The Gulf Coast League Cardinals (13-12) were 4-2 this week. They defeated the first-place Nationals on Monday before a rainout on Tuesday, took two of three from the last-place Mets and then split two games with the Marlins.
The highlight of the week was the come-from-behind win over the Nationals on Monday in Viera, where they had been shellacked 12-3 the week before. In the win over the Nationals, the Cardinals trailed 3-0 before scoring five times in the seventh inning to help Jonathan Escudero earn his first win in the GCL.
Leobaldo Pina started the rally with a ground ball single. Jake Stone's single sent Pina to third before Oscar Mercado walked to fill the bases. Pina scored the first run on a wild pitch, then Carlos Torres reloaded the bases with an infield hit to third base.
The Cardinals outscored their opponents 26-19, the exact reverse of the runs for/against the previous week. They also outhit their opponents 42-30, but made 10 errors to their opponents' seven.
Comings and Goings
Hot and Not
1B Jake Stone was 8-for-19 during the week to raise his average to .323. … 2B Chris Rivera was 5-for-17 with four RBI. … For the second consecutive week, RHP Kyle Grana threw three scoreless innings, and now has pitched 12-2/3 innings as a pro without allowing a walk or an earned run. This week, Grana allowed only one hit while fanning six. … RHP Dylan Hawkins also stayed hot, allowing only one hit and one walk while striking out six in four innings over two relief appearances. … In his first start as a pro after two relief appearances, third-rounder Mike Mayers threw three hitless innings against the Mets, walking one and whiffing two.
A Closer Look At
Jose Godoy: The 18-year-old Venezuelan has advanced skills for his age as a catcher. In what could be considered unusual praise, manager Steve Turco said Godoy is "as solid a defensive catcher as we've had at this level." Godoy controls the game as a field general behind the plate and is above-average in all facets of the position, Turco said. "Defensively, I really like his skill set behind the plate."
A left-handed hitter, the 5-foot-11, 180-pound Godoy hasn't shown much pop with only two doubles among his 16 hits so far. Godoy does make consistent contact, stays in the middle of the field, will take a walk and runs fairly well for a catcher.
"He has good pop in his bat, but some holes in his swing," Turco said. The 6-foot-3, 160-pound right-handed hitter has good physical ability, but needs to improve his pitch recognition and plate discipline, Turco said. "He's swinging at pitches he should take and letting good pitches go by," Turco said. Torres is an above-average outfielder who has the range to play center and the arm strength and accuracy to play right.
Eliezer Alvarez: The 18-year-old Dominican is a second baseman by trade, but has been getting his playing time mostly at third base because the GCL Cardinals are overly deep in the middle. A plus-plus runner with good bat speed, Alvarez has been having better at-bats since getting more consistent playing time backing up Rafael Medina at third base, Turco said.
The manager laughed as he related an anecdote recently in which a Marlins hitting coach, after seeing Alvarez play third base, asked Medina, "Have you ever heard of Wally Pipp?" The 5-foot-11, 165-pound switch-hitter has some unexpected power at the plate. Based on his stats so far, that power is all from the left side of the plate, where six of his eight hits have gone for extra bases.
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