It was an action filled week for the Johnson City Cardinals, as they were yet again playing catch up due to the inclement weather that came through at the end of last week. The Cardinals went 4-4 and lost their third series out of five for the 2015 season, yet at 8-9 overall, they are only one game out of a share of first place.
Here’s what happened!
July 6th: Johnson City Cardinals 0, Bristol Pirates 2 (DH game one - seven innings)
After a Sunday postponement, the Cardinals took Howard Johnson Field on Monday evening for a double header Appalachian League matchup against the Bristol Pirates.
The Cardinals couldn’t seem to get into rhythm, and were blanked on four hits. Josh Wirsu took the loss despite a solid effort in which the starter allowed two runs on six hits and a walk over six innings.
July 6th: Johnson City Cardinals 8, Bristol Pirates 2 (DH game two – seven innings)
In game two of the Cardinals-Pirates Monday doubleheader, Johnson City capitalized on scoring opportunities early, putting up crooked numbers in the first three innings. Chris Chinea had an exceptional game, going 3-for-4 and raking in two RBI. Ryan McCarvel and Paul DeJong hit the Cards’ two home runs. DeJong’s was his fourth of the year.
Sasha Kuebel picked up the win with two perfect innings of relief.
July 7th: Bristol Pirates 1, Johnson City Cardinals 4 (DH game one - seven innings)
Finishing up their series against the Pirates, the Cardinals travelled to Bristol to play a double header postponed from July 4th, at Boyce Cox Field.
In the first game, the Cardinals had no problem continuing their momentum from the day before, beating the Pirates 4-1. In relief of Ryan Helsley, Harley Holt earned the win with 3 1/3 scoreless innings.
Malik Collymore led the way for the Cardinals, scoring twice and hitting a big triple in the 6th inning, knocking in Ryan McCarvel. Collymore also doubled and stole a base.
July 7th: Bristol Pirates 1, Johnson City Cardinals 3 (DH game two – seven innings)
In game two of the doubleheader at Bristol, quick innings and low scoring seemed to be the tune. Bryan Dobzanski pitched five innings and only allowed one run, the only run for the Pirates in the contest, earning him the win. Ben Yokley added the save with four strikeouts, and only allowing one hit in his two innings.
July 8th: Johnson City Cardinals 6, Greeneville Astros 4
On Wednesday, the Cardinals opened up another Appalachian League series against the Greeneville Astros at Howard Johnson Field.
Starting pitcher Ronnie Williams had a very strong showing for the Cardinals, with seven strikeouts and only one hit allowed in his five innings, earning him the win.
Edmundo Sosa led the Cardinals with three hits, while Ryan McCarvel provided the Cardinals their only home run.
July 9th Johnson City Cardinals 2, Greeneville Astros 9
In game two of the Astros series, the Cardinals were not able to continue the strong play from game one. Greeneville came out of the gate strong, scoring single runs in both the first and second innings.
The Cardinals didn't get on the board until the bottom of the fifth, when Hunter Newman scored on a Malik Collymore single, their lone run of the game. Multiple three-up three-down innings kept the score pretty evenly distributed until the 6th inning, when Julio Mateo gave up five runs, basically sealing the Cardinals’ ugly fate.
July 10th Greeneville Astros 10, Johnson City Cardinals 4
A seven run hit parade in the early innings proved to be the demise of Johnson City in the final game of their series against Greeneville.
Cardinals starting pitcher Ramon Santos was throwing the ball extremely hard, but also very erratically, which ultimately led to his removal after giving up four runs in the third inning.
The Cardinals hitters’ lack of discipline at the plate led to many strikeouts on balls in the dirt. Chris Chinea had the Cardinals lone homer, among his two hits on four at bats. By dropping this series to the Astros, the Cardinals fell out of first place in the West Division and lost three of five series to start the 2015 season.
July 11th: Elizabethton Twins 5, Johnson City Cardinals 1
An Allen Staton homer in the top of the fourth was the Cardinals’ only run on Saturday as they took on the Elizabethton Twins in the first game of the series at Joe O’Brien Field.
Going into the bottom of the 8th inning, the Cardinals were only down by one run, but formidable Twins pitching would not allow them to capitalize on scoring opportunities late in the game. Magneuris Sierra and Edmundo Sosa both had three hits on four at-bats in the losing effort.
Josh Wirsu pitched 5 1/3 innings, giving up two runs, one earned, on four hits. Reliever Harley Holt was responsible for the remaining three runs, two of which came on an eighth inning home run.
Infielder Allen Staton really seems to be finding his niche within this Cardinals team after being assigned to Johnson City from the Gulf Coast League earlier in the week. Staton is riding a five game hitting streak to begin his Johnson City playing career while going 7-for-15 (.467). He accounted for the Cardinals only run of the game against the Elizabethton Twins on Friday. If Staton keeps us his consistency and fire, he could become a force to be reckoned with.
Catcher Ryan McCarvel seems to be another player who in his first year as a professional, is finding his way. The 2015 19th round draft pick came into the week batting just .133, but has a four-game hitting streak since that includes two home runs and five RBI while raising his average to .207.
For the second time in a row, pitcher Ramon Santos has to be back on this list. Santos’s recent struggles with accuracy are really hurting his play and in turn, causing his innings to become more and more limited. In Friday’s game against the Astros, he had to be replaced after only three innings when giving up four runs. This comes after his last start when Santos yielded six runs against Pulaski. Through three starts, the right-hander has an unsightly 16.88 ERA.
• 2B Joey Hawkins assigned to Johnson City Cardinals from GCL Cardinals.
• RHP Jonathan Escudero assigned to Johnson City Cardinals from GCL Cardinals.
• 3B Paul DeJong assigned to Peoria Chiefs from Johnson City Cardinals
• IF Allen Staton assigned to Johnson City Cardinals from GCL Cardinals.
After this 4-4 week of play and giving up three of five series to start the 2015 season, the 8-9 Cardinals have fallen to fourth place in the Appalachian League West, with the Bristol Pirates behind in last place. Yet the Cards are just one game back of a share of the division lead, held by the 10-9 Kingsport Mets.
The Cardinals continue their series against the Elizabethton Twins on Sunday and Monday evenings at Joe O’Brien Field in Elizabethton. After an off day on Tuesday, the Cardinals will start another series with Greeneville at home, Wednesday through Friday evenings. On Satuday, the Cardinals will open an away series in Bluefield, Virginia.
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