The Johnson City Cardinals Report: Week 11

This week's report on the short-season Appalachian League's Johnson City Cardinals from our on-site beat reporter, Shawn Kerrick. Jose Mateo is our tandem starting pitcher of the week.

The Johnson City Cardinals finished the week (Sunday through Saturday) with a record of 3-3 to take their overall record to 27-37.  The team had six games scheduled this week, including a doubleheader Monday night against the Bristol White Sox.  The last two scheduled off-days of the season were Wednesday and Thursday.  The doubleheader in Bristol was necessitated by the rainout in Johnson City on Saturday, July 28 (Week Seven). 

 

Barring a significant winning streak by the White Sox and/or a losing streak by the Cardinals over the last four games of the season, Johnson City will finish the season in third place in the five-team Western Division of the Appalachian League – behind the champion Elizabethton Twins and the second place Kingsport Mets.  As of Sunday morning, the offense maintained its third place position in the nine-team league in batting average (.262) after hitting .273 for the week.  The Cardinal hitters rank between third and sixth in all offensive categories except caught stealing (eighth), strikeouts (second), and triples (tied for last). 

 

The tandem starters made ten appearances this week and had a combined record of 2-2.  It was not a very good week for the pitchers.  The team earned run average (ERA) for the week was 4.98 and the walks-plus-hits per inning pitched (WHIP) for the week was 1.49.  As of Sunday morning, the team's season averages of 4.12 ERA and 1.40 WHIP were both fifth best.  The Cardinals are tied for the lead league with seven shutouts.  The team snuck out of the basement in unearned runs (seventy-six) thanks to the Astros but it is still eighth, adding five more this week on seven errors.  The staff is still in last place in the league in walks allowed and is eighth in hit batters. 

 

I was able to attend three of the six games in person.  I listened to Friday and Saturday's games against the Burlington Royals on the radio and logged observations and pitch counts (Friday only) made by radio announcer Ed Cohen.  Those observations provide the basis for this report.

 

Note:  I will be on vacation and will miss the last two games of the season at home against the Princeton Devil Rays.  I will issue an end of the season report sometime next week but due to vacation, it may not be as timely as other reports this year. 

 

Roster Additions

None

 

Roster Deletions

OF-Jon Edwards was promoted to Batavia of the New York-Penn League.

OF-Travis Mitchell was promoted to Batavia of the New York-Penn League.

 

Disabled/Inactive/Suspended List

RP-LaCurtis Mayes – pitching-elbow injury, surgery option being evaluated

SS-Melvin Puello – recovering from elbow ligament replacement surgery

C-Garrett Bussiere – post-concussion syndrome

RP-Kris Bakey - suspended

 

Twenty-eight of the thirty-one "active" players on the roster saw action this week. 

 

SP-Tyler Leach saw no action this week after being removed early from Game 56 with some elbow pain.  I have not been able to confirm it, since all the games were road games this week, but it seems likely that Leach has been shut down for the rest of the season. 

 

RP-Eduardo Sanchez saw no action, most likely due to fewer games played and the lack of need for a right-handed closer. 

 

C-Roberto Espinoza saw no action, likely due to Manager Joe Almaraz' decision to play catchers Ivan Castro and Casey Mulligan.  Espinoza was used in several consecutive games in the middle of the season when Mulligan was injured and Castro was still at the GCL Cardinals. 

 

These were the tandem starter pairings and results (W=win, L=loss, H=hold, S=save) this past week:

 

Sunday:  Mark Diapoules followed by Jose Arredondo (W, 5-4)

Monday (Game One):  Andres Rosales

Monday (Game Two):  Omar Javier (L, 0-7)

Tuesday:  Senger Peralta followed by Reynier Gonzalez (W, 1-0)

Wednesday:  Off Day

Thursday:  Off Day

Friday:  Nick Additon (L, 2-1) followed by Jose Mateo

Saturday:  Jose Arredondo followed by Mark Diapoules

 

The Week in Review

Game 59, Johnson City 14 @ Kingsport Mets 6:  I didn't get to see or hear Sunday's game so my summary relies on the box score, game log, and various media reports.  The Cardinals entered the game with a tough three-game losing streak, each by one run.  Johnson City trailed 6-3 going into the sixth inning when they sent fourteen hitters to the plate, scoring eight runs on seven hits, three walks, and an error. 

 

The fourteen runs and sixteen hits for the game were both the second most for the year.  The Cardinals scored eighteen runs in Game 33 and registered seventeen hits in Game 23.  Matt Arburr came into the game with a team high four-game hitting streak and was the only one of ten players not to get a base hit. 

 

Five Cardinals recorded multi-hit games.  Left fielder Adron Chambers boosted his season batting average back over the .300 level by going 2-for-5 with two runs scored and a walk.  Right fielder Beau Riportella was 2-for-3 with two runs scored, two walks, and two runs-batted-in (RBI).  Nick Vera had the biggest blow of the eight-run sixth inning.  Vera hit a grand slam to left center field that he described to the media as being one of the longest balls he hit all season long.  Vera finished the game going 2-for-6 with two runs scored and four RBIs.  Center fielder Travis Mitchell was 3-for-5 with a double and two runs scored. 

 

The position player of the game was a player that only played half the game.  Third baseman Casey Mulligan entered the game in the fifth and proceeded to go on a tear.  Mulligan led off the eight-run sixth inning with a double and added a leadoff double in the eighth and a two-run home run in the ninth to finish 3-for-4 with three runs and two RBIs.  It was Mulligan's fourth player-of-the-game award but his first since Game 24.  

 

Second tandem starter Jose Arredondo worked around two Pete Kozma fielding errors, a wild pitch, and a walk to win his fifth pitcher-of-the-game award this year.  Arredondo allowed all three of Mark Diapoules' inherited runners to score on a sacrifice fly and an error in the fifth and then proceeded to mow down the Mets over the last four innings while allowing no hits and no runs. 

 

Game 60 (Game 1 of Doubleheader), Johnson City 7 @ Bristol White Sox 4:  The Jon Edwards of early last year made an appearance in this game.  Edwards commented in the media after the game about how the roving instructors have been helping him at the plate this year.  Edwards was an obvious choice for the player-of-the-game award by going 2-for-3 with a walk, two runs scored, five RBIs, and a massive three-run home run on a 1-2 pitch over the left field wall in the sixth that the Bristol left fielder just turned and watched.  Edwards was instrumental in all three innings that the Cardinals scored runs and collected his fifth award of the year. 

 

The Cardinals jumped ahead early and starter Andres Rosales would have likely gotten a win had he not struggled with his pitch count and a few more singles than he would usually allow.  Rosales threw sixty-nine pitches, forty-seven for strikes, over his four innings pitched while allowing one run on six hits.  Rosales recorded eight strikeouts while allowing no walks but he did hit one batter and committed two controversial balks.  Rosales earned the pitcher-of-the-game award for the third time this year in six appearances.

 

The Cardinals were leading comfortably by a score of 7-2 in the bottom of the seventh and last inning when reliever Ray Silva began to struggle.  Silva gave up a double, a triple, two walks, a hit batter, and two runs with his twenty-seven pitches in just two-thirds of an inning.  Reliever Matt Spade came in to put out the fire with the bases loaded and the potential winning run at the plate.  Spade threw three pitches, all strikes, coaxed a 4-6 force out, and recorded his first professional save.  

 

Shortstop Pete Kozma was 2-for-3 with two runs scored and a walk.  Kozma was fortunate to avoid making the second out in the fifth just before Edwards' home run.  Kozma almost ran into an out at third base on an infield single.  Kozma got into a pickle but was safe at third on some good hustle.  Third baseman Nick Vera was 3-for-4 with two runs scored.  Center fielder Travis Mitchell was 2-for-4 with a double and a run scored. 

 

Game 61 (Game 2 of Doubleheader), Johnson City 3 @ Bristol White Sox 4:  The Cardinals fell behind 1-0 in the early going despite some pretty good pitching from a winless Omar Javier.  Second baseman Mike Folli hit a two-out three run home run in the top of the fifth inning in what was a pretty uneventful game to that point.  The blast over the left field wall was on a 3-2 pitch and I thought the 3-1 lead going into the bottom of the fifth could be all Javier needed to break his winless streak.  However, Javier gave up a leadoff single on the first pitch and then quickly followed that with a four-pitch walk, a throw into right field on a sacrifice bunt, and a 1-0 pitch two-RBI single.  In what has been the story of Javier's season, the 3-1 lead evaporated into a 4-3 deficit within just a few minutes and with no outs recorded.   

 

The Cardinals only generated four hits to add to Folli's home run.  Left fielder Joe Hage and catcher Ivan Castro each had a single, a double, and a run to go with a run scored.  Hage added a stolen base that was really defensive indifference and would have grounded into a double play if the Bristol shortstop hadn't got the ball caught up in his glove.  Castro's only out was a bullet line drive right at the left fielder on a 3-2 pitch so he edged out Hage for my vote for player-of-the-game.  It was Castro's second award in ten games played.    

 

Johnson City used only two pitchers in the seven inning game and if it were not for Javier's fifth inning melt down, reliever Steve Hill may no have won his first pitcher-of-the-game award this year in five games.  It certainly helped my decision though when Hill struck out all four batters he faced with his twelve pitches.  The Cardinals had a chance to tie or possibly win it in the seventh when they got runners on first and second base with one out but easy outfield fly balls from pinch hitter Osvaldo Morales and Mike Folli ended the game. 

 

Game 62, Johnson City 4 @ Bristol White Sox 3:  The first three innings flew by with only one base runner getting as far as second base.  The Cardinals jumped ahead with two runs in the fourth and stayed ahead throughout the game despite allowing another unearned run on two errors.  It was the twenty-sixth consecutive game that Johnson City had committed at least one error. 

 

First tandem starter Senger Peralta gave up one run and no earned runs over four innings while scattering four singles and a walk.  Peralta recorded seven of a team-total twelve strikeouts.  Second tandem starter Reynier Gonzalez also breezed through his first three innings but ran into some trouble in his fourth inning while leading 4-1.  R. Gonzalez got the first two outs in the eighth inning but then allowed two runs on a hit batter, a home run, and two consecutive singles.  Lefty reliever Matt Spade then came in to save the day for the second night in a row, earning his second save in as many nights.  Spade induced an inning-ending 6-4 force out and then worked through a ninth inning walk to earn his third pitcher-of-the-game award in nine games. 

 

Seven of the nine starters had at least one hit.  Shortstop Pete Kozma was 2-for-4 with a double, a walk, and a run scored.  Jon Edwards was 1-for-4 with a RBI double and a walk.  Nick Vera won his team-high eleventh player-of-the-game award this year by going 1-for-3 with two walks, a run scored, and two two-out RBIs.  Vera's single in the fifth proved to be the game-winning hit.

 

Game 63, Johnson City 1 @ Burlington Royals 5:  No errors!  I know they lost the game but they committed no errors – for the first time in twenty-six games!  I logged pitches from the radio broadcast and two-out RBIs were the story of this game.  The Cardinals were 0-for-7 while the Royals were 4-for-7. 

 

First tandem starter Nick Additon had his normal good control, striking out six while allowing no walks but Addition was dishing up a few too many pitches that were hit hard for extra-base hits.  Additon went four and one-third innings while allowing three earned runs on three doubles and a home run.  Additon got his first loss in his fourteenth appearance.  Second tandem starter Jose Mateo won the pitcher-of-the-game award by allowing only one earned run over three innings pitched.  Mateo's first two innings were sixteen pitches, fourteen strikes, 6-of-6 first pitch strikes, and two swinging strikeouts. 

 

The Cardinals out-hit the Royals 9-8 but couldn't come up with anything with two-outs and runners in scoring position.  Of the seventeen hits, eleven were doubles or home runs.  Center fielder Adron Chambers was 2-for-5 with two doubles.  Shortstop Pete Kozma was 1-for-4 with a double.  Third baseman Casey Mulligan was 1-for-4 with a solo home run.  Player-of-the-game Osvaldo Morales was 2-for-4 with two doubles. 

 

Game 64, Johnson City 4 @ Burlington Royals 9:  The Cardinals played two games in a row without an error?  Really?  Four runs and seven hits should win a few games so the Cardinal pitching was what really let the team down in this one.  Fifteen hits and five walks from six different Cardinal pitchers was one of the poorest pitching performances by the team this year.  Tandem starters Jose Arredondo and Mark Diapoules, who had to leave the game early with a re-aggravation of his lower back problem, combined for six earned runs, eight hits, two walks, and two home runs.  

 

When all six pitchers have walks plus hits per inning pitched of 1.8 or greater, it is really hard to give out a pitcher-of-the-game award.  Only one of the six didn't allow a run and so, perhaps by default, Ryan Hodinka gets the award for this one.  Hodinka came into a 6-4 ball game in the fifth inning with runners on first and second with two outs.  A double steal was followed with a walk and a bases-loaded foul pop-up to the first baseman.  Hodinka only threw one third of an inning but in Hodinka's defense, the walk may have been one of those un-intentional, intentional walks and he did keep the Cardinals within striking distance going into the sixth inning.  It was Ryan Hodinka's first pitcher-of-the-game ward this year. 

 

Only one Cardinal had a multi-hit game and for that, Beau Riportella won his fourth player of the game award and his first since Game 26.  Riportella was 2-for-3 with a run and is now the only player on the current roster hitting above .300 for the season.  Designated hitter Matt Arburr hit a two-run home run, his fifth of the season.  Riportella, Chambers, and Mulligan all extended their hit streaks to three games while second baseman Mike Folli extended his hit streak to a current team-high of six games.

 

Players of the Week

Each week, the roster is categorized into four categories:  Starting pitchers, relievers, starting position players, and reserves.  I then select one player from each category that warrants special notice as the Johnson City player of the week.

 

Starting pitchers eligible for selection:  Jose Arredondo (two games), Mark Diapoules (two games), Omar Javier, Senger Peralta, Jose Mateo, Nick Additon, Andres Rosales, and Reynier Gonzalez. 

 

The tandem starters threw seventy-seven percent of the forty-seven innings pitched this week and produced a collective 1.38 walks-plus-hits per inning pitched (WHIP) in the process.  Five of the eight had WHIPs below the starter's average but no single pitcher really stood out from the others.  Senger Peralta and Jose Mateo were the only two of the five that didn't allow a home run or any extra-base hits and who both improved their season ERAs.  On the strength of his slightly lower WHIP, Jose Mateo wins his first tandem-starting pitcher of the week award this year.  Mateo is tied for the team lead with Nick Additon for eight pitcher-of-the-game awards this season and he leads the tandem starters in groundball out to fly ball out ratio (2.78). 

 

Relief pitchers eligible for selection:  Ray Silva (two games), Matt Spade (two games), Joel Pichardo (two games), Steve Hill (two games), Ryan Hodinka, and Dylan Gonzalez. 

 

As a group, the pen threw ten and two-thirds innings while allowing six earned runs this week (5.06 ERA).  Only two of the six relievers recorded WHIPs of less than 1.5 with Steve Hill recording a 1.0 WHIP over three innings pitched.  On the strength of the lowest WHIP allowed, Matt Spade wins the reliever of the week award in just his fourth week of eligibility since being promoted from the Gulf Coast League Cardinals.  Spade added his first two professional saves while allowing no hits and no runs over one and two-thirds innings pitched.

 

Starting position players eligible for selection:  1B-Nick Vera, 2B-Mike Folli, SS-Pete Kozma, 3B-Casey Mulligan, LF-Adron Chambers, CF-Travis Mitchell, RF-Beau Riportella, C-Ivan Castro, and DH-Jon Edwards.

 

All nine of the starters averaged between .250 and .333 for the week with six of the nine tying for the team lead with six hits.  Vera led the team in runs and RBIs but was last in batting average.  Mulligan led the team with two home runs and fourteen total bases.  Folli and Kozma each led the team with six walks.  Chambers led the team with three doubles and Edwards tied for the team lead with six RBIs.  But this week's position player of the week, for the third time this year, was Travis Mitchell.  Mitchell led the team in average by going 5-for-15 (.333) with three runs, two doubles, and a walk.  Mitchell made several very nice defensive plays in center field early in the week before packing his bags for Batavia, NY.  Good luck Travis!

 

Reserve players eligible for selection:  PH-Hector Alvarez (0-for-1), DH-Rob Sanzillo (0-for-4), 1B/DH/PH-Osvaldo Morales (3-for-11), LF-Joey Hage (2-for-6), and 1B/DH-Matt Arburr (2-for-10).  Only one of the five reserves posted a batting average above the team's weekly average of .273.  Left fielder Joey Hage was 2-for-6 (.333) with a double, two runs scored, an outfield assist (his fourth for the year), a stolen base, and a walk.  Joey Hage is the reserve player-of-the-week for week eleven.  Congratulations Joe!

 

League Leaders in Hitting

Vera – tenth in average (.299).

Riportella – sixth in average (.307).

Edwards – tied for seventh in home runs (7) and tied for ninth in walks (28). 

 

League Leaders in Pitching

Additon – tied for seventh in strikeouts (61).

Sanchez – tied for eighth in saves (4).

D. Gonzalez – tied for third in games (20).

Mayes – tied for eighth in games (18).

Silva – tied for sixth in games (19).

 

Notes

I got to vote for the Appy League All-Star team this year.  I wasn't allowed to vote for any of the Cardinals but seven of the fourteen all-stars I voted for were elected to the team.  The Division Champion Elizabethton Twins and Danville Braves both dominated the voting, getting eleven of the fourteen spots.  The Greeneville Astros, Kingsport Mets, Princeton Devil Rays, Johnson City Cardinals, and Bristol White Sox were all shut out of the All-Star team. 

 

 

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