Gulf Coast League Cards Notebook: 2013 Week 9

All the news from the back fields of Jupiter, Fla. about the St. Louis Cardinals' Gulf Coast League club includes detailed reports on Steven Farinaro, Ian McKinney and Isaac Silva.

Overview

The Gulf Coast League Cardinals (21-29) slipped into a tie for second in the East Division with a 2-4 week. They lost twice by a 2-1 score to the Nationals, who were putting the finishing touches on a 17-game win streak that ended Thursday at the hands of the Marlins. Then the Cardinals split two games each with the Mets and Marlins, who went 4-2 this week to pull even with the Cardinals.

Though the Cardinals lost four of their six games this week, they outscored their opponents 30-21 and outhit them 49-32, but made 11 errors to their opponents' 9.

The highlight of the week was the Cardinals' seven-run seventh inning on Wednesday that blew open a 5-1 game into an eventual 12-2 win over the Mets in Port St. Lucie. Oscar Mercado opened the frame with a walk and advanced to second on a single by Leobaldo Pina. Jake Stone's single drove in the inning's first run. Luis Cruz's single loaded the bases. The second run scored on a balk and another scored on a wild pitch before Rafael Medina singled Cruz home with the fourth run. After a pitching change by the Mets, Jose Godoy walked and DeAndre Asbury blooped a single to load the bases again. Ricardo Bautista hit a sacrifice fly to drive in the fifth run. Anthony Ray hit into a force play for the second out, but Mercado singled to drive in Godoy with the sixth run. Pina walked to refill the bases, then Stone drew another walk to force in the seventh run before Cruz's ground out ended the rally.

This all happened a day after the Cardinals blew leads of 6-2 and 8-4 en route to a 9-8 loss to the Mets in which the Cardinals had the tying run on base with two outs in the ninth in the form of Elier Rodriguez. Manager Steve Turco said he wanted to pinch-run for Rodriguez, but didn't have anyone he could use.

Eliezer Alvarez is out for the season due to wrist and finger injuries. Malik Collymore had left a day earlier to join Team Canada. DeAndre Asbury was pulled from the game after the top of the first inning for disciplinary reasons. Godoy is faster than Rodriguez, Turco said, but he thought he might need Godoy to pinch-hit. Rodriguez advanced to second and then third on wild pitches while Chris Rivera was drawing a walk. With runners at the corners in that situation, Turco might have been able to put on a double-steal play to try to sneak the tying run home, but couldn't risk it with a catcher running at third base, so the game ended when Carlos Torres flied out.

Comings and Goings

There were no transactions involving the team this week.

A Closer Look At

This week's capsule scouting reports on three pitchers are based on interviews with GCL Cardinals pitching coach Darwin Marrero.

Farinaro
Steven Farinaro: The Cardinals' 11th round pick in June from Head Royce High School in Oakland, Calif., Farinaro did not turn 18 until Sunday (Aug. 18). The 6-foot, 170-pound right-hander throws a fastball that sits around 90 mph and touches 92, a curve and a changeup. Marrero said Farinaro's changeup is above average, but he hasn't learned to trust it enough to throw it in key situations.

Farinaro is a hard worker who asks questions to try to improve, which makes him very coachable. Marrero said Farinaro is a "strike machine," and his stats so far back that up – he's fanned 19 in 19-2/3 innings while walking only four.

Ian McKinney: The 18-year-old out of Boone High School in Orlando, Fla., was the Cardinals' fifth-round pick this June. The 5-foot-11, 185-pound southpaw has compiled a 0.42 ERA in eight appearances spanning 21-1/3 innings thus far, including three starts. He has not allowed an earned run since his first outing, and pitched very well in his last two starts, holding the vaunted Nationals in check both times.

One reason McKinney has pitched well against the Nationals, who use their speed to unravel many pitchers, is that he has a good move to first and doesn't lose anything pitching from the stretch, Marrero said. McKinney commands an 87-89 mph fastball on both sides of the plate, though he touches 90, and mixes in a curve and a slider along with a changeup. Marrero said McKinney's slider is better than his curve, but the Cardinals will let him develop both for a while.

Silva
Isaac Silva: Signed last year out of San Pedro de Macoris (the Cradle of Shortstops) in the Dominican Republic, the 21-year-old left-hander hasn't enjoyed as much success this season in the Gulf Coast League as he had last year in the Dominican Summer League.

The 6-foot-2, 190-pounder throws a two-seam fastball at 90-93 mph with good life, but has yet to "realize he can use his fastball to get outs," Marrero said. When he can establish his fastball, Marrero said, Silva will be able to use his curve ball and changeup to greater effect. Silva also needs to work more on his fielding and holding runners, Marrero said.



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