Springfield Cardinals Notebook: 2012 Week 18

Major Leaguer Jaime Garcia was solid in his rehab start in Springfield during their 4-2 week 18.

It is an exciting time to be a Springfield Cardinals fan. Top prospect Oscar Taveras is gaining more attention on a national level daily and has even drawn rumors that the Cardinals front office would look at giving him a call in September to join the big league squad. However, the Double-A Birds could easily find themselves in the middle of a playoff fight for their first Texas League Championship. The Cardinals have been playing very well and now find their magic number at 18 heading into week 19.

Thursday, August 2nd, Springfield 5 at Arkansas 0

Looking to complete the sweep of the Travelers, Springfield finished its seven-game road trip in Arkansas at Dickey Stephens Park. The Cardinals received superb pitching as starter Richard Castillo went seven shutout innings allowing just five singles and striking out three. Justin Wright tossed the final two scoreless innings.

The offense put together a solid night with Kolten Wong leading the way. Wong went 3-for-5 with a double and two RBI. Catcher Travis Tartamella and shortstop Greg Garcia each went 3-for-4 with two doubles. Adam Melker added his 20th RBI in his 2-for-4 performance and newcomer Alan Ahmady added a RBI double.

Friday, August 3rd, Tulsa 3 at Springfield 4 (10 innings)

After a 5-2 road trip through Arkansas, Springfield returned home on Friday to send Carlos Martinez against the Tulsa Drillers. Martinez had another solid outing, lasting five innings and surrendering three runs on eight hits. Kevin Thomas and Deryk Hooker tossed four scoreless innings out of the bullpen to keep the game tied moving into the 10th inning. Keith Butler added a perfect 10th, earning the win for the Cards.

Springfield hitters kept pace with Tulsa throughout the game. Now sharing time in the outfield, Jose Garcia, led the way going 2-for-4 with a solo home run. Tartamella was also 2-for-4 and added a RBI single. Vance Albitz pinch-hit for Martinez in the fifth and contributed a RBI double. In the 10th, Jamie Romak hit a single into shallow left field to score Wong from third to win the game.

Saturday, August 4th, Tulsa 7 at Springfield 3

On Saturday, Jamie Garcia started in a rehab outing coming off left shoulder impingement. Garcia was held to a 60-65 pitch limit, lasting 4 1/3 innings on 64 total pitches. He allowed one run on two hits, and struck out six Driller batters. Kevin Siegrist followed Garcia with 2 2/3 innings pitched, surrendering two runs on six hits. Scott Gorgen, Eric Fornataro, and Keith Butler held Tulsa scoreless through the next four innings until Corey Dickerson gave Tulsa a four-run lead in the top of the twelfth inning with a grand slam off Springfield's Butler. The loss was Butler's first of the season.

Springfield only managed five hits on the evening. They were led by Melker, who went 2-for-3 and clubbed his seventh home run of the season, a two-run shot in the 5th. Catcher Audry Perez also had two hits, going 2-for-4 on the evening. Oscar Taveras added Springfield's only other hit.

Sunday, August 5th, Tulsa 1 at Springfield 4

Seth Maness started the game after one of his roughest starts of the season. This time, Maness pitched seven great innings, allowing one unearned run on four hits. He also set a new season-high with nine strikeouts. Michael Blazek, back from a spot start in Memphis, threw a hitless eighth and Fornataro finished with a scoreless ninth.

Xavier Scruggs, off a recent drought, came alive at the plate, going 2-for-4 with a RBI double and a solo home run. Taveras and Ahmady also both went 2-for-4. Jermaine Curtis added a RBI single and Melker drove in Springfield's other run with a sac fly.

Monday, August 6th, Tulsa 10 at Springfield 6

Gunning for a series win, Springfield closed out their homestand by sending Scott McGregor to the hill against Tulsa. McGregor cruised until the fifth inning when he gave up all five of his runs, ending his day after 4 1/3. The platoon of Chase Reid, Justin Wright, and Deryk Hooker surrendered just one more run through the eighth. Gorgen took over in the ninth and held the Drillers scoreless before giving up four runs in the 10th to take the loss.

For the second straight evening, Scruggs led the way for the Cards. This time Scruggs went 4-for-4 with two doubles and three RBI. Scruggs' three RBI gives him 71 on the season, eight behind Taveras, who added two RBI himself to give him 79 on the season. Taveras was 3-for-5 on the evening, including a double and a solo home run that he blasted to the opposite field to tie the game in the eighth. Newly-added Ray Kruml had Springfield's other RBI with a single in the second.

Wednesday, August 8th, Springfield 2 at San Antonio 1

After making the long trip to San Antonio, Richard Castillo got the start, hoping to duplicate his last outing. Castillo did not disappoint as he delivered six strong innings and surrendered just one run on six hits. Blazek followed Castillo with two scoreless innings and Butler closed things out with his league-leading 23rd save of the season.

Not needing much offense, Springfield was able to put together just enough. Taveras and Wong led the way with two hits each with Taveras adding his seventh triple of the season. Melker got the Cardinals on the board with a RBI double and Kruml added a pinch hit RBI.

Who's Hot

Richard Castillo – In two starts this week, Castillo threw 13 innings, allowing just one run.

Xavier Scruggs – After going through a slump to start the week, Scruggs ended with five RBI and four extra base hits in two games.

Oscar Taveras – His bat heating up yet again, Taveras had three multi-hit games to end the week, including four extra base hits.

Who's Not

Jamie Romak – Romak hit a rough patch, going 3-for-22 with one RBI on the week, even though that RBI was a game-winning RBI.

Team Transactions/Injury Report

July 31 - LHP Anthony Ferrara - Placed on DL (strained groin)
August 2 - OF Chris Swauger - Placed on DL (broken finger)
August 2 - OF Alan Ahmady - Received from Palm Beach to fill spot for Swauger
August 2 - LHP Kevin Siegrist - Received from Palm Beach to fill Ferrara's rotation spot
August 3 - RHP Jorge Rondon - Sent to Memphis
August 3 - RHP Michael Blazek - Received from Memphis after trading places with Rondon
August 4 - INF Jose Garcia - Sent to Memphis
August 4 - LHP Jaime Garcia - Received on MLB rehab assignment
August 5 - OF Ray Kruml – Signed by the Cardinals and asssigned to Springfield to fill empty roster spot vacated by Garcia

Second Half Division Standings

Texas League North W L PCT GB Home Away L 10 Streak
Springfield Cardinals (STL) 30 14 .682 - 16-5 14-9 7-3 W1
Arkansas Travelers (LAA) 22 23 .489 8.5 9-14 13-9 3-7 W1
Tulsa Drillers (COL) 19 26 .422 11.5 10-13 9-13 4-6 L1
NW Arkansas Naturals (KC) 15 30 .333 15.5 9-15 6-15 7-3 W3

The Cardinal Nation Top 40 Prospect Watch

#2 Carlos Martinez – Through 10 starts, the right-hander seems to be quieting any doubts about his durability late in the season. He keeps delivering solid starts each time out.

#3 Oscar Taveras – Taveras has shown the ability to put up numbers all season long. A .325 batting average, 79 RBI, and 57 extra base hits including 20 home runs, 30 doubles and seven triples put Taveras in elite Double-A company.

#4 Kolten Wong – The second baseman has fallen a bit to a .284 batting average. He will need to do better than that if he is going to be a leadoff hitter. Wong also now has 17 stolen bases in 26 attempts.

#31 Jermaine Curtis - A .316 batting average has Curtis sitting second on the team behind Taveras.

#38 Keith Butler – Butler earned his 23rd save of the season after taking the loss a few days earlier on an extra inning grand slam at home.

What's Next

The Cardinals will continue their three-game series with the San Antonio Missions Thursday night. Springfield will have major league rehabber Jaime Garcia on the mound against the Missions. After wrapping up in San Antonio, the Cardinals will head to Corpus Christi for three games before heading home on Wednesday to take on the Hooks.

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