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. Ace Tyler Norrick was a bright spot in an otherwise rough week.
The Palm Beach Cardinals were
unable to take advantage of spending the entire week at home, dropping two games
against the Tampa Yankees and three straight against the division-leading
Brevard County Manatees. On the positive side, the Cards were able to stay in
second place, Tyler Norrick continued his strong pitching and Allen Craig and
Mark Hamilton have become modern day bash brothers.
Here is a recap of the week that
was, the good and the bad.
Wednesday, June 6 -
Tampa struck early and often against
Cards pitching, as the Yankees scored five runs in the first.
Hamilton continued his hot hitting,
ripping a double to right in the fifth and striking a ball deep to dead center
for his eleventh home run of the season in the bottom of the ninth. After a
disastrous first inning, Trey Hearne was able to find a rhythm. Rebounding from
allowing six of hits in the first, Hearne settled down and allowed only three
other hits for the rest of his outing. Hearne stuck out three in his six innings
pitched and was replaced in the seventh by Donnie Smith who pitched two average
innings of relief allowing two runs. The Cards hitters' inability to figure out
Yankee pitching paired with that rough first inning by Hearne all contributed to
the Cards' 8-3 loss.
Thursday, June 7 -
Gary Daley Jr.
became the second consecutive Cards starter to allow six runs, this time in a
9-1 loss to Tampa. Contributing to Daley's
struggles was a blister that formed on his throwing hand and giving him little
control over his pitches, resulting in Daley getting pulled in the first. You
could tell right from the get go that something wasn't right with Daley, who
didn't have the same pop to his fast ball and bite to his breaking balls.
Brandon Yarbrough was the only Cards' batter that showed up to play on
Wednesday, as the talented catcher had two singles and an RBI. Joba Chamberlin
was dominant for Tampa, as the big righty struck out
nine Cards' hitters using his overpowering stuff. A.J. Van Slyke had his worst
outing of the season Wednesday as the outfielder looked baffled all night,
striking out swinging four times. The only solace the Cards hitters can take is
the fact that a pitcher like Chamberlin isn't one to stay in Class A ball for
long - he was hitting 96 on the radar gun.
Friday, June 8 - When you need to stop a losing
streak, there is nobody better for the Cards than ace Norrick (W, 6-4). The big
lefty tossed seven dominating innings against Tampa, allowing only two hits and
striking out six. Norrick was able to get ahead in the count by throwing his
two-seam fastball for strikes, and kept hitters off balance with his slider.
Kyle McClellan and Luke Gregerson combined to throw two no-hit innings of
relief, helping the Cards seal the 2-0 victory. Jose Martinez was the offensive
star of the game, giving the Cards a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the ninth.
Martinez pulled a ball to left that cut
though the wind that was blowing in and inched over the wall.
Saturday, June 9 -
batters were able to explode out of their collective slump on Friday. With one
out in the third, Craig tore a line drive over the fence in left center for his
thirteenth home run of the season. His hot-hitting teammate
Hamilton followed with a moon shot over
the right field fence for his twelfth homerun of the year. All of the Cards'
hitters were hot on Saturday; as a whole the team had five doubles. Adam Daniels
(W, 4-5) was dominant in his start, pitching seven innings, allowing one run on
five hits to earn the victory. Robert Ransom was a pleasant surprise in his
first outing of the season, using his plus fastball to overpower
Tampa batters for two innings to earn
Sunday, June 10 - After struggling at the plate for
the first three innings, Cards' hitters were able to break through in the
fourth. Dan Nelson got things rolling by drawing a seven-pitch walk, and Craig
followed walking on five pitches. With two on and two out, Ian Church ripped a
ground ball to left center for a two-run double. Church added another RBI with a
single in the sixth and Yarbrough scored on an error in the ninth. The Cards
were flying high after tying the game at four in the bottom of the ninth. The
excitement of the comeback was short lived, as reliever Gregerson had a horrible
outing. Gregerson was only able to get one out before he was pulled after giving
up three runs in the top of the tenth. The Cards were unable to get on the board
in the ninth and wasted a solid start from Adam Ottavino who went seven giving
up four runs.
Monday, June 11 - Great hitting was unable to
overcome poor pitching in the Cards' 12-9 loss to
Brevard County on Monday. In what I would say
was the worst outing by any Cardinals pitcher this season, Trey Hearne allowed
seven runs and recorded only two outs before being pulled from the game. He was
relieved by Donnie Smith who didn't fare much better, allowing four runs in just
over three innings pitched. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Cards hitters
were on fire. Yarbrough hit his second home run of the season on a fly ball that
just kept going and landed over the fence in right in the bottom of the sixth.
Two batters later, Craig pulled a ball deep over the fence in left for his
fourteenth home run of the season. In the bottom of the eighth, after three hits
and a walk, Ian Church stepped up to the plate and delivered big time. Church
jumped all over a fastball and ripped the ball over the left field fence for a
grand slam pulling the Cards' within three, but that's as close as they got.
Tuesday, June 12 -
The Cards can't
seem to catch a break, as this time great pitching was wasted by an inability to
get hits, leading to a 2-1 loss to Brevard. Cardinal batters were only able to
register five hits and their only run came via an RBI single by Nelson in the
sixth. Fernando Salas was the tough luck starter on Tuesday, allowing only two
runs on four hits in six strong innings. Matt Trent and Kyle McClellan combined
to allow only one hit, but it wasn't enough as the Cards dropped their third
straight to the division-leading Manatees.
Tyler Norrick - The Cards ace has an earned run
average of 2.76 and has won three of his last four decisions giving him a 6-4
record for the season. The 23-year-old left-hander has gone at least six innings
in 11 of his 13 starts this season.
Trey Hearne - Two loses in one week is bad all
by itself but allowing eleven runs in under six innings pitched is ridiculous.
This rough week has dropped Hearne to 3-6 on the season and raised his earned
run average to 6.32.
Beach - Activated P Robert Ransom off
Beach - Activated OF Shane Robinson off
the DL. Placed P Gary Daley, Jr. on the DL. Daley Jr. has a blister on his
Beach - Released OF Matt
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