Cardinals Minor League Notebook: 08/26/14

The system went 4-1 on Monday as Memphis, Johnson City and the GCL Cardinals won key contests for their play-off hopes. State College was victorious as well but Springfield’s season is on life support. Palm Beach and Peoria’s bids for postseason were play postponed. The Memphis pitching troika of Zach Petrick, Kevin Siegrist and Eric Fornataro are our Players of the Day.

Results from games played Monday, August 25th.

Memphis 1 vs. Fresno 0

The Redbirds (75-61) blanked the Grizzlies (SF) for the second straight game, regaining sole possession of first in the American Southern with six games to go. Memphis leads the four-game series 2-0.

Three Redbirds hurlers, our tri-Players of the Day, made a single tally stand up, tossing a combined two-hitter while not issuing a free pass. Zach Petrick was superb, moving up in the rotation to take Tyler Lyons’ start after Lyons was recalled to St. Louis on Monday. Petrick (W, 7-6) allowed just two base runners through five, one via a lead-off double in the second and the other when he plunked a guy in the fifth. The 25-year-old, signed as a non-drafted free agent in June 2012, struck out seven, three looking, with six ground- and two fly-ball outs. 47 of his 74 pitches went for strikes.

Kevin Siegrist gave up Fresno’s third and final base runner of the game on a two-out single in the sixth, the first of his two innings on the bump. The lefty fanned his last four batters faced. Eric Fornataro retired the side in order twice for his 15th save.

Memphis’ only run crossed in the fourth when Xavier Scruggs reached on a wild pitch after striking out, which would have ended the inning. Ed Easley made the Grizzlies pay, doubling to right and knocking in Scruggs. Easley and Pete Kozma both had two of only six Redbirds’ hits, Kozma working a base-on-balls and swiping a bag.

Tuesday’s game: vs. fourth-place (Pacific Northern) Fresno (65-72), 7:02 pm CT, Boone Whiting (4-6, 3.63)

Spotlight on – Boone Whiting. Whiting received a no decision in his last start, a 7-1 win over Sacramento (OAK), holding the River Cats to a run on five hits and four walks in 4 2/3. The righty has seen the fifth inning just one in his last four starts.

Playoff watch – While Memphis is playing the bottom dweller of the Pacific Northern Division, chief rival Nashville faces the division-leading River Cats who is in a tight race with Reno for their title. Sacramento aided both their own and the Redbirds’ cause on Monday, blasting the Sounds 20-1 in a game Nashville probably just wants to forget. Both Memphis and Nashville play two more at home against their respective foes before finishing on the road.

Tulsa 4 at Springfield 3

A run off Chris Thomas in the eighth broke a 3-3 tie, sending the S-Cards to a 4-3 defeat and giving Tulsa the three-game sweep. Second-place Springfield (29-33) is down to their last gasp, only one game away from elimination.

Thomas (L, 1-1) simply did not have it in his second appearance since coming off the disabled list, yielding a run on two hits and a walk with two outs recorded. Jeremy Berg went 1 1/3 innings, striking out three, issuing two free passes and leaving two of Thomas’ runners on.

Thomas and Berg pitched in relief of Kyle Hald, who fanned eight in six frames, permitting five hits and two bases-on-balls, resulting in two runs. One of those five hits was the 18th home run the lefty has served up this season. Mitch Harris was charged with a tally on two hits in the seventh. Both Hald and Harris threw a wild pitch.

Springfield spent the night playing catch up, answering the Drillers’ single scores in the top of the second, third and seventh with their own in the bottom of each frame. Jonathan Rodriguez, Alex Mejia and Curt Smith each had two of eight team hits, Rodriguez scoring one and Mejia driving one in on a sac fly.

Tuesday’s game: vs. first-place Arkansas (37-26) (LAA), 7:10 pm CT, Sam Gaviglio (5-12, 4.38)

Spotlight on – Sam Gaviglio. Springfield sends Gaviglio to the mound with their season on the line. The righty garnered a quality start against Northwest Arkansas on the 21st, surrendering three runs on nine hits and two walks in six. His scheduled opposite number is 23-year-old southpaw Tyler DeLoach, who sports a 1.90 ERA in four starts since being promoted from A-Advanced Island Empire.

Playoff watch – Going into the Tulsa series, the S-Cards were five behind Arkansas with a four-game series between the two teams still to come. Springfield needed to at least match Arkansas but instead were swept by the third-place Drillers. Barring a near epic collapse by the Travelers, Springfield’s season is all but over.

Palm Beach vs. Jupiter - postponed

The Beach Birds’ series opener with Jupiter was postponed because of a power outage in the area. The two squads will play a two-for-Tuesday double header in which each team gets to be the home team once.

Tuesday’s games: vs. sixth-place Jupiter (20-41) (MIA). Game one – 5:05 pm ET, Tyrell Jenkins (5-4, 3.39)/Nick Petree (6-4, 2.23)

Spotlight on – Nick Petree. Petree went up against the Hammerheads last time out, allowing three runs, two earned, on six hits in 7 1/3. In fact, the righty has tossed quality starts all three times he faced Jupiter this season.

Playoff watch – Second-place Bradenton (PIT) downed third-place Ft Myers (MIN) on Tuesday, leaving the Marauders a half-game in back of the PB-Cards (38-25) and the Miracle 1 ½ back. Fourth-place Charlotte won as well but is within one of being eliminated.

Peoria at Clinton - postponed

Game two of the Chiefs’ three-game set at Clinton was rained out and has been re-scheduled as part of a Tuesday twin bill.

Tuesday’s games: at sixth-place Clinton (27-35) (SEA). Game one – 5:30 pm CT, Luis Perdomo (3-4, 4.50)/TBA

Spotlight on – While the game two starter has not been announced, Peoria’s regularly scheduled starter is Rob Kaminsky (7-2, 1.81) who has dominated Class A opponents as a 19-year-old. (He turns 20 next Tuesday.) A recent snapshot of how the lefty has fared comes in his three most recent starts – all against third-place Wisconsin (MIL). Kaminsky gave up three runs in 5 1/3 on August 2nd, followed by two runs in 6 1/3 on the 8th then a tally through six on August 21st – Three straight starts against a quality foe and his results improved each time out.

Playoff watch – First-place Kane County (CHC) won on Monday while second-place Cedar Rapids (MIN) did not, leaving the Cougars with a magic number of three to claim both the first- and second-half titles. That would then give the second-place team a post-season slot with Wisconsin, Quad Cities (HOU) and fifth-place Peoria (30-32) vying for the wild card slot. Those three teams are within 2 ½ games of each other in the standings with eight to play for Peoria.

State College 4 at Mahoning Valley 3

The Spikes (42-27) got back on the winning track on Monday, edging the Scrappers (CLE) 4-3 in the first of two at Mahoning Valley.

Starter Trey Nielsen gave up all three Scrapper tallies during his 4 1/3-inning stint, permitting three hits, including a solo shot, and three bases-on-balls to go with three strikeouts. He hit one batter.

The final two runners scored under Brandon Lee’s watch. Lee (W, 4-2) gave up a hit and free pass over 2 1/3. Nick Lomascolo fanned three in 1 1/3, permitting one hit. Kyle Grana pitched around a one-out single in the ninth, picking up his seventh save.

State College built a 4-0 lead with a run in the third plus three in the fourth, mustering seven hits and five walks. Luis Cruz singled twice in three at bats with a base-on-balls, touching home once with two RBI. He was the only Spike with more than one hit. Left fielder Chase Raffield went 1-for-3 with a free pass, double and two runs scored.

Tuesday’s game: at sixth-place Mahoning Valley (30-38), 7:05 pm ET, Dewin Perez (5-2, 3.68)

Spotlight on – Dewin Perez. Perez took the loss against Auburn (WSH) on the 20th, surrendering three runs on five hits and three walks in five. In contrast, the righty got the win versus Mahoning Valley on August 13th, giving up three tallies on eight hits and a free pass over 5 1/3.

Playoff watch – Although the Spikes have the third-best record in the New York-Penn League, they are the first and only team to clinch so far. The play-offs are comprised of the three division champions plus one wild card team. The wild card team will play the division champion with the best record while the other two division champions face off against each other. Right now Hudson Valley (44-25) (TB) leads the McNamara and Tri-City (43-26) (HOU) is atop the Stedler. Brooklyn (38-31) (NYM) (McNamara) and Connecticut (36-33) (DET) (Stedler) are the chief rivals for the wild card.

Johnson City 5 at Kingsport 3

Second-place Johnson City (34-30) won a big game at Kingsport on Monday, downing the third-place Mets 5-3 and evening the series at one all with one to go.

The Appy Birds took the initial lead, pushing across two in the first but Kingsport responded with three in the home half of that frame on a three-run bomb off Dailyn Martinez (W, 6-3). Martinez shut down the Mets over the next four frames, permitting six hits and three walks along with two wild pitches.

The JC-Cards went back up 4-3 in the fourth before adding a seventh-inning insurance tally. Blake Drake went 3-for-5 with a run scored and Devante Lacy singled twice in five at bats, crossing once. Three other Appy Birds had one hit each including Jesus Ustariz, who went 1-for-4 with a run scored and one knocked in.

Anderson Gerdel held down Kingsport over three innings, yielding a hit and fanning three. Jonathan Escudero was perfect in the ninth, earning his second save.

In a side note, Johnson City hitting coach Chris Swauger was tossed in the eighth by home plate umpire Reid Joyner. (Related to Wally Joyner, mayhaps?)

Tuesday’s game: at Kingsport (33-31), 7:00 pm ET, Matt Pearce (2-4, 4.39)

Spotlight on – Matt Pearce. Pearce is coming off back-to-back starts in which he allowed four earned runs in five innings. That includes an August 12th outing versus the Mets during which Pearce yielded five runs, four earned, on four hits and two walks.

Playoff watch – Johnson City’s win on Monday was big on two fronts: They gained a game on first-place Elizabethton (MIN), now two games up, and gave themselves a one-game lead over Kingsport for the West Division Wild Card slot. The season is down to four games.

GCL Cardinals 4 at GCL Mets 0 (10)

A Gulf Birds’ pitching quartet tossed some one-hit sweet music as the GCL Cardinals (33-23) blanked the Gulf Mets 4-0 in 10. The victory drops the Mets 2 ½ games off the Gulf Cards’ pace and a win against them tomorrow clinches the East Division title.

Starter Jack Flaherty sang lead for the first five frames, working around two errors that allowed runners to reach plus a hit batsman through four. The only hit given up on the day came with one out in the fifth when the Mets’ first baseman beat out a bunt down the third base line. Flaherty struck out four with eight ground- and four fly-ball outs.

Steven De La Cruz took the middle chorus, pitching the sixth and seventh and working around shortstop Edmundo Sosa’s third error of the game that let a runner reach with two out in the seventh. Yeison Medina (W, 3-1) dominated his stanza on the mound, retiring six straight, four on strikeouts. Jery Then brought it all home with a one-two-three 10th.

While the Cardinals’ pitching staff maneuvered around Sosa’s three sour notes, Mets’ hurlers could not do the same. Two free passes sandwiched around two errors opened the floodgates in the 10th, resulting in three unearned tallies. Malik Collymore and Ricardo Bautista were each issued a free pass, Collymore eventually scoring on the second miscue of the inning.

A single by Magneuris Sierra jammed the sacks full, putting Bautista in position to score on a wild pitch. Michael Pritchard’s single brought Sierra across and another single by Jake Gronsky drove in Sosa, who had reached on a fielder’s choice. Sierra and Pritchard each had two of the team’s eight hits.

Tuesday’s game: vs. GCL Mets (31-26), 10:00 am ET, Ronnie Williams (0-5, 5.46)

Spotlight on – Ronnie Williams. Williams faced the Mets in his last start, surrendering three runs on seven hits and taking his fifth loss. Let’s hope the offense is wearing their hitting shoes.

Playoff watch – Only two teams remain standing in the East, as the Nationals were eliminated by their seventh loss in a row. As mentioned above, the Gulf Cardinals’ magic number for clinching their division is down to two with four games remaining.

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