Palm Beach Cardinals Notebook: 2013 Week 19

The last three weeks, the roller-coaster Florida State League Cardinals went 1-6, then 6-0, then 1-6. Joey Cuda has become the ace of the staff.

Two weeks ago, the Palm Beach Cardinals reeled off eight wins in a row, but now they cannot find victories. With six losses in the last week, the Beach Birds have dropped to third in the standings. They will get their chance to get back in the mix, however, as six of their next seven games are against the South Division front-runners.

August 9: Jupiter Hammerheads 3, Palm Beach Cardinals 2

The Cardinals failed to make it nine straight victories as the Hammerheads beat Palm Beach 3-2 on Thursday night. After fighting back from two runs down in the top of the sixth, the Cardinals couldn't hold off the Hammerheads in the ninth. Jupiter started the ninth inning with a leadoff single by Alfredo Lopez off of Ronnie Shaban (1-5), moved to second on a bunt by Noah Perio and scored on an RBI single by Wilfredo Gimenez.

Top 2013 draft pick Marco Gonzales made his second start for Palm Beach, going four innings, allowing two runs on six hits. He struck out four with no walks, but didn't factor in the decision.

August 10: St. Lucie Mets 5, Palm Beach Cardinals 4 (10)

The bullpen swallowed another bitter pill, as the Cardinals were left standing on the field for the second straight night. With the score tied at 4-4 in the bottom of the tenth inning, Iden Nazario (1-2) gave up a single to T.J. Rivera and a double to Kevin Plawecki, putting runners in scoring position with no outs. Manager Johnny Rodriguez summoned right-hander Shaban from the bullpen to face the heart of the Mets order. Shaban loaded the bases with an intentional walk, induced a force out the plate for the first out, but gave up the game-winning hit to Rylan Sandoval, propelling the Mets over the Cardinals.

Offensively, David Popkins kept the Beach Birds in the game, going 2-for-5 with two runs scored and an RBI.

August 11: St. Lucie Mets 9, Palm Beach Cardinals 8 (12)

The Cardinals jumped out to a commanding 7-2 lead to start the game, making the loss even more painful. Nick Longmire delivered one of the big blows, as his two-run home run in the third gave the Cardinals a 4-0 lead. However, it wouldn't last as the Mets stormed back to tie in the bottom of the eighth and eventually won in 12 innings.

Nazario (1-3) suffered the loss, giving up a walk-off homer to Kyle Johnson. The Cardinals had a big night offensively, collecting 14 hits and scoring eight runs. Eight of the nine players in the starting lineup had at least one hit, while five had multi-hit games. Longmire paced the attack, going 3-for-5 with two runs scored, three RBI and a home run.

August 12: St. Lucie Mets 8, Palm Beach Cardinals 4

The Cardinals suffered their fourth straight loss. Hector Hernandez (3-1) was pummeled by the Mets offense, allowing eight runs on eight hits in 5 1/3 innings. The left-hander had trouble with his command the whole evening, issuing five walks. Most of the damage was caused by the long ball, as the southpaw gave up two homers that accounted for half of the runs.

Offensively, Jacob Wilson went 2-for-3 with two walks and Patrick Wisdom went 2-for-3 with a run scored and an RBI.

August 13: Palm Beach Cardinals 4 at Bradenton Marauders 1; Bradenton Marauders 4, Palm Beach Cardinals 0

In need of big pitching performance to stop the four-game slide, Joey Cuda (3-0) delivered a gem for the Palm Beach Cardinals. The right-hander hurled six scoreless innings, scattering three hits, walking two with seven strikeouts. He picked up his third victory of the season, as the Cardinals pounded out four runs on eight hits to pick up the victory in game one.

Jonathan Rodriguez led the offense, going 2-for-3, while Alex Mejia added two hits and two runs scored for the Cardinals.

The Cardinals were halted in the nightcap, as two Marauders hurlers combined to toss a seven-inning shutout. Wilson had two of the four Cardinals hits, but it wasn't enough as Bradenton took a 4-0 lead early in the game.

Tyler Melling (3-4) allowed four runs on five hits in 3 2/3 innings, taking the loss.

August 14: Bradenton Marauders 3, Palm Beach Cardinals 1

The Cardinals suffered another tough defeat, dropping their sixth game in their last seven. Marauders' Pat Ludwig dominated the Cardinals, limiting the offense to two hits over seven innings of scoreless ball. The Marauders jumped to a 1-0 lead, as Stetson Allie hit a solo bomb off Cardinals starter Kurt Heyer (5-4). The Marauders did not look back, adding two more runs in the seventh. Heyer suffered the loss, tossing 6 2/3 innings, allowing seven hits, three runs, two earned, while fanning four.

Danny Stienstra was the lone Cardinal to drive in a run, going 1-for-4 on the night.

Standings Watch: The Cardinals had a small edge in the division standings last week, but with their current slide, they have dropped to third place. They are 2.0 games behind the Charlotte Stone Crabs and 2.5 behind the front-running St. Lucie Mets.

Cooling Off: Anthony Garcia is hitting .083 (2-for-24) with two runs scored in his last seven games. The outfielder hasn't homered since July 9. On the season, he is hitting .219 (70-for-316) with 16 doubles, one triple, 12 home runs and 43 RBI.

Quality Arm: Joey Cuda has taken over as the Palm Beach Cardinals ace. In four starts, the right-hander is 3-0 with a 1.44 ERA. He has recorded 18 strikeouts in 25 innings, with all four quality starts. Cuda was the only Cardinals hurler to win a game last week.


8/8/13: OF Jimmy Parque released by St. Louis
8/9/13: RHP Sam Gaviglio sent to GCL Cardinals on a rehab assignment from Palm Beach.

On the Horizon

The Cardinals played one more game at Bradenton on Thursday before returning home for a lone game with Charlotte on Friday. They will finish the Charlotte series in Port Charlotte, Fla. with Saturday and Sunday contests before returning to the Dean for a critical series with the St. Lucie Mets starting on Tuesday.

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