Springfield Cardinals Notebook: 2011 Week 21

The Double-A Cardinals stand just one game from post-season elimination. Deryk Hooker is the Texas League Pitcher of the Week.

This report covers the period of August 24-30.

Springfield continued their homestand with Northwest Arkansas last Wednesday night. The Cardinals sent John Gast to the hill, and he was once again solid on the Hammons Field mound. Gast worked six innings, giving up one run on five hits, while striking out four and walking three. But Gast did not figure in the decision, as Jordan Swagerty blew the 3-2 lead in the ninth. Though, it was truly the defense that blew the save, as Swagerty's run was unearned. The game was tied 3-3 heading into extras, when Nick Greenwood received the call. He pitched a scoreless tenth inning, but gave up the go-ahead run in the eleventh. The Cardinals dropped game two of the series, 4-3.

On Thursday, Springfield notched their first shutout of the season. Mike Blazek pitched the first seven innings, and turned in one of the best start of the season. Blazek gave up just six hits while striking out a season high ten batters. Jose Garcia provided the only offense with an opposite field home run. Samuel Freeman came on to handle the final two innings, allowing no runs on one hits, notching his third save of the season, as Springfield won 1-0.

After not getting a shutout until August 25. Springfield earned their second straight on Friday night. This time, it was accomplished with a little less drama. Deryk Hooker received the start and he was nothing short of dominant. Hooker pitched six innings of scoreless baseball, allowing just one hit, while striking out four and walking two. Hooker rode the start to being named the Texas League Player of the Week for the second time this season. The Cardinals received a three-run home run from Eric Duncan and RBI from Jim Rapoport, Chris Swauger, Charlie Cutler and Daryl Jones, as Springfield blew out the Naturals, 9-0. With the win, Springfield took three out of four from the first place Naturals.

Springfield opened up a seven game road trip with a meeting with the Arkansas Travelers on Saturday. The Cardinals sent Joe Kelly to the mound, and he turned in five innings of work, allowing three runs on seven hits, while striking out three and walking two. The bullpen combined to throw four scoreless frames, enough to protect the 7-3 lead given to them by the offense. Matt Adams hit his 31st home run of the season and drove in four runs, to tie the Springfield single season RBI record. Jordan Swagerty picked up his second save, as he came on in the ninth inning after Jorge Rondon allowed the tying run into the on deck circle. Swagerty tossed a scoreless 2/3 of an inning, recording a strikeout as well.

On Sunday, the Cardinals made it four in a row with a 6-2 victory over the Travelers. Shelby Miller made the start and held Arkansas to just one run on four hits in five innings of work, while striking out six. Kevin Thomas and Samuel Freeman pitched the final four innings, giving up just one run (Thomas). The Cardinals received all the offense they needed from Zack Cox, as he went 2-for-4 with four driven in, including his 10th homer of the year.

Monday brought the end of the winning streak, as John Gast was pegged with the tough luck loss. Gast pitched six innings, giving up four runs, only two of them earned, on seven hits, while striking out four and walking three. Springfield was blown out 8-2.

Looking to get back to their winning ways, Springfield headed to Tulsa for the first of a four game series. In game one, the Cardinals sent Scott Schneider to the hill. Schneider was roughed up a tad, giving up four runs four innings, while walking four and striking out four. The Cardinals' offense couldn't muster much, as Donovan Solano was the standout, going 3-for-4. Matt Adams drove in run number 99 on the season, a new Springfield single season record. But unfortunately, the offense was limited, as Springfield dropped game one of the series, 4-3. Schneider was slapped with the loss, his ninth.

Who's Hot

Donovan Solano - After a slow start in Double-A, Solano is 12-for-35 (.342) over his last ten games.

Deryk Hooker - Hooker has given up just one run in his last 10 2/3 innings of work, since coming back off the disabled list. The right-hander has only given up five hits in that time, and he was named Texas League Player of the Week for the second time this season.

How They Stack Up

Second half standings – Texas League North

Club  W  L  PCT  GB  ELIM #  Home  Away  L 10  Streak
NW Arkansas 34 30 .531 - - 18-13 16-17 4-6 W1
Tulsa 33 31 .516 1.0 6 15-15 18-16 8-2 W8
Arkansas 28 36 .438 6.0 1 16-18 12-18 1-9 L1
Springfield 28 36 .438 6.0 1 15-18 13-18 5-5 L2

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 a week ago Sunday.

#34 Ryan Jackson – Jackson is hitting .241 in the month of August, with two home runs and 12 RBI. Overall, Jackson is hitting .278 with 11 homers and 78 RBI.

#33 Matt Adams – Adams continues to rewrite the Springfield record book. He already owned the single season home run record. This week, he was the first Springfield Cardinal to be named Texas League Player of the Year. Adams also set the single season record for RBI. Adams is now hitting .307 with 31 home runs and 99 RBI on the season.

#28 John Gast – Gast was the tough luck loser the last time out, giving up four runs, only two of which were earned. He took the loss, falling to 4-3 on the season, with a 3.75 ERA. Gast is 2-0 with a 1.65 ERA at home.

#27 Joe Kelly – Kelly has won his last two starts, and he got the win his last time out after going five innings, giving up three earned runs. With the win, Kelly improved to 5-4 with a 5.23 ERA on the season.

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

#18 Deryk Hooker – Hooker has been nothing short of phenomenal since coming back from the disabled list. He is 1-0, with a 0.84 ERA in two starts since being activated. Overall, he is 2-4 with a 4.94 ERA.

#2 Zack Cox – Cox is just 4-for-24 in his last six games, as his average has fallen back down to .303. Still for the month of August, Cox is hitting .343 with five home runs and 19 RBI. Cox has 10 home runs and 48 RBI on the year.

#1 Shelby Miller – Miller is having his innings limited toward the end of the season, but he made the most of his five innings the last time out. The right-hander gave up just one run on four hits, while striking out six. Miller earned the win, his first since August 4, as he improved to 8-3 on the season. Miller owns a 2.97 ERA and has 80 strikeouts in 78 2/3 innings.

Up Next

The Springfield Cardinals finish up their four-game series with Tulsa on Friday and then return home for the final three games of the season on Labor Day weekend.

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