Palm Beach Cardinals Notebook: 2012 Week 8

The Florida State League Cardinals haven't been scoring consistently but don't blame hot-hitting Mike O'Neill.

The Palm Beach Cardinals have sputtered of late, going 2-3 in the last week. The injuries on the MLB level have caused a lot of movement throughout the organization, as players not expected to arrive at Palm Beach until later this season have been asked to make the leap.

Three new starters have surfaced, Nick Gillung, Ryan Sherriff and Brad Watson. Sherriff made his second start and dazzled, while the other two made their Palm Beach debuts in the past week.

Friday 25th: Palm Beach Cardinals 6 at Fort Myers Miracle 2
Ryan Sherriff took the ball for his second start of the season and was again impressive. The left-hander from Culver City, CA tossed six innings, allowing two runs (one earned) wile striking out five in route to his second victory. The offense received a boost from Jonathan Rodriguez in the fourth inning, as his bases-clearing double pulled the Cardinals ahead 3-0. The Cardinals tacked on three more later in the game after the Miracle got within one. Mike O'Neill paced the offense with a 2-for-5 night with two runs and one RBI.

Saturday May 26th: Fort Myers Miracle 6, Palm Beach Cardinals 5
After a 1:52 minute rain delay, the Cardinals were finally able to get on to the field on Saturday night. They responded, scoring three runs in the first four innings and jumping out to an early 3-1 lead. Starter Todd McInnis ran into trouble in the fifth, as Michael Gonzalez blasted a two-run home run to tie the game, while Jairo Perez put the Miracle ahead with an RBI double. The Miracle added another run on a home run in the sixth to make it 5-3.

However, the Cardinals answered with two runs in the top of the seventh. The Cardinals did not have to do much, as reliever Edgar Ibarra unraveled, walking one, giving up single, hitting another before throwing a wild pitch to allowing a runner to score. Geoff Klein brought that second run with a sacrifice fly. With the game knotted up at 5-5, the Cardinals called on their trusty reliever Chase Reid, but he promptly hit a batter before giving up the game-winning double in the bottom of the ninth inning.

Sunday May 27th: Fort Myers Miracle 4, Palm Beach Cardinals 1
For the second straight night, the Cardinals jumped out to an early 1-0 lead against the Miracle to watch it slip away later in the game. Chris Edmondson doubled in Jonathan Rodriguez in the fourth to put the Cardinals on top. In the bottom of the frame, Nick Gillung gave up the game-tying home run to Oswaldo Arcia to knot it up at 1-1. In the fifth, his luck seem to run out, as the Miracle put together three hits and a walk to score three runs and pull away 4-1. Miracle starter Pat Dean was on top of his game, beating the Cardinals for the second time this year.

Tuesday May 29th: St. Lucie Mets 9 at Palm Beach Cardinals 1
The Cardinals looked to avoid a three-game slide against the Mets, but front-running Mets had other plans, pounding out 16 hits for nine runs in a rout of the Cardinals. Drew Benes took the mound, looking to improve on his team-leading three wins, but he was greeted badly by the Mets lineup as they connected for six hits for three runs in three innings. Benes' shortest outing of the season earned him his fourth loss of the season, as the Mets piled it on, recording eight extra base hits. The middle of their order went a combined 6-for-14 with four runs and seven RBI. The Cardinals lone run came on a fielder's choice ground out by Jeremy Patton.

Wednesday May 30th: Palm Beach Cardinals 3, St. Lucie Mets 1
The Cardinals injuries called for Brad Watson to take the ball for the Beach Birds, and he delivered, tossing six innings allowing one hit and one run. The lone tally came in the second, as Wilmer Flores hit his FSL-leading 10 home run of the season against the right-hander. However, that was all Watson allowed as he recorded four strikeouts and retired the last 13 batters faced. Despite his strong performance, he left game trailing 1-0.

Mets starter Chase Hutchingson had been equally as dominant, as he had gone 17 scoreless innings against the Cardinals. His luck ran out in the bottom of the seventh, as the Cardinals got two men on before the bullpen took over. Ryan Fraser came in and gave up a go-ahead three-run home run to Jonathan Rodriguez, which snapped Hutchingson's shutout streak over the Cardinals. Aidan Lucas and Chase Reid shut it down to record their club's second victory of the season against the Mets.

Strike 1, Strike 2, Can't Punch Me Out
Mike O'Neill continues to be an anchor at the top of the order... His ability to put solid contact has been his key to success... In 49 games, he has struck out 10 times... His plate appearance-to strikeout rate is the best in the FSL (20.90)... He is currently 4th in the FSL with a .331 batting average...

Bullpen by Committee
The Cardinals have gone all season without a ninth-inning man... Palm Beach has 11 saves this season by four different players... Dean Kiekhefer leads the group with four...

Does May Have to END?
Entering the last day in the month of May, Mike O'Neill is hitting a team-best .348 with 32 hits and 16 runs scored… His play in the month of May has helped the Cardinals win 14 games. While O'Neill has been leading the offense, Dean Kiekhefer has anchored the pen. In 12 2/3 innings, he has posted a remarkable 0.71 ERA with 15 strikeouts and three saves…

Can This Week End…? Now!
Shortstop Ronny Gil is 1-for-16 in his last five games… The switch hitter has had trouble from both sides, as his lone hit came on May 25th… Gil's average has dropped to .233, while he made two errors in the week… His 17 errors on the season is tied for the league lead with Arismendy Alcantara of the Daytona Cubs…

Home is Where the Bat Hits
Vance Albitz collected one hit on Wednesday night against the Mets... In 19 games at the ‘Dean,' Albitz is hitting .377 with 20 hits and 9 RBI...

Hands Up, Sherriff is in Town
Ryan Sherriff from Culver City, CA, made his season debut on Sunday... The left-hander is now 2-0 with 2.77 ERA... After being called-up from Extended Spring Training, Sherriff has looked strong against FSL competition, tossing 13 innings and striking out six...

Starlin Startin' to Sizzle
In the last five games, the second baseman is hitting .500 with seven hits, four runs scored and an RBI... On Saturday night, he collected his second four-hit game of the season... Rodri¬guez is second on the team in hitting with a .319 batting average...

Ferrara Takes the Challenge
The Palm Beach Cardinals have lost four of their six starters from opening day, either to pro¬motion or injury, but that has not stopped Anthony Ferrara from stepping up as the staff ace... In his last appearance, the left-hander went seven shut out innings, striking out seven and scattering four hits... He currently is second amongst all active FSL pitchers with 2.20 ERA...

5/25 C Travis Tartamella added to Double-A Springfield
5/25 P Kevin Siegrist placed on the DL
5/27 P Nick Gillung added from Extended Spring Training
5/29 C Cody Stanley added from Extended Spring Training
5/30 P Brad Watson added from Extended Spring Training
5/30 OF Michael Swinson placed on the DL

Gillung and Watson will take two of the rotation spots, as the Cardinals are going back to a six-man rotation. Stanley will try to win himself a starting spot as he competes with Luis De La Cruz and Geoff Klein for playing time behind the dish.

Injury Report
Kevin Siegrist was placed on the DL, sustaining a scapula injury in his non-throwing shoulder on May 24th. He should be back in two weeks, in time to face the Fort Myers Miracle.

On the Horizon
The Beach Birds will take it to the road and face-off with the North Division, as they play a four-game set with the Clearwater Threshers starting Friday June 1st, before heading north to face the front-running Dunedin Blue Jays June 5 through the 8th.

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