Springfield Cardinals Notebook: 2012 Week 9

Pitcher Seth Maness owns a 0.83 ERA through three starts since being called up to Springfield and earned his second win in the Cardinals' 4-2 record in week 9.

Injuries with the parent St. Louis Cardinals have created an exciting time around Hammons Field. Fans are now getting an opportunity to watch players succeed in St. Louis with whom they became familiar in Springfield such as Matt Adams, who was around in 2011, and Sam Freeman, who was with Springfield just a few weeks ago.

Watching these players leaves fans with an exciting question: Who is next? Seeing newly-arrived Carlos Martinez in the dugout in Springfield alongside Kolten Wong, Oscar Taveras, and Trevor Rosenthal seems to set a positive outlook as the future of Cardinals baseball plays out every evening at Hammons Field.

Thursday, May 31st, San Antonio 8 at Springfield 1

Springfield continued their six-game homestand on Thursday against San Antonio's newest face and a familiar name to the Cardinals, Jason Marquis. Scott Gorgen was sent to face the former St. Louis hurler. Gorgen was unable to continue his recent success and was touched up for four runs on four hits and four batters walked in five innings pitched. Unfortunately, it didn't get a lot better after Gorgen was replaced. Kevin Thomas allowed three more runs in 1 2/3 innings pitched. Jesse Simpson took over in the seventh and surrendered another run before turning it over to Justin Wright for a scoreless inning.

Springfield's offense didn't have much success against the former major leaguer Marquis. The Cards managed seven total hits in the contest, five of them against Marquis. As the offense was only able to send one run across the plate, Kolten Wong extended his hitting streak to 15 with a single in the outing.

Friday, June 1st, San Antonio 2 at Springfield 6

Finishing up their series with San Antonio, the Cardinals sent Seth Maness to the mound against the Missions. Maness has been brilliant since being called up from Palm Beach and delivered again with another strong start. The right-hander gave the Cardinals seven scoreless innings surrendering six hits before turning the ball over to Deryk Hooker in the eighth inning. Hooker surrendered two runs on three hits in 1 1/3 inning pitched before Keith Butler closed the game for his 11th save of the season.

Rebounding from their outing against Marquis the previous night, the Cardinals had a lot more success Friday night at the dish. Chris Swauger found his power swing, going 2-for-3 with a triple and a two-run home run. Maness also helped himself with two RBIs of his own while Greg Garcia and Xavier Scruggs each added a RBI. Kolten Wong went 0-for-4 on the evening, ending his 15-game hitting streak.

Saturday, June 2nd, Corpus Christi 5 at Springfield 4

The Cardinals welcomed Corpus Christi to Hammons Field for the next three-game series over the weekend by sending top prospect Trevor Rosenthal to the hill to quiet the Hooks' bats. Rosenthal was solid again, pitching his way into the seventh inning while surrendering three runs on three hits and striking out eight batters. Again, the starter's pitch count was high, attributed to his four batters walked. Eric Fornataro, who usually can be counted on for a scoreless inning, entered after Rosenthal and allowed two more runs in just 2/3 inning pitched.

The young Birds were able to plate four runs on six hits. Xavier Scruggs clubbed his seventh home run of the season with a two-run shot in the seventh. Jermaine Curtis also added a double, his eighth of the season, and second in as many days.

Sunday, June 3rd, Corpus Christi 3 at Springfield 8

On Sunday evening, the Cardinals continued their series with the Hooks with Richard Castillo taking his turn at the bump. Castillo, like Maness, has been very solid since being called up from Palm Beach just a few weeks back and delivered a strong performance again. Castillo stuck in for six innings, allowing just one run on eight hits. For the second consecutive outing Fornataro allowed two additional runs but neither were earned after an error up the middle by Greg Garcia. Relievers Hooker and Thomas each added scoreless innings.

Springfield bats came alive from the top of the lineup to the bottom as six different Springfield hitters added RBIs. Xavier Scruggs and Jake Shaffer each had two RBIs in the win while Chris Swauger and Audry Perez added a RBI doubles. Swauger and Wong had the only multi-hit game, each going 2-for-4 on the day. Slugger Oscar Taveras' batting average dipped below .300 for the first time since the beginning of the season with his 0-for-4 outing.

Monday June 4th, Corpus Christi 8 at Springfield 12

Looking to finish the homestand on a strong note, the Cardinals looked toward Tyler Lyons to give them a strong outing. Unfortunately, Lyons was unable to keep the Hooks from crossing the plate. He allowed six runs, only two of them earned, after Wong's ninth error of the season. Lyons pitched five innings and yielded seven hits before giving the ball to newcomer Chris Corrigan. Corrigan surrendered an additional run in 2/3 of the sixth inning before Wright sent the Birds to the seventh. Jesse Simspon took over and allowed the game-tying run. Michael Blazek and Keith Butler followed with scoreless eighth and ninth innings respectively.

Taveras must have not liked seeing his average dip below that .300 mark because it didn't last long. In the Cardinals' 12-run outburst, Taveras was 5-for-5 with a double, a home run, two RBIs, and four runs scored as he watched his average rise 17 points in just one game. Audry Perez was also a major contributor, going 2-for-5 with three RBIs. Seven different Cardinals hitters contributed RBIs in the contest.

Wednesday, June 6th, Springfield 9 at Tulsa 7

The Cardinals hit the road on Wednesday after an off day on Tuesday during which several players stuck around the stadium to shoot a "Angry Birds" promo video that will soon make its debut at Hammons Field. Scott Gorgen took the mound against the first-place Drillers and nearly mirrored his last outing. Gorgen was again less than effective as he threw five innings, giving up six runs, two of those earned. Hooker earned the win in relief but gave up another run to the Drillers in 1 2/3 innings pitched. Fornataro followed Hooker with a scoreless 1 1/3 inning and then Butler took over the ninth for his 12th save of the season.

Fighting to stay in the race, the Springfield hitters batted their way to victory. Wong and Taveras nearly echoed each other's performance, batting 2-for-5 with a double, a home run, and RBI. Scruggs continued his hot week, adding two more RBIs to give him 27 on the season.

Who's Hot

Seth Maness - The hurler is quickly gaining notoriety as he is 2-0 with a 0.83 ERA through his first three Double-A starts.

Richard Castillo - Not to be outdone by Maness, Castillo is not 3-0 with a 1.37 ERA through four starts.

Jermaine Curtis – The infielder may be doing it quietly but he is now batting .354 with 10 extra base hits through 26 games.

Who's Not

Kyle Conley - His bat has power and we've seen some monster home runs from him already this season but he is not making enough contact to consistently prove it. Conley's bat cooled off significantly this week as he had just two hits to seven strikeouts.

Injury Report

Infielder Jose Garcia was removed from the game on Friday and placed on the DL with a right hamstring injury.

Team Transactions

June 2 - INF Jose Garcia Placed on DL
June 2 - INF Garrett Wittels Received from Extended Spring Training
June 4 - INF Garrett Wittels Sent to Triple-A Memphis
June 4 - INF Breyvic Valera Received from Extended Spring Training

Division Standings

Texas League North W L PCT GB Home Away L 10 Streak
Tulsa Drillers (COL) 31 26 .544 - 19-10 12-16 4-6 L2
NW Arkansas Naturals (KC) 30 27 .526 1.0 19-10 11-17 5-5 W4
Springfield Cardinals (STL) 29 28 .509 2.0 18-10 11-18 7-3 W3
Arkansas Travelers (LAA) 23 34 .404 8.0 15-13 8-21 4-6 L1

The Cardinal Nation Top 40 Prospect Watch

#2 Carlos Martinez – It's exciting to see the young prospect in the Springfield dugout. Martinez was set to begin bullpen sessions this week and the timeline for his Double-A debut should be established soon.

#3 Oscar Taveras – For most of past week, it looked like Taveras was pressing and swinging for the fences in every at bat. On Monday, everything changed. The teenager watched his average dip under .300 before immediately spiking to .318 over the next two games. Did I mention that Taveras has 12 home runs and 43 RBIs now?

#4 Kolten Wong - Wong continues to hit and some think he may be on his way to Memphis soon. In the meantime, the second baseman needs to continue to work on his glove as he now has nine errors on the season.

#12 Trevor Rosenthal – The Missouri kid continues to get better, now sporting a 2.90 ERA. His next step is to cut down on the walks and work deeper into games

#31 Jermaine Curtis - Jermaine is staying consistent and is now batting .354 with 10 extra base hits through 26 games.

#38 Keith Butler – Butler has anchored the pen in the closing role, now sporting 12 saves on the season.

What's Next

The Cardinals look to continue gaining ground on first place with the next three games in Tulsa before returning to Springfield on Sunday for a lengthy eight-home homestand which will open with a four-game set with the last-place Arkansas Travelers.

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