Editor’s note: Our new Palm Beach reporter debuts this week. Chris Greene lives in Southern Florida and regularly attends Beach Birds games. He joins The Cardinal Nation from CardinalsFarm.com. Juan Dorado, TCN’s Palm Beach writer since 2012, will continue on the site with a new column to be announced soon. To learn more about Chris and the entire TCN staff, click here.
As the Palm Beach Cardinals work their way into the middle of June, their fortunes haven’t changed. In spite of their solid pitching, the Cardinals have started the month 2-6 and they’ve plummeted into last place in the division. Let’s take a look at how they got there.
June 3: Jupiter Hammerheads 2, Palm Beach Cardinals 1
The Cardinals dropped the final game of a two-game series against the Jupiter Hammerheads in spite of a solid start from 2014 first round draft pick Luke Weaver. Giving up two runs on five hits over six innings, Weaver showed an ability to bear down when he recorded back-to-back strikeouts after giving up a leadoff double in the bottom of the third. Ultimately, however, the effort was all for naught. First baseman Jake Gronsky drove in the only run of the evening, driving in third baseman Brett Wiley after his double in the fourth.
June 4: Palm Beach Cardinals 3, St. Lucie Mets 2
Palm Beach walked off on a wild pitch in the bottom of the ninth against the St. Lucie Mets to take the first game of the series by a score of 3-2. Alex Reyes put in a good, but strange start, giving up one run in 5 2/3 innings, while only striking out three. He did show better command, though, only walking two on the night. Right fielder Derek Gibson was the offensive standout, going 2-for-3 with a double and a run scored, but second baseman Brett Wiley scored the decisive run of the game when he raced home as the ball skittered past Mets’ catcher Adrien Abreu with left fielder Jimmy Bosco at the plate.
June 5: St. Lucie Mets 5, Palm Beach Cardinals 3
Once again, the Cardinals’ starting pitching was strong as Rob Kaminsky went five innings while giving up a single earned run and striking out four. Unfortunately, the defense wasn’t as impressive as a throwing error from shortstop Robelys Reyes allowed two unearned runs to score in the top of the second inning. Although the Cardinals rallied for a run in the bottom of the ninth, it wasn’t enough to make up for the two runs Chris Perry gave up in the top of the inning. First baseman Luke Voit returned to the Palm Beach Cardinals by going 2-for-3 with a run, and RBI, and a walk.
June 6: Palm Beach Cardinals 7, St. Lucie Mets 1
For the first time in June, the Cardinals scored more than three runs, as the offense broke out for seven. Center fielder C.J. McElroy was the star of the show, as he went 3-for-5 with a home run, two runs, and two RBI to back another strong outing from Trey Nielsen, who struck out seven and gave up one earned run over seven innings. A number of times, Nielsen made Mets rehabbing catcher Travis d’Arnaud look off balance, even striking him out once in the fifth inning. First baseman Luke Voit also continued his hot streak since returning, picking up a base hit, an RBI, a stolen base, and two more walks.
June 8: Brevard County Manatees 7, Palm Beach Cardinals 2
An unusually bad start from Palm Beach’s rotation led to a 7-2 loss to the Brevard County Manatees. Will Anderson gave up six earned runs on nine hits in five innings of work, and the Cardinals’ bats couldn’t make up the lost ground. Their only offense came in the fourth inning when third baseman Casey Turgeon drove in right fielder David Washington and shortstop Juan Herrera with a ground ball single to right field to give the Cardinals a 2-0 lead. Unfortunately, Anderson lost the lead by giving up four runs in the fifth inning and another two runs without recording an out in the sixth. Palm Beach gave up one more run, but failed to score again, losing 7-2.
June 9: Brevard County Manatees 10, Palm Beach Cardinals 1
In his second start of the week, Luke Weaver allowed one earned run on a solo homer, but only pitched 1 1/3 innings as three Cardinals errors allowed the Manatees to score eight times in the second inning. In a game delayed by over an hour due to rain, the Cardinals suffered their second blowout in as many nights. The offense managed to muster a single run on second baseman Brett Wiley’s sacrifice fly in the bottom of the third, but the rest of the night was a disappointment as the Cardinals committed four errors and were outhit 17-6.
After a brief demotion to extended spring training camp, first baseman Luke Voit stormed back this week by going 4-for-12 with 4 walks, 2 RBI, a run, and a stolen base, good for a .333 average and a .500 on-base percentage.
C.J. McElroy has also been tearing it up in the month of June, hitting .320 with a .370 OBP, two stolen bases, and a home run.
Since being promoted to Palm Beach in the beginning of May, starting pitcher Will Anderson has struggled, posting a 4.46 ERA. So far this month, he’s given up 20 hits and seven earned runs in 9 2/3 innings while striking out only five.
Catcher Carson Kelly has been in a prolonged slump, hitting only .148 in the last 30 days. So far, June hasn’t been helping him much, as he’s recorded only two hits in 30 at bats while failing to draw a single walk.
June 3: OF Collin Radack to 7-day DL
June 3: C Jose Gonzalez to 7-day DL
June 3: OF Jhohan Acevedo from State College
June 5: IF Cole Lankford to State College
June 5: 1B Luke Voit from State College
June 8: C Jose Gonzalez to Springfield
June 8: OF Jhohan Acevedo to State College
June 8: RHP Silfredo Garcia off 7-day DL
June 8: OF David Washington from Springfield
June 9: RHP Dixon Llorens off 7-day DL, transferred to Peoria
On Monday, the Florida State League announced its selections for the 2015 All-Star Teams with two Palm Beach Cardinals among the 25 members of the South Division squad plus another who has been promoted. They are pitcher Alex Reyes, first baseman Luke Voit and third baseman Bruce Caldwell, with the latter now at Springfield.
For more details on the All-Stars and their accomplishments, click here.
With their Tuesday loss, the 26-32 Cards fell to 13 games behind first-place Charlotte (TB) and were mathematically eliminated from first-half playoff contention. Palm Beach actually has a winning road record at 15-14, but has struggled badly at home, with an 11-18 mark as the home club at Roger Dean Stadium.
What’s up Next
The Cardinals will finish off their four-game set with the Manatees at home on Wednesday and Thursday before taking on the St. Lucie Mets again on the road. They’ll finish their week and into the Florida State League All-Star Break with a four-game series against the Dunedin Blue Jays.
Follow Chris Greene on Twitter @PBCBeat.
© 2015 The Cardinal Nation, thecardinalnation.com and stlcardinals.scout.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.