With the playoffs looming and one month before the end of the season, the Cardinals will have a chance to make a real push with 19 of their next 33 games at the ‘Dean.'
July 19th: Brevard County Manatees 4, Palm Beach Cardinals 3
The Manatees jumped all over starter Drew Benes (4-7) for four runs on five hits in four innings. The right-hander was plagued by control issues as he walked three batters. His lack of command allowed the Manatees to take the lead and not look back as Cardinals were held in check all night. Starlin Rodriguez tried to spark a comeback with a two-run home run in the fifth, cutting the lead to 4-2. In the seventh, Mike O'Neill delivered a clutch RBI single to bring the Cardinals within a run, but that was all as the Cardinals dropped the opener.
July 20th: Palm Beach Cardinals 5 at Brevard County Manatees 2
After a lack-luster pitching performance on Thursday night, the Cardinals received a huge jolt from recently called up Kyle Hald. The left-hander dominated the Manatees for seven innings of one-run ball. He kept hitters off balance with his array of pitches, striking out eight without walking a batter. Hald scattered four hits in the seven innings, while picking up his first victory of the season.
Geoff Klein's home run in the fourth inning gave the Cardinals an early lead. It was the first time all season the Cardinals had hit a homerun in three consecutive days. Heading to the seventh inning, the Cardinals were leading 2-1, but a bases clearing triple by Cody Stanley put the game out of reach.
July 21st: Brevard County Manatees 4, Palm Beach Cardinals 3
Facing one of the top picks in the 2011 draft, Taylor Jungmann, the Cardinals knew it would be a tough task to come away with a victory. It turned out that the Cardinals had no problem with Jungmann, banging out nine hits and scoring three runs in five innings, but their luck ran out against the bullpen. Eric Marzec and Casey Medlen shut down the Cardinals for four innings, while the Manatees sneaked two runs across later in the game. Scott Schneider (1-2) picked up the loss in what turned out to be his last game with the Cardinals organization. He gave up four runs on eight hits.
July 22nd: Palm Beach Cardinals 6 at Brevard County Manatees 4
Ryan Sherriff (6-1) went on a stretch of winless baseball throughout the month of June until Sunday night. On rainy, humid evening, Sherriff tossed a season-high 7 2/3 innings of one run baseball. He struck out six batters, while giving up four hits. Sherriff was so dominating that he did not give a up hit until the fifth inning. He picked up his team-leading sixth victory, as the offense scored six runs on 11 hits. Geoff Klein led the offensive charge, hitting his second home run of the series, while Rainel Rosario added two hits and two RBI.
July 23rd: Jupiter Hammerheads 9, Palm Beach Cardinals 8 (13 Innings)
After falling behind early, the Cardinals roared back, scoring five runs in the middle frames to take a 7-4 lead. Chris Corrigan (2-4) turned in six solid innings, allowing four runs on seven hits. The bullpen could not hold it, blowing a three-run lead and a one-run lead in the extra frames. After losing the lead in the ninth, the Cardinals scored a run in the top of the tenth on a wild pitch by Jupiter's Michael Brady. Ronny Gil, who tripled earlier in the inning, came around to score on the wild pitch. However, Aidan Lucas walked Noah Perio with two outs before giving up a game-tying double. In the 13th inning, the Cardinals watched the Hammerheads take the game on an RBI single by Taylor Krick.
July 24th: Palm Beach Cardinals 1 at Jupiter Hammerheads 0
Palm Beach utilized four pitchers to complete a four-hit shutout against the Hammerheads. Kevin Siegrist (5-0) pitched one of his best games of the season, scattering two hits, walking four, while striking out nine in 6 1/3 innings. His fifth win of the season was also his second against the Hammerheads, as he shut them out on May 12th. The Cardinals scored the lone run in the top of the first, as James Ramsey doubled and scored on two sacrifice hits. Alan Ahmady's sacrifice fly scored Ramsey from third base after Starlin Rodriguez had moved him over to third. Dean Kiekhefer locked down his 12th save of the season.
July 25th Palm Beach Cardinals 5, Jupiter Hammerheads 4
The Cardinals finished their one-game home stand victorious, as they beat the Hammerheads on consecutive dates. After falling behind 3-1, the Cardinals scored four runs in the bottom of the fifth to take the lead. James Ramsey and Alan Ahmady walked before Cody Stanley punched a run in with an RBI single through the 3-4 hole. Jupiter then brought in a reliever to face Aaron Luna. The righty-righty match up backfired, as Luna took the 2-0 offering over the left-center field fence for a three-run home run. The Cardinals did not look back from there, taking the series from the Hammerheads. Dean Kiekhefer picked up his second save in consecutive days.
James Ramsey has been all over the field... His contributions have been felt offen¬sively, defensively and on the base paths... In 22 games, Ramsey has stolen eight bases and has yet to be caught stealing...
Mike O'Neill has been on fire this season... The outfielder leads the Florida State League in hitting (.346), on base percentage (.447) and hits (113)... With over 36 games left in the season, O'Neill is 29 hits away from breaking the Palm Beach Cardinals all-time hit record set in 2006...
Stan by Me
Cody Stanley has had a year to forget, from his suspension to his broken finger... The left-handed catcher has not been able to stay on the field, but in his last two games he showed everyone in attendance his potential... The catcher notched up five hits and six RBI... His five RBI performance on 7/23 doubled his previous RBI output...
Siegrist Shuts Down Sharks
Kevin Siegrist has been exceptional against the Jupiter Hammerheads this season... In two starts, he has posted a perfect 2-0 record with a 0.00 ERA... He has tossed 12 1/3 shutout innings...He has given up three hits (one extra-base hit), while striking 14 batters...
Nick Longmire's struggles at the plate have been running theme all season… He currently holds the lowest batting average among all FSL qualifiers… His .188 batting average is ten points lower than the next player on the list.
Outfielder Aaron Luna will add a much-needed power bat to the Cardinals attack, while the vacant spot in the rotation vacated by Scott Schneider will be filled by Todd McInnis.
Pitchers Seth Blair and Boone Whiting have been making strides. They will be working their way back via the Gulf Coast League. See Paul Ivice's report, "Cards minor leaguers working their way back" for details.
On the Horizon
The Cardinals traveled to face the Tampa Yankees starting Thursday before coming home to take on the Dunedin Blue Jays on Monday. Dunedin will be the last series against a Northern Division foe, so the playoff race will get a lot tighter with inter-division match ups.
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