When pinch-hitter Irving Wilson poked a single to right field with one out in the bottom of the ninth to score pinch-runner Luis Flores with the winning run in a 12-11 barnburner against the Marlins on Wednesday, the Gulf Coast League Cardinals were 4-1 and looking like they were on a roll.
Then the wheels fell off.
In the four games that followed, all losses, the Cardinals totaled just two runs on 16 hits while committing seven errors. That’s a half of a run and four hits per game after averaging more than six runs, eight hits and one error per game in the first five contests.
In Friday’s game, a 17-0 loss to the Nationals at Viera, manager Steve Turco was ejected amid a 12-run, 12-hit third inning by the Nationals, which seemed like a bit of overkill since rehabbing major-leaguer Bronson Arroyo was shutting out the Cardinals on three hits over five innings.
The Cardinals followed that disaster by getting swept in a doubleheader Sunday at home by the last-place Astros, who held the Cardinals to only one run and five hits over 14 innings.
After going 2-5 for the week, the Cardinals (4-5) fell from first place to fourth, a half-game ahead of the Astros.
This four-game skid has dropped the Cardinals to last or near last in almost every offensive category in the five-team division, and near the bottom of the 17-team GCL.
On the pitching side, things haven’t gone much better.
The Cardinals team ERA of 5.92 and WHIP of 1.77 are both the highest in the league, though the Astros are not much better with a 5.78 ERA and 1.68 WHIP. The Cards have allowed the most hits and are second to the Astros in most walks allowed, though all five East Division teams are in the top seven in walks allowed.
Still, there have been a few bright spots.
Wilson, a 19-year-old catcher from Mexico, was 3-for-8 at the plate during the week and has shown signs he is a more than able backstop.
Andy Young, the Cardinals’ 37th-round pick this year out of Indiana State, had three hits and two RBI in the 12-11 win Wednesday, and was 4-for-11 for the week.
Lefty pitcher Anthony Ciavarella, the 24th-rounder from Monmouth (N.J.) College, has made three appearances, including a three-inning start in game two Sunday, without allowing a run.
St. Louis native Robbie Gordon, the 36th-round pick from Ladue Horton Watkins High School and Maryville University, has also pitched scoreless ball for four innings over three appearances, allowing only two hits and a walk while fanning five.
The lucky player of the week was reliever Silas Bohannan, a Neosho native who attended College of the Ozarks before signing last year. Bohanan gave up five runs to the Marlins in the ninth inning Wednesday, but picked up the win when the Cardinals came back in the bottom half and was not charged with a blown save because the four-run lead he tried to protect was not a save situation.
Top draftees update
None of the Cardinals’ top three drafted pitchers this June - Dakota Hudson, Connor Jones and Zac Gallen - have made their professional debuts as of yet.
Among the top three position players drafted, shortstop Delvin Perez is 9-for-28 (.321) plus two walks and is 3-for-3 in stolen bases overall, but is just 4-for-20 (.200) in his last six games after a 5-for-8 start in his first two games as a professional.
The other two high-bonused hitters are still looking for consistency. Dylan Carlson has five singles in 29 at-bats (.172) plus a walk and fellow outfielder Walker Robbins is batting .111 (two singles and two free passes in 20 plate appearances) since signing.
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