As the first half has just one game remaining, the Palm Beach Cardinals have been eliminated. The champion in the South Division of the Florida State League is the Bradenton Marauders (PIT), with the Tampa Yankees taking the North.
Thanks to a six-game losing skid by neighboring Jupiter, and despite a 1-2 week, the 31-36 Cards remain just above the South Division cellar, seven games out of first place. The second half of the 140-game season officially begins on Thursday with the standings re-set.
The report covers the period of Wednesday, June 15 through Tuesday, June 21.
Wednesday, June 15: Palm Beach 7 at Brevard County Manatees 4
With the win, Palm Beach managed to split the four-game road series against the worst team in the league, as the Milwaukee affiliate is playing under .350 ball this season.
Ian McKinney struck out seven and had a shutout through five, but allowed four runs in his final inning to tie the game. Three of the runs came via back-to-back home runs before he was pulled with one out in the sixth. Kyle Grana pitched a scoreless inning, and picked up the win as the offense came back in the seventh. Rowan Wick earned his sixth save with a perfect ninth.
Oscar Mercado led the offensive attack, with a single, double, walk, two RBI and two runs scored. Blake Drake had a pair of hits and two driven in. Cole Lankford singled, walked and had two sacrifice flies, while Jhohan Acevedo went 1-for-3 with two runs scored.
Thursday, June 16 and Friday, June 17: Off for All-Star break
Saturday, June 18: Florida State League All-Star Game: North 1, South 0
In a pitching duel, the North defeated the South, 1-0 in the FSL All-Star Game at Fort Myers. The lone run scored in the sixth inning.
Austin Gomber tossed a perfect third inning with a strikeout for the South. Rowan Wick took the ball in the ninth and faced three batters, but secured just one out, yielding a hit and a walk, before being relieved. Neither runner scored, however.
Steve Bean caught the final three innings and struck out in his lone at-bat.
Sunday, June 19: Off for All-Star break
Monday, June 20: St. Lucie Mets 2 at Palm Beach 0
Recent acquisition John Walter had a very good start in his second game for Palm Beach, going seven innings and allowing two runs while scattering 10 hits. Cody Schumacher and Chandler Hawkins added a scoreless inning each.
The offense was still on break, however. In his 2016 Palm Beach debut, Collin Radack went 3-for-4 with two doubles. Blake Drake also went 3-for-4 and contributed two assists from centerfield. However, the rest of the lineup managed just two hits among them and could not plate a runner.
Tuesday, June 21: St. Lucie 5 at Palm Beach 0
The Cardinals extended their post-break scoreless inning stretch to 18. In six innings against a Mets starter who came into the game with a 6.19 ERA in 11 starts, the Beach Birds had just one single, and against a trio of relievers over the final three innings, managed only one more single.
Matt Pearce took a shutout into the sixth, when he yielded a two-run home run and three St. Lucie scores in all, more than enough to be saddled with the loss. Against Landon Beck in the ninth, he road club tacked on two more tallies, including a leadoff bomb.
With the Beach Birds having played just three games this past week, I will look at hot and cold players during the month of June instead.
Jack Flaherty. TCN’s second-ranked Cardinals prospect has logged two exceptional June outings totaling 14 innings with no earned runs allowed (one unearned). During that time, Flaherty has yielded just seven hits, two walks and struck out 17.
Cody Schumacher. The right-handed reliever and former Missouri State standout has not given up a run in light work this month, 3 2/3 innings. Schumacher allowed three hits, a walk and fanned five.
Chandler Hawkins. The reliable left-hander has yielded just one June run in eight innings of relief to go with six hits, three walks and two strikeouts.
Jesse Jenner. The catcher, St. Louis’ seventh-rounder last June, is Palm Beach’s leading hitter in June with a .323 average, .484 slugging percentage and .848 OPS.
Casey Grayson. The steady first baseman is batting .310 in June, but amazingly, the cleanup hitter has no extra-base hits and just two RBI all month to date. Still, his on-base percentage is an amazing .482 this month.
Cole Lankford. In 50 at-bats, Lankford has hit an even .300, but drew just two walks for a meager .315 OBP. His seven June RBI is second-most on the club.
Allen Staton. The third baseman is batting just .197 this month, though his modest total of eight June RBI actually leads the Beach Birds.
Andrew Sohn. The infielder is in the midst of a 4-for-21 (.190) month with no walks. Ouch!
Orlando Olivera. Expected to be a run-producer, it isn’t working out that way for the outfielder. Olivera has just three June RBI to go with a .213 batting average and .495 OPS.
Jhohan Acevedo. The fill-in outfielder is 4-for-25 (.160) with eight strikeouts this month. Not much more to say.
Jacob Evans. The left-hander, St. Louis’ sixth-rounder from last June, has suffered through a bad month to date, with 11 runs yielded in 10 innings for a 9.90 ERA.
Landon Beck. It is always bad to allow more baserunners than outs secured. The reliever has been slapped around for seven earned runs in just 3 2/3 June innings on nine hits and three walks.
FSL Season Leaders
Matt Pearce has fallen out of the top 10 in the league in ERA (2.67) but remains tied for fourth with many pitchers with six wins.
Rowan Wick is tied for seventh in the FSL with six saves.
Jacob Evans’ 11 home runs allowed is the most in the circuit.
With his .400 on-base mark, Casey Grayson is third in the league.
Blake Drake’s 14 doubles tie him for fifth in the circuit.
Darren Seferina’s four triples put him in a tie a number of others for sixth-most in the FSL.
Seferina is tied with Oscar Mercado for fourth in the league with 18 steals and has a nice success rate of 78 percent. On the other hand, Mercado has been caught 13 times for just a 58 percent success rate.
Not much to say about the numbers. Other than drawing walks on offense and not issuing them from the mound, Palm Beach’s team stats mostly remain among the league also-rans.
|Offense||Season/rank of 12||Last week/rank|
|BA||.235 / 10th||.236 / 9th|
|OBP||.316 / 6th||.319 / 6th|
|SLG||.308 / 11th||.310 / 11th|
|OPS||.624 / 10th||.629 / 9th|
|Runs/game||3.6 / 10th||3.7 / 8th|
|Walks||250 / 1st||245 / 1st|
|Steals||63 of 92 / 4th||58 (of 86) / 4th|
|Pitching||Season/rank of 12||Last week/rank|
|ERA||3.48 / 8th||3.47 / 8th|
|Strikeouts||486 / 9th||467 / 9th|
|Walks||177 / 11th (2nd fewest)||166 / 12th (fewest)|
There were more transactions in the week than games played, a common occurrence for the Beach Birds this season.
6/16: OF Collin Radack from Springfield to Palm Beach
6/17: 2B Mason Katz from Palm Beach to Springfield
Radack, who had been in Double-A all season to date but was not hitting well, was bumped down in the chain of moves that resulted from Carlos Peguero coming off Memphis’ DL. In his first game back, Radack had a pair of doubles and a single batting from the third spot in the order.
Katz, who had missed most of the season with a groin injury, had just been returned to Palm Beach from a nice Springfield introduction three days before. The second baseman was brought back to Double-A in moves resulting from Patrick Wisdom’s injury in Memphis.
6/21: Infielder Andrew Brodbeck from Palm Beach seven-day disabled list to Johnson City
Brodbeck had been a fill-in player at Palm Beach before going on the DL for the second time this season on May 24. Considering the second baseman had spent 2015 in the Gulf Coast League, the Appalachian League assignment makes more sense for his development.
The 23-year-old batted .237 in 12 games with Palm Beach.
6/21: RHR Rowan Wick from Palm Beach to Springfield
Six must be the magic number of saves for a closer to be promoted to Springfield from Palm Beach. Earlier this season, it was Kevin Herget who moved up, and on Tuesday, Rowan Wick joined him in the Texas League. The two remain Palm Beach team co-leaders with a half-dozen saves each.
Palm Beach’s replacement for Wick has not yet been announced.
With the transfer of Brodbeck, the Beach Birds’ DL list is down to six, its lowest count in weeks. Three pitchers are on shelf: Silfredo Garcia, Will Anderson and Josh Wirsu. Injured position players are infielder Danny Diekroeger, utilityman Casey Turgeon and outfielder Michael Pritchard.
Palm Beach is two games into six straight scheduled against St. Lucie Mets, three home and three away. The second half officially opens with game four at St. Lucie on Thursday night.
The Cards then head to Charlotte for Sunday and Monday contests before returning to the ‘Dean for a six-game homestand starting on Tuesday against Fort Myers and St. Lucie again. Their next scheduled day off is not until July 12.
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