The Palm Beach Cardinals Report – April 25

Our exclusive weekly report on the 2007 edition of the Single-A Palm Beach Cardinals from our on-site beat reporter in Jupiter, Jim Rutledge. This week's focus is on the pitching staff.

The Cardinals have risen to the top of the Florida State League East Division standings. They started the week by completing their sweep of the St. Lucie Mets and finished it by taking two of three from the Brevard County Manatees. The key to this weeks' success has been dominant pitching, so let's take a closer look at the staff.

Tyler Norrick - Tyler is a talented lefty who has dominated the FSL with a variety of pitches that have baffled opposing hitters. Norrick started the season with an impressive streak of eighteen scoreless innings, and has only given up one run in twenty four innings. His record is an impressive 3-0, a ridiculous earned run average of 0.038 and he has allowed only twelve hits. What makes Norrick's numbers so amazing is the fact that he is not a strikeout pitcher; he only has twelve. Norrick is the type of pitcher that allows batters to put the ball in play. The key to his success is that he excels at putting the ball where the hitter can't drive it.

Gary Daley Jr. - Gary is just one of the talented arms that are available in the Cards' bullpen. Daley has been making hitters miss this season, striking out five in only eleven innings pitched. Hitters can't figure him out, while batting only .187 against big right-hander, which has contributed to his unbelievable 0.00 earned run average.

Mike Cooper - Mike has been the anchor of the bullpen, coming in stressful positions and holding opposing hitters at bay and stopping big innings. Cooper has one win against one loss and an earned run average of 1.64 and opposing hitters are only hitting .190 against him.

Jason Motte - Jason is the closest thing the Cards have to a closer, leading the team with three saves. What makes Motte an interesting player is the fact that he is dominating as a pitcher even though he was a catcher last season. He was more than just an average position player; Motte was an all-star catcher in 2006. Before that season was over, he was sent down to the New York-Penn League to continue to learn how to pitch. Motte has done well with his adjustment to pitching as his earned run average is a paltry 1.29 in his seven innings or relief.

Hot

Outfielder Sean Danielson is leading the team with his .345 batting average and four stolen bases. He is the key to the team's success with his hot bat and flawless fielding (zero errors).

Third baseman Allen Craig is the anchor of this lineup, and the most exciting player on this team. You can feel the fans buzzing with anticipation every time he steps up to the plate, and for good reason. Craig leads the team with twenty-eight total bases; he also has two home runs and eleven runs batted in.

Not

First Baseman Mark Hamilton who is batting only .147 with team low .194 on base percentage. His is struggling in the field, having committed two errors in only ten games. Some of his struggles could be attributed to his lack of playing time.

Coming into Tuesday, Trey Hearne had yet to earn a victory this season and carried a team-high 6.46 earned run average. But he had a strong outing Tuesday, with seven shutout innings. In the process, Hearne earned his first victory of the season against highly-touted Cubs prospect Jeff Samardzija and lowered that ERA two runs to 4.43.

News and Notes

Isa Garcia - Is recently seeing action at second base batting .167 with two runs batted in.

Ian Church - Has been placed into the outfield rotation, having played in three games batting .250 with five total bases.

Allen Craig - Left Friday's game with a rib injury after sliding into home; Craig played Monday, going two for four.



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