Cards Arizona Fall League Notebook: 10/31/14

Four Cardinals prospects appeared with mixed results in Peoria’s Thursday home loss to Glendale.

Results from the game played Thursday, October 30th.

Glendale 4 at Peoria 1

Two seventh-inning tallies snapped a 1-1 tie, sending the Javelinas to a 4-1 loss at the hands of the Desert Dogs.

Both runs came off Mitch Harris (L, 0-1) on two doubles, a single and wild pitch in his only inning of work. Harris struck out two and 13 of his 17 pitches went for strikes. The righty had made five consecutive scoreless appearances prior to today covering 6 2/3 frames.

Indians right-hander Dylan Baker started for Peoria (7-12-2), yielding a run on five hits during his three-inning stint. The Javelinas tied the game up in the sixth when Cody Stanley’s groundout brought across right fielder Jordan Smith (CLE).

Stanley, one of six Peoria players with one hit each, went 1-for-4 with a strikeout and an RBI, serving as the designated hitter and batting clean-up. Fellow St. Louis farmhand C.J. McElroy was hitless in two at bats out of the nine hole but the left fielder drew a drew a free pass and swiped his fifth bag.

A defensive miscue by McElroy led to Glendale’s final score in the ninth. With Sam Tuivailala on the mound and one out, the Desert Dogs’ sixth-place batter reached on McElroy’s fielding error. A wild pitch by Tuivailala allowed the runner to advance to second, putting him in position to score on the first of two singles permitted by the right-hander. Another fielding error plus Tuivailala’s second wild pitch of the inning put two in scoring position with one out but the reliever finished the frame with a swinging K and 5-3 ground out.

Brian Walton’s commentary

As is to be expected from young players, each of the four Cardinals to appear on Thursday had both good and bad moments.

McElroy showed patience at the plate, with a walk his first time up. He then stole second base handily before being stranded. The outfielder currently has an odd stat line that features more stolen bases and walks, five each, than hits, four. The organization knew that the Arizona Fall League would be a challenge for a 21-year-old with no experience above the Midwest League, but put McElroy’s mind at ease by stating his priority should be to keep improving, not focus on numbers.

Next time up, McElroy showed no patience at all, grounding out 6-3 on the first pitch he saw with his club’s first runner of the day that reached scoring position.

Stanley’s fourth-inning single was lined with authority into the right-center gap. However, the DH was too aggressive on the bases, getting caught off first for a double play when the next batter lined out to the shortstop.

Harris’ first offering, a 94 mph fastball, was turned into a one-hop blast off the warning track in center field for a double. He touched 95, but it was on a wild pitch. A single and another double ensued as three runs scored. Harris collected two strikeouts on very good 88 mph cutters.

Sam Tuivailala threw the top of the ninth, featuring a 94-95 mph fastball. He secured his first out on an 80 mph curveball. Two singles and two errors, including one on a dropped catch by McElroy on the full run in short left, allowed one unearned run to score. Tui had no walks, but uncorked two wild pitches. One was on a 58-foot curve.

On the error, my guess is that McElroy may have been distracted by the third baseman sprinting out as he was coming in. Though the infielder pulled off before a collision, it may have affected McElroy’s concentration as the ball clanged off his open glove.

I am in Arizona to see baseball. So, even though the Javelinas/Cardinals are not involved in Thursday night’s AFL contest, I moved from Surprise Stadium following the afternoon game to Salt River Fields to catch the Surprise Saguaros versus the Salt River Rafters.

Once I surveyed the field, I was immediately reminded of a ball that then-19-year-old Oscar Taveras hit in an AFL game in October 2011. I witnessed the left-handed hitter blast a home run that struck the base of the light tower in right field (centered in the above photo). Locals estimate the distance between 425 and 450 feet.

In closing, I have a scheduling conflict that will keep me from Peoria’s Friday game, but will add my in-person commentary to the Fall Stars Game write-up on Saturday. Sam Tuivailala will be participating.

Friday’s game: vs. second-place Surprise (8-11-1), 12:35 pm MST, Jaime Schultz (TB) (0-3, 7.90)

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