Ryan Helsley (Allison Rhoades/Peoria Chiefs)

Insider news from the St. Louis Cardinals’ Florida State League affiliate in Palm Beach for the period of April 12-18.

The Palm Beach Cardinals went 3-4 on the week and are two games out of first. Though he has yet to win, right-hander Ryan Helsley has made two strong starts.

Game Summaries

April 12: Palm Beach Cardinals 8 at Charlotte Stone Crabs 7 (F/10)

Two batters after a Danny Diekroeger single started the top of the 10th inning, Luke Dykstra crushed a two-run homer to left center, pushing Palm Beach to a 8-7 win against the Stone Crabs, their fifth consecutive road victory to open the season. Despite being charged with a blown save, Jacob Evans picked up the win after tossing 2 1/3 innings in relief. In the bottom of the tenth, Landon Beck gave back a run, but collected the save.


April 13: Game 1: Clearwater Threshers 1, Palm Beach Cardinals 0
             Game 2: Palm Beach Cardinals 1 at Clearwater Threshers 0

One mistake for Zac Gallen proved to be too costly, as a Threshers home run in the bottom of the first was the only run scored in Game 1 of the Thursday doubleheader. The right-hander was solid in his six innings of work, striking out six and allowing seven hits through 82 pitches. The Cardinals left a total nine men on base, stranding runners on third base during the first, third, and sixth innings. A day after his game-winning home run, Dykstra was 2-for-3 with two singles.


Palm Beach returned the favor in Game 2, winning 1-0 behind Leobaldo Pina’s RBI single scoring Dykstra in the top of the fourth inning. Ian McKinney pitched five innings of three-hit ball to pick up the win. However, the victory came with a cost as Magneuris Sierra had to leave the game after being hit by a pitch in the top of the seventh inning. Sierra was placed on the 7-day DL due to concussion symptoms. Both Pina and Austin Wilson went 2-for-3.

April 14: Clearwater Threshers 6, Palm Beach Cardinals 2

Despite getting early run support thanks to a Dykstra RBI single, starting pitcher Derian Gonzalez struggled in his start against the Threshers, allowing seven hits, six runs (all earned) and two home runs in 5 2/3 innings. Dykstra remained hot at the plate, going 2-for-3 with an RBI. Edmundo Sosa and Chris Chinea each added two hits.

April 15: Clearwater Threshers 2, Palm Beach Cardinals 1 (F/10)

In just his second game back with Palm Beach, Casey Turgeon went 2-for-3, including a home run, but that was the only run the Cardinals could get on the board for Ryan Helsley. Helsley pitched 6 2/3 innings, allowing a run (solo HR) on four hits. Beck yielded a game-winning two-out double in the bottom of the 10th inning for his first loss of the season. Ross Vance pitched two shutout innings, and has not allowed a run in his four appearances this year.

April 17: Palm Beach Cardinals 3, Tampa Yankees 1

After starting nine of their first 11 games away from Roger Dean Stadium, Palm Beach treated their home crowd to a 3-1 victory on an overcast night in Jupiter. Turgeon and Jeremy Martinez had back-to-back RBI singles in the bottom of the third inning to give the Cardinals a 3-1 lead. That was more than enough for Jake Woodford. In his six innings of work, Woodford allowed a run (solo HR) on six hits through 79 pitches.  

April 18: Tampa Yankees 1 at Palm Beach Cardinals 0

Hits were at a premium as the teams combined for only seven. The Yankees scored the game’s only run in the top of the ninth against McKinney. A one-out walk proved costly as Abiatal Avelino, after stealing second, scored on a groundball single past Sosa at shortstop. Sosa, diving for the groundball, left the game after that play due to injury. Connor Jones was terrific in his start, allowing just two hits through six shutout innings and 92 pitches.


Three up

1. In his two starts, hard-luck starter Ryan Helsley has not gotten a decision despite allowing only one run, four hits and possessing a 0.69 WHIP in 11 2/3 innings. Helsley deserves to be in the win column and will get there soon enough.

2. The Cardinals have played in eight one-run games through the first 13 games of the season (4-4) and currently own a plus-3 run differential. It is a small sample size, but Palm Beach fans have been treated to exciting games going down to the wire.

3. Casey Turgeon his filled in nicely for the injured Magneuris Sierra. In his four games, Turgeon has picked up hits in three, going 5-for-14 (.357), with a home run and three RBI.


Three down

1. It has been a slow start for many in the Cardinals lineup. Six batters with at least 26 at-bats are hitting under .214 (Diekroeger, Dykstra, Pina, Wilson, Spitz, Arozarena).

2. Landon Beck is tied for the league lead in saves with three. However, Beck hasn’t been as sharp his last two appearances as he was in his first two, allowing three hits and two runs while putting up the loss his last showing against Clearwater. Beck’s ERA has risen to 4.15.

3. Derian Gonzalez has struggled with his command in his two appearances. In 9 2/3 innings, the right-hander has given up 13 hits, five walks and three home runs, including two in his last start against Clearwater. Gonzalez currently holds a 7.45 ERA.

Team Stats

While the pitching staff has put together a solid two-week stretch to open the season, the bats sit on the opposite end of the spectrum. The Palm Beach staff ranks fourth in the FSL in ERA (2.56) and hits allowed (95). Meanwhile, in the 12-team league, the Cardinals rank ninth in batting average (.230) and OPS (.621) and in the bottom third in hits (97) and total bases (132).

Standings - Florida State League South – First Half

Bradenton Marauders (PIT) 9 4 0.692 -
Palm Beach Cardinals (STL) 7 6 0.538 2
St. Lucie Mets (NYM) 7 6 0.538 2
Jupiter Hammerheads (MIA) 5 8 0.385 4
Charlotte Stone Crabs (TB) 4 9 0.308 5
Fort Myers Miracle (MIN) 4 9 0.308 5


4/14: 3B Casey Turgeon assigned to Palm Beach Cardinals from State College Spikes


4/14: Palm Beach Cardinals placed CF Magneuris Sierra on the 7-Day disabled list.

Week ahead

After finishing their four-game series against the Tampa Yankees, Palm Beach will host the Charlotte Stone Crabs (TB) for a three-game weekend set. Following an off day, the Cardinals will travel north for a three-game series against the Florida Fire Frogs (ATL).


Follow Patrick Bernadeau on Twitter @PatBernadeau.

© 2017 The Cardinal Nation, thecardinalnation.com and scout.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

The Cardinal Nation Top Stories