Johnson City Cardinals Notebook: 2014 Week 9

The playoff push continues for the Johnson City Cardinals, just one game out of second place. Outfielder Anthony Ray's 11 hits helped lead last week's charge.

The Johnson City Cardinals continue to be in the hunt for one of the two available postseason spots and ended the week with a two-game win streak. The Cardinals (29-26) concluded the week on a high note after dropping their early week series to Kingsport, which has a one game advantage over Johnson City for second place.

Sunday, August 10 at Hunter Wright Stadium - Kingsport 7, Johnson City 4

Kingsport was able to put the halt on any Johnson City bright spot to open the week with a win on their home field.

Casey Grayson went 2-for-4 for the Redbirds, driving in two runs. Chris Rivera and Oscar Mercado each added an RBI.

The Cardinals used five pitchers with Juan Caballero taking the loss after giving up four runs, one earned, in 1 2/3 innings of relief. Starter Juan Perez allowed five runs over the first five.

Monday, August 11, at Hunter Wright Stadium - Johnson City 3, Kingsport 2

Kingsport rallied late but Johnson City had the pieces already in place to take the contest. Infielder Casey Grayson (2 RBI) and outfielders Blake Drake and Anthony Ray added two hits each. Bladimil Franco also made his presence felt with a run-scoring hit.

Steven Farinaro picked up his second win of the year in the start, pitching five scoreless innings. Anderson Gerdel added his fifth save.

Tuesday, August 12 at Hunter Wright Stadium - Kingsport 8, Johnson City 7

For a second straight game, the Mets used a late push but it proved to be effective this time as Kingsport took the series.

The Cardinals could only muster four hits with outfielder Carlos Torres driving in two runs to lead the charge. Isaac Silva chalked up his first loss of the year in relief.

Wednesday, August 13 at Calfee Park - Game One: Pulaski 8, Johnson City 1, Game Two: Johnson City 4, Pulaski 2

Infielder Casey Grayson went yard with a solo shot, but it would be the only score of the game for the Redbirds in the game one loss to the Mariners. Dailyn Martinez was rocked on the hill for seven runs on eight hits.

In game two, Anthony Ray went 2-for-3 at the plate and scored three runs to help the Cardinals knot up the series with Pulaski. Back after missing a good portion of the season with injury, Bladimil Franco added two hits. Jonathan Escudero picked up the win in relief.

Thursday, August 14 at Calfee Park - Pulaski 7, Johnson City 4

Cole Lankford went 3-for-4 at the dish including a two-run homer and three RBI but it was not enough for victory. Adam Ehrlich, recently assigned to the Cardinals as a catcher, added two hits and Casey Turgeon drove in one. Juan Caballero recorded his second loss of the season.

Friday, August 15 at Calfee Park - Johnson City 9, Pulaski 8

Outfielder Blake Drake drove in four runs, but his biggest production came in the ninth, as he scoring on an error to break an 8-8 tie and propel the Cardinals to the win. Earlier, Drake knocked a three-run home run.

Casey Turgeon, Cole Lankford and Anthony Ray tacked on two hits each in the victory.

Anderson Gerdel continues to strut his stuff in relief, recording his fourth win with 2 2/3 innings pitched. Closer Ismael Brito recorded his ninth save of the year.

Saturday, August 16 at Joe O'Brien Field - Johnson City 9, Elizabethton 5 (11 innings)

A push in extra innings helped the Cardinals steal a game from the league-leading Twins and keep postseason hopes alive.

Cole Lankford plated two in the 11th while Carlos Torres added an RBI and Casey Turgeon scored on an error.

Ray, Torres and Turgeon cranked three hits each to add to the Cardinals’ 16 base knocks. Infielder Oscar Mercado (2-for-5) belted his third homer of the year in the third with one on.

Starter Juan Perez had a no decision while Ismael Brito picked up his second win of the year in relief, tossing two scoreless innings.

Who's Hot

Anthony Ray - Ray was on a mean strike last week with 11 hits and 4 RBI. Ray has raised his season batting average from .192 to .234 in the process.

Blake Drake - Drake added five hits and four RBI this week, raising his season total to 26 runs batted in.

Carlos Torres - Torres contributed a hit in each of his five game appearances. The outfielder added three RBI.

Cole Lankford - The infielder had eight hits, including a homer, last week. Lankford is the third member of this group to drive in four runs during the period.

Who's Cold

Juan Caballero - The 'Cab' stalled on the Appy League Road last week by picking up his first two career losses. Caballero has a 3.38 ERA on the season.

Jesus Ustariz - The slugger hit a rough patch last week with only two hits and three strikeouts in 11 at-bats.

Charlie Neil - Neil filled the void last week behind the plate for Jose Godoy but struggled. Neil struck out seven times and only added three hits in 13 at-bats over five games.

Christian Muscarello - Christian has had trouble making an impact with the stout infield core. The free agent signee only played in only two games last week with one hit.

JC Notes

* Second baseman Casey Turgeon continues to make strides at the plate as the only Johnson City player batting over .300 (.322).

* Casey Grayson leads the Cardinals with 37 runs batted in on the year. Blake Drake, the Cardinals home run leader with five, is second in RBI with 26.

* Infielder Oscar Mercado has the wheels, leading the Appalachian League in steals with 20.

* Juan Perez sits fourth in the league with a 3.04 ERA.

* The Cardinals continue to enjoy the most saves in the league with 20.

Roster Transactions

On Saturday, relief pitcher Kender Villegas was assigned to the State College Spikes. On Wednesday, catcher Adam Ehrlich was moved from State College to Johnson City.

Appalachian League Standings

West Division
1) Elizabethton Twins 31-24
2) Kingsport Mets 30-26
3) Johnson City Cardinals 29-26
4) Greeneville Astros 27-27
5) Bristol Pirates 16-38

East Division
1) Danville Braves 33-22
2) Princeton Rays 30-24
3) Pulaski Mariners 29-25
4) Bluefield Blue Jays 27-29
5) Burlington Royals 22-33

The Week Ahead

Johnson City opens up the final two weeks of the season with a doubleheader against Bristol on Sunday. The Cardinals remain in Pirates Country until a day off on Wednesday. A three-game stand at Danville will cap off the week.

Follow Curtis Carden on Twitter @CurtisCarden_ER.

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