Games Played Thursday
Memphis Redbirds (Triple-A): Lost to Albuquerque 11-8
Starter Anthony Reyes gave up two runs on seven hits, with two walks and three strikeouts in seven innings, but did not factor into the decision. Memphis closer Brian Falkenborg (L, 1-3) allowed five runs on five hits and a walk in just one-third of an inning.
Outfielder Rick Ankiel who is looking like he's ready to be called up at almost any time, went 2-for-4 to include his team leading 13th home run in the third and an RBI double in the fifth. I have had my doubts about Ankiel ever returning to the Major Leagues as an outfielder, even after watching him for five weeks in spring training this season I didn't think he would make it back. I've been wrong, he'll probably be in St. Louis for the entire season next year.
A week after the polls opened on MiLB.com, Rick is the leading vote-getter at the Triple-A level. The 27-year-old outfielder, is hitting .276 with 13 home runs and 44 RBIs for the Redbirds this season.
Memphis third baseman John Nelson also went deep with a three-run homer in the fifth. First baseman Tagg Bozied who I was very impressed with in spring training, but haven't written much about since, went 2-for-3 with a double and a walk, scoring three times.
RECORD: 27-34, 4th Place, 10 GB
Springfield Cardinals (Double-A): Winners 10-3 over Tulsa
All the talk about shortstops yesterday when the Cardinals decided to go with Pete Kozma a high school shortstop from Oklahoma, another shortstop Tyler Greene, who may have heard comments about nobody blocking Kozma from the Major Leagues, homered and drove in four runs Thursday night to lead the Cardinals past the Drillers 11-2.
Cardinals' starter Jaime Garcia (W, 3-5) allowed three runs on five hits while striking out six and walking two in 6.1 innings for his third win.
RECORD: 27-28, 2nd Place, 1.5 GB
Palm Beach Cardinals (High-A): Defeated by Tampa 9-1
The Cardinals took it on the chin Thursday night 9-1 as the Tampa Yankees made the most of their nine hits, scoring three in the first, three in the second and adding three more runs in the seventh.
Palm Beach could only muster up one run in the second inning to show for their eight hits on the night.
Palm Beach starter Gary Daley (L, 3-3) yielded six runs on five hits and five walks while retiring only four batters. The knock on Daley this season has been his walks, in 58.1 innings pitched he's walked 44 batters while striking out only 39.
RECORD: 31-28, 2nd Place, 1.5 GB
Swing of Quad Cities (A): Lost to Cedar Rapids 7-3
Quad Cities starter Shaun Garceau (L, 4-3) gave up five runs, four earned, on nine hits and a walk with five strikeouts in five innings, getting tagged with the loss as a result.
RECORD: 34-25, 4th Place, 2.5 GB
Batavia Muckdogs (SS)
Season opens on Tuesday June 19th, against the Auburn Doubledays.
The Cardinals will be sending most of their college pitchers drafted this week to Batavia. Depending on how many are selected, it is possible that they may go with a tandem rotation like the organization is experimenting with in Quad Cities.
While I'm not a fan of this experiment at Quad Cities, it seems to make more sense at Batavia or Johnson City. I would hope by the time a pitcher reaches High Class-A, that they would not use this type of rotation, because I think it retards the development of a pitching prospect to be pitching in that type of setup.
Johnson City Cardinals (R)
The Cardinals will open the season on the road in Greenville on Tuesday, June 19th.
The St. Louis Cardinals plan to send their top draft pick shortstop Pete Kozma to Johnson City.
Gulf Coast League Cardinals (R)
The Cardinals will open their season on Wednesday, June 20th.
VSL Cardinals (R) Winners 4-2
The Cardinals beat Tampa Bay/Cincinnati 4-2 Thursday to improve to 6-15 and move out of the basement of the VZL standings past the New York Mets club who have a losing record of 5-13 this season.
Minor League Pitcher of the Day
Earned just his third win of the season Thursday, but has been pitching much better than his 3-5 won-loss record would suggest
Minor League Player of the Day
Leading among all players in the Triple-A All-Star voting, Ankiel hit his 13th home run, a three-run shot on the season, along with an RBI double.