What was different was the attitude of the players. This was a team that reminded me of the children's book my mother used to read to me about the little engine that could. Each player that approached the plate had that "I know I can" look on his face. The same was true in the field. Here was a team who knew the caliber of defense they were capable of playing and they knew if they played at that caliber they could easily find themselves in the play-offs.
Manager Chris Maloney said on Thursday prior to the game that his team saw themselves in a different light than they had when they took the field for the first time in April. The Cards opened the season at the Arkansas Travelers and were swept for the first time in franchise history--a hard stat to swallow. The Cards would not log a win until their fifth game.
The Cards didn't have to wait so long for a win in the second half as they beat the San Antonio Missions 7-2 on nine hits and no errors. The San Antonio Missions had six hits with three errors. It was the Cardinals exceptional defense and their ability to capitalize on the opponents errors that was most impressive and most productive in Thursday night's game. After Tyler Minges banged out a triple in the first inning, and was driven in by a home run from Juan "the monster smash" Diaz, his ninth of the year, the Cards scored a run in the fourth inning as San Antonio's second baseman Ishmael Castro made an error allowing Milko Jaramillo to cross the plate.
Stuart Pomeranz pitched seven innings, a season high for him, allowing only two runs on five hits. He struck out five and walked two.
Perhaps the only low point of the evening was the number of times a Springfield Cardinal was thrown out at the plate. No stat was available, but It happened at least three times and brought multiple groans from the 8,000-plus fans in attendance. But, on the other hand, it was a treat for the fans to see their beloved Cardinals play with such aggression, a direct effect of their newly acquired demeanor.
In recent moves, the Cardinals have added Pete Zoccolillo (ZAWK-a-lil-o) to the roster and have sent Andy Schutzenhofer to Palm Beach-A. Zoccolillo comes from Memphis-AAA where he was batting .261 with six home runs and 25 RBI's. Schutzenhofer was hitting .269 with 17 RBI's. Schutzenhofer started only one game on the last road trip. The Cards have also activated Milko Jaramillo from the DL, and sent Mike McCoy to Palm Beach. McCoy went 2-14 and had one RBI with his brief stint with Springfield.
All four Springfield Cardinals saw action in the All-Star Game held in Frisco, Texas. Robinson Cancel got a hit in the game, the only Cardinal to do so, going 1-2 on the night. Travis Hanson and Tyler Minges both went 0-4. Randy Leek pitched 0.2 innings and allowed two hits. Tyler Minges finished second in the Home Run Derby. losing out to Midland's Andre Ethier, who was also named MVP. The west won 5-0.
Chris Lambert is one of 50 players named to the seventh annual XM Satellite Radio All-Star Future Game. Lambert was a first round draft pick by St. Louis in 2004 and was rated the organization's fourth-best prospect by Baseball America. Lambert started the season with Palm Beach-A where he was 7-1 with an ERA of 2.63 in 10 starts. Before being promoted to Springfield, he was named to the Florida State League All-Star Game. Lambert is 0-2 in four starts with Springfield with an ERA of 8.10.
The Cards finished the first half of the season 14-10 against the west division of the Texas League and 17-24 against the east division. They finished the season at 35-35 for .500 over-all record. The Cards are now 36-35 for the entire season and 1-0 for the second half.
The Springfield Cardinals will meet the San Antonio Missions tonight (Friday) at 7:10 p.m. Tickets are available by calling (417) 863-2143, or on-line at www.springfieldcardinals.com. The game can be heard live on KWTO JOCK 98.7 or on the website at www.springfieldcardinals.com.