Springfield Cardinals Notebook: 2013 Week 20

Fast-rising prospect Zach Petrick is part of the strong pitching propelling the Cardinals into first place in the Texas League North.

The Springfield Cardinals have not only used momentum to swing into the divisional playoff race but rode a hot streak into a one-game lead in the Texas League North. Players such as Tim Cooney, who is the Texas League Pitcher of the Week for the second consecutive week, and Zach Petrick have carried the Birds as they hope to secure another league title.

Tuesday, August 13th, Springfield 9 at Frisco 7

The Cardinals headed to Frisco on Tuesday in a three-way tie for first place atop the Texas League North with 20 games to go. Seth Blair got the start but was ineffective as the RoughRiders jumped in front 7-2. That included an RBI single off the bat of former Cardinal and rehabbing big leaguer, Lance Berkman. After allowing seven runs in the first two innings, Blair threw a scoreless third. Blair's three innings included seven runs on seven hits and two walks.

Zack Russell followed with three scoreless innings before Kevin Thomas earned the win by throwing two hitless innings - the seventh and eighth. Jose Almarante collected his third save with a perfect ninth.

After trailing in the first, Springfield answered with a pair of runs in the top of the second. Cody Stanley got the Cardinals on the board with a RBI single followed by a RBI sacrifice fly from Starlin Rodriguez.

After falling into a five-run deficit, the Cardinals started chipping away again with a pair of runs from catcher's interference with the bases loaded and a wild pitch in the top of the third inning.

The Cardinals completed the comeback with three runs in the top of the fifth inning when Rodriguez struck again with a booming two-run double to left field. Luis Mateo followed with an RBI single to shallow center field, bringing in Rodriguez for the 7-7 tie.

Springfield moved in front with two more runs in the top of the eighth inning. Adam Melker then lined an RBI single to left field, scoring Mateo and Vance Albitz for the 9-7 win.

Wednesday, August 14th, Springfield 1 at Frisco 6

In the middle game in Frisco on Wednesday, Richard Castillo was given the task of retaining the Cardinals' tie for the lead in the division with the Arkansas Travelers. Castillo kept the team in it through the first three innings. However, he then allowed two runs in the fourth and another in the fifth for a total of four runs on eight hits through five innings.

Reliever Heath Wyatt followed in the sixth with two innings of work, surrendering an additional run before Justin Wright entered to allow another run in the eighth to cap the 6-1 loss.

At the plate, the Cardinals struggled to put a run on the board. It wasn't until the eighth when the Cardinals finally scored on a RBI groundout from Luis Mateo. As at team, the Cards put together six hits, including two off the bat of Xavier Scruggs. Scruggs and James Ramsey had the team's two doubles.

Thursday, August 15th, Springfield 7 at Frisco 1

In the series finale at Dr. Pepper Ballpark on Thursday night, the Cardinals received another outstanding performance from starter Tim Cooney. As Springfield looked to take ts third series win n a row, Cooney delivered with exactly what the Cards needed. The lefty earned his seventh win by going seven strong innings allowing just one run in the third and striking out seven.

Thomas relieved in the eighth and threw a perfect inning before he turned the ball over to Lee Stoppelman for a scoreless ninth.

The Cardinals got on the board first in the third when Ramsey crushed a solo home run, his 15th with Springfield. It went over the right field wall. The Cardinals got the bats going again in the top of the sixth inning. Scruggs collected an RBI before Cody Stanley launched a three-run home run to right field, belting the Cardinals into the 5-1 lead. Springfield padded the lead more in the top of the seventh, scoring on a wild pitch from former Springfield and St. Louis Cardinal Kyle McClellan, finalizing the 6-1 win.

Friday, August 16th, Springfield 2 at Midland 7

After winning three consecutive series, the Cardinals headed to Midland on Friday to take on the RockHounds with sole possession of first place in the division. Zach Petrick made the start and evened his record at 2-2 since joining the Double-A club. Petrick lasted five innings, surrendering three runs on four hits.

Reliever Danny Miranda then allowed two runs on three hits in the next inning and a third. Russell followed Miranda in the seventh by walking three batters and allowing another run without recording an out. Wright put out the fire by recording the next five outs without a hitch or a baserunner.

Springfield's offense plated its first of two runs in the top of the fifth inning. Mateo led off the frame with a walk, moving to second as Casey Rasmus reached on an error. Colin Walsh came through with an RBI groundout to second base, scoring Mateo from third to make it 3-1.

The Cardinals tacked on another run in the top of the sixth inning when Adam Melker lined an RBI base hit to left field, bringing home Scruggs from second base to pull the Cardinals within one run, 3-2. That was all the scoring the offense could muster as the team put together just six hits, none of them for extra bases.

Saturday, August 17th, Springfield 10 at Midland 11

Saturday night brought a high scoring affair in Midland with Anthony Ferrara on the mound. Ferrara had been building some consistency in his two starts prior to Saturday but gave up six runs before even getting out of the first inning. Ferrara finished after three innings surrendering six runs, five earned.

Wyatt followed with 2 2/3 innings of work allowing one run before giving way to Stoppelman who threw 1 1/3 scoreless frames. Almarante entered in the eighth and recorded two outs in the midst of allowing three runs on four hits before Wright got a strikeout to end the inning. Thomas took over in the ninth and unfortunately spoiled the Cardinals comeback effort by allowing a walk-off single with one out.

Offensively, the Cardinals scored 10 runs on 15 hits. Gotay was the biggest contributor as he went 4-for-5 with two RBI, giving him 80 RBI on the season, good for third in the Texas League. Scruggs also had a multi-hit game, going 2-for-5 with three RBI, giving him 70 on the year. Ramsey was 2-for-6 with two RBI. The Cardinals trailed 10-5 entering the ninth and were able to plate five runs to tie the game before suffering the walk-off loss.

Sunday, August 18th, Springfield 3 at Midland 2

In the final game of the road trip in Midland on Sunday, the Cardinals received an outstanding effort from lefty Jonathan Cornelius. With a chance for the Cards to take sole possession of first place, Cornelius stepped up by giving six strong innings, allowing just one run on four hits and three walks.

Miranda followed with a run-free seventh and Thomas concluded his scoreless relief outing by retiring the first batter in the bottom of the ninth after a perfect eighth. Stoppelman entered to get the final two outs and despite giving up a solo home run, earned his fourth save with Springfield.

The Cardinals plated the first run with two away in the top of the first inning when Scruggs ripped an RBI single to left-center field. Springfield again broke a tie in the top of the sixth inning on a Starlin Rodriguez groundout. The Cardinals then tacked what became the winning run in the top of the eighth inning when Stephen Piscotty shot an RBI double just inside the left field line. Gotay and Rodriguez were both 2-for-4 in the win.

Who's Hot

Tim Cooney - Named Texas League Pitcher of the Week for the second straight week, Cooney was brilliant again in his start against Frisco. In his last two starts, Cooney has allowed just two runs in 15 innings while striking out 17.

Who's Not

Jake Lemmerman - With Luis Mateo receiving the bulk of the playing time at shortstop, Lemmerman has only had 22 plate appearances since July 27th. Lemmerman has since been moved to the DL.

Team Transactions

August 14 - SS Jake Lemmerman placed on seven-day DL
August 15 - INF Tyler Rahmatulla activated from the DL

North Division Standings – second half

Texas League North W L PCT GB ELIM Home Away L10 Stk
Springfield 29 27 .518 - - 19-10 10-17 6-4 W1
Arkansas 28 28 .500 1.0 14 16-13 12-5 3-7 L1
NW Arkansas 27 29 .482 2.0 13 15-12 12-17 5-5 L2
Tulsa* 27 29 .482 2.0 13 13-14 14-15 4-6 L4
* Won 1st Half Division Title

The Cardinal Nation Top 40 Prospect Watch

#12 Stephen Piscotty - Batting .379 against left-handed pitching as opposed to .232 against righties. He has been showing his hitting ability as 10 of his 34 hits have gone for extra bases.

#13 James Ramsey - The power continues to show. Now he has 27 extra base hits including his 15th home run of the season this week.

#30 Seth Blair - The inconsistent righty struggled mightily in his most recent start, surrendering seven runs in just three innings of work.

#36 Colin Walsh - Doing a solid job of holding down second base since arriving in Springfield, but still adjusting at the plate, batting just .228 through 92 at-bats.

#39 Tim Cooney - The lefty is on fire earning his second consecutive Texas League Pitcher of the Week award with another outstanding start.

What's Next

With 14 games left to play and a one game lead in the division over the Arkansas Travelers, the Cardinals return home on Tuesday to play host to the Naturals for a four-game series. Following, they head to Tulsa on Saturday for three games with the Drillers before going to Little Rock for three more.

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