This Week in the Minors

A weekly snapshot of the Cardinals minor league system.

Overall it was not a good week in our minors with only the Springfield Cardinals posting a winning weekly record. That led me to muse on the negative implications on the team left behind of a player promotion. I delve into this more in the "Of Note" sections. One thing I will say here is that a system with a broad base of quality players finds promotions to have less of an impact on the team than does one with limited quality players. On a brighter note, Anthony Reyes was named the Pacific Coast League's Pitcher of the Week for the period May 16th through 22nd. This week's league standings - Memphis retained its first place spot but saw their lead on the second-place Nashville Sounds shrink from three to one game. Although they had a winning week, the Springfield Cardinals stayed in fourth (and last-place) and fell another one and one-half games behind the division-leading Tulsa Drillers. (The Rockies may want to consider switching their current team with their Double-A squad.) Despite their losing week, the Palm Beach remained in fourth place and only lost another half game the division leaders. The Swing saw first place for a day and are in a three-team dogfight with both the Clinton LumberKings and Wisconsin Timber Rattlers for the top two teams in the division. The top two teams in each half qualify for the post season.

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AAA – Memphis Redbirds
League Affiliation - sixteen-team Pacific Coast League, four-team America North division
Overall Record – 26 - 23
Weekly Record – 2 - 5
Current Standing – First, one game ahead of the Nashville Sounds (Brewers)

Current Week Team Batting - .217/.290/.336
Current Week Pitching Stats – Rotation - 3.49 ERA and 1.50 WHIP in 41.1 innings pitched
Current Week Pitching Stats – Bullpen - 2.97 ERA and 1.35 WHIP in 30.1 innings pitched

Who's Hot – OF Skip Schumaker went .320/.370/.560 in 7 games and 25 at bats; RHR Mark Nussbeck - 3 appearances, 5 innings pitched, 0.00 ERA and a 0.80 WHIP
Who's Not – 1B Chris Duncan went .091/.259/.091 in 7 games and 22 at bats; RHR Josh Kinney's Triple-A debut was rocky – 4 appearances, 5 innings pitched, 7.20 ERA and a 2.40 WHIP
Transactions – 5/29/05 – RHR Toby Borland given his unconditional release, C Brad Cresse activated from DL

Summary -
The Memphis Redbirds lost their third game in a row as they fell to the Tacoma Rainiers 4-0 Monday evening.
Kevin Jarvis (L, 3-1, 2.00 ERA) absorbed his first loss of the year as he allowed four runs, all earned, on eight hits and one walk in six innings. Jarvis also struck out four. Felix Hernandez (W, 6-3, 2.63 ERA) shut down the Redbirds on just four hits in seven innings pitched. Hernandez, who is either the first- or second ranked prospect in the minors, struck out nine and walked two.
The Redbirds loaded the bases with two outs in the fifth inning but John Nelson struck out to end the threat. In the seventh inning Nelson smashed a one-out double to right. With two outs Mike Mahoney singled to left, putting runners on the corners for Skip Schumaker. But Hernandez struck out Schumaker and the Redbirds' last real scoring threat evaporated.
Vladimir Nunez pitched a one-two-three eighth in his Redbird debut. The Redbirds were shut out for just the second of the season.

The Redbirds' slide continued Tuesday when they dropped an extra-inning contest 6-5 to the Tacoma Rainiers. A passed ball charged to Mike Mahoney scored the game-winning run from third in the bottom of the twelfth inning.
Vladimir Nunez (L, 1-2, 4.56 ERA) gave up a one-out triple to Chris Snelling. Nunez got the next batter to ground out to short but the passed ball ended a game that saw the Redbirds squander a 4-0 lead. Anthony Reyes gave up four runs, two earned, on six hits and two walks in five and one-third innings pitched. Reyes struck out seven but a hit batsman with one out in the sixth led to his exit. Tyler Johnson allowed a two-out single that tied the game at four all. Johnson walked the lead-off batter in the seventh that brought Jimmy Journell into the game. A sac bunt, wild pitch and single broke the tie.
Four of Memphis' five runs scored in the fourth inning. John Gall and John Nelson both went 2-for-4. Gall scored a run and Nelson drove in two runs. Bo Hart, Hector Luna and Brandon Berger each drove in a run as well.

Brandon Berger stepped to the plate in the top of the ninth in Wednesday's game with the score tied at two all. The wind had been blowing in hard from left all evening but Berger's subsequent shot to left was powerful enough to overcome the wind. The Redbirds overcame the Tacoma Rainiers as well, winning 3-2.
Josh Kinney (W, 1-0, 0.00 ERA) picked up his first Triple-A win by pitching a scoreless one and one-third innings in relief of starter Bill Pulsipher. In the ninth inning, Kinney gave up a bloop single to left then another single that went off first baseman Chris Duncan's glove. Carmen Cali (S, 2, 4.50 ERA) entered the game and earned his second save of the season by striking out the final two batters.
Hector Luna's third-inning double plated Mike Mahoney for the Redbirds' first run. Raul Gonzalez opened the fourth inning with a double to center and was brought home on John Gall's single to right.
Pulsipher had a very strong outing, scattering seven hits and two walks over seven innings while allowing only two runs, one earned, and striking out three.

The Redbirds' struggle to score runs continued Thursday as they were shut out for the second time in four days, this time falling 2-0 to the Tacoma Rainiers.
Chris Gissell (L, 3-4, 2.47 ERA) took the hard-luck loss. Gissell tossed six innings and allowed two runs, one earned, on nine hits and one walk. He also struck out five. Mark Nussbeck did not allow a baserunner in his two innings. Former major leaguer Damian Moss (W, 3-3, 2.70 ERA) shut down the Redbirds for six innings on three hits, two walks and five strike outs.
Skip Schumaker broke out of his recent slump by collecting four of the six Redbirds hits for the evenings. Schumaker went 4-for-5 with two doubles. John Nelson had the other two Redbirds hits, going 2-for-3 with a double. Unfortunately, Schumaker batted lead-off and Nelson was in the six hole so the team did not benefit from either performance.

Memphis got back on the winning track Friday, downing the Oklahoma RedHawks 5-4 in ten innings.
Cleanup hitter John Gall came to the plate in the tenth with two aboard and no one out. Gall was asked to bunt but the bunt sign was removed after he fouled it off for the second strike. Gall then singled into left-center which plated Hector Luna with the winning run. Luna went 2-for-3 with two walks and two runs scored. Raul Gonzalez went 2-for-4 with two rbi's and a walk. Gall went 2-for 5 with a double in addition to his game-winning rbi.
On a night when his best stuff was absent, starter Adam Wainwright battled. He gave up three runs, all earned, on nine hits and one walk in seven innings. He left the game with a 4-3 lead but the Red Hawks' three singles in the top of the eighth tied up the game. Two of the singles came off Josh Kinney who returned two batters and the third came off Tyler Johnson who retired no one. Vladimir Nunez came in and ended the threat by striking out the Red Hawks' catcher with runners on second and third. Carmen Cali (W, 2-2, 4.26 ERA) pitched a scoreless tenth for the win.

The Oklahoma RedHawks defeated the Memphis Redbirds 5-4 Saturday in a hard-fought battle.
The Redbirds got on the board first when Pete Zoccolillo singled home Skip Schumaker who had doubled to lead-off the first inning. That lead held up until the third inning when the RedHawks scored four runs off Kevin Jarvis on back-to-back solo home runs, a double, a walk and another double. The Redbirds came right back in the bottom of the third when Schumaker and Hector Luna had back-to-back singles to start the inning. Raul Gonzalez walked to load the bases for Pete Zoccolillo. Zoccolillo grounded into a 6-4-3 double play that scored Schumaker. A passed ball scored Luna then John Gall unloaded his sixth home run of the season to tie the game. The game remained knotted at four all until the top of the seventh when Toby Borland relieved Jarvis.
Borland (L, 1-2, 7.71 ERA) gave up a single and a double to the only two batters he faced. He turned over a runners on second and third and no one out situation to Tyler Johnson. Johnson induced a grounder to first and Duncan threw the runner out at home for the first out. Jimmy Journell entered the game and coaxed a ground ball to short for a potential double play. However, John Nelson was not able to get the ball out of his glove quickly enough and had to settle for an out at first as the game-winning run scored.
Schumaker went 2-for-4 with two runs scored and Wilton Guerrero went 2-for-3 with two doubles.

The Redbirds were shut out for the third time this week in a 5-0 loss to the Oklahoma RedHawks. It was their seventh loss in their last nine games.
Anthony Reyes (L, 5-2, 2.51 ERA) went only four innings because his pitch count reached 90 by that point. He allowed one run, earned, on five hits and two walks and struck out three. Josh Kinney and Carmen Cali gave up the balance of the runs allowed by Redbirds pitching. Mark Nussbeck continued his excellent week with two innings of scoreless relief.
The Redbirds mustered only three singles and three walks for the game while hitting into four double plays. Manager Danny Sheaffer had a closed door meeting with the team after the game.

Of Note -
The Memphis Redbirds continue to struggle with the impact of Scott Seabol's promotion to St. Louis. Seabol was promoted on May 12th. Since then the Redbirds have batted an anemic .237/.310/.383, through May 29th. In the two weeks prior to Scott's departure, the numbers were .316/.393/.536. Now all of the recent losses cannot be laid at the feet of Scott Seabol but the Redbirds are struggling to get the timely hit in key situations. The pitching has actually improved since May 12th but there is only so much a pitcher can do, no matter how good he might be – see Clemens, Roger…2005 version.
During a broadcast this week the Memphis radio announcers mentioned that John Gall is the only player that regularly uses two hands to catch fly balls. Fundamentals are important. That is why they are called "fundamentals". Speaking of lacking fundamentals, Chris Duncan missed yet another pop foul ball in Wednesday's game.

Upcoming Week – vs. Oklahoma RedHawks (Rangers) 30th, at Round Rock Express (Astros) 1st through 3rd, vs. Iowa Cubs 4th & 5th

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AA – Springfield Cardinals
League Affiliation - eight-team Texas League, four-team East division
Overall Record – 23 - 27
Weekly Record – 4 - 3
Current Standing – Fourth and last place, eight and one-half games behind the Tulsa Drillers (Rockies)

Current Week Team Batting - .278/.340/.447
Current Week Pitching Stats – Rotation - 6.34 ERA and 1.56 WHIP in 32.2 innings pitched
Current Week Pitching Stats – Bullpen - 4.15 ERA and 1.48 WHIP in 21.2 innings pitched

Who's Hot – 1B/DH Juan Diaz went .304/.360/.609 in 6 games and 23 at bats; RHS Jordan Pals – 1 GS, 7 innings pitched, 1.29 ERA and a 1.14 WHIP
Who's Not – INF Kevin Estrada went .200/.304/.200 in 5 games and 20 at bats; RHS Jeremy Cook – 1 GS, 2.2 innings pitched, 33.83 ERA and a 4.89 WHIP
Transactions - None.

Summary
Randy Leek took a shut out into the seventh inning Monday and Papo Bolivar went 2-for-4 with three rbi's and a run scored as the Cardinals downed the Midland RockHounds 6-2.
The only runs allowed by Leek came on a two-run home run by Brad Colamarino in the seventh. Leek (W, 4-2, 3.15 ERA) scattered six hits, struck out two and allowed no free passes.
The Cardinals scored two in the second, three in the third and broke their pattern by getting only one in the fifth. Bolivar's hits were a second-inning ground-rule double that scored Travis Hanson and a third-inning single that scored Hanson and Tyler Minges. Bolivar scored in the second inning when Juan Diaz singled him home from third base. Robinson Cancel had a sac fly rbi and scored a run on Aaron Herr's fifth-inning single.

It was a hot time in Midland, Texas Tuesday evening and not just due to the 102-degree temperature. The Cardinals pounded out nine runs in the first two innings and held on for an 11-6 victory over the Midland RockHounds.
They were up 3-0 before the RockHounds recorded an out on a three-run home run by Tyler Minges. Two more runs scored that inning with two outs. Shaun Boyd lined a double to left that scored Robinson Cancel and Reid Gorecki singled up the middle to plate Boyd. Travis Hanson's second-inning double scored Andy Schutzenhofer and Minges. Aaron Herr's double to center that plated Hanson drove RockHound starter Stephen Obenchain (L, 3-3, 5.98 ERA) after only one and one-third innings.
Stuart Pomeranz's Double-A debut was a bit shaky as he gave up four runs, three earned, on six hits and two walks in only four innings pitched. Pomeranz' early exit may have been due to a possible blister situation. He also struck out six.
The official scorer awarded the victory to Evan Rust (W, 1-0, 1,69 ERA) for his two scoreless innings pitched. Reid Gorecki, Tyler Minges, Travis Hanson and Juan Diaz each had three hits for the Cardinals. Robinson Cancel, Andy Schutzenhofer and Aaron Herr had two hits apiece.

You know the game is not going well for your team when your back-up catcher is one of the game's pitchers.
The Springfield Cardinals got stomped by the Midland RockHounds Wednesday evening, 16-7. The game got so out of hand that back-up catcher Dan Moylan pitched the eighth inning. Sad to say, he was also the only one of the four Cardinals pitchers used that was not scored upon. Jeremy Cook (L, 2-2, 4.64 ERA) lasted only two and two-thirds innings while giving up ten runs, all earned, on thirteen hits but no walks. Josh Axelson was not much better, allowing five more runs on seven hits and four walks in three and one-third innings pitched. Cory Doyne allowed his first run of the season as well.
The Cardinals scored four runs in the eighth and two more in the ninth so the final score was not a complete embarrassment. Tyler Minges went 3-for-4 with two rbi's and two runs scored, including a two-run home run in the ninth inning. Aaron Herr's only hit of the night was a two-run scoring single.

The Cardinals fell to the Frisco RoughRiders 3-2 Thursday in ten innings. It was a game that saw all of the runs scored via solo home runs.
Anthony Rawson (L, 1-2, 4.29 ERA) took the loss when he gave up a home run to the lead-off batter in the tenth inning. Rawson was pitching in relief of Oscar Alvarez who pitched well but did not figure in the decision. Alvarez gave up solo shot home runs in the fourth and seventh innings. His stint lasted seven innings with seven hits and no walks while striking our four.
Robinson Cancel and Aaron Herr each had home runs for the Cardinals. Tyler Minges had the Cardinals' third, and final, hit of the evening.

The Cardinals tamed the RoughRiders 4-2 Friday behind a strong outing by starter Jordan Pals.
Pals (W, 2-4, 4.58 ERA) notched his first win since May 6th with seven strong innings. He scattered seven hits and allowed two runs, only one earned, while walking one and striking out five. Evan Rust earned his first save of the year with two scoreless innings in relief of Pals.
The Cardinals attacked right out of the gate by scoring two runs in the first. They added single runs in the second and third innings. Shaun Boyd went 3-for-5 with a double and a run scored. Tyler Minges and Papo Bolivar each had run-scoring singles in the first inning. Travis Hanson drew a bases-loaded walk in the second inning for the Cardinals' third run of the night. Aaron Herr hit his third home run of the season, a solo number, in the third inning.

Sunday saw the Cardinals playing a double-header due to a rainout on Saturday. The first game saw the Cardinals triumph over the RoughRiders 2-0.
Randy Leek (W, 5-2, 2.85 ERA) pitched a seven-inning complete game shut out. He allowed only three hits and did not walk a batter. Leek struck out six.
The Cardinals' batters had ten hits but only managed two runs. The first run scored in the second inning when Robinson Cancel lead off with a bunt single to third. A fielding error put runners at first and second with no one out. Aaron Herr's single loaded the bases for Juan Diaz. Diaz' 4-6-3 double play scored Cancel.
Tyler Minges' one-out single in the fifth initiated the second scoring sequence. Minges went to third on Robinson Cancel's line-drive single to center. Papo Bolivar then doubles Minges home. Shaun Boyd went 2-for-4 and Milko Jaramillo went 2-for-3 although neither figured in the scoring.

The Cardinals split the double-header as they fell to the RoughRiders 7-6 in eleven innings.
Juan Diaz' solo home run in the top of the eleventh gave the Cardinals a 6-5 lead but it was short-lived. With one out in the bottom of the eleventh, Evan Rust (BS, 1)(L, 1-1, 2.35 ERA) gave a double and a walk. A single to the right side of the plate was deflected by Andy Schutzenhofer over to Kevin Estrada. Estrada's throw home, however, was off catcher Robinson Cancel's glove and two runs scored for the rough loss.
Something that is not reflected in either the game log or box score is that Travis Hanson and Papo Bolivar's gloves cost starter Stuart Pomeranz and the Cardinals four runs and the win. In the fourth inning with a runner on first, Hanson's high throw to second forced Kevin Estrada to leap for the ball and prevented a likely double play ball. The runner that reach first, Juan Senriso, stole second and went to third on a single by Joaquin Arias. Senriso scored when Papo Bolivar misplayed a "very catchable" fly ball, per the Springfield announcers, into a run-scoring double and put Arias in a position to then score on a sacrifice fly. Two runs scored in that inning which could have been prevented with better defense. In the fifth inning Bolivar misplayed a ball into a two-run scoring triple. No errors were given since Bolivar did not touch either misplay.

Of Note -
Generally speaking, I do not think Josh Kinney's May 22nd promotion to Memphis has impacted the Cardinals to the same extent other teams' promotions have. But Kinney was an anchor in that bullpen and the bullpen era, which had averaged a 2.00 ERA in the two weeks preceding Josh's promotion, doubled to over four last week. Bullpen roles are being redefined and the rotation's performance remains uneven. However, the team's weekly offensive average is the highest that is has been since the season started. Recent acquisitions Juan Diaz and Robinson Cancel are both experienced veterans that may stabilize the line-up. Milko Jaramillo had an excellent week, going .438/.438/.563 in four games and sixteen at bats. Jaramillo missed out on the "Who's Hot" award due to limited at bats but deserved a mention for his great work.
Going into last Monday's series with the Cardinals, the Midland RockHounds had the second best record in the entire minor leagues. The Cardinals took two-of-three from Midland on the road and will look to repeat that success when Midland kicks off a crucial eleven-game home stand on May 30th. That home stand is the Cardinals' last one in the first half of the season.

Upcoming Week – vs. Midland RockHounds (Athletics) 30th through 2nd, vs. Frisco RoughRiders (Rangers) 3rd through 5th

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High-A – Palm Beach Cardinals
League Affiliation - twelve-team Florida State League, six-team East division
Overall Record – 23 - 26
Weekly Record – 3 - 4
Current Standing – Fourth, five and one-half games behind the Vero Beach Dodgers

Current Week Team Batting - .235/.299/.330
Current Week Pitching Stats – Rotation - 3.41 ERA and 1.37 WHIP in 34.1 innings pitched
Current Week Pitching Stats – Bullpen - 5.96 ERA and 1.60 WHIP in 25.2 innings pitched

Who's Hot – SS Rayner Laya went .333/.407/.333 in 7 games and 24 at bats; LHS Buddy Blair – 2 game starts, 12 innings pitched, 0.75 ERA and 0.67 WHIP
Who's Not – 3B Matt Dryer went .190/.261/.381 in 6 games and 21 at bats; RHR Roberto Batista – 3 games, 3 innings pitched, 15.00 ERA and 3.67 WHIP
Transactions - 5/27/05 - RHS Mark Michael to DL, LHR Jeff Randazzo optioned to Quad Cities, RHP Chris Russ activated from DL and assigned to Palm Beach;

Summary
A walk-off grand slam by Hector Tiburcio off reliever Roberto Batista propelled the Sarasota Reds to a 9-5 victory over the Palm Beach Cardinals Monday evening.
Trailing 5-4 going into the top of the ninth, the Cardinals tied the game on Ty Parker's fourth home run of the season. With Jeffrey Randazzo (L, 0-1, 10.38 ERA) on the mound, the Reds led off the ninth inning with back-to-back singles. An intentional walk followed that loaded the bases and brought Batista into the game to face Tiburcio. Carlos Guevara (BS, 1) (W, 3-3, 3.32) got the win for the Reds.
Palm Beach scored two runs to open the game but starter Jose Garcia could not hold the lead. He went four and one-thirds inning, allowing two runs, both earned, on seven hits and three walks. Four of the Cardinals' five runs scored came via the long ball. Designated hitter Matt Dryer had two-run blast in the first. Cody Haerther and Ty Parker added solo shots, Parker's coming as a pinch hitter. The other run scored when second baseman Cal Hayes grounded out, plating right fielder Terry Evans.

Two key eighth-inning hits was the difference Tuesday night as the Palm Beach Cardinals triumphed over the Sarasota Reds 3-1.
The Cardinals' first run of the night came in the fifth when Jonny Kaplan singled to left with two outs. Catcher Jason Motte made his only hit of the night count by doubling Kaplan home. With the game tied at one and a runner on second, Mike McCoy looped a one-out double left that scored Kaplan. A Rayner Laya single plated McCoy for the third Cardinals run of the night.
Lefty Buddy Blair began the long road back to Double-A with a very strong seven-inning performance. Blair struck out seven and walked only one while allowing only three hits. Two of the three hits allowed came in the sixth inning on a two-out single that was followed by a run-scoring triple. That one run was all Blair allowed. Andy Cavazos pitched around a two-out single and a failed pick-off attempt for a scoreless eighth. Mark Worrell shut down the Reds in the ninth for his eighth save of the season. The victory evened the four-game series at one-all.

Palm Beach lost to the Sarasota Reds 10-2 on Wednesday.
Starter Mark Michael only went two innings but did not allow a run before departing with a possible injury. Wayne Lundgren (L, 1-2, 4.60) relieved Michael and allowed five runs, four earned, on seven hits in three innings pitched. Roberto Batista was even less effective than was Michael, coughing up five runs, four earned, on five hits and three walks in two innings pitched.
Both Cody Haerther and Terry Evans were perfect at the plate. Haerther was 3-for-3 with a walk and a run scored. Evans went 4-for-4 with a home run.

Palm Beach fell to the Sarasota Reds 8-3 on Thursday as the starting pitching was ineffective.
Tyler Adamczyk (L, 2-5, 5.96 ERA) lasted only four innings while allowing eight runs, all earned, on eight hits and four walks. Adamczyk struck out four and did not allow a home run. Scott Schweitzer and Rich Scalamandre each pitched two innings of one-hit ball for the Cardinals.
The Cardinals' runs came on a one-out double by Mike McCoy in the third inning. Rayner Laya singled in McCoy. Cody Haerther had a two-run home run in the sixth inning that scored Laya who had singled.

I just hate doing game write-ups that include the phrase "the Yankees win" but they did on Friday when the Palm Beach Cardinals lost to the Tampa Yankees 4-3.
Palm Beach scored all of their runs in the first inning on a groundout by Matt Dryer that scored Rayner Laya , a single by Ty Parker that plated Cody Haerther and another single by John Santor on which Parker came home.
Chris Lambert had an excellent outing, going seven innings and allowing only four hits, two runs – unearned, with four strike outs and no walks. Lambert left with the lead but Andy Cavazos (BS, 1)(L, 0-2, 2.25 ERA) allowed two runs, both earned, on three hits in his one inning of work. Roberto Batista pitched a scoreless ninth.

The Cardinals broke through for a 3-2 win over the Yankees on Saturday.
The Yankees' starter Abel Gomez no-hit the Cardinals through five innings and the Yankees were up 2-0 when Mike McCoy singled to left with one out in the sixth. McCoy went to third on a throwing error and came home on Matt Dryer's two-out single to left. Two more runs were added in the seventh inning when McCoy doubled home John Santor who had lead off the inning with a single. Rayner Laya singled up the middle to score McCoy.
Jose Garcia pitched five innings with only two runs allowed, both earned, on nine hits and three walks. Garcia struck out three but did not figure in the decision. Wayne Lundgren (W, 2-2, 4.32) pitched two scoreless innings for the win. Mark Worrell Jr. (S, 9, 2.45 ERA) pitched a perfect ninth.

Four Palm Beach pitchers combined to shut out the Tampa Yankees on Sunday as the Cardinals were victorious, 3-0.
Buddy Blair (W, 2-0, 0.75 ERA) had his second consecutive strong outing since being demoted from Springfield. Blair gave up just four hits in five innings while striking out four and walking none. Chris Russ and Scott Schweitzer combined for three innings of shut-out ball, allowing only one hit between them. Mark Worrell Jr's earned his tenth save of the season with a scoreless ninth. That is good for third place on the FSL's save list.
The first Cardinals run scored in the first on Matt Dryer's bases-loaded ground out that plated Mike McCoy. Two more runs scored in the sixth inning when John Santor singled home Rayner Laya and Tony McQuade doubled home Matt Dryer. Both Cody Haerther and Tony McQuade went 2-for-4 and Mike McCoy was 2-for-3 for the day.

Of Note -
The Palm Beach Cardinals lost Cory Doyne, Rich Scalamandre and Stuart Pomeranz to promotion so far, although Scalmandre has returned. Doyne was an untouchable middle-innings bridge from the starters to closer Mark Worrell. Since Doyne's May 2nd promotion, the middle relievers have accounted for six of the Cardinals' twelve losses. Now Doyne may well have not been available to pitch in each of those six losses and Mark Worrell does have two blown saves this season but Doyne in the bullpen increased Palm Beach's chances of winning. Pomeranz's spot in the rotation has been taken by lefty Eric Haberer who did quality work in Quad Cities so I do not expect the rotation to suffer. In fact, if recent arrival Buddy Blair's two starts are an indication – twelve innings pitched, seven hits, one run – earned, eleven strike outs and one walk – the rotation may be improved. Blair was demoted from the Springfield rotation due to ineffectiveness.
I want to give you a tale of three pitchers: Pitcher #1's line – eight game starts, forty-eight and one-third innings pitched, 1.37 WHIP, 2.9:1 K/BB ratio (29:10), 5.40 K/9IP; Pitcher #2's line – nine game starts, forty-seven and two-thirds innings pitched, 1.34 WHIP, 2.8:1 K/BB ratio (42:15), 7.93 K/9IP; Pitcher #3's line – eight game starts, forty-one innings pitched, 1.27 WHIP, 1.26 K/BB ratio (29:23), 6.37 K/9 IP. Pitcher #1 is recently promoted Stuart Pomeranz, #2 is has to be promoted pretty soon Chris Lambert and #3 is not-as-highly touted Mark Michael who went on the DL this week. While Michael needs to work on his control, his WHIP is better than either Pomeranz or Lambert and his K/9IP is better than Pomeranz. Here's hoping Mr. Michael can get and stay healthy.

Upcoming Week – vs. Tampa Yankees 30th, vs. Jupiter Hammerheads (Marlins) 1st & 2nd, at Jupiter Hammerheads 3rd & 4th, vs. St. Lucie Mets 5th

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Low-A – Quad Cities Swing
League Affiliation - fourteen-team Midwest League, eight-team West division
Overall Record – 28 - 21
Weekly Record – 3 - 4
Current Standing – Second, one-half game behind the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers (Mariners)

Current Week Team Batting - .280/.364/.413
Current Week Pitching Stats – Rotation - 5.18 ERA and 1.54 WHIP in 41.2 innings pitched
Current Week Pitching Stats – Bullpen - 5.55 ERA and 1.81 WHIP in 24.1 innings pitched

Who's Hot – For the second week in a row 3B Jake Mullinax gets batting honors. He went ..458/.500/.750 in 7 games and 24 at bats; RHS Mike Parisi turned around his "Who's Not" from last week – 2 game starts, 14.2 innings pitched, 2.46 ERA and 1.23 WHIP
Who's Not – For the second week in a row OF Joe Mather gets batting dishonors. He went .143/.217/.381 in 7 games and 21 at bats; RHS Dennis Dove – 1 game start, 4.1 innings pitched, 14.55 ERA and 3.00 WHIP
Transactions – 5/25/05 – RHR Dennis Medina to DL (right shoulder stiffness), Justin Knoff recalled from extended spring training; 5/27/05 – LHS Eric Haberer promoted to Palm Beach, RHR Michael Gross optioned to extended spring training, RHP Jeremy Zick called up from extended spring training; 5/28/05 – RHP Donnie Smith called up from extended spring training, RHR Kyle McClellan to DL (arm injury);

Summary
The come-from-behind kids did it again Monday night when they scored five runs in the bottom of the eighth to erase a 3-0 deficit and defeat the Lansing Lugnuts 5-3.
Although he did not figure in the decision, Mike Parisi has a strong outing, throwing six and two-thirds innings and giving up three runs, all earned, on eight hits but walking none. Jaymie Torres (W, 2-0, 2.16 ERA) got the win with two scoreless innings in support of Parisi. When Torres sandwiched two walks around two ground outs in the ninth inning, Kevin Ool (S, 2, 2.62 ERA) entered and got the final out on a fly out to Simon Williams in center.
The Swing loaded the bases with one out in the eighth on a hit batsman and two walks. The first run scored on an error which left the bases loaded for Rick Ankiel. The Lugnut pitcher balked home the second Swing run and Ankiel's single to right tied the game. Jarrett Hoffpauir singled home Matt Lemanczyk and a fielding error scored Ankiel for the fifth run of the inning. Hoffpauir's 3-for-4 night was the only Swing batter with more than one hit.

The "come-from-behind" pendulum swung against the Swing Tuesday as the Lansing Lugnuts defeated them 5-4 in twelve innings.
The Swing were up 4-0 going into the eighth inning but found themselves tied at four all when the ninth inning ended. The Swing's ace, Eric Haberer, shut out the Lugnuts for seven innings on three hits and six walks but the bullpen could not hold the lead.
The big blow came against closer Mike Sillman who had a very rare bad outing. Sillman (BS, 1, 1.46) entered the ninth up 4-1 but quickly sandwiched walks around a fly out. He then gave up a three-run home run to Lugnut second baseman Juan Peralta. It was both the first home run allowed by Sillman and the first home run hit by Peralta this season. Kyle McClellan (L, 0-3, 4.85 ERA) allowed a solo home run in the twelfth, his third inning of work, which turned out to be the game winner.
The Swing took the early lead by scoring three runs in the third on Simon Williams' second home run of the season and Rick Ankiel's double to right that scored both Matt Lemanczyk and Matt Shepherd. Wes Swackhamer scored the Swing's final run in the fourth inning on a double, ground out and wild pitch. This was the first loss this season by the Swing when they had a lead going into the ninth inning.

The Swing returned to the winning track on Wednesday by downing the Lansing Lugnuts 8-1.
Matt Scherer stifled the Lugnut offense for seven innings by pounding the ball down low in the zone and inducing ground ball outs. The only run Scherer allowed was a solo home run in the seventh inning. He gave up three total hits and two walks while striking out five. Justin Knoff, newly returned after two days at extended spring training, pitched the final two innings. He did not allow a hit and walked only one.
The Swing's 12-hit attack was spearheaded by Matt Shepherd and Jake Mullinax. Shepherd went 3-for-3 with two walks and a run scored in the lead-off position. Mullinax went 3-for-4 with two runs scored. The rbi hits came from Joe Mather, Mike Ferris and Simon Williams who had two rbi's each. Every Swing position player but one got at least one hit.

The Swing were tire-ironed by the Lugnuts on Thursday as they were bashed 13-4. "Overall, it was an ugly game, but it's over'' manager Joe Cunningham told the Quad-City Times.
Dennis Dove gave up seven runs, all earned, on four and one-third innings on eleven hits and two walks. Michael Gross, in his last appearance with the Swing, allowed four runs, three runs, on four walks and one hit in two-thirds of an inning. Gross was subsequently optioned to extended spring training. The Lugnuts' final two runs were scored off Justin Knoff, both unearned, in his one and one-third innings.
Rick Ankiel went 2-for-4 day with a two-run home run and a double and was the only Swing player with more than one hit. Jarrett Hoffpauir's third-inning sacrifice fly plated Simon Williams for the first Swing run of the game. Ankiel hit his home run one out later that also scored Brandon Yarbrough . Williams also hit a solo home run in the fifth inning.

The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers bit the Swing for a 12-4 loss Friday.
The Swing pitching staff had a uniformly "off" night as each of the four pitchers used allowed at least one run. Starter Quinton began the blood-letting by allowing seven runs, all earned, on ten hits and two walks in four and two-thirds innings pitched. He was relieved by Jeremy Zick who was the most effective Swing pitcher. He gave up "only" a solo home run in his one and one-third innings. Jeff Randazzo's and Kyle McClellan's combined line: three innings, five hits, three walks, four runs – all earned. Ack!
Simon Williams and Rick Ankiel replicated their efforts of Thursday night by hitting solo and two-run home runs respectively. Williams went 3-for-4 and Mike Ferris went 3-for-5. Jake Millinax was 1-for-3 and scored a run after being hit by a pitch in the fifth inning.

Saturday evening saw the Swing pitch and hit their way into first place in the East division by defeating the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers 7-1. Quad Cities, Wisconsin and Clinton are locked in a battle for the post-season qualifying berths with only one-half game separating the three teams.
Jordan Pals (W, 2-4, 4.40 ERA) mixed his fastball and an effective change-up to toss a real beauty. Pals scattered nine hits and one walk over eight innings and allowed only one run, earned, while striking out six. Mike Sillman pitched a scoreless ninth to finish the game. It was the first appearance for Sillman since he blew his first save of the year on Tuesday.
Lead-off hitter Matt Lemanczyk went 1-for-3 with two runs scored and a hit-by-pitch. Two hole hitter Matt Shepherd went 3-for-5 with two two rbi's. Center fielder Simon Williams went 3-for-4 two two runs scored and two rbi's. Designated hitter Derry Hammond went 2-for-3 with a rbi.

The Swing's bats could not outpace their pitchers' arms as they fell to the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers 9-7. The defeat knocked the Swing out of their first place slot after one day and into second.
Donnie Smith's 2005 debut was less than auspicious. Smith (L, 0-1, 11.25 ERA), a fourth-round 2004 draft selection, took the loss when he allowed six runs, five earned, on six hits and one walk in four innings. Justin Knoff gave up two more runs, both earned, while pitching the fifth inning. The final Rattler run scored off of Jaymie Torres in the seventh inning. It was unearned.
Jake Mullinax continued his hot hitting, going 2-for-4 with a run scored and five rbi's. Mike Ferris went 2-for-3 with a walk and a run scored to put his season average above the Mendoza line. Woo Hoo! (No sarcasm intended here. Ya gotta start digging out of that crater sometime.)

Of Note -
Some of the Cardinals' brass came to town this week. Minor league field coordinator Jim Riggleman, minor league pitching instructor Mark Riggins and minor league baserunning and outfield instructor Tom Spencer began a visit with the Swing on Monday. Bruce Manno, the director of player development, visited over this past week-end.
I read where Rick Ankiel's appointment to the Swing, while a real assignment, is considered by the decision-makers as more in line with a rehabilitation assignment and is temporary. Those in the area that want to see Ankiel and have not so far, need to do so pronto.
Through Sunday's game Matt Shepherd has reached base safely in all but four games this season. That's forty-nine games.

Upcoming Week – vs. Wisconsin Timber Rattlers (Mariners) 30th, at Fort Wayne Wizards (Padres) 1st through 3rd, at West Michigan Whitecaps (Tigers) 4th & 5th

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The Stat Sheet
We are back to offense this week. I have already mentioned that there are a limited number of players with the 3.1 plate appearance minimum needed to qualify. Therefore, this week I will list all qualifiers in each category and the top "Close But No Cigar" players, along with their average plate appearances per game. For Strike Outs per At Bat – the top and bottom two are listed, minimum 75 at bats.

Batting Average
Memphis
Center fielder Skip Schumaker at .288
Shortstop John Nelson at .287
Left fielder John Gall at .279
First baseman Chris Duncan .262
Second and Third baseman Bo Hart at .199

"Close But No Cigar"
Outfielder Raul Gonzalez at .354 (2.96 plate appearances per game)
Outfielder Pete Zoccolillo at .264 (2.90 plate appearances per game)
Outfielder Brandon Berger at .242 (2.98 plate appearances per game)

Springfield
Outfielder Tyler Minges at .315
Third baseman Travis Hanson at .280
Infielder Kevin Estrada at .269
First baseman Andy Schutzenhofer at .253
Outfielder Shaun Boyd at .251
Outfielder Papo Bolivar at .243
Outfielder Reid Gorecki at .182

"Close But No Cigar"
None

Palm Beach
Outfielder Cody Haerther at .318
Outfielder Tyler Parker at .265
Outfielder Terry Evans at .242
First baseman John Santor at .236
Third baseman Matt Dryer at .236

"Close But No Cigar"
Second baseman Cal Hayes at .186 (3.00 plate appearances per game)

Quad Cities
Second baseman Jarrett Hoffpauir at .331
Third baseman Jake Mullinax at .280 (Mullinax has raised his batting average sixty-four points in two weeks)
Shortstop Matt Shepherd at .279
Outfielder Derry Hammond at .238
Outfielder Joe Mather at .226
Outfielder Matt Lemanczyk at .214
Outfielder Mike Ferris at .205

"Close But No Cigar"
Outfielder Wes Swackhamer at .237

On-Base Percentage
Memphis
Shortstop John Nelson at .396
Outfielder John Gall at .342
Outfielder Skip Schumaker at .338
First baseman Chris Duncan at .338
Second and third baseman Bo Hart at .261

"Close But No Cigar"
Outfielder Raul Gonzalez at .428 (2.96 plate appearances per game)
Outfielder Pete Zoccolillo at .324 (2.90 plate appearances per game)
Outfielder Brandon Berger at .303 (2.98 plate appearances per game)

Springfield
Outfielder Tyler Minges at .380
Third baseman Travis Hanson at .358
First baseman Andy Schutzenhofer at .337
Outfielder Shaun Boyd at .332
Infielder Kevin Estrada at .312
Outfielder Papo Bolivar at .295
Outfielder Reid Gorecki at .264

"Close But No Cigar"
None

Palm Beach
Outfielder Cody Haerther at .377
Outfielder Tyler Parker at .351
Outfielder Terry Evans at .307
Third baseman Matt Dryer at .304
First baseman John Santor at .290

"Close But No Cigar"
Second baseman Cal Hayes at .274 (3.00 plate appearances per game)

Quad Cities
Shortstop Matt Shepherd at .394
Second baseman Jarrett Hoffpauir at .389
Third baseman Jake Mullinax at .368 (up thirty-five points in two weeks)
Outfielder Matt Lemanczyk at .329
Outfielder Derry Hammond at .302
Outfielder Joe Mather at .301
First baseman Mike Ferris at .272

"Close But No Cigar"
Outfielder Wes Swackhamer at .281

Slugging
Memphis
Shortstop John Nelson at .510
Outfielder John Gall at .464
First baseman Chris Duncan at .433
Outfielder Skip Schumaker at .403
Infielder Bo Hart at .298

"Close But No Cigar"
Outfielder Raul Gonzalez at .528
Outfielder Brandon Berger at .455
Outfielder Pete Zoccolillo at .419

Springfield
Outfielder Tyler Minges at .567
Third baseman Travis Hanson at .462
Infielder Kevin Estrada at .393
Outfielder Papo Bolivar at .385
First baseman Andy Schutzenhofer at .310
Outfielder Shaun Boyd at .293
Outfielder Reid Gorecki at .277

"Close But No Cigar"
None

Palm Beach
Outfielder Cody Haerther at .584
Third baseman Matt Dryer at .497
Outfielder Tyler Parker at .412 (up 41 points in two weeks)
Outfielder Terry Evans at .360
First baseman John Santor at .366

"Close But No Cigar"
Second baseman Cal Hayes at .264

Quad Cities
Outfielder Joe Mather at .504
Second baseman Jarrett Hoffpauir at .452
Outfielder Derry Hammond at .442
Third baseman Jake Mullinax at .413 (up 80 points in two weeks)
First baseman Matt Ferris at .404 (up 40 points in two weeks)
Shortstop Matt Shepherd at .358
Outfielder Matt Lemanczyk at .286

"Close But No Cigar"
Outfielder Wes Swackhamer at .348

OPS
Memphis
Shortstop John Nelson at .907
Outfielder John Gall at.806
First baseman Chris Duncan at .770
Outfielder Skip Schumaker at .741
Infielder Bo Hart at .559

"Close But No Cigar"
Outfielder Raul Gonzalez at .955
Outfielder Brandon Berger at .758
Outfielder Pete Zoccolillo at .743

Springfield
Outfielder Tyler Minges at .947
Third baseman Travis Hanson at .821
Infielder Kevin Estrada at .705
Outfielder Papo Bolivar at .680
First baseman Andy Schutzenhofer at .647
Outfielder Shaun Boyd at .625
Outfielder Reid Gorecki at .541

"Close But No Cigar"
None

Palm Beach
Outfielder Cody Haerther at .961
Third baseman Matt Dryer at .801
Outfielder Tyler Parker at .762
Outfielder Terry Evans at .674
First baseman John Santor at .640

"Close But No Cigar"
Second baseman Cal Hayes at .538

Quad Cities
Second baseman Jarrett Hoffpauir at .841
Outfielder Joe Mather at .804
Third baseman Jake Mullinax at .781 (up 114 points in two weeks)
Shortstop Matt Shepherd at .752
Outfielder Derry Hammond at .745
First baseman Mike Ferris at .675
Outfielder Matt Lemanczyk at .615

"Close But No Cigar"
Outfielder Wes Swackhamer at .629

Runs Created
Memphis
Shortstop John Nelson at 27.47
Outfielder Skip Schumaker at 26.60
Outfielder John Gall at 22.88
First baseman Chris Duncan at 19.87
Infielder Bo Hart at 11.20

"Close But No Cigar"
Outfielder Raul Gonzalez at 28.38
Outfielder Brandon Berger at 18.50
Outfielder Pete Zoccolillo at 17.23

Springfield
Outfielder Tyler Minges at 37.70
Third baseman Travis Hanson at 30.23
Outfielder Papo Bolivar at 19.25
Infielder Kevin Estrada at 17.61
Outfielder Shaun Boyd at 16.05
First baseman Andy Schutzenhofer at 15.27
Outfielder Reid Gorecki at 11.08

"Close But No Cigar"
None

Palm Beach
Outfielder Cody Haerther at 37.92
Third baseman Matt Dryer at 24.28
Outfielder Tyler Parker at 20.00
Outfielder Terry Evans at 17.13
First baseman John Santor at 14.82

"Close But No Cigar"
Second baseman Cal Hayes at 8.07

Quad Cities
Second baseman Jarrett Hoffpauir at 29.16
Shortstop Matt Shepherd at 23.61
Third baseman Jake Mullinax at 21.40
Outfielder Joe Mather at 20.24
Outfielder Derry Hammond at 18.83
First baseman Mike Ferris at 17.91
Outfielder Matt Lemanczyk at 13.21

"Close But No Cigar"
Outfielder Wes Swackhamer at 13.51

Strike Outs per At Bat – The Top (also known as the "Best Battin' Eye" or the "David Eckstein")
Memphis
Center fielder Skip Schumaker at 1:9.55 at bats (20 strike outs in 191)
Outfielder Pete Zoccolillo at 1:8.60 at bats (15 strike outs in 129 at bats)

Springfield
First baseman Andy Schutzenhofer at 1:7.52 at bats (21 strike outs in 158 at bats)
Outfielder Tyler Minges at 1:7.42 at bats (24 strike outs in 178 at bats)

Palm Beach
Utility In and Outfielder Mike McCoy at 1:5.70 at bats (20 strike outs in 114 at bats taken)
Outfielder Cody Haerther at 1:5.58 at bats (31 strike outs in 173 at bats taken)

Quad Cities
Second baseman Jarrett Hoffpauir at 1:15.09 at bats (11 strike outs in 166 at bats)
Shortstop Matt Shepherd at 1:6.88 at bats (24 strike outs in 165 at bats)

Strike Outs per At Bat – The Bottom (also known as "Biggest Windmills")
Memphis
Shortstop John Nelson at 1:2.65 at bats (54 strike outs in 143 at bats)
Outfielder Brandon Berger at 1:4.55 at bats (29 strike outs in 132 at bats)

Springfield
Infielder Aaron Herr at 1:3.55 at bats (29 strike outs in 103 at bats)
Third baseman Travis Hanson at 1:4.04 at bats (46 strike outs in 186 at bats)

Palm Beach
Third baseman Matt Dryer at 1:2.89 at bats (57 strike outs in 165 at bats)
Tie - First baseman John Santor and Outfielder Ty Parker at 1:3.49 at bats (45 strike outs in 157 at bats/39 strike outs in 136 at bats)

Quad Cities
Outfielder Simon Williams at 1:2.97 at bats (38 strike outs in 113 at bats)
Outfielder Derry Hammond at 1:3.68 at bats (40 strike outs in 147 at bats)

Don't forget to check out Jason Scott's great weekly report on our minor league prospects. The latest one should arrive at any time.


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