Johnson City Cardinals Notebook: 2011 Week 11

Johnson City won the Appalachian League Championship for the second consecutive year on Sunday night after sweeping the Bluefield Blue Jays in the Finals.

The Johnson City Cardinals completed the final three games of the regular season with a 3-0 record to finish 45-23 (.662 win percentage) overall.  They clinched the title and the top seed in the playoffs in the five-team Western Division of the Appalachian League last week.  Johnson City finished with the best record in the Appalachian League and with a three game lead over the second place Elizabethton Twins.  It was their best winning percentage finish since 1986 (.667) and their most wins since 1976 (50-20).


Johnson City finished the regular season 15-17 against teams with a winning record (Bluefield, Danville, Kingsport, and Elizabethton).  They were 30-6 against teams with a losing record (Princeton, Pulaski, Greeneville, Burlington, and Bristol).


The Cardinals clinched a playoff spot on Wednesday, August 24.  Their first round playoff opponent, the Danville Braves, was decided on Monday night, August 29.  Johnson City defeated the Braves in the first round in three games.  They lost Game 1 in Danville, VA by a score of 6-3 on Wednesday and then returned home on Thursday to win 7-4.  In the elimination game on Friday night, the Cardinals won 10-1.


Johnson City learned Friday night soon after their game ended that they would face the East Division Champion Bluefield Blue Jays in the Appy League Championship Series.  The Blue Jays beat the Twins in the first round two games to one.  The best-of-three "Birds" series began Saturday night in Johnson City and then traveled northeast to Bluefield, WV Sunday night.  The Cardinals won the opener in exciting walk-off fashion by a score of 4-3 and then swept the Blue Jays by winning the second game 4-1. 


I attended the last three regular season home games and all three of the home playoff games in person.  I listened to the internet broadcast of Nick Pierce of the Danville Braves on Wednesday night and charted pitch counts based on his account of the action from Danville, VA.  There was no internet radio for the final game on Sunday night from Bluefield so I followed the Twitter feed of Trey Wilson, the Bluefield reporter for Future Jays on  Trey was at Bowen Field and provided near real time reports of the action.  Those observations provide the basis for this report.


In case you missed a previous 2011 report, you can review them here: 


Johnson City Cardinals Notebook:  2011 Week 10

Johnson City Cardinals Notebook:  2011 Week 9

Johnson City Cardinals Notebook:  2011 Week 8

Johnson City Cardinals Notebook:  2011 Week 7

Johnson City Cardinals Notebook:  2011 Week 6

Johnson City Cardinals Notebook:  2011 Week 5

Johnson City Cardinals Notebook:  2011 Week 4

Johnson City Cardinals Notebook:  2011 Week 3

Johnson City Cardinals Notebook:  2011 Week 2

Johnson City Cardinals Notebook:  2011 Week 1

Johnson City Cardinals Pre-Season Notebook


Roster Changes


There were no changes over the last three games to the active roster.  The Cardinals took 18 pitchers, 3 catchers, 5 outfielders, and 7 infielders into the final week and the playoffs.  The active roster was 33 players (max of 35). 



Injuries and Playing Time


LF Anthony Garcia (Garcia: Absence Explained) missed six of the last seven regular season games and two of the five playoff games.  Garcia visibly grimaced on his last strikeout in Game 1 of the Championship series, in which he was 0-for-4 with three strikeouts.  Garcia was just 2-for-13 (.154) in the last four games he played.  Unfortunately, Garcia never completely recovered from his injury.


C Jesus Montero suffered a minor leg injury Monday night.  Montero missed the last regular season game and all five playoff games. 



Of the 33 players on the active roster, 22 saw action in the playoffs (11 pitchers and 11 position players).  The players missing action in the playoffs included:  P Juan Bautista, P Brandon Creath, P Ben Freeman, P Tyler Melling, P Tyler Mills, P Willy Paulino, P Matt Rein, C Jesus Montero, C Kolby Byrd, 3B/1B/DH Hector Garcia, and OF Charlie Tilson. 


Regular Season Statistical Review


The first place offense hit slightly above their season average for the last three games.  After posting a line of .303/.353/.434 last week, they recorded a similar line of .301/.357/.437 over the last three regular season games.  They hit 9 doubles, one triple, and one home run in three games.  Their AVG/OBP/SLG line through 68 games this year was .279 (1st)/.339 (3rd)/.449 (1st).  The Cardinals led the league in runs (415), hits (673), doubles (167), total bases (1083), average (.279), slugging (.449), and on-base plus slugging or OPS (.788).  They were tied for fourth in the league in triples (21), third in on-base percentage or OBP (.339), second in at bats (2412), second in home runs (67), and second in RBIs (354).  They remained in tenth (last) in the league in drawing walks (186).  Johnson City finished the regular season as the most efficient stolen base team in the league (76%) despite being caught three times in six attempts (50%) over the last three games. 



Much of the offensive success this year (and last year) is due to the work of Ramon "Smokey" Ortiz.  Ortiz worked with each batter this year to improve their approach and swing at the plate.  Ortiz did a great job of getting the most out of the Cardinals hitters this year. 


The defense committed 3 errors over the last three games but they led to no unearned runs.  The season total finished at 92 errors (85 by batters and 7 by pitchers) for an average of 1.35 errors per game.  Their .966 team fielding percentage was third behind the Bluefield Blue Jays (.971) and the Danville Braves (.968).  The team allowed 55 unearned runs in 68 games and finished second best in that category behind the Blue Jays. 


The Cardinals pitching staff, consisting mostly of end of year promotions and lesser used relievers the last three games, had a so-so week (4.33 ERA).  Despite the mediocre ERA, the 0.93 WHIP was excellent.  Over two thirds of the innings pitched the last three games were by pitchers who didn't appear in the playoffs. 


Johnson City finished second in team earned run average (3.58) for the season behind the Danville Braves.  After 68 games, the pitchers finished with the best walks plus hits per inning pitched (WHIP) in the league (1.25), the most wins (45), the fewest losses (23), the most holds (33), the most saves (23), the fewest walks allowed (183), and the second fewest earned runs allowed (244).  The starters over the last three games were 0-0 while the relievers had a big week after finishing3-0 with two holds and three saves.  The relievers inherited 4 runners this week and allowed 3 runners to score (75% scored).  On the season, the pitchers allowed 36.5% of inherited runners to score.   


Regular Season Weekly Summary


Johnson City was 3-0 last week as they ended the regular season and continued their trend of pounding on the bad teams.  Johnson City swept the Burlington Royals at home.  The Cardinals finished the season with the best home record in the league (24-10).  They swept eight three-game series during the season and were swept just once (Kingsport Mets).  They won two of three in seven series and lost two of three in five series.  Their longest win streak was eight games to open the season and their longest losing streak was five games to end a six game road trip in mid-July. 


Sunday's game was Ben Freeman's last start.  Freeman (4-3, 5.11 ERA) struggled with his control and lasted just three innings.  Freeman fell behind 10 of the 16 batters he faced but still left with a 4-3 lead.  Johnson City sent eight batters to the plate in a four-run second inning.  1B David Washington (.248) doubled off the left field scoreboard to lead off the inning.  Dyllon Nuernberg (2-2, 5.23 ERA) and Tyler Mills (2-1, 6.84 ERA) combined over the next three innings to walk three and give Burlington a 6-5 lead heading to the sixth.  The Cardinals jumped ahead with a lead-off single from C Kolby Byrd (.233) and a two-run home run from DH Jonathan Keener (.250).  Michael Santana (1-1, 1.45 ERA) and Roberto Canache (3-1, 2.40 ERA) combined for a perfect final three innings (nine up, nine down, 9-for-9 first-pitch strikes, four strikeouts, one hold, one save).  The Cardinals went on to win the game 8-6 and clinch the best record in the league for the second year in a row. 



Monday night saw the first American start for 18-year-old Dominican pitcher Juan Bautista (0-0, 6.00 ERA).  Bautista seemed to struggle with his off-speed offerings as he hit three batters and threw one wild pitch.  Bautista also allowed two home runs but he pitched into the sixth inning and left the game with a 4-4 tie.  Three doubles (Washington, Hector Garcia, and Jesus Montero) in the seventh inning gave the Cardinals a 5-4 lead that held up after good relief efforts by Matt Rein (2 IP, 4 K, 2nd Win), Logan Billbrough (1 IP, 1 K, 5th Hold), and Heath Wyatt (1 IP, 4-for-4 first-pitch strikes, 1 K, 8th Save). 


Team autograph signing

Tuesday night was Fan Appreciation Night as everyone received free admission.  The first 250 fans received free team pictures (lead picture for this article) and a team autograph session before the game.  The line was long but great weather greeted over 1,000 fans. 


Before the start of the last game, Appy All Stars Kyle Hald (left handed starting pitcher) and Tyler Rahmatulla (second baseman) received plaques from the Johnson City Sports Foundation. 



Tuesday night was also the Johnson City debut for three different pitching prospects that were promoted from the GCL last week.  They each performed well in a Cardinal 4-3 win. 

Hald, John Vuch, Shildt, Mark Fox and Rahmatulla


Tyler Melling (0-0, 5.40 ERA) started and pitched five innings (3 ER, 6 H, 0 BB, 3 K), Brandon Creath (1-0, 0.00 ERA) followed and pitched a perfect two innings (3 K, 3 groundouts), and Willy Paulino (0-0, 0.00 ERA) finished off the game with a near perfect two innings (1 BB, 4 K, Save). 


Melling made a couple of bad pitches in the second inning (home run and triple) and was victimized in the fifth inning by a couple of doubles that were each barely fair down the third and first base lines.  The combo of C Jonathan Keener and LHP Melling caught two runners stealing that really helped his cause.  Melling faced the minimum in the first, third, and fourth innings and went to a three-ball count on just one of the twenty batters he faced. 



Creath clearly relies on deception as one of his best attributes.  The lanky right-hander makes almost a complete turn toward second base during his windup (Luis Tiant style) before uncoiling in a wild looking pitching motion that hides the ball until the last moment possible.  In the one appearance I saw him, it was very effective. 


Paulino acts like a closer on the mound.  He overthrew a few pitches in the one outing I saw but neither of the two balls put in play were hit well and both of his swinging strikes were on low off-speed pitches that required a 2-3 putout.  He looks like a bulldog on the mound and should provide some interesting late-inning mound entertainment next year. 


Matt Williams (.293) finished the regular season with a team high thirteen game hit-streak.  Breyvic Valera (.397) ended with a seven game hit streak and David Washington (.248) ended with a five game hit streak. 


Burlington 6 @ Johnson City 8, Cardinals Minor League Notebook: 08/29/11

Burlington 4 @ Johnson City 5, Cardinals Minor League Notebook: 08/30/11

Burlington 3 @ Johnson City 4, Cardinals Minor League Notebook: 08/31/11



Pitch Counts:

8/28:  Ben Freeman:  74 pitches, 44 strikes, and 7-for-16 first pitch strikes.

8/28:  Dyllon Nuernberg:  41 pitches, 23 strikes, and 4-for-8 first pitch strikes.

8/28:  Tyler Mills:  33 pitches, 17 strikes, and 2-for-7 first pitch strikes.

8/28:  Michael Santana:  24 pitches, 16 strikes, and 6-for-6 first pitch strikes.

8/28:  Roberto Canache:  12 pitches, 9 strikes, and 3-for-3 first pitch strikes.

8/29:  Juan Bautista:  87 pitches, 58 strikes, and 9-for-21 first pitch strikes.

8/29:  Matt Rein:  28 pitches, 18 strikes, and 3-for-7 first pitch strikes.

8/29:  Logan Billbrough:  11 pitches, 8 strikes, and 1-for-3 first pitch strikes.

8/29:  Heath Wyatt:  10 pitches, 8 strikes, and 4-for-4 first pitch strikes.

8/30:  Tyler Melling:  54 pitches, 36 strikes, and 15-for-20 first pitch strikes.

8/30:  Brandon Creath:  32 pitches, 21 strikes, and 3-for-6 first pitch strikes.

8/30:  Willy Paulino:  29 pitches, 18 strikes, and 4-for-7 first pitch strikes.


Playoff Summary


Round 1, Game 1:  Johnson City opened the first round on the road in Danville, VA and sent their first round supplemental pick from 2010 Tyrell Jenkins (4-2, 3.86 ERA) to the mound for the Wednesday night start.  Things looked good from the start as Jenkins threw his first pitch with a 3-0 first inning lead.  LF Breyvic Valera, SS Matt Williams, and 2B Tyler Rahmatulla led off the top of the first with three consecutive singles to get the Cardinals a 1-0 lead.  Two outs put runners at second and third for 3B Neal Pritchard; who delivered a big two-out, two-RBI single to right field for a quick 3-0 Johnson City lead.


Jenkins allowed one run on two hits in the first when Appy Co-Player of the year Brandon Drury took an 0-2 pitch down the right field line for a double and Billy Beckwith followed with a 2-2 pitch RBI single past 1B David Washington.  The 3-1 game remained that way for four and half more innings as both starting pitchers settled down. 


Danville jumped on Jenkins in the bottom of the sixth with four consecutive singles that chased the young right-hander from the game.  Reliever Michael Santana entered with the bases loaded, nobody out, and a 3-2 lead.  Unfortunately, a swinging-bunt, 5-3 RBI groundout was followed by an RBI single that was ruled a trap by right fielder Gary Apelian. The 4-3 score gave the Braves a lead that they would never relinquish. 


The Cardinals relievers threw just 50% strikes and allowed two more runs to make the final 6-3 Braves.  Johnson City batters struck out 14 times as DH Roberto De La Cruz collected a "golden sombrero" (4 AB with 4 K).  Three Johnson City relievers uncharacteristically combined for five walks over four innings.  The Cardinals could muster just one hit over the final eight innings as Danville batters went 5-for-10 with runners in scoring position.


Shildt with four playoff umps

There were a number of odd season "firsts" in the game.  Matt Williams grounded into his first double play (229 AB).  Roberto Canache collected his first balk (14 IP with runners on base).  Michael Santana, after seven holds without a blown save, collected his first blown save. 


Round 1, Game 2:  The Cardinals returned home Thursday night in a must win situation.  As expected, they sent All-Star southpaw Kyle Hald (Consensus Top August Pitcher) to the mound and he delivered.  Hald (7-0, 1.84 ERA) threw a season high 98 pitches and faced the second most batters of the season (29; Hiraldo – 31).  Hald struck out seven over seven solid innings as the Cardinals won 7-4. 



Anthony Garcia (.308) had the go-ahead RBI double in the fourth inning that gave the Cardinals a 2-1 lead.  Two-out RBI singles from Breyvic Valera (.397) and Matt Williams (.293) pushed the lead to 6-1 later on in the fourth inning.  1B David Washington (.248) led off the sixth inning with an opposite field home run that just cleared the fence and landed in the netting.  That ended the Johnson City run output at seven. 


Round 1, Game 3:  The elimination game in the first round was Friday night and it was another must win for Johnson City. 



The Cardinals decided to send right hander Eduardo Hiraldo (2-3, 3.71 ERA) to the mound.  Hiraldo didn't disappoint either as he kept the ball down in the zone the entire game and ended with his most groundouts (11) of the season.  Hiraldo went seven and two thirds innings allowing just one earned run on four hits as Johnson City won 10-1. 


The Cardinals sent 11 batters to the plate in a six-run bottom of the first inning and cruised from there.  David Washington had a big two-out, two-RBI single in the first inning to put the Cardinals up 3-0.  Every starter had at least one hit as Breyvic Valera led the offense going 3-for-5 with two runs, a double, a stolen base, and an RBI.



Roberto Canache closed out the game and saved the bullpen for the finals against the East Division Champion Bluefield Blue Jays. The Cardinals finished the game 8-for-17 (.470) with runners in scoring position while the Hiraldo/Canache combo held the Braves to 0-for-7 (.000) with runners in scoring position. 


Finals, Game 1:  The Bluefield Blue Jays came to town on Saturday night for their first every Appy Championship game as the Blue Jays.  Bluefield had been associated with the Orioles for 53 consecutive years before 2011.  The most exciting game of the playoffs, by far, was this game.  Actually, even if it wasn't a playoff game, it was probably the most exciting win all year for Johnson City.  The Cardinals decided to send Jose Pasen (4-4, 4.45 ERA) to the mound but things didn't start well for the 21-year-old Dominican in the first inning. 



Pasen walked the first batter on seven pitches and then got two quick outs.  He then walked Appy All-Star first baseman Art Charles on five pitches to bring up Appy All-Star outfielder Kevin Pillar.  A brief visit from Pitching Coach Doug White didn't seem to calm the early inning jitters for Pasen though as he fell behind 2-1 and then grooved an inside fastball to the righty that was pulled down the left field line for a three run home run.


The 3-0 lead held up until the bottom of the seventh as neither team could dent the scoreboard.  Pasen settled down and allowed just a third inning 2-0 pitch leadoff single as his only other hit over five innings.  The righty finished with 77 pitches but just 40 strikes.  He walked four batters for his biggest walk percentage (19% of batters faced) in a start all year.  



Chris Costantino (0-0, 0.00 ERA) came in and pitched no hit ball through three good innings.  The right-handed reliever walked two and hit one batter but struck out three and grounded out five.  Costantino held the Blue Jays off the scoreboard and allowed the Cardinal offense to finally string together some hits in the seventh. 


Matt Williams (.293) led off the seventh with a four pitch walk and later scored on a double by Tyler Rahmatulla (.314).  On the very next pitch, Gary Apelian (.298) doubled to almost the exact same spot that Rahmatulla hit the previous pitch; the left center field gap and one hop off the wall.  The drive scored Rahmatulla, made the score 3-2 Blue Jays, and put a runner on second base with nobody out.  However, the next batter Anthony Garcia went fishing on a 2-2 pitch that was low and mishandled by the catcher.  Garcia broke for first on the swinging strikeout as Apelian led off second.  The catcher faked a quick throw to first base and caught Apelian too far off second.  Roberto De La Cruz followed with a double play groundout and the rally was over as fast as it started. 



The score remained 3-2 until the bottom of the ninth inning when I got a good feeling about a comeback.  Mostly because the Cardinals were sending the top of the order to the plate with one of the hottest hitters on the team leading off in the form of Breyvic Valera (.397).  I also felt good because the Blue Jays pulled the reliever that had just struck out the side (all swinging) in the eighth. 


Valera, a switch hitter who was batting lefty against the right-handed reliever, worked the count to 2-2 and then drove a ball to left centerfield that was perfectly placed between center and left.  The centerfielder dove and just missed the fly ball and the left fielder just missed the cutoff behind him.  The left fielder recovered quickly but the throw to third base was just a little bit late.  The tying run was now on third after a leadoff triple from Valera. 



The Blue Jays brought the infield in but the next batter didn't waste any time as he swung at the first pitch he saw.  Matt Williams (.293) hammered a high fastball to deep left centerfield that would definitely tie the game up at worst and could get down for a double at best.  The centerfielder made a nice running catch but Valera could have almost walked home with the tying run. 


After a mound visit from the Blue Jays pitching coach, Tyler Rahmatulla (.314) had a great at bat as he worked the count to 3-2 and then lined the sixth pitch he saw (and the first one offered at) between the second baseman and first baseman to right field.  Gary Apelian (.298) then watched five consecutive pitches for a walk that put Rahmatulla into scoring position with just one out. 



Neal Pritchard (.249) then came to the plate and watched five consecutive pitches to take the count to 3-2.  Pritchard then lined a single over the shortstop on two hops to the centerfielder as Rahmatulla got a good read on the liner off the bat and motored toward home with the winning run.  The 8-2 throw was late and up the first base line and the Cardinals ran toward first base to mob Pritchard.  The exciting walk-off 4-3 win gave the Cardinals a 1-0 lead in the series.


The pitch recognition and swing decisions made by Valera, Williams, Rahmatulla, Apelian, and Pritchard in that last inning were top notch.  Five batters took a total of five swings at a total of 23 pitches.  Only 22% of the pitches were offered at but four of the five swings (80%) were productive swings leading to three hits and a sacrifice fly.  Those are extremely good at bats in the most important game situations. 


The Cardinals pitchers allowed just two hits in the 4-3 victory while the batters put together 12 hits.  Michael Santana (1-1, 1.45 ERA) got the win after facing four batters and recording the equivalent of four outs (Pritchard throwing error) in the top of the ninth inning. 



Finals, Game 2:  The Cardinals headed northeast for Game 2 in Bluefield, WV on Saturday night.  Lefty Nick Gillung (1-0, 1.73 ERA) finally got the call to start a playoff game and for the fourth game in a row, the playoff starter delivered an excellent outing.  The decision to start a lefty against a team with several left handed batters near the top of the order seemed like a good one to me.  Two of the three wins posted by the Cardinals over the Blue Jays during the regular season were by lefties (Sherriff and Hald).  There were only three batters that Gillung would have to worry over:  All-Star OF Kevin Pillar (.458 in 59 AB vs. lefties), All-Star OF Chris Hawkins (.426 in 61 AB vs. lefties), and DH Leo Hernandez (.348 in 23 AB vs. lefties). 



Bluefield jumped in front 1-0 in the bottom of the second inning when Gillung walked All-Star 1B Art Charles with one out and then gave up a two-out RBI double to Hernandez.  C Jonathan Keener (.250) responded in the top of the third inning with a leadoff double but he could not score. 


The Cardinals got a gift in the fourth inning when they plated two runs (one unearned) on just one hit.  The inning began with back-to-back lead-off hit by pitches to Gary Apelian (.298) and Neal Pritchard (.249).  Apelian eventually scored on an RBI single by Keener and Pritchard scored on a fielding error by the Blue Jays shortstop.


Johnson City took a 2-1 lead to the bottom of the fourth when, according to several reports, Steven Ramos made what could have been the Appy Play of the Year.  With one out, Pillar hit a drive to centerfield that had home run distance.  Unfortunately for Pillar and the Blue Jays, the Cardinals had a home run eraser in the name of Steven Ramos patrolling center field.  Ramos leaped at the wall and caught the liner as it sailed over the fence.  Ramos brought it back into the field of play and recorded the second out in what could have been a momentum changing 2-2 ball game. 


Gillung cruised through his six innings allowing just one hit and one run.  He gave a 2-1 lead to reliever Logan Billbrough in the seventh.  The Cardinals added two two-out runs in the eighth inning on an Apelian single, a Pritchard RBI double, and a Roberto De La Cruz (.264) RBI double.  The 4-1 lead was more than Billbrough needed as he retired all nine batters he faced over the last three innings (four strikeouts). 


The Cardinals swept the Bluefield Blue Jays in two games to win their second consecutive Appalachian League title.  The last time Johnson City won back to back Appy titles was the first two years after they changed affiliation from the Johnson City Yankees (1975 and 1976).  That was well before any of the current Cardinals were even born. 


They say pitching wins championships and that could be the truth for Johnson City in 2011.  Cardinals pitchers allowed just three hits over eighteen innings in the Finals.  They allowed eight walks but still recorded just a 0.58 WHIP.  Over the five games of the playoffs, the pitching staff recorded a 3.07 ERA and 1.05 WHIP.  Both numbers were the best in the playoffs and better than their regular season performance. 


Johnson City 3 @ Danville 6, G1, Cardinals Minor League Notebook: 09/01/11

Danville 4 @ Johnson City 7, G2, Cardinals Minor League Notebook: 09/02/11

Danville 1 @ Johnson City 10, G3, Cardinals Minor League Notebook: 09/03/11

Bluefield 3 @ Johnson City 4, G1, Cardinals Minor League Notebook: 09/04/11

Johnson City 4 @ Bluefield 1, G2, Cardinals Minor League Notebook: 09/05/11


Playoff Pitch Counts:

8/31:  *Tyrell Jenkins:  74+ pitches, 48+ strikes, and 11-for-22 first pitch strikes.

8/31:  Michael Santana:  32 pitches, 16 strikes, and 4-for-8 first pitch strikes.

8/31:  Roberto Canache:  8 pitches, 4 strikes, and 2-for-2 first pitch strikes.

8/31:  Dyllon Nuernberg:  18 pitches, 9 strikes, and 1-for-4 first pitch strikes.


*The internet radio feed was intermittently interrupted.  Pitch data is estimated. 


Pitching coach Doug White with Wyatt

9/1:  Kyle Hald:  98 pitches, 70 strikes, and 22-for-29 first pitch strikes.

9/1:  Logan Billbrough:  18 pitches, 14 strikes, and 5-for-6 first pitch strikes.

9/1:  Heath Wyatt:  14 pitches, 7 strikes, and 1-for-4 first pitch strikes.

9/2:  Eduardo Hiraldo:  89 pitches, 62 strikes, and 17-for-28 first pitch strikes.

9/2:  Roberto Canache:  32 pitches, 24 strikes, and 5-for-7 first pitch strikes.

9/3:  Jose Pasen:  77 pitches, 40 strikes, and 9-for-22 first pitch strikes.

9/3:  Chris Costantino:  45 pitches, 25 strikes, and 6-for-12 first pitch strikes.

9/3:  Michael Santana:  15 pitches, 8 strikes, and 2-for-4 first pitch strikes.


Playoff Starting Pitchers


Listed below was the rotation at the end of the regular season. 


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)


In the playoffs, the Cardinals chose to mix up the sequence a little bit as they dropped LHP Nick Gillung from the three spot: 


Starting Pitchers (5): 

RHP Tyrell Jenkins (1)

LHP Kyle Hald (2)

RHP Eduardo Hiraldo (3)

RHP Jose Pasen (4)

LHP Nick Gillung (5)



End of Regular Season Hitters


Five different hitters used the end of the regular season to end the year on a positive note as they recorded .300 or better batting averages during the sweep of Burlington.  Charlie Tilson (.556), Breyvic Valera (.429), Jonathan Keener (.333), Matt Williams (.308), and David Washington (.300) each hit .300 or better over nine or more at bats. 


Three hitters ended the regular season on hit streaks of five games or more:  David Washington (5 games), Breyvic Valera (7 games), and Matt Williams (13 games).  The 13-game hitting streak by Matt Williams was a season best for the 2011 Johnson City Cardinals. 


End of Regular Season Pitchers


Pitching over the last three games by the starters was just average at best.  Juan Bautista (7.20 ERA), Tyler Melling (5.40 ERA), and Ben Freeman (9.00 ERA) all had pretty high ERAs over three or more innings.  The relievers looked pretty good but no one pitched more than two innings.  Dyllon Nuernberg (16.17 ERA, 10.8 BB/9, and 1.80 WHIP) and Tyler Mills (6.77 BB/9 and 3 inherited/3 scored) each struggled in one brief appearance. 


Top Playoff Performers


Last year, the offense outshined the pitching in the playoffs but this year, the pitching got the upper hand.


The pitching staff combined for a 3.07 ERA (1st) and 1.05 WHIP (1st).  They led the playoffs with two saves and four wins. 


Nick Gillung (1-0, 1.50 ERA) was first in WHIP (0.50), tied for fourth in innings pitched (6.0), fourth in ERA (1.50), and tied for sixth in strikeouts (6).


Eduardo Hiraldo (1-0, 1.17 ERA) was first in innings pitched (7.2), third in ERA (1.17) and fourth in WHIP (0.78). 


Kyle Hald (1-0, 3.86 ERA) was tied for second in strikeouts (7) and third in innings pitched (7.0). 


Logan Billbrough (1 SV, 2.25 ERA) was seventh in ERA (2.25).


As a team, the Cardinals batters posted a .287 batting average (1st).  Gary Apelian (.389) was fifth and Breyvic Valera (.318) was tenth.


As a team, Johnson City hitters posted a .342 on base percentage (1st).  Gary Apelian (.476) was fourth.  


As a team, the Cardinals batters posted a .415 slugging percentage (2nd).  Gary Apelian (.500) and David Washington (.500) were both tied for eighth.  


As a team, Johnson City hitters posted an on-base plus slugging percentage (OPS) of .757 (2nd).  Gary Apelian (.976) was seventh.


Breyvic Valera was tied for first in runs scored (6), Gary Apelian and Tyler Rahmatulla (4 each) were tied for fifth, and David Washington and Matt Williams (3 each) were tied for eighth. 


Gary Apelian and Breyvic Valera each tied for the lead in hits (7), Jonathan Keener, Tyler Rahmatulla, and David Washington (6 each) were tied for fourth, and Matt Williams (5) was tied for eighth. 


Gary Apelian, Roberto De La Cruz, Neal Pritchard, and Tyler Rahmatulla each tied for fourth in doubles (2).


Breyvic Valera and Jonathan Keener each tied for first in triples (1).



David Washington and Matt Williams each tied for first in home runs (1). 


Matt Williams tied for third in RBIs (5).  Neal Pritchard tied for fifth in RBIs (4).  Tyler Rahmatulla and David Washington each tied for seventh in RBIs (3). 


Breyvic Valera and David Washington were each tied for third in total bases (10).  Gary Apelian and Jonathan Keener were each tied for fifth in total bases (9).  Tyler Rahmatulla and Matt Williams were each tied for eight in total bases (8).  


Matt Williams was tied for first in walks (3).  Neal Pritchard and Tyler Rahmatulla were each tied for fifth in walks (2). 


Future Reports


2011 Johnson City Team Recap – Scheduled September 22, 2011.

2011 Johnson City Reliever of the Year – Scheduled September 30, 2011

2011 Johnson City Starter of the Year – Scheduled October 10, 2011

2011 Johnson City Player of the Year – Scheduled October 19, 2011



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