After a rough start to the month of June, the Palm Beach Cardinals turned their fortunes around some this week, going 5-2 bringing their record on the month to 7-8. The pitching has continued to shine, as the staff gave up one or no runs in five of their past seven games. Unfortunately, the hitting continued its slump, only managing to score more than three runs once over these seven contests.
Now let’s look into the games from this past week.
June 11: Palm Beach Cardinals 3, Brevard County Manatees 0
Due to a rain postponement on the night of the 10th, the Cardinals played a double header on the 11th, and each game was shortened to seven innings. In the first, Alex Reyes tossed five shutout innings while striking out eight, although he walked four and gave up three hits. Offensively, the Cards broke out for 12 hits, including two-hit games by center fielder C.J. McElroy, left fielder Derek Gibson, first baseman Jake Gronsky, and shortstop Robelys Reyes. They were spread in such a way, however, that the team only managed three runs.
June 11: Palm Beach Cardinals 2, Brevard County Manatees 1
In the second game of the doubleheader, left hander Rob Kaminsky nearly matched Reyes’ performance by pitching six innings and giving up just one run on three hits and one walk while striking out five. Unfortunately, the earned run came in the top of the seventh inning, and reliever Josh Lucas was able to grab the win as the Cardinals recovered the lead with a walkoff single from Jake Gronsky in the bottom of the inning. C.J. McElroy also had his second two-hit game of the day and added a stolen base and an assist as the Cardinals defeated the Manatees 2-1.
June 12: Palm Beach Cardinals 2, St. Lucie Mets 1
Trey Nielsen turned in another great start, going seven innings and striking out six, giving up his only earned run in the first inning. The Palm Beach hitters managed to eke out a run in both the fourth and fifth innings to secure the win. Batting out of the ninth spot, second baseman Robelys Reyes sparked the offense by going 1-for-2 with a walk and two stolen bases. Chris Perry struck out one, walked one, and gave up one hit while pitching two innings and recording the save, his seventh of the year.
June 13: St. Lucie Mets 7, Palm Beach Cardinals 3
As he lost his fourth game of the season, Will Anderson gave up three runs over 5 ? innings while striking out five. While the Palm Beach Cardinals managed to score three runs, Steve Sabatino gave up four runs in the eighth inning to give the St. Lucie Mets the final lead and the game. Offensively, Robelys Reyes had the only extra base hit, a double in the top of the ninth. Designated hitter Brett Wiley was the other offensive standout, as he went 1-for-3 with two walks and a run scored.
June 14: St. Lucie Mets 5, Palm Beach Cardinals 2
After a rare off night from Palm Beach’s starting rotation on Sunday, Corey Littrell managed to right the ship on Monday. Although he lasted only four innings, the lefty struck out three and gave up a lone run on five hits. The Cardinals’ relievers collectively were dinged for four runs in four innings, however, and the two runs that the offense scored weren’t enough to stop St. Lucie for the second consecutive night. Brett Wiley was again the most impressive offensive player, as he went 2-for-4 with two singles.
June 15: Palm Beach Cardinals 2, Dunedin Blue Jays 1
Luke Weaver gave the best pitching performance of the week and earned his first win of the season. The 2014 first-rounder gave up two walks, one hit, and no earned runs over six innings while striking out five in the Cardinals 2-1 defeat of the Blue Jays. Although Palm Beach only managed two runs on four hits -- two from DH Casey Turgeon -- those two runs were more than enough to secure the Cardinals their fourth victory of the week. The only run Dunedin managed to score came against Josh Lucas in the seventh.
June 16: Palm Beach Cardinals 6, Dunedin Blue Jays 1
In his second start of the week, Rob Kaminsky won his fourth game of the season with a -nning start in which he gave up only a sole run while striking out five. At the plate, the Cardinals offense exploded for six runs as every player reached base. Both outfielder Derek Gibson and shortstop Juan Herrera recorded three hits. Herrera added a stolen base and three RBI to his ledger, while the top five batters in the lineup, C.J. McElroy, Brett Wiley, Luke Voit, David Washington, and Gibson, all scored at least one run in the rout of the Blue Jays.
In 13 innings this week, Rob Kaminsky yielded only two runs while striking out 10 and walking just two, dropping his ERA to 2.42 on the year. Unfortunately, the lefty was given only one win, but his skills continue to shine through as he has maintained a good ground ball rate while striking out nearly a batter an inning.
Luke Weaver’s one-hit start against the Dunedin Blue Jays was the most impressive single outing this past week, and one of the best so far this season. Although Weaver hasn’t had a great start to his 2015, his 1-3 record does not indicate how well he has pitched at times.
Center fielder C.J. McElroy recorded a hit in every game he played this week, going a collective 8-for-24 with two runs scored, three RBI, two walks, and a stolen base. His stolen base total on the season sits at 21, and his .268/.352/.339 line isn’t bad either. All in all, McElroy is putting together a very nice season so far.
Will Anderson has had a rough time at Palm Beach so far this year, with an ERA of 4.53 and only one win over eight starts. His outing this week didn’t help much, as he gave up three earned runs over 5 ? innings. The right-hander will look to turn his luck around going forward, as he pitched very well at Peoria earlier this season.
In five games this week, catcher Carson Kelly recorded only two hits as his batting average dropped to .177 on the year. There isn’t a lot positive happening with the Cardinals’ prospect, and he has begun to lose playing time.
Although already mathematically eliminated from the first-half title, Palm Beach’s recent hot streak managed to keep them out of last place as the 31-34 team currently enjoys a one game lead over the Bradenton Marauders. The Charlotte Stone Crabs have officially won the division for the first half and will advance to the playoffs in September.
What’s up next?
After finishing the series with the Dunedin Blue Jays on Thursday, the Palm Beach Cardinals will take a three-day break for Saturday’s Florida State League All-Star Game, returning to regular action next Monday against the Fort Myers Miracle.
Cardinals FSL All-Stars are Luke Voit and Alex Reyes.
Follow Chris Greene on Twitter @PBCBeat.
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