Springfield Cardinals Notebook: 2013 Week 8

Undergoing significant roster changes, the Double-A Birds hit a tailspin by going 1-5 on the week.

This week further the showed the importance of having the right pieces in place at all levels of the system. Development is becoming a key factor in the St. Louis Cardinals success as injuries have forced the Cardinals hand. Yet another Cardinal has gotten the call directly from Springfield to join the big league club for pitching help. When Michael Blazek appears with St. Louis, he will make the 54th Springfield Cardinal to debut with St. Louis.

Meanwhile, all the changes may have disrupted the environment as the Double-A Birds hit a tailspin by going 1-5 on the week.

Wednesday, May 22nd, Frisco 10 at Springfield 4

The Cardinals returned home to Hammons Field on Wednesday night from a eight game road trip to face the Frisco RoughRiders. With the Arkansas Travelers loss to San Antonio, the Cardinals entered the contest with a chance to regain first place in the Texas League North. Cardinal lefty Anthony Ferrara tossed 5 2/3 innings, allowing just four runs on seven hits.The four runs Frisco scored all came across in the sixth inning off Ferrara before Ramon Delgado retired Frisco's Hanser Alberto on an inning-ending fielder's choice to end the frame. Justin Wright and Deryk Hooker combined to shutout the RoughRiders in the final three innings, striking out three, to close out a 10-4 Cardinal win.

At the plate, the Cardinals jumped out early for three runs in the first inning. Ruben Gotay got things started as he lined a double down the left-field line, plating Mike O'Neill to put Springfield ahead 1-0. Two batters later, Xavier Scruggs drove in James Ramsey on a ground out to short. Starlin Rodriguez then lined a double into left-field, scoring Gotay and putting Springfield on top 3-0. In the second, Gotay lined a three-run homer into the Frisco bullpen, giving the Cardinals a 6-0 lead. Springfield added four more runs in the seventh as Scruggs singled in a run, Rodriguez doubled in two, and Adam Melker delivered an RBI sacrifice fly, extending the Cardinals' lead to 10-4. O'Niell, Gotay, Rodriguez, Melker and Luis Mateo all had two hits for the Cards.

Thursday, May 23rd, Frisco 1 at Springfield 0

The Cardinals got a great outing from LHP Tim Cooney, making his third start with Springfield in front of 5,960 fans at Hammons Field on Thursday night. Cooney held the RoughRiders to four hits and one run in seven strong innings striking out seven. Frisco scored the game's only run in the sixth inning off Cooney. Kevin Thomas and Micheal Blazek each threw a hitless inning to finish the impressive team pitching effort in the loss.

Unfortunately, Cardinal hitters were baffled by Frisco starter Carlos Pimentel. Pimentel took a no-hitter into the sixth inning before O'Neill finally singled to centerfield with two outs. That base-hit from O'Neill was the only hit Pimentel allowed in seven innings of work. However, Springfield was never able to get on the scoreboard, as the RoughRiders' pitching only allowed two Cardinals to advance past first base and just the one hit in the 1-0 loss to Frisco.

Friday, May 24th, Frisco 5 at Springfield 4

In the rubber match of the series with Frisco, Seth Blair got the ball, still working to find himself in his eighth start of the season. Once again, Blair seemed to be catching too much of the zone with his pitches as he was tagged for five runs on 10 hits through five innings in his fourth loss of the season. After Blair' five innings, Ramon Delgado pitched scoreless sixth and seventh frames before Deryk Hooker and Keith Butler threw perfect eighth and ninth innings respectively.

Springfield got on the board in the bottom of the second inning. Chris Swauger, who was 2-for-4, started the charge with a double, before scoring on an RBI double by Scruggs. Two batters later, Rodriguez brought Scruggs in with an RBI single to cut the deficit to one. On the first pitch of the bottom of the third, Jake Lemmerman slammed a towering solo home run over the left field wall, bringing the Cards back within one run again. The next inning, Rodriguez, also 2-for-4, added a solo shot of his own keeping the pace as the Cards fell 5-4.

Saturday, May 25th, Midland 3 at Springfield 2

The Cardinals got the game-tying run as far as third base in the bottom of the ninth, but that was it.

With all of the moving parts on the Cardinals organization, lefty Nick Greenwood got the Sartuday start for the Cardinals to start the series against the Midland Rockhounds. Greenwood surrendered two runs on five hits in five innings but had Tommy Pham to thank for it wasn't more. Pham threw out at a runner home plate in the second inning, keeping it just a 1-0 deficit at the time for Springfield. Following Greenwood, University of Central Missouri Mules' product Lee Stoppleman made his Double-A debut out of the pen with two perfect innings striking out three batters. Thomas followed Stoppleman with two innings and surrendered the losing run in the ninth for his second loss of the season.

Although the Cardinals had 11 hits, they were still just a team 1-for-13 with runners in scoring position. The team was unable to plate a run until the eighth inning when Lemmerman tied the game with two-run home run over the center field wall. In the bottom of the ninth, O'Neill, who went 2-for-5, singled and moved to second on a balk then took third on a ground out. Unfortunately, the RockHounds escaped the jam to close the 3-2 win for Midland. Swauger was 3-for-4 in the contest.

Sunday, May 26th, Midland 5 at Springfield 2

On Sunday evening, lefty Ryan Sherriff, making his Springfield debut, looked to help his new club by stopping the three-game slide the Birds found themselves in. Unfortunately, Sherriff's Springfield career did not get a great start as the first batter led off the game with a triple to center field. Sherriff's first inning could have been worse though, as Pham, for the second consecutive day, threw out a runner at home in the first. Sherriff ended his day after just four innings allowing four runs on seven hits and three walks and on the hook for the loss. Justin Wright and Deryk Hooker combined for four innings of scoreless work before Butler took the ninth and allowed his first Double-A run of the season.

The Cardinals were only able to come up with three hits on Sunday. However, two of them came via the long ball. The first came in the second inning with two down and the bases empty, Audry Perez crushed a solo home run over the left-center field fence, bringing the Cardinals within one run, 2-1. Springfield's only other run came in the ninth when Scruggs smacked a solo home run to left field, keeping the Cardinals somewhat alive. Ramsey had the only other hit for the Cards.

Monday, May 27th, Midland 10 at Springfield 8

Finishing up the six-game home stand and trying to avoid the sweep at the hands of the RockHounds, Anthony Ferrara made his second start of the week on the Memorial Day afternoon matchup with Midland. Ferrara didn't have a a very solid outing, being responsible for three runners that crossed the plate before he recorded an out in the fifth. Ferrara ended surrendering five runs on five hits through four complete innings. Scott Gorgen, recently back up from Palm Beach, entered in the fifth and it got worse from there. Gorgen was responsible for another five runs in 3 2/3 innings leaving him on the hook for the Cardinals fifth consecutive loss. Heath Wyatt, also making his Double-A debut, finished things up with 1 1/3 scoreless frames.

The Cards at least kept it competitive on the offensive side of the ball, scratching out eight runs on 11 hits. Five of the hits were doubles including two from Ramsey, who was 2-for-5, and one each from Melker, Gotay, and Swauger, who had two RBI. Rodriguez also had two RBI while Lemmerman, Ramsey, Pham, and Cody Stanley each driving in a run a piece for a total of eight falling two short in their fifth straight loss.

Who's Hot

Tim Cooney - The lefty has shown strong secondary pitches and holds a 2.00 ERA through his first 18 innings in Double-A.

Xavier Scruggs - The slugger is continuing to rake and is second in the Texas League with 40 RBI and 13 home runs.

Who's Not

Anthony Ferrara - The starter has allowed nine earned runs through 9 2/3 innings in his last two starts.

Team Transactions

May 22 - RHP Scott McGregor transferred to AAA Memphis from Springfield
May 24 - RHP Richard Castillo transferred to AAA Memphis from Springfield
May 24 - LHP Kevin Siegrist transferred to AAA Memphis from Springfield
May 24 - LHP Ryan Sherriff transferred to Springfield from High-A Palm Beach
May 24 - OF Tommy Pham activated from the DL
May 25 - LHP Lee Stoppelman transferred to Springfield from High-A Palm Beach
May 26 - RHP Michael Blazek recalled by St. Louis from Springfield
May 26 - RHP Scott Gorgen transferred to Springfield from High-A Palm Beach
May 26 - RHP Ramon Delgado transferred to AAA Memphis from Springfield
May 26 - RHP Heath Wyatt transferred to Springfield from High-A Palm Beach

North Division Standings

Texas League North W L PCT GB Home Away L10 Streak
Arkansas 25 24 .510 -- 12-9 13-15 3-7 L1
Springfield 24 14 .500 0.5 13-15 11-9 3-7 L5
Tulsa 22 27 .449 3.0 15-14 7-13 5-5 L4
NW Arkansas 15 33 .313 9.5 7-12 8-21 2-8 L2

The Cardinal Nation Top 40 Prospect Watch

#13 James Ramsey - Only hitting .246 through 65 at-bats so far with Springfield but has shown some speed with three stolen bases.

#17 Starlin Rodriguez - The second baseman nearly doubled his RBI total this week by adding seven to the 10 he already had.

#30 Seth Blair - Still trying to figure it out and getting hit hard, the lefty has allowed 52 hits in 40 1/3 innings through eight starts.

#32 Mike O'Neill - Now posting a .459 on base percentage and a .344 batting average, good for second in the Texas League to Anthony Aliotti in both categories.

#38 Audry Perez - Slammed his third home run of the season but still struggling at the plate with a .167 average.

#39 Tim Cooney - The lefty newcomer has 21 strikeouts in 18 innings of work so far with Springfield.

#40 Keith Butler - Surrendered his first run of the season at the Double-A level this week but still has a 0.71 ERA with seven saves in 12 appearances.

What's Next

The Cardinals begin a six-game road trip on Tuesday against the Frisco RoughRiders and will try to break their five game losing streak while they have managed to stay just a half game off the division lead.

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