The Palm Beach Cardinals Report – Week Twelve

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. Outfielder Ian Church has 14 RBI in his last seven games.

The Palm Beach Cardinals started off hot this week and haven't cooled off yet. After a rainout of the first game of their series with the Daytona Cubs, Palm Beach was raring to go on Wednesday. The Cards took game one of the doubleheader by a score of 2-1. Tyler Norrick tossed four and a third of solid baseball, striking out two and allowing only one run. He was relieved in the fourth by Kyle McClellan who retired all five batters he faced on his way to picking up his fourth win of the season and Luke Gregerson picked up his fifteen save of the season. On the offensive side of the ball, A.J. Van Slyke got the ball rolling early leading off the game with a triple deep to center and was quickly driven home by a RBI groundout by Brandon Yarbrough.


The Cards' won game two of the doubleheader, 5-1. Adam Ottavino was spectacular in his start, picking up his fourth win of the season, tossing six strong inning allowing only one run on three hits while striking out six. Ian Church was the star of this game; the outfielder had three runs batted in on Wednesday. Church picked up his first RBI in the first with a perfect sac fly to dead center, in the fifth Church ripped a hanging slider deep to left center for an RBI double; he concluded his day with a RBI groundout in the fifth. All-everything Allen Craig had another solid performance racking up two hits and two runs batted in.


The Cards couldn't win their third straight on Thursday, and poor pitching was the culprit. Robert Ransom spread out nine hits allowing four runs, three earned in four innings pitched. Scott Vander Weg struggled mightily on Thursday. He seemed to be a little slower on the radar gun, which led to him picking up his fourth loss by giving up three runs on three hits and recording only one out. Offensively, Church got things started extremely early, launching a lead off home run to left to start the game, and Nathan Southard was on fire going 3-for-4 with two runs batted in.


Friday: Church and Craig teamed up to drive in eight runs between the two of them en-route to the Cards' 13-2 pounding of Jupiter. Craig got on the board early, driving a ball deep to left for a home run in the first and never stopped, driving in two on a line drive base hit to right in the seventh. Church stroked a line drive RBI double to deep left center in the third, he followed that with a two-run RBI double in almost the exact same spot in the fourth. Starter P.J. Walters was amazing in his debut for the Cards, allowing only two runs on four hits striking out ten in seven innings pitched.


Saturday: Church picked up where he left off on Friday, hitting one home run and driving in three in the Cards' 6-4 victory. Church lifted a fly ball to left in the third for his first RBI. With the Cards down 4-3, Church stepped up to the plate in the fifth inning, after taking a few pitches he didn't like, Church smacked his second home run of the week, giving him eleven RBI's in the past four games. Trey Hearne was unhittable in over two innings of work on his way to pick up this fourth win of the season. Jon Mikrut pitched a 1-2-3 eighth and Gregerson continued his amazing season picking up his sixteenth save of the season.


Sunday: This exciting ten-inning affair was capped with a walk off sacrifice fly by Brandon Buckman. The tenth-inning heroics for Buckman followed his clutch performance in the ninth. After back-to-back singles by Jon Jay and Craig, Buckman singled home the game-tying run in the ninth. Buckman wasn't the only Card that came up big during the Cards' 4-3 victory. Church had a home run and two runs batted in; James Rapoport went 2-for-5, driving in one. Norrick got the start and was his usual dominant self, striking out six in six innings but was unable to earn the win. Gregerson came on in relief of Norrick, allowing one hit and striking out one in his one inning of work.


Monday: The Cards took advantage of another dominant outing by Ottavino, who allowed no runs on four hits while striking out seven during a career long eight-inning outing. Ottavino was so hot that he retired nineteen of the last twenty batters he faced in the Cards 4-0 shu-out of Vero Beach, and looked as though he could have finished the game. Jon Mikrut came into the contest in the ninth and locked down the save by allowing no hits and striking out one.


Tuesday: This was just the second loss of the week for the Cards, who lost 5-3 to Vero Beach. The complete opposite of Adam Ottavino this week was Robert Ransom, who had his second tough outing during the period. Ransom yielded four runs on eight hits in five innings of work. Craig did his best to keep the Cards in the game driving in one by ripping a pair of singles to left field. The Cards are five up and two down this week and have the best record in the Florida State League's Eastern Division since the All-Star break.


Hot - Ian Church. The outfielder hasn't been hitting the ball with great frequency (.222) in the past seven games, yet every time he does he makes it count. In the past seven games, Church has three doubles, three home runs and a whopping fourteen runs batted in.


Not - Brandon Buckman is hitting only .250 since being called up to Palm Beach and he has no extra base hits. I'm positive that Buckman's batting numbers will improve but so far he has struggled to figure out high-A ball pitching, as evident by his five strikeouts in just twenty four at bats.


News and Notes

6-21-07: Springfield - Called up P Kyle McClellan from Palm Beach
6-21-07: Springfield - Sent P Michael Cooper to Palm Beach.
6-21-07: Springfield - Placed P Jose Garcia on the DL. Called up 2B/SS Jose Martinez from Palm Beach
6-24-07: Palm Beach - INF Jolbert Cabrera (Memphis) and OF Jon Jay (Springfield) are on rehab assignments with Palm Beach

6-25-07: Memphis - Recalled Jolbert Cabrera from his rehab assignment at Palm Beach and activated him.



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