Questions for Dustin Mattison about this Palm Beach 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.