Frederis Parra (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

Exclusive, in-depth weekly news from the St. Louis Cardinals’ rookie-level club in the Appalachian League for the period of July 31-Aug 6

Johnson City posted a 4-2 week and is in a tight battle for first place in the Appalachian League West. Standouts include Matt Fieldler, Jonathan Rivera, Andrew Knizner and Frederis Parra.

The Johnson City Cardinals began the week with their first three-game sweep of season over Bristol. Johnson City then dropped two of three games to the Elizabethton Twins. With the 4-2 week, the Cardinals’ record now sits at 23-19 on the season, which puts them just a .5 game out of first place in their division.

Game Summaries

Sunday July 31, 2016: Johnson City Cardinals 4 at Bristol Pirates 3 (14 innings)

Frederis Parra notched his fourth straight quality start, while J.R. Davis and Matt Fiedler went a combined 7-for-13 at the plate to help the Cardinals defeat Bristol in 14 innings Sunday evening, 4-3. With the win, the Cardinals improved to 3-1 in extra-inning games this season.

Fiedler came through with clutch hits on three separate occasions. The reigning Big 10 Player of the Year got the scoring started with a RBI double to score Allen Cordoba in the top of the first. Following his first inning double, Fiedler drove in a go-ahead run in both the 12th and 14th to put the Cardinals on top with the latter ultimately winning the contest. Fiedler drove in Davis on both extra-inning base hits to account for two of Davis’ three runs scored in the contest. Davis’ other run scored came on his second home run of the season in the top of the third.

Parra was outstanding as he pitched a season-high 7 2/3 innings, allowing just two runs (one earned) on seven hits. Parra has yielded just three earned runs over his last two starts, covering a total of 15 innings (1.20 ERA). Following Parra’s departure in the eighth inning, three different relievers tossed the final 6 1/3 innings. The trio of relievers, Leland Tilley, Yeison Medina and Noel Gonzalez, gave up just four hits and one walk in total. Gonzalez received the victory, improving his record to 3-0.   

Monday August 1, 2016: Johnson City Cardinals 10 at Bristol Pirates 2

Johnson City’s offense rang the new month in totaling 10 runs on 13 hits en route to a 10-2 victory over the Pirates. Eight of the nine members of the starting lineup notched hits and everyone reached base at least once.

Leading the way were Allen Cordoba and Matt Fiedler with a pair of doubles each. J.R. Davis, Shane Billings and Caleb Lopes had two hits each.

Austin Sexton made the start. The former Mississippi State Bulldog hurled four innings while allowing two runs (one earned) on two hits. The win went to the newest Cardinals pitcher, Greg Tomchick, who threw three scoreless innings to pick up his first professional victory.

Tuesday August 2, 2016: Johnson City Cardinals 11 at Bristol Pirates 5

The Cardinals’ offense exploded with a seven-run fourth inning to finish off the sweep of the Pirates Tuesday evening, 11-5. The win marked the team’s seventh win in the last eight games.

Offensively, Johnson City was led by Jonathan Rivera, who finished a home run shy of the cycle as he went 4-for-5 with a pair of doubles and two RBI. The four hits by Rivera marked a season-high for him.

Ramon Santos collected his first win as a starter this season as he pitched the first five innings allowing five runs. Santos’ record improved to 2-1 overall. Reliever Levi MaVorhis closed things out as he threw the final three innings to pick up his second save this season.

Thursday August 4, 2016: Elizabethton Twins 5 at Johnson City Cardinals 1

After a day off for the Cardinals, Elizabethton broke out the bats in a big way to begin Thursday’s game in Johnson City as the Twins scored five runs on six hits against Cardinals starting pitcher Daniel Castano. The five-run deficit proved too large for the Cardinals to overcome as they dropped the contest, 5-1.

Jonathan Rivera paced the offense, going 2-for-3 with a double and a walk. Rivera drove in Johnson City’s lone run with that double in the bottom of the fourth. Allen Cordoba also had a two-hit night.

Castano was pegged with the loss after pitching just 1 2/3 innings, the shortest start of his professional career thus far. Johnson City’s bullpen did an outstanding job keeping the team in the game tossing 7 1/3 innings of shutout baseball. Ross Vance was particularly impressive, striking out six hitters in 4 1/3 innings. Despite being a reliever, Vance currently ranks second on the Cardinals’ pitching staff with 29 strikeouts in 18 2/3 innings. 

Friday August 5, 2016: Elizabethton Twins 14 at Johnson City Cardinals 1

After a rain delay of one hour and 38 minutes, the Twins’ offense erupted for a season-high 14 runs Friday evening to take Game 2, 14-1. The loss dips Johnson City’s record against Elizabethton to 2-7 on the season.

Johnson City’s lone run came via a triple by DeAndre Asbury-Heath before J.R. Davis drove him in with a single. Davis was one of two Cardinals to collect two hits, along with Matt Fiedler, who went 2-for-4.

David Oca struggled for the second straight start as he lasted only three innings, allowing four runs on eight hits. The loss moves Oca’s record to 1-2.

Saturday August 6, 2016: Elizabethton Twins 2 at Johnson City Cardinals 5

Backed by a three-run home run by Andrew Knizner, Ian Oxnevad threw seven innings while allowing just one run on seven hits to propel the Cardinals to a 5-2 victory over the Twins on Saturday. The win moves Oxnevad’s record to 4-2 on the season, the most wins by a Cardinals’ pitcher.

In addition to his three-run blast in the bottom of the fifth, Knizner added a single and a walk to finish the evening 2-for-3. Fellow 2016 draftee Matt Fiedler went 2-for-4.

Who’s Hot

http://www.scout.com/player/209608-matt-fiedler?s=321

Matt Fiedler. Fiedler was a major cog in the Cardinals’ offense last week as he hit .435 in 23 at-bats. The former Golden Gopher not only drove in four runs but he also swiped a pair of bases. Fiedler has his batting average up to .294 on the season and he leads the Appalachian League with 15 doubles.     

http://www.scout.com/player/184769-jonathan-rivera?s=321

Jonathan Rivera. Rivera went 6-for-13 at the plate this past week (.462 batting average). Four of Rivera’s six hits were for extra bases (three doubles, one triple). With the stellar week. Rivera rose his batting average from .211 to .250.  

http://www.scout.com/player/169593-frederis-parra?s=321

Frederis Parra.  Parra pitched his fourth consecutive quality start against the Pirates last week. The 21-year old right hander tossed a season-high 7 2/3 innings with just one run allowed. Parra is putting together his best season since 2014 in the GCL when he went 3-2 with a 2.70 ERA. Parra’s 2016 numbers are 1-3 with a 2.52 ERA. His 2.52 ERA currently is the top mark of any pitcher in the Appalachian League.      

Who’s Not

Julio Mateo. Mateo struggled in his 2 1/3 innings of work this past week allowing five earned runs. In his third season in the Appalachian League, Mateo has a 0-2 record and an 11.20 ERA in 13 2/3 innings pitched in 2016.       

Daniel Castano. After not allowing a run in his first three professional starts, Castano has been up-and-down as of late. Castano went just 1 2/3 innings in his last start against Elizabethton and he has allowed five runs or more in three of his last four starts.

Joshua Lopez.  A week after compiling four multi-hit games, Lopez had a relatively slow week offensively going 1-for-7. Despite the slow week, Lopez is still putting up his best offensive numbers of his career, hitting .275 with three home runs and 20 RBI.

By The Numbers

109 – Johnson City has allowed the second fewest walks in the Appalachian League. The only team to allow fewer walks than the Cardinals is Princeton (101).   

http://www.scout.com/player/209596-andrew-knizner?s=321

22 – Andrew Knizner has taken over the Cardinals’ team RBI lead from Lopez with 22. Knizner is also third in the Appalachian League with a .421 on-base percentage, while ranking second on the team with two home runs.    

29 – Despite being a reliever, Ross Vance is second on the team with 29 strikeouts. Vance has a strikeout per nine inning rate of 13.98, which is the top mark of any pitcher on the Cardinals’ pitching staff.    

Transactions

·         In the fourth promotion for Johnson City this season, Jordan Hicks was called up to State College on Sunday. Hicks, St. Louis third-round 2015 draftee, went 2-1 with a 4.20 ERA in six starts at Johnson City.

·         On Friday, reliever Greg Tomchick was recalled to State College. Tomchick, who only pitched in a pair of games for Johnson City, logged a 1-1 record and a 4.15 ERA in his time with the Cardinals.

Injuries

There were no injuries last week.

Appalachian League Western Division Standings

Team W L Pct. GB L10 STRK
Greeneville 24 19 .558 - 7-3 W1
Johnson City 23 19 .548 0.5 7-3 W1
Elizabethton 21 21 .500 2.5 6-4 L1
Bristol 17 25 .405 6.5 2-8 L1
Kingsport 15 28 .349 9.0 2-8 L5

What’s Next

The Cardinals will remain home in the first part of the week as they host Burlington in a three-game series beginning Sunday evening. After its series with the Royals, Johnson City will head out on a 10-game road swing to Greeneville, Princeton, Elizabethton and Bristol. The Cardinals will begin the trip with three games against the Astros Wednesday before starting a series against the Rays Saturday.   

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