With less than twenty games to play, the season is coming down to the final stretch. The Palm Beach Cardinals trail the Bradenton Marauders by one game for the Florida State League South Division second half crown. The two teams will begin a critical series on Friday night at the ‘Dean’.
August 13: Charlotte Stone Crabs 2, Palm Beach Cardinals 0
The Cardinals were shut down on Wednesday night, connecting for five hits as they were shut out by the Stone Crabs’ staff.
The lack of offense spoiled a solid start from Tyrell Jenkins. The Cards right-hander went seven innings, allowing eight hits, two earned runs with three strikeouts.
August 14: Palm Beach Cardinals 5 at Charlotte Stone Crabs 4
Palm Beach took the rubber match of the three-game series on Thursday night behind a strong pitching performance by Nick Petree (W, 6-4). The righty went seven innings, scattering six hits, allowing one run and striking out four.
Offensively, the Cards scored five runs on just three hits. They made the most of their opportunities, connecting for three hits with runners in scoring position and taking advantage of five walks. Luke Voit, Jimmy Bosco, Ildemaro Vargas and Mason Katz picked up one RBI each.
August 15: Postponed
August 16: Palm Beach Cardinals 4 at Fort Myers Miracle 2, Fort Myers Miracle 5, Palm Beach Cardinals 0
After rain cancelled Friday night’s game, the Cardinals and Miracle returned to action on Saturday and split a twin bill of seven inning contests.
Palm Beach took the opener as Jimmy Reed (W, 5-1) went five innings, allowing four hits and two earned runs to earn his fifth win of the season. Ronnie Shaban tallied the save with a scoreless seventh inning. It was his first FSL save since 2013.
Voit put the game out of reach with a solo homer in the sixth inning. He was the only Cardinal to record two hits on the night, finishing 2-for-4 with two runs scored and one RBI.
The Cardinals ran out of luck in the nightcap, getting shut out on five hits. Mason Katz went 3-for-3 with a double.
August 17: Fort Myers Miracle 6, Palm Beach Cardinals 5 (11)
In need of a series-clinching win against the Miracle, the Cardinals fought hard to score two runs in the top of the ninth inning and send the game into extra innings.
However, reliever Corey Baker (L, 5-2) struggled. The right-hander allowed two runs to let the 3-3 tie slip away in the eighth and also yielded the game-winner in the 11th.
In the final frame, a walk and a single put runners on first and second with one out. After a pitching change brought in Shaban, Adam Walker ended the game with an RBI single.
The Cardinals fought bravely, but were on the ropes all night. The Miracle tallied 17 hits, but left 13 runners on base.
August 18: Off Day
August 19: Palm Beach Cardinals 4, Jupiter Hammerheads 3
David Washington’s eighth inning go-ahead homer propelled the Cardinals to a win over the Hammerheads. The Cardinals got off to a great start, scoring three runs in the first two innings.
However, Jupiter jumped back in the game, scoring three runs off Cards starter Tyrell Jenkins. The righty allowed six hits, three runs and punched out six batters in seven innings. He did not factor in the decision as he left the game in a 3-3 tie.
Recently-added Kevin Herget recorded the win with a perfect eighth inning and Shaban (S, 2) added his second save of the week and year with a scoreless ninth.
In Lee We Believe: Thomas Lee started the season on the starting rotation, but was moved to the bullpen with the bevy of prospects that joined the team in June. After struggling with the initial move, Lee has found his groove in August. In five games, he is 2-0 with a 1.04 ERA. He has struck out five batters in less than nine innings. Lee leads the team in wins (8) and is second in innings pitched (89 1/3)
Summer Heat: The bats have cooled off of late. In 17 August games, the Cardinals are hitting .221 (120-for-542) with 12 home runs and 57 RBI.
Not too Shabby: After recording 18 saves in 21 chances in 2013, Ronnie Shaban has returned to his old role as closer of the Beach Birds. In two tries, he is 2-for-2 in save opportunities. He will likely keep getting the ball at the end of games as former closer Chris Perry was placed on the DL on Saturday.
8/16 RHP Chris Perry placed on the DL
8/16 RHP Kevin Herget assigned to Palm Beach from Peoria
8/19 INF Greg Miclat to Springfield from Palm Beach
On the Horizon
The Cardinals will enjoy a three-game series with Jupiter before taking on the first-place Marauders starting Friday night. The matchup will feature the two top teams in the South.
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