The Palm Beach Cardinals have continued their hot streak by going 5-2 this week, bringing their overall record to 9-4 and remaining in a three way tie for first place with Pittsburgh’s High-A affiliate, the Bradenton Marauders and the Minnesota Twins’ affiliate, the Fort Myers Miracle. After a rough first half, it is good to see the Cardinals rebounding and getting off to a hot start in the second. Let’s took a look at how they’ve been doing.
July 1: Fort Myers Miracle (Minnesota Twins) 6 at Palm Beach Cardinals 2
Trey Nielsen’s incredible hot streak came to an end to open the month of July. For the first time in seven starts, Nielsen gave up more than one run as the right-hander surrendered five runs to the Fort Myers Miracle in just 2 ? innings. Although lefty Tyler Melling threw an admirable 4 ? one-hit innings in relief, the offense wasn’t able to come back from the early five-run deficit. The Cardinals scattered seven hits while scoring two runs. Center fielder Blake Drake was the only player with a multi-hit game, going 2-for-3 with a double, a triple, and a run scored.
July 2: Palm Beach Cardinals 1, Fort Myers Miracle 0
In a closely contested game, Palm Beach’s pitching won out as Corey Littrell gave up just four hits while striking out three over 6 ? innings to earn the win. The only scoring came on designated hitter Derek Gibson’s double in the bottom of the fourth inning, as left fielder Collin Radack scored after his leadoff walk. That single run proved to be enough, however, as relievers Josh Lucas and Chris Perry combined for 2 ? perfect innings to close out the victory.
July 3: Palm Beach Cardinals 4, Fort Myers Miracle 3
In another tight game, the Palm Beach Cardinals won again, this time on the strength of first baseman Luke Voit’s walkoff home run in the bottom of the 10th inning. Voit carried the offense by driving in all four runs and going 3-for-5 with two doubles in addition to his game winning home run. Recently promoted third baseman Danny Diekroeger also contributed two hits, a walk, and a run.
Nick Petree pitched reasonably well, giving up three runs in five innings before turning the game over to the bullpen. Kevin Herget earned his second win of the year with two scoreless innings to end the game.
July 4: Palm Beach Cardinals 2 at Charlotte Stone Crabs (Tampa Bay Rays) 1
Daniel Poncedeleon gave the Cardinals a good start in his first game after being called up from the Peoria Chiefs, throwing six scoreless innings and striking out two to give Palm Beach the Independence Day win. Although the offense didn’t exactly provide fireworks with only two extra base hits, they managed to put together two runs thanks to Danny Diekroeger, who was 2-for-5 with a triple, a stolen base, and two RBI. Catcher Carson Kelly and DH Casey Turgeon also contributed two hits apiece, although neither were involved in the scoring.
July 5: Palm Beach Cardinals 10 at Charlotte Stone Crabs 0
The Cardinals brought their winning streak to four with a 10-0 shutout of the Stone Crabs, a club struggling in the second half. Luke Weaver had an outstanding start, giving up just four hits and a walk while striking out four over six scoreless innings to earn the win.
Offensively, the game was somewhat odd as Charlotte outhit the Cardinals 7-5, but committed four errors that lead to six unearned runs. Nonetheless, catcher Jose Gonzalez was the offensive standout, as he went 1-for-3 with a walk, a home run, an RBI, and two runs scored.
July 6: Charlotte Stone Crabs 4, Palm Beach Cardinals 0
After watching the Stone Crabs commit four errors the game before, the Cardinals matched the feat as they lost 4-0 to bring their four game winning streak to an end. Rob Kaminsky pitched nearly as well as usual, giving up just one earned run on six hits and a walk over seven innings, but he was still hung with his fifth loss of the season. The righthander struck out just two batters, which is well below his usual 7.45 K/9. Offensively, the Cardinals only managed three singles and a walk while striking out 11 times against rehabbing MLB pitcher Jake Odorizzi.
July 7: Palm Beach Cardinals 9 at Bradenton Marauders (Pittsburgh Pirates) 8
In stunning come-from-behind fashion, the Cardinals salvaged Trey Nielsen’s second rough start in a row by scoring six runs in the top of the ninth to capture a 9-8 win. The Cardinals’ offense had a great night, igniting for 13 hits and four walks. Catcher Carson Kelly and shortstop Andrew Sohn were the only players without a hit, although Kelly did draw a walk. Unfortunately, the pitching wasn’t quite as good, as Nielsen gave up four earned runs in four innings on route to his no decision.
Luke Weaver turned in another great start for Palm Beach on Sunday, going six innings, and giving up just four hits and a walk while striking out two. The 2014 first round draft pick has been good for the Cardinals, pitching to a 2.58 ERA in 45 1/3 innings so far. At just 21 years old, he has plenty of time to get even better.
Just two days after being called up to Palm Beach, Daniel Poncedeleon threw six scoreless innings, giving up just six hits and a walk while striking out two on Saturday. Although it was just his first start for Palm Beach, hopefully there will be many more to come for the young right hander.
After pitching incredibly well for more than a month, Trey Nielsen had a rough week. Over two starts, he pitched only 6 ? innings, giving up nine earned runs, 14 hits, and two walks. Having followed his performance over the past weeks, it’s clear that Nielsen is a better pitcher than this, and hopefully he’ll be able to return to his dominant form.
Yet again, Carson Kelly is appearing on this list. Although he did have one good game in the past week, going 2-for-4 with a run scored on the Fourth of July, Kelly was a combined 0-for-14 with just one walk in his other four starts this week. That constitutes a disastrous week, at best, and the young backstop is adding it to an already uninspiring season. It would be great to see him turn it around soon.
July 2: INF Jake Gronsky to Peoria Chiefs
After getting off to a slow start with Palm Beach, Gronsky was demoted to Peoria. He hit only .188/.300/.217 with just two doubles and a stolen base at the Florida State League, and he hasn’t done much better so far at Peoria, with just one hit and one walk to his name in his first three games.
July 2: RHP Ronnie Shaban to Springfield Cardinals
After pitching well for the Springfield Cardinals to begin the season, Shaban was sent to Palm Beach on June 21. In his short time there, Shaban tossed 4 1/3 innings while giving up just one run. A mere ten days later, the right hander was promoted to Springfield again and has thrown 2 1/3 scoreless innings since returning.
July 2: INF Danny Diekroeger from Peoria Chiefs
Before being called up, Diekroeger was performing very well at the Midwest League with the Peoria Chiefs, slashing .293/.364/.405 with ten stolen bases over 242 at bats. So far, the third baseman hasn’t been quite as good at Palm Beach, hitting just .190/.261/.286 over his first five games in spite of two multi-hit games.
July 2: RHP Daniel Poncedeleon from Peoria Chiefs
After pitching to a 2.47 ERA with 6-2 record while striking out 62 over 76 2/3 innings at Peoria, Poncedeleon was promoted to Palm Beach. The tall righty picked up where he left off, tossing six scoreless innings against the Charlotte Stone Crabs on Independence Day to earn his first Florida State League win.
July 4: OF David Washington to Springfield Cardinals
David Washington was demoted to Palm Beach on June 8th after playing reasonably well at Springfield. At the Florida State League, he struggled a great deal, hitting just .141/.239/.231 in 23 games. He’s batting .333 with a .400 OBP in three games since his promotion, so he’s returned to his prior production in the Texas League.
July 4: OF Derek Gibson to Springfield Cardinals
Gibson was promoted to the Palm Beach Cardinals from the State College Spikes on June 2. Since then, he earned his promotion by tearing the cover off of the ball, hitting .376/.420/.441 in 93 at bats. In the three games since his promotion, he has hit pretty well, slashing .250/.400/.375 with a double, a run scored, and a pair of RBI.
July 4: RHP Blake McKnight from Peoria Chiefs
McKnight was lights out in the Peoria bullpen, posting a 1.71 ERA with 29 strikeouts across 47 1/3 innings there. Since his promotion, he’s only thrown 1 1/3 innings, but didn’t allow an earned run in his lone outing.
July 6: LHP Steve Sabatino to Gulf Coast League Cardinals
After being placed on the 7-day Disabled List on June 14th, Sabatino was sent to the Gulf Coast League on a rehabilitation assignment.
July 7: RHP Chris Perry to Springfield Cardinals
In 32 innings with Palm Beach, Perry recorded a 1.97 ERA with an 0.97 WHIP, 34 strikeouts, and 11 saves. A staple in the back end of the bullpen, his strong performance earned him a shot at the Texas League, although he has yet to pitch there.
July 7: INF Robelys Reyes to Springfield Cardinals
Palm Beach’s starting shortstop for most of the season, Robelys Reyes hit .257/.320/.304 and stole 18 bases over 74 games and earned himself a promotion to Springfield. Hopefully he can maintain the same kind of offensive numbers in the more hitter-friendly Texas League.
July 7: LHP Steve Sabatino from Gulf Coast League Cardinals
After throwing one inning for the GCL Cardinals, giving up a hit and striking out one, Sabatino was called back from his rehab assignment and has returned to Palm Beach’s bullpen.
July 7: INF Andrew Sohn from Peoria
With Juan Herrera on the DL and Robelys Reyes called up to Springfield, the Palm Beach Cardinals needed a shortstop and Andrew Sohn fits the bill. He hasn’t performed terribly well at Peoria, slashing just .225/.304/.325, but he does have a good bit of speed, having stolen 16 bases over 58 games.
Opening Day: RHP Cory Jones to 7-day DL
June 2: UT Mason Katz to 7-day DL
June 14: RHP Steve Sabatino to 7-day DL
June 23: INF Juan Herrera to 7-day DL
June 25: RHP Will Anderson to 7-day DL
June 25: RHP Alex Reyes to 7-day DL -- shoulder soreness
In an odd week when the Cardinals’ pitching faltered some, the hitting carried them as they scored 26 runs in seven games. The offense still does not rank well among the other teams, but it was nice to see them show up for a change.
The pitching struggled some this week, mostly behind two rough starts from Trey Nielsen. But it wasn’t just Nielsen that struggled, as the pitching staff surrendered 22 runs in seven games. Undoubtedly this was just a bit of a rough patch for what has been one of the Florida State League’s best staffs, and the pitchers should be back to their lights out ways in the coming week.
The Palm Beach Cardinals remain in a three way tie for first place with the Bradenton Marauders and the Fort Myers Miracle with a 9-4 record. After a rough first half, the Cardinals have gotten hot at the right time and have high hopes of reaching the playoffs in the second half.
Heading into the coming week, the Cardinals will finish up their series with the Bradenton Marauders before taking on the New York Yankee’s affiliate, the Tampa Yankees, for a four game set at home.
Follow Chris Greene on Twitter @PBCBeat.
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