Springfield Cardinals Notebook: 2013 Week 12

Heath Wyatt has been named a Texas League All-Star after posting a 2.70 ERA in 11 appearances while striking out 10 in 13 1/3 innings.

The Springfield Cardinals have taken an early second half division lead as they went 4-2, while being led by Ruben Gotay. Gotay's strong week allowed him to join the ranks of Tommy Pham, Xavier Scruggs, and Mike O'Neill as 2013 Springfield Cardinals to be named Texas League Player of the Week.

Meanwhile Michael Blazek, who was with Springfield to begin the season until a few short weeks ago, made an impressive debut with the St. Louis Cardinals. He joins the class of 2013 Springfield Cardinals who have seen time at Double-A and the big league level.

Tuesday, June 18th, Tulsa 0 at Springfield 3

The Cardinals started the second half of the season, continuing their homestand at Hammons Field. Back from Memphis, Richard Castillo was on the mound on Tuesday night.

Pitching did the job on Tuesday. Castillo kept the Cardinals lead intact through his 6 2/3 scoreless innings as he shut down the Drillers with only three hits allowed. Lee Stoppelman took over to retire the final out of the seventh and then Kevin Thomas thew a scoreless eighth. Deryk Hooker provided a scoreless inning in the ninth, earning his fourth save and completing the 3-0 win for Springfield. It was the Cardinals eighth shutout victory of the season.

The Cardinals broke through in the bottom of the third. With two away, Ruben Gotay worked a walk to extend the frame. Chris Swauger, who went 2-for-4 and was named as Tommy Pham's replacement in the Texas League All-Star game, followed with a single to put two runners on base. The next batter, Xavier Scruggs, jumped on the first pitch and crushed a three-run home run far over the left field fence. That gave Springfield a 3-0 lead, which it would hold the rest of the way. Luis Mateo had the only other extra base hit for the Cardinals with a double in the seventh.

Wednesday, June 19th, Tulsa 2 at Springfield 6

Lefty Ryan Sheriff took the hill on Wednesday night hoping to put together a good start to the second half. Sheriff delivered with a solid outing, giving the Cardinals five innings of work, allowing two runs on seven hits.

A newly-named Texas League All-Star due to Hooker's promotion, Heath Wyatt pitched a perfect sixth. He gave way to Justin Wright, who got the first two batters in the seventh. Kevin Thomas retired the final batter of the seventh with a strikeout and then Stoppelman tossed another perfect eighth inning. Hooker took over for the top of the ninth and slammed the door with another perfect frame, closing the 6-2 win.

The Cardinals belted three two-run home runs on Wednesday, striking first in the bottom of the third frame. With one on and one down, James Ramsey, in the first of his two hits, drove a two-run home run just over the left field wall, swinging the Cardinals to the 2-0 lead. After Tulsa tied it, Springfield quickly jumped in front again in the bottom of the fifth. Tommy Pham kept the inning alive with a two-out walk, bringing up Ruben Gotay, the Texas League Player of the Week, who crushed a two-run shot over the right-center field wall to lift the Cardinals back in front, 4-2.

The lead was extended with another long ball in the bottom of the eighth. With two down, Swauger extended the inning with a walk before Scruggs swatted the third two-run homer of the night. His 19th of the season was sent well over the left field wall to stretch the Cardinals lead to four runs. Jake Lemmerman added his 12th double of the season in the 6-2 Cardinals win.

Thursday, June 20th, Arkansas 14 at Springfield 5

Springfield welcomed the Travelers to Hammons Field on Thursday night with Jonathan Cornelius making his second Double-A start. Cornelius was roughed up from the start, not even recording an out before the first run had crossed the plate. Cornelius' start was multiplied by one of two errors from Lemmerman. Four of the five runs allowed by Cornelius were earned on seven hits in four innings of work.

Anthony Ferrara took over in the fifth but it didn't get much better for the lefty. Ferrara pitched three innings through the seventh, allowing three more runs on two long balls. Jose Almarante finished the contest with two innings of work, yielding six runs, with two of them unearned on Lemmerman's second error.

The Cardinals got on the board in the bottom of the third when Mike O'Neill drove a sacrifice fly to right field. Gotay crushed a solo home run in the bottom of the sixth. The Cards struck for three more in the bottom of the eighth. With the bases loaded and one down, Lemmerman worked an RBI walk to force in Gotay from third base. An RBI fielder's choice by Cody Stanley and an RBI single by Mateo, his third hit, further decreased the deficit to 11-5. But that's where it would stay, as Springfield fell for the first time in the second half.

Friday, June 21st, Arkansas 4 at Springfield 5

Hoping to bounce back against the Travelers, Tim Cooney led the Cardinals before a sellout crowd of 6,761 fans at Hammons Field on Friday night. Cooney delivered a strong start, giving Springfield 6 2/3 innings, allowing four runs, only three earned on eight hits while striking out three. After entering to get the final out of the seventh, Wyatt tossed 2 1/3 scoreless relief innings to log the win.

The Cardinals started the game swinging away, belting three solo home runs through the first two innings. Ramsey and Swauger both belted shots in the first, before Stanley went yard in the second to make it 3-0. In the bottom of the sixth, Gotay singled and took second on a wild pitch. Swauger then grounded an RBI single through the middle, plating Gotay for the 4-4 tie.

The score stayed knotted until the the Cards came up in the bottom of the ninth. Gotay sparked the charge with a leadoff double. Swauger then followed with a sharp grounder to second, which was fielded quickly and fired to third where Gotay was ruled out, as Swauger reached base safely at first. After Swauger moved to second base on a wild pitch, the Travs intentionally walked Scruggs to pitch to Stanley. Stanley then scorched an RBI single that grazed off the second baseman's glove and carried into right field, scoring Swauger from second to lift the Cardinals to the 5-4 walk-off win. Gotay, Swauger, and Stanley were each 2-for-4 in the contest.

Saturday, June 22nd, Arkansas 5 at Springfield 4

Seth Blair took the ball on Saturday in front of the largest sellout crowd of the season, 7,412 fans, on Saturday evening at Hammons Field. The packed house and the Cardinals saluted active and retired members of the services on Military Appreciation Night.

After giving up two runs in the first, Blair settled in and only surrendered one more through 5 2/3 innings. Wright allowed two more runs in the seventh, earning the loss, before Thomas and Stoppelman shut the door the rest of the way.

With a team 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position, the Cardinals did good to plate four runs. Lemmerman started got things started in the third inning with a single, before Swauger came through, belting a two-run bomb over the left-field wall to tie the game, 2-2.

With one down in the sixth, Stephen Piscotty walked and then Stanley was hit with a pitch, putting two Cardinals on. After a strikeout for the second out, Audry Perez drove a two-run double to the right-center field gap, plating both runners. Springfield got two men on in the eighth and one on in the ninth, but the Travelers escaped both frames and held on for the 5-4 win.

Sunday, June 23rd, Arkansas 1 at Springfield 4

With Nick Greenwood on the mound, Springfield cruised to the 4-1 win on Sunday afternoon. Greenwood kept it scoreless through the first six, allowing the only Travelers' run to score on a solo home run in the seventh. Greenwood exited after 6 1/3 innings, allowing a run on seven hits.

Following Greenwood, the Cardinals received scoreless relief from Stoppelman, Wyatt and Hooker to close the 4-1 victory. Hooker logged his fifth save of the year, while Greenwood registered the win.

The Cardinals broke through offensively with a pair of runs in the third. With one down, Mateo hooked a double into the left field corner, swinging himself into scoring position. Ramsey followed with a sharp RBI single up the middle, plating Mateo from second base. An RBI base hit from Gotay plating Ramsey, doubled the Cardinals early lead to 2-0.

Springfield stretched the lead with another run in the bottom of the fifth when Ramsey sparked the charge with a double ripped into right field. After a grounder advanced Ramsey to third, Gotay again brought him home with another RBI single chopped up the middle, increasing the advantage to 3-0. Gotay's two RBI gave him a team-leading 55 batted in. The Cardinals kept swinging away in the bottom of the sixth. Leading off the frame, Stephen Piscotty launched his first Double-A home run, a solo shot that lifted Springfield ahead, 4-0.

Who's Hot

Ruben Gotay - The Texas League Player of the Week batted .391 with two home runs and five RBI, leading the charge into the second half for the Cardinals.

Nick Greenwood - On Sunday, the lefty kept the Travelers scoreless aside from a solo home run in the seventh. After a rough start, Greenwood has lowered his ERA to 3.98.

Who's Not

Jake Lemmerman - The shortstop is struggling defensively. His two errors on Thursday on relatively easy plays now gives him 14 miscues on the season.

Jonathan Cornelius - The lefty has been roughed up in both of his starts, having surrendered eight runs in 8 1/3 innings thrown.

Jose Almarante - After not allowing a run through his first three appearances, the reliever has allowed seven runs in his last two outings

Team Transactions

June 20 - 2B Starlin Rodriguez sent to High-A Palm Beach
June 20 - OF Adam Melker received from High-A Palm Beach
June 22 - INF Tyler Rahmatulla activated from DL
June 22 - LHP Ryan Sherriff sent to High-A Palm Beach
June 22 - OF Stephen Piscotty received from High-A Palm Beach
June 22 - OF Tommy Pham sent to Triple-A Memphis
June 24 - RHP Deryk Hooker sent to Triple-A Memphis

North Division Standings – second half

Club     W L PCT GB Home Away L 10 Stk
Springfield Cardinals (STL) 4 2 .667 - 4-2 0-0 4-2 W1
Arkansas Travelers (LAA) 3 3 .500 1.0 1-1 2-2 3-3 L1
NW Arkansas Naturals (KC) 3 3 .500 1.0 0-0 3-3 3-3 L1
* Tulsa Drillers (COL) 2 4 .333 2.0 2-2 0-2 2-4 W1
* Won 1st Half Division Title

The Cardinal Nation Top 40 Prospect Watch

#12 Stephen Piscotty - So far, the newly-arrived outfielder is just 1-for-8, but that one traveled a long way for a solo home run in his second Double-A game.

#13 James Ramsey - The other first-round outfielder on the club still isn't hitting for high average but has shown the ability to drive the ball, slamming six home runs and five doubles so far since joining Double-A.

#30 Seth Blair - It's hard to put a note on what's not quite right about Blair this season. Exposure to the hitter-friendly Texas League has led to him being tagged hard. Even in many of the outs he gets, there are some very hard hit balls.

#32 Mike O'Neill - An ailing back back has kept O'Neill out of the lineup the last few days and will preclude him from starting in the All-Star Game at Northwest Arkansas on Tuesday.

#38 Audry Perez - The struggling catcher has been seeing much less playing time since the arrival of Cody Stanley.

#39 Tim Cooney - The All-Star bounced back from a rough outing last week to hold the Travelers to just three earned runs though 6 2/3 innings on Friday.

What's Next

The Cardinals are off on Tuesday night as six of their players make their way to Springfield, Arkansas for the Texas League All-Star Game – pitchers Thomas, Cooney and Wyatt and position players O'Neill, Gotay and Swauger.

On Wednesday, the Cardinals will return to action at Corpus Christi. Richard Castillo is set to take on the Hooks to begin the six-game road trip before the Cards return home on July 3rd.

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