Palm Beach Cardinals Notebook: 2012 Week 5

The Florida State League Cardinals continue their solid team play with a 4-2 week fueled by several late comebacks.

The Palm Beach Cardinals have cooled off a bit from their recent blistering pace, but not by much as they enjoyed a 4-2 week.

The Beach Birds' bats have answered the call of late, as the club came from behind twice, while scoring at least five runs in each of their wins. The three-headed monster of Richard Castillo, Seth Maness and Carlos Martinez have anchored the staff, as all three are in the top 10 of the Florida State League in ERA.

Friday May 4th: Brevard County Manatees 3 at Palm Beach Cardinals 0
Manatees' starter Hiram Burgos was as good as advertised as the right-hander went seven shut out innings, stifling the Cardinal bats for eight strikeouts. His Florida State League leading 0.79 ERA was no joke as only two Cardinals made it to second base. Anthony Ferrara Jr. was the hard-luck loser, as he gave up three hits in five innings, but back-to-back doubles in the fifth doomed him. Despite only allowing one run, Ferrara was wild the whole night, as he walked a season-high five batters, but got out of both jams with weak fly outs.

Saturday May 5th: Palm Beach Cardinals 8, Brevard County Manatees 7
It was only fitting the Beach Birds came back from four down in the bottom of the ninth to score five runs on Cinco de Mayo. The inning started innocently enough with a single by Luis De La Cruz. After a walk and two outs, the Cardinals took advantage of a miscue by the pitcher to load the bases. Rainel Rosario hit a ground ball back to the mound that would have been an easy put out for the second baseman, but the Stosh Wawrzasek reached out and deflected the ball, which allowed for Rosario to reach.

After that, the wheels feel of the wagon for the Manatees, as back to-back singles by Chris Edmondson and Nick Longmire scored three runs to make it 8-7. Jonathan Rodriguez walked on four straight pitches to load the bases for Niko Vasquez, who was playing in his first game back with Palm Beach. The third baseman promptly singled to left field to score two runs. It was the first win for the Cardinals when trailing after eight innings.

Sunday May 6th: Palm Beach Cardinals 6, Brevard Manatees 5, 11 innings
One was not enough for the Cardinals, as Sunday night served as another opportunity to beat the Manatees late in the game. Facing one of the toughest closers in the FSL in Casey Medlen, the Beach Birds delivered a run in the bottom of the ninth to tie it at 5-5. In the 11th, Niko Vasquez and Geoff Klein drew two-out walks to set up Jonathan Rodriguez with a game-winning opportunity. Vasquez gave way for the fleeted footed Vance Albitz, so a single would make it two straight comeback victories. Despite earlier going 0-for-3 with three strikeouts, Rodriguez delivered an RBI single. The win improved the Cardinals to .500 for the first time since early April 13th.

Monday May 7th: Palm Beach Cardinals 6, Brevard County Manatees 2
St. Louis Cardinals organization no. 2 prospect Carlos Martinez showed why so many are so high on him. In seven innings, the right-hander scattered three hits while striking out seven en route to his second victory of the season. Martinez lowered his ERA to 2.12, sixth in the league. Mike O'Neill scored the first run as he reached on an error, however the Cardinals spark-plug did not do anything else as his league-leading 15-game hitting streak was snapped.

Tuesday May 8th: Lakeland Flying Tigers 5, Palm Beach Cardinals 1
The Palm Beach Cardinals had the tough task of facing former 2009 first round pick Jacob Turner. The no. 9 pick in the First-Year Player Draft stifled the Cardinals for seven shutout innings, allowing three hits, while striking out seven batters. Cardinals' starter Seth Maness had a rough outing, as the right-hander was tagged for five runs on nine hits. Hernan Perez' homer in the third put the game out of reach for the Beach Birds, as Turner was on his game.

Wednesday May 9th: Palm Beach Cardinals 5 at Lakeland Flying Tigers 3
Like a rooster, the Cardinals liked the sunlight as they won their fourth day game of the season. After being stifled for one run in nine innings the night before, the Cardinals broke out for three in the second. Nick Longmire carried the big bat as he went 3-for-4 with an RBI and run scored. His three hits were a season-high and added to his team-leading 15 RBI. He was backed by Richard Castillo, who finally got the run support he has been looking for, as he hurled seven innings, allowing three run on six hits. His second victory of the season was preserved by Dean Kiekhefer, who recorded his second save of the season.

No Walks No Problem
Despite only making seven starts in 2011, Seth Maness has made a name for himself in the FSL... Through 40 innings of baseball, Maness has yet to allow a walk... He is the only starter in the league that has not issued a free pass...

Fleet Footed Beach Birds
The Cardinals continued their damage on the base paths, as they stole two more bases... On the season the Cardinals are 29-for-45, while Ronny Gil leads the team with five stolen bases...

Injury Bugs
The Palm Beach Cardinals have fallen victim to the injury bug, as Michael Swinson, Packy Elkins, Travis Tartamella and Ricky Martinez have been placed on the DL... All injuries do not appear to be serious, but it has forced moves in the organization...

Alan Ahmady and Jonathan Rodriguez are tied for the league lead in doubles... They both have 11 two-base hits...

K is for Kiekhefer
Dean Kiekhefer has been outstanding from the pen... His ERA is currently 1.86 and he has had just one poor outing all season... In 19 innings on the mound, he has not walked a batter... The lefty already has two saves and two holds on the season...

Score Second, Finish Second
Despite two comeback wins last week, the Cardinals have had trouble after falling behind… In 16 games during which the other team scored first, the Cardinals have posted a 4-12 record...

One Level Down, Same Results
Rainel Rosario was sent down from Double-A Springfield for his struggles at the plate. The problems continue as his second stint with Palm Beach has not started the way he would have liked. The right-hander is hitting .190 with two RBI in five games. He has not recorded a two-hit game and has struck out seven times in 21 at bats.

5/4 IF Niko Vasquez added from Double- A Springfield
5/4 IF Neal Pritchard returned to Extended Spring Training (since moved to Springfield)
5/5 C Travis Tartamella placed on the DL
5/6 IF Starlin Rodriguez activated from the DL
5/6 P Kevin Siegrist activated from DL
5/6 P Ricky Martinez placed on the DL

Kevin Siegrist will serve as one of the six starters in Manager Johnny Rodriguez rotation, while Starlin Rodriguez will return back to his second base assignment and three-hole spot in the order. Niko Vasquez will receive a majority of his playing time at third, but will see regular days off with Alan Ahmady working in behind him.

Injury Report
Infielder Packy Elkins continues to nurse a hamstring injury. There is no timetable on his return.

On the Horizon
The Palm Beach Cardinals finish off their series with the Lakeland Tigers on Friday, before returning to the ‘Dean' as the visiting team against the Jupiter Hammerheads. After Wednesday night's game against the Hammerheads, the Cardinals will begin an eight-game home stand with the Daytona Cubs first to arrive.

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