Even though the Cardinals have the best leadoff hitter in the league statistically, the Beach Birds have made a change at the top of the lineup. The speedier, stronger Starlin Rodriguez has taken over the No.1 slot, while the more versatile Mike O'Neill has moved to second in Johnny Rodriguez' order.
May 31st: St. Lucie Mets 8 at Palm Beach Cardinals 3
After winning the night before, the Cardinals had a great opportunity to take a series from the St. Lucie Mets at home, but the Mets had other ideas,scoring early and often. Anthony Ferrara was not himself as the week hiatus between starts caused a bit of rustiness for the left-hander. In three innings of work, Ferrara gave up three runs on five hits and walked three. His effort earned his fourth loss on the season, as the Mets connected for eight runs on 13 hits. Mets leadoff hitter Alonzo Harris fell a home run short of the cycle, as he went 4-for-5 with two runs and three RBI, while Cardinals leadoff hitter Mike O'Neill did his best to keep the Cardinals in the game, going 5-for-5 with a run and RBI.
June 1st: Palm Beach Cardinals 4 at Clearwater Threshers 1
Ryan Sherriff dazzled again, tossing seven innings of one run ball and collecting his third victory. His constant attack of the zone and assortment of pitches has made for a special start to the 2012 season, as he has yet to lose. The left-hander's strikeout numbers have not been overwhelming, but he has kept hitters at bay all season. He boasts a 2.25 ERA and has held hitters to a .167 batting average. Sherriff was backed by the big bat of Jonathan Rodriguez, as the first baseman connected for three hits, including a solo home run in the sixth inning.
June 2nd: Clearwater Threshers 5, Palm Beach Cardinals 1
The Cardinals looked primed to collect another victory, as they faced newly-acquired Mario Hollands. With Hollands bringing in an ERA over 4.00 in Single-A Lakewood, the Cardinals looked to feast on the young lefty, but Hollands was untouchable. The UCSB grad held Cardinals bats hitless for five innings, walking one and striking out five.
The Threshers went to work scoring a run in the fifth and sixth to make it 2-0. The Cardinals had a chance to get back in the game in the seventh, as Ronny Gil and Jonathan Rodriguez singled and advanced on a passed ball. With runners on second and third, Cody Stanley hit a sacrifice fly to bring the Cards to within one, but the next two batters left Rodriguez stranded at third. The Threshers capitalized with a three-run seventh to pull away, 5-1.
June 3rd: Clearwater Threshers 3, Palm Beach Cardinals 1
The string of tough left-handers the Cardinals faced on the road trip continued on Sunday afternoon, as the No. 27th overall pick in the 2010 First-Year player Draft Jesse Biddle toed the rubber against the Beach Birds. The lefty did not disappoint his home crowd, tossing seven shutout innings, scattering four hits and striking out 12 Cardinals. The Cardinals were shut out for the ninth time this year. Two relievers added to spotless innings to seal the victory for the Threshers, while Nick Gillung collected second loss of the year after giving up three runs on six hits.
June 4th: Clearwater Threshers 15, Palm Beach Cardinals 2
The Threshers did not take it easy on the Cardinals on getaway day, as they connected for 17 hits and scored 15 runs. Drew Benes was tagged for eight runs on nine hits, while Chase Reid gave up seven runs on eight hits. It was the second time this season that the Cardinals staff gave up double digit runs, while the first time a reliever gave up more than four runs in an outing. Chase Reid's ERA ballooned from 3.26 to 5.68 after the rough stint. Offensively, the Cardinals were led by Starlin Rodriguez, who went 2-for-2 from the lead off spot.
June 5th: Dunedin Blue Jays 7, Palm Beach Cardinals 1
The drought continued, as the Cardinals dropped their fourth straight to another power lefty in Sean Nolin. He held the Cardinals to one run in 5 1/3 innings of work and collected his league-leading seventh win of the season for his performance. Cardinals' starter Brad Watson struggled in his second outing, tossing 5 1/3 innings, allowing seven runs on six hits. He struck out a season-high five, but he walked three. Starlin Rodriguez continued his hot hitting from the leadoff spot, as he connected for a home run to start the game.
June 6th: Palm Beach Cardinals 6 at Dunedin Blue Jays 4
The Cardinals finally got off the loss column, as Anthony Ferrara took it upon himself to deliver a brilliant performance. The FSL All-Star hurled six innings, scattering six hits and three runs, while striking out a season-high nine batters. He got a huge lift from the bat of Jonathan Rodriguez, who connected for two home runs and three RBI. His home run in the seventh put it away, as the Cardinals jumped out to a 6-3 lead and did not look back. Dean Kiekhefer struck out the side in the ninth to record his team-leading fifth save of the season.
June 7th: Rained out at Dunedin
Hands Up, Sherriff is in Town
Ryan Sherriff from Culver City, CA, made another solid start on Friday night... The left-hander is now 3-0 with 2.25 ERA... After being called-up from Extended Spring Training, Sherriff has looked strong against FSL competition, tossing 20 innings and striking out nine...
Bullpen by Committee
The Cardinals have gone all season without a ninth-inning man... The Cardinals have 12 saves this season by four different players... Dean Kiekhefer leads the team with five...
Want To Get Away?
The Cardinals won Wednesday night, but it has been a tough road trip for the Beach Birds, as they are 2-4 on current trip away from the ‘Dean.' The Cardinals have been out¬scored 35-14 in the last six games...
The Palm Beach Cardinals announced four Beach Birds have been selected to the FSL mid-summer classic... Pitcher Anthony Ferrara, infielder Starlin Rodriguez and outfielder Mike O'Neill will participate in the action, while pitcher Seth Maness earned the honor but will not participate due to his recent promotion to Double-A Springfield...
Notching Wins Important
The St. Lucie Mets have clinched the first half South Division title, so the race for the first-half crown is over... However, it does not mean the Cardinals can afford to drop all their games until June 20th because if the Mets win the second half Division title, the second playoff seed in the South Division is selected by overall mark... The Cardinals are currently third with 27 wins in the South...
Change of the Guard
On Wednesday, Anthony Ferrara made his third start as the "ace" of the staff... After the promotion of three of the origi¬nal starting rotation mates, Ferrara hurled his best performance of the season... With the Cardinals desper¬ate for a win, Ferrara showed up, tossing six innings and striking out nine for his third win of the season...
Two for Show
The Cardinals' Jonathan Rodriguez recorded the first multi-home run game of the year for the Beach Birds on Wednesday night... The Cardinals had a season-high three home runs in that game... The Cardinals are last in the FSL in home runs (17)...
Sorry, My Bat is on Hiatus
Ronny Gil continues his offensive woes… On Wednesday night, he was demoted from the two-hole to seventh… The shortstop's batting average has dipped to .215 and is inching closer to the Mendoza Line… Gil is 2-for-23 in his last seven games…
6/1 P Zack Russelll placed on the DL
6/1 IF Ildemaro Vargas added from Extended Spring Training
6/1 P Boone Whiting placed on 60-day DL
6/1 P Ryan Copeland placed on 60-day DL
6/4 P Ricky Martinez activated off the DL and transferred to Single-A Quad Cities
Ildemero Vargas will serve as the backup to both Starlin Rodriguez and Ronny Gil. He will get occasional starts when Rodriguez plays in the outfield and Gil gets nights off.
Help is on the way, as both Alan Ahmady and Kevin Siegrist are expected to be activated before the All-Star Break. With the Cardinals eliminated from first-half contention, both players are not likely to be rushed, but both are anxious to get back on the field.
On the Horizon
The Cardinals finish off the series with Dunedin before returning home for a three-game set against the Fort Myers Miracle. The Cardinals will finish off the first half of the schedule with the St. Lucie Mets starting June 12th through June 14th before the All-Star break.
© 2012 The Cardinal Nation, thecardinalnation.com and stlcardinals.scout.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.