Randy Arozarena (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

Insider news from the St. Louis Cardinals’ Florida State League affiliate in Palm Beach for the period of June 7-13.

The Palm Beach Cardinals won two tough extra-inning contests on the road and hold a one-game lead heading into the final week of the first half. Outfielder Randy Arozarena has been recognized by the league for his hot bat, which launched home runs in four of five games.

Game Summaries

June 7th: off

June 8th: Palm Beach Cardinals 4 at Daytona Tortugas 3 (12 innings)

After three games over two days canceled by rain and a scheduled day off Wednesday, the Cardinals got back into action for the first time since June 4 – and made up for the lost time by playing 26 grueling innings over the next two days.

Trailing by a run with two outs in the top of the ninth, Blake Drake gave the Cardinals life with one swing. Down to his last strike, Drake drilled a 0-2 pitch over the fence in left for the game-tying solo shot. In the top of the 12th inning, Thomas Spitz scored following a Daytona error at first. The Tortugas had their first two batters reach, but Estarlin Arias shut them down, forcing a fly out and striking out two for his second save of the season.

Dailyn Martinez pitched three scoreless innings in relief to pick up the win. Daytona had runners on second and third with only one down in the bottom of the ninth, but Martinez was able to induce a groundout and strikeout to end the threat. Starter Derian Gonzalez went 5 2/3 innings, allowing two runs on six hits and two walks while striking out a season-high seven batters. Drake was 2-for-5 with a pair of runs scored while Chris Chinea was also 2-for-5 with a pair of doubles.

 

June 9th: Palm Beach Cardinals 7 at Daytona Tortugas 6 (14 innings)

Again, trailing and down to their last strike, a two-out hit vaulted the Cardinals to back-to-back extra inning wins. In the top of the ninth with Palm Beach trailing by one, Jose Godoy doubled on a liner to right, scoring Danny Hudzina and Thomas Spitz. After Daytona tied the game during the bottom half of the inning off of Ramon Santos, Spitz broke the tie with a homer to left field to lead off the top of the 14th inning.

Allowing just one hit in his first appearance with Palm Beach this season, Chandler Hawkins pitched the final two innings to pick up the victory. The bullpen gave the Cardinals a chance after starter Ryan Helsley lasted only 2 2/3 innings. The combination of Hawkins, Arias, Santos, Brennan Leitao, Juan Perez, Ross Vance, and Andrew Morales allowed two runs in 11 1\3 innings of relief. Spitz and Leobaldo Pina each picked up three hits while Randy Arozarena hit his sixth home run of the season.

June 10th: Daytona Tortugas 13, Palm Beach Cardinals 5

Palm Beach’s eight-game winning streak was snapped after a 13-run, 16-hit attack from the Tortugas. Starting pitcher Connor Jones was charged with eight runs (seven earned) on eight hits and two walks through four innings of work. Reliever Anthony Shew also struggled, allowing five runs (all earned) on six hits in three innings.

While hitless at the plate, infielder Leobaldo Pina made his second appearance on the mound, pitching a scoreless eighth on a hit and a walk, lowering his ERA to 12.27. Godoy was 2-for-4 with a three-run home run and four total RBI. Arozarena also went deep for his second home run in as many games. 

 

June 11th: Palm Beach Cardinals 9 at Daytona Tortugas 3

Arozarena’s power display continued as he homered in his third straight contest and fourth in his last five games. The 22-year old Cuban outfielder connected on a grand slam to left field, scoring Godoy, Spitz and Luke Dykstra to cap off a five-run second inning. Godoy was responsible for the first run on the board after drawing a bases-loaded walk on four pitches, scoring Drake. Eight of the nine batters in the lineup notched a base hit as Dykstra, Spitz and Arozarena each had a couple of hits. All-star Darren Seferina hit his seventh triple of the season.

Jake Woodford picked up the victory after pitching 6 1/3 innings, allowing three runs on six hits and a walk while striking out seven.

 

June 12th: Dunedin Blue Jays 6 at Palm Beach Cardinals 2

The Cardinals offense was shut down, mustering only five hits as starting pitcher Junior Fernandez was chased after faltering during the middle innings. After giving up a couple of runs in the top of the fifth inning, Fernandez’ night ended after serving up a three-run homer in the sixth. The 20-year-old lasted 5 1/3 innings, allowing six runs on seven hits and three walks through 85 pitches (52 strikes).

Luke Dykstra was 2-for-3 with a run scored via an RBI single by Tommy Edman. 

 

June 13th: Dunedin Blue Jays 8 at Palm Beach Cardinals 0

Starter Derian Gonzalez was removed due to injury after securing just two outs, picking up the loss after allowing a run on three walks, a base hit and a wild pitch. Leitao and Morales could not hold the fort during their earlier-than-expected appearances as Dunedin scored six in the top of the fourth. Leitao allowed four runs (two earned due to his wild pitch) on four hits and Morales gave up three runs (all earned) on five hits and a pair of walks.

It is the first time the Cardinals have been shut out in their last 19 games and the team did not produce an extra-base hit. Spitz and Edman were both 2-for-4.

 

Three up

http://www.scout.com/player/210771-randy-arozarena?s=321

Randy Arozarena: Arozarena received FSL Player of the Week honors for June 5-11 after hitting .333 with three home runs, including a grand slam and seven RBI. The 26th ranked TCN prospect is in the midst of a 12-game hitting streak. 

http://www.scout.com/player/185813-ross-vance?s=321

Ross Vance: Vance has been lights out as of late, having not allowed a run in his last six appearances. The 25-year-old right-hander from McKinney, TX has collected eight strikeouts while allowing just four hits and two walks over his last seven innings of work.

http://www.scout.com/player/165909-dailyn-martinez?s=321

Dailyn Martinez: A stabilizing force from the bullpen, batters are only hitting .170 against Martinez over the last month. The 24-year-old right-hander from the Dominican right-hander has lowered his ERA by nearly a run and half over his last six appearances, currently sitting at 2.08.  

 

Three down

Junior Fernandez: Fernandez gave up a season-high six runs in his last start at home against Dunedin. In his last four starts, the 11th ranked TCN prospect has failed to go beyond 5 1/3 innings three times.

Darren Seferina: The All-Star break couldn’t come at a better time for the player who will be the lone Palm Beach Cardinals representative in Lakeland on Saturday. The 36th ranked TCN prospect is only hitting .163 (7-for-43) over his last ten games.

Connor Jones: The 17th ranked TCN prospect has seen his ERA jump up to 5.10. Jones gave up a season-high seven runs in a loss to Daytona, dropping his record back to .500 at 4-4.

 

Injury Report

June 10th - Palm Beach Cardinals activated LHP Jacob Evans from the 7-day disabled list

Three players remain on the DL – pitcher Steven De La Cruz and infielders Andrew Brodbeck and Edmundo Sosa.

 

Transactions

June 7th

- LF Matt Fiedler assigned to State College Spikes from Palm Beach Cardinals

- OF Thomas Spitz assigned to Palm Beach Cardinals from Springfield Cardinals

June 8th

- LF Randal Grichuk assigned to Memphis Redbirds from Palm Beach Cardinals

- 3B Danny Hudzina assigned to Palm Beach Cardinals from Cardinals Ext. Spring Training

June 9th

- LHP Anthony Ciavarella assigned to State College Spikes from Palm Beach Cardinals

- LHP Chandler Hawkins assigned to Palm Beach Cardinals from Springfield Cardinals

June 10th

- RHP Anthony Shew assigned to Palm Beach Cardinals from Johnson City Cardinals

- RHP Estarlin Arias assigned to State College Spikes from Palm Beach Cardinals

- RHP Brennan Leitao assigned to State College Spikes from Palm Beach Cardinals

June 12th

- RHP Anthony Shew assigned to State College Spikes from Palm Beach Cardinals

- RHP Brennan Leitao assigned to Palm Beach Cardinals from State College Spikes

June 13th

- RHP Juan Perez assigned to Peoria Chiefs from Palm Beach Cardinals

- RHP Estarlin Arias assigned to Palm Beach Cardinals from State College Spikes 

 

Team Stats

Palm Beach pitchers have hit 37 batters, tied for second most in the FSL. With 206 walks, the Cardinals ranked ninth in that department. Palm Beach batters have struck out 419 times, second least in the league. And despite Arozarena’s recent surge, the Cardinals are ranked tied for last in the league in home runs (26).

The Cards offense is sixth in the 12-team league in runs scored. The staff ERA of 3.41 is fifth.

 

Florida State League South Division

Three of the six divisional clubs have been eliminated from the first-half race, with a fourth likely to be knocked out very soon. That will leave the Cardinals and the Bradenton Marauders to likely battle down to the wire, with the first half officially ending with the games on Wednesday, June 21.

In the FSL, only the division winners from each half advance to post-season. There are no wild cards - unless the same team wins the division in both halves. Then the second-best overall record is good for a playoff ticket.

  W-L PCT GB Elim
Palm Beach Cardinals (STL) 37-24 0.607 -- --
Bradenton Marauders (PIT) 36-25 0.590 1 6
Charlotte Stone Crabs (TB) 29-31 0.483 7.5 1
St. Lucie Mets (NYM) 30-33 0.476 8 E
Jupiter Hammerheads (MIA) 30-34 0.469 8.5 E
Fort Myers Miracle (MIN) 28-33 0.459 9 E

 

Lone Palm Beach All-Star

As a reminder, Zac Gallen, Landon Beck and Darren Seferina were selected to represent Palm Beach on the South Division roster for the Florida State League All-Star Game to be held this Saturday, June 17th in Lakeland. However, second baseman Seferina will make the trip alone, as pitchers Gallen and Beck have since been promoted to Springfield.

 

Week Ahead

After finishing their four-game home series against Dunedin on Thursday, the Cardinals will enter the all-star break before beginning a four-game set on Monday at third-place Charlotte. The Stone Crabs will likely be eliminated by then and will try to play the role of spoiler. The series starts off with a doubleheader as the two teams will make up their April 23rd contest that was postponed and the Wednesday game will conclude the first-half schedule.

 

Follow Patrick Bernadeau on Twitter @PatBernadeau.

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