Springfield Cardinals Notebook: 2013 Week 16

Outfielder James Ramsey slammed three home runs and had seven RBI during the Cardinals 3-4 week.

The story of the recent debut of Brock Peterson with the St. Louis Cardinals should serve as inspiration to long-time minor leaguers that somebody is always watching so it is never too late to take that step.

Another inspirational story hit Springfield this week as undrafted free agent Zach Petrick made the jump to debut in Double-A. Both these stories serve as a great reminder that patience can bring its own reward. As Petrick made his debut, he seemed to have very little difficulty adjusting to his new level.

Tuesday, July 16th, Arkansas 2 at Springfield 5

Following the excitement of Chris Carpenter's start on Monday, fast-rising undrafted free agent Zach Petrick struck out eight batters through six innings in his Double A debut. Petrick dealt the remainder of his six-inning outing in scoreless fashion, surrendering just the one run while striking out eight.

Justin Wright took over in the top of the seventh. After a fly out to center field advanced a runner to third base, Kevin Thomas was called in. He induced a pop out. Deryk Hooker then slammed the door with a perfect top of the ninth inning, striking out two and closing the 5-2 win for the Cardinals.

Springfield swung in front early, 2-0, with a powerful first inning as James Ramsey and Ruben Gotay launched back-to-back solo home runs. The Cardinals continued the early barrage with two more tallies in the bottom of the second when Casey Rasmus placed an RBI single to shallow left, plating Jake Lemmerman. Rasmus, who went 2-for-3, later scored on an RBI base hit by Mike O'Neill, increasing the advantage to 4-0. Springfield added an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth on a fielder's choice and a throwing error off the bat of Luis Mateo.

Wednesday, July 17th, Arkansas 1 at Springfield 3

The Cardinals got an equally impressive start from Tim Cooney on Wednesday evening. Cooney kept the Cardinals narrow advantage intact through his seven very strong frames. The All-Star allowed only the one run, while striking out six and scattering just five hits.

Following Cooney, Justin Wright and Heath Wyatt combined for a perfect eighth. Lee Stoppelman recorded the first out of the ninth and then allowed two men on with only one down. Kevin Thomas took over and quickly induced a game-ending double play started by Gotay at third, closing the 3-1 win for Springfield.

The Cardinals got on the board in the bottom of the third. Adam Melker doubled down the left field side, putting men at second and third. Lemmerman then smacked a sacrifice fly back to the track in left field, scoring Mateo from third base. Springfield struck again in the bottom of the fifth inning to take their first lead. Melker had his second double of the game, blasting a two-out drive to right-center field. Lemmerman followed with a laser for an RBI single to shallow center, plating Melker from second base to lift the Cardinals into the 2-1 advantage. The Cards tacked on an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth. Melker led off with a perfectly placed bunt single for his third hit. O'Neill followed with an RBI single to center field.

Thursday, July 18th, Springfield 5 at NW Arkansas 6

With the Cards looking for their third straight victory, Richard Castillo took the hill against the Naturals in Northwest Arkansas. After two scoreless frames, Castillo allowed three runs in the third and another in the fourth. Castillo took his sixth loss after throwing five innings and allowing four runs, only two earned, on five hits and striking out six.

Corey Baker followed and allowed another run in the sixth before Jose Almarante carried the load through the final two innings, surrendering one additional run.

The Cardinals were held scoreless until the top of the seventh. Chris Swauger started the frame with a triple into the right field corner, scoring on an errant relay throw. Later in the inning, Lemmerman ripped an RBI double to left field, plating Mateo.

The Cardinals also put together a rally in the top of the ninth. Mateo started with a base hit and Tyler Rahmatulla walked. O'Neill followed with an infield single to the right side, which led to a throwing error, enabling Mateo to score. With runners at the corners, Ramsey bounced an RBI infield single inside the first base line, bringing in Rahmatulla. Pinch hitter Xavier Scruggs came through with an RBI single to center field, scoring O'Neill and moving Ramsey to third base. With the Cardinals only down by one, the rally ended there.

Friday, July 19th, Springfield 5 at NW Arkansas 7

Jonathan Cornelius was Friday night's starter but did not deliver a strong outing. After four innings, Cornelius was on the hook for seven runs on nine hits en route to suffering his fourth loss. Following Cornelius, Wyatt bore the workload, giving the team three innings of scoreless pitching. Wright finished the effort with a hitless eighth inning in the loss.

Springfield swung out in front first in the top of the second inning. Cody Stanley led off the inning with a double and Melker followed with an RBI single. The Cards moved back in front in the top of the fourth. With two on and one away, Melker ripped a base hit to right field to load the bases for Vance Albitz. He brought in Scruggs from third base with an RBI sacrifice fly to right field, lifting Springfield back in front, 2-1.

The Cardinals tied the game again in the top of the fifth with a solo shot by Ramsey. Springfield kept chipping away with a solo home run by Melker in the top of the sixth. One more run scored in the ninth on a dropped fly ball off the bat of Stanley, but Springfield fell short, 7-5.

Saturday, July 20th, Springfield 1 at NW Arkansas 3

Hoping to set the Cardinals back on track, Seth Blair was handed the ball for the start on Saturday evening. After allowing three early runs in the first two innings, Blair dug in. The Cardinals right-hander only allowed one single through his next five innings, finishing with a season-high eight strikeouts in seven total frames. Thomas followed Blair with a perfect eighth striking out two. The loss was Blair's seventh of the season.

The Cardinals scored their only run in the top of the eighth inning. With one down, Albitz and O'Neill knocked consecutive singles to put runners at first and third base. Later in the inning, Ramsey brought Albitz home from third with an RBI fielder's choice, but that was all the Cardinals could muster as they dropped their third straight.

Sunday, July 21st, Springfield 4 at NW Arkansas 5

Springfield righty Zach Petrick made his second start of the week and second Double-A start on Sunday. Petrick delivered another solid outing, going 5 2/3 innings surrendering three runs on five hits.

Thomas followed Petrick with and 1 2/3 hitless innings before turning it over to Stoppelman to get through the eighth inning. Deryk Hooker took over for the save in the ninth but suffered his third blown save of the season after allowing two runs in the walk-off loss.

The Cardinals put up all of their offense in the top of the fifth as Rasmus, who was 2-for-4, ripped an RBI single down the first base line, scoring Stanley from second. Later, an RBI fielder's choice by O'Neill brought in Mateo, before O'Neill and Rasmus both scored on a two-run single by Ramsey, making it 4-1 at the time.

Monday, July 22nd, Tulsa 2 at Springfield 3

Capping off the week, Tim Cooney took the hill back home in Springfield as the Cards hoped to bounce back from the sweep at the hands of the Naturals. Cooney delivered again what the Cardinals needed as he provided six innings, allowing two runs on 10 hits. After Cooney struck out eight Drillers' batters, Almarante, Wyatt, and Stoppelman each threw a scoreless inning striking out five more. Stoppelman earned the win when the Cardinals walked-off in the ninth.

In the bottom of the first inning, Gotay hammered a solo home run over the right field fence, lifting the Cardinals into the early 1-0 lead. After losing the lead, Springfield evened the score at 2-2 in the bottom of the eighth. Leading off the frame, Ramsey belted a solo home run over the left field wall. With the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth inning, Swauger was hit by a pitch, forcing in the game-winning run and lifting the Cardinals to the 3-2 victory.

Who's Hot

James Ramsey - The hot-hitting oufielder slugged three home runs and drove in seven this week.

Zach Petrick - The newest starter combined for 11 2/3 innings, allowing four runs on nine hits and striking out 11 through his first two Double-A starts this week.

Tim Cooney - Not to be outdone by newcomer Petrick, Cooney combined for 13 innings, allowing three runs and striking out 14 during his two starts this week.

Casey Rasmus - Springfield's newest catcher has five hits in his first 11 Double-A at-bats.

Who's Not

Xavier Scruggs - The power hitting first baseman is just 6 for his last 33 at-bats (.182), striking out 18 times in the midst of his slump.

Team Transactions

July 16th - RHP Zach Petrick received from High-A Palm Beach
July 22nd - INF Luis Mateo sent to Triple-A Memphis
July 22nd - 2B Colin Walsh received from High-A Palm Beach

North Division Standings – second half

Texas League North W L PCT GB ELIM Home Away L10 Stk
Arkansas 18 13 .581 - - 9-7 9-6 4-6 W3
NW Arkansas 17 14 .548 1.0 39 9-6 8-8 6-4 L1
Springfield 15 16 .484 3.0 37 11-6 4-10 5-5 W1
Tulsa* 13 18 .419 5.0 35 4-10 9-8 5-5 L3
* Won 1st Half Division Title

The Cardinal Nation Top 40 Prospect Watch

#12 Stephen Piscotty - On the DL for another week with a strained hamstring

#13 James Ramsey - Now tied for second on the team with 12 home runs on the season

#30 Seth Blair - Leads the team in innings pitched and struck out eight batters in his last outing, giving him 85 strikeouts through 95 2/3 innings

#32 Mike O'Neill - A small dip in average since his back injury but still hitting .306

#39 Tim Cooney - Just four strikeouts behind Blair for the team lead despite throwing 19 fewer innings at the same level.

What's Next

The Cardinals finish the final two of their three-game set at home against Tulsa. The team will then welcome the Naturals into town for four games before heading to Tulsa to finish out July.

Follow me on Twitter: @BrandonJMahler

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