The Johnson City Cardinals wrapped up an abbreviated schedule this week, only playing five of the eight scheduled games due to rain. All games from July 2nd-July 4th were postponed.
Here’s what’s happened!
June 28th: Johnson City Cardinals 8, Burlington Royals 7
After getting off to a slow start, the Cardinals game against the Burlington Royals was delayed due to inclement weather on Saturday evening. The Royals took a 4-0 lead in the top of the second inning before the game was postponed.
When the game resumed the next day, the Cards came out strong, leading off with a homer to left field by Chris Rivera in the bottom of the second. Rivera and Malik Collymore posted impressive performances, hitting the Cardinals only two home runs of the contest. Collymore led the Cards with three RBI, barely surpassing Rivera’s two.
June 28th: Burlington Royals 6 at Johnson City Cardinals 1
Right after beating the Royals in front of the home crowd, the Cardinals had to turn around and face them once again for the regularly scheduled game on Sunday evening. Unfortunately, the Cardinals’ play could not keep up to the Royals in the second contest of the night, as they fell, 6-1. The Cards lone run came in the bottom of the first inning, when Ricardo Bautista scored on a Chris Chinea double on a line drive to right field.
June 29th: Pulaski Yankees 9, Johnson City Cardinals 5
On Monday, the Cardinals took to the road to face the Pulaski Yankees in Pulaski, TN. Starting pitcher Ronnie Williams got two quick outs to start the game, but allowed the next four batters to get on base, ultimately allowing the Yankees to score two quick runs in the first inning. The Cards were up by one run heading into the final inning, but an Allen Valerio grand slam off Steven De La Cruz in the bottom of the ninth pushed the Yankees ahead of the Cardinals 9-5 in the walk off ending.
June 30th: Johnson City Cardinals 8 at Pulaski Yankees 2
In the second game of the series against Pulaski, the Cardinals came out firing, and didn't seem to let up. Luke Doyle scored quickly on a Paul DeJong homer to left center field, and the Cardinals followed that up with five more runs in the second, spurred by doubles by DeJong and Alvarez.
Starting pitcher Julio Mateo allowed no hits in his four innings of play, and was replaced by Sasha Kuebel in the bottom of the fifth. The lefty went on to earn the win against the Yankees, despite allowing two hits in three innings pitched.
July 1st: Pulaski Yankees 9, Johnson City Cardinals 5
In the final game of the series against Pulaski, the Cardinals jumped on Yankees starting pitcher Drew Finley fast, getting home runs by Luke Doyle and Edmundo Sosa. The Cards were up 5-2 heading into the bottom of the 5th inning, until Ramon Santos was hammered for six runs. He was replaced by Harley Holt, who allowed one additional run, making the score 9-5, which it would stay for the rest of the game.
DeJong also homered, but the seven runs from the Yankees proved too much for the Cardinals to overcome. Doyle and DeJong accounted for two RBIs apiece. With this victory, the Pulaski Yankees earned their first series win of the season.
For the week ending on June 28th, two Cardinals players received league Player of the Week honors.
Third baseman Paul DeJong was named Player of the Week for the Appalachian League, and the 2015 fourth-round draft pick shows no signs of letting up judging by his performances for the week ending July 5th. DeJong, who plays third base, hit a double in his first four games with the Cardinals and went 3-for-3 in his fifth, helping him earn his hitter of the week honor. DeJong hit three home runs this week on nine hits, accompanied by multiple quality plays on defense, and truly seems to be finding his niche within the Cardinals organization.
Another Cardinal who continues to look promising is right-handed pitcher Josh Wirsu, who earned Appalachian League Pitcher of the Week honors for the week ending June 28th. Wirsu tossed five scoreless innings against Burlington in the 10-0 victory for the Cardinals over the Royals. This was only Wirsu’s second outing of the year.
Another promising Cardinals player from this week is second baseman Luke Doyle. Though his average is .250, he had four RBI in the last week of play, including a home run to start off in the final game of the series against Pulaski. With this kind of confidence building, the 2015 20th round draft pick could become a force to be reckoned with in the league.
Ramon Santos makes this list after giving up six runs in the Cardinals final game of the series against the Yankees. Those six runs pushed Pulaski over the Cardinals, and the Cards could never rise again. With a combined team ERA of 5.42, which was definitely spurred by Santos’s high ERA for the week, the veteran pitcher needs to be calm in pressure situations.
The third-place Cardinals are currently sitting right in the center of the Appalachian League West with a 4-5 record. The Greeneville Astros (7-4) are leading the pack in the West, while the Bristol Pirates (3-6) are bringing up the rear, currently in last place.
The Cardinals remain home at Howard Johnson Field to take on the Bristol Pirates in doubleheader Sunday July 5th. They will play back-to-back games, due to the July 3rd postponement. After a single game on Monday, the two teams head to Bristol for a Tuesday twin bill.
Johnson City returns home on Wednesday for a series against the Greeneville Astros that runs through Friday. Next Saturday, the Cards head to Elizabethton to face the Twins.
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