The Johnson City Cardinals Report: Week 12

In our final weekly report on the 2007 campaign, Beau Riportella is our Reserve Player of the Week for the Johnson City Cardinals, finishing fifth in the Appalachian League with his .315 average this year.

The Johnson City Cardinals finished the week (Sunday through Wednesday) with a record of 1-3 to take their overall season ending record to 28-40.  The team finished their sixty-eight-game schedule last week with two games at the Eastern Division Champion Danville Braves and a doubleheader at home, after a Tuesday night rainout, against the Princeton Devil Rays on Wednesday night. 


Johnson City finished the season in third place in the five-team Western Division of the Appalachian League, twenty-two games behind the champion Elizabethton Twins and seven games behind the second place Kingsport Mets.  The Cardinals were within one game of the .500 mark on August 30 (18-19) but finished the season 10-21.  All nine teams in the league were able to complete their full sixty-eight-game schedule, likely due to the drought conditions this area of the country has been suffering through this summer. 


The offense fell all the way from third place to fifth place in the nine-team league in batting average (.256) after hitting .136 for the week and scoring only one run in each of its four games.  The Cardinal hitters finished the season ranked between fourth and sixth in ten of sixteen offensive categories. 


The team struggled in three main areas and excelled in one other area, relative to the other nine teams in the league.  Johnson City struggled with extra base hits (seventh in doubles and ninth in triples), clutch hits (seventh in runs batted in), and stolen bases (eighth in caught stealing).  The team had pretty good plate discipline as they had the second fewest strikeouts and the third most walks. 


The tandem starters made six appearances last week and had a combined record of 1-3.  The team earned run average (ERA) for the week was 4.80 and the walks-plus-hits per inning pitched (WHIP) for the week was 1.47.  The starters (3.70 ERA and 1.36 WHIP) fared much better than the relievers (9.53 ERA and 1.94 WHIP). 


The Cardinals pitching staff finished the season between fourth and sixth place in nine of thirteen key statistics.  They struggled in two key areas and excelled in one, relative to the other nine teams in the league.  Johnson City led the league with eight shutouts.  However, the pitchers struggled with their control (tied for last place in walks and eighth in hit batters) and working through errors (seventh in unearned runs allowed).   


I was unable to attend any of the four games in person since I was on vacation.  The game summaries were made from available media reports and box scores. 


Roster Additions



Roster Deletions

SP-Nick Additon was promoted to Batavia of the New York-Penn League as a reliever.  Additon pitched very well with Batavia, allowing only two hits, a .118 average, and no runs in three relief appearances over five and one third innings pitched.


RP-Matt Spade was promoted to Quad Cities of the Midwest League.  Spade was named the reliever of the week (Week Eleven) for the Johnson City Cardinals just before his promotion. 


The promotions of the two left-handed pitchers brought the season total of players promoted from Johnson City to either Batavia or Quad Cities to twelve.  That is the most promotions I can remember occurring during the season in the last eleven years of watching the Johnson City Cardinals.


Disabled/Inactive/Suspended List

RP-LaCurtis Mayes – pitching-elbow injury

SS-Melvin Puello – recovering from elbow ligament replacement surgery

C-Garrett Bussiere – post-concussion syndrome

RP-Kris Bakey - suspended


Twenty-four of the twenty-seven "active" players on the roster saw action this week.  Starting pitcher Tyler Leach saw no action for the second week in a row after being removed early from Game 56 with elbow pain.  Starting pitcher Mark Diapoules was not scheduled to start during the short week.  Relievers Dylan Gonzalez was not used during the last four games. 


These were the tandem starter pairings and results (W=win, L=loss, H=hold, S=save) for the last four games:


Sunday:  Omar Javier (L, 0-8) followed by Andres Rosales

Monday:  Reynier Gonzalez (L, 1-1) followed by Senger Peralta

Tuesday:  Rained out

Wednesday (Game One):  Jose Mateo (W, 4-2)

Wednesday (Game Two):  Jose Arredondo (L, 5-5)


The Week in Review

Game 65, Johnson City 1 @ Danville Braves 6:  The Braves were setting up their pitching rotation for the playoffs by starting left-handed Appalachian League All-Star Jeffrey Locke.  The twelve Cardinal starters in the two game series entered the series 72-for-351 (.205) versus lefties.  As the season trends might have predicted, Johnson City was 2-for-21 with no runs against Locke.  After Locke left the game in the seventh, Johnson City went 2-for-8 with two walks and a run against a right-handed reliever.


Mike Folli extended his hitting streak to seven games with a single in the ninth and Matt Arburr extended his hitting streak to three games with a fifth inning single against Locke.  The position-player-of-the-game, for the second game in a row, was left fielder Beau Riportella.  Riportella was 2-for-3 with a run scored while extending his hitting streak to four games. 


Neither of the tandem starters pitched very well.  First starter Omar Javier and second starter Andres Rosales both recorded WHIPs of 2.0 over their seven innings pitched.  Reliever Joel Pichardo was the pitcher-of-the-game for the third time this year in fourteen games while allowing a double and no runs during his one inning pitched. 


Game 66, Johnson City 1 @ Danville Braves 6:  Two more lefties made life for the Cardinals difficult again.  Johnson City finished this game 3-for-30 with one walk and fifteen strikeouts and finished the two game series 5-for-51 (.098) against left-handed pitching.  This brought the season average against lefties, for the twelve players that had at-bats in the series, to 77-for-402 (.192).  The Cardinals had twenty-six strikeouts (fifty-one percent of the outs recorded) during the two-game series. 


The Cardinals jumped ahead early with a run in the first inning on a Beau Riportella single, a balk, and a Nick Vera single.  The only other hit in the game was a two-out sixth inning double from Pete Kozma.  Kozma went on to win my vote for player of the game by contributing two assists, two putouts, and a double play turned.  It was Kozma's fourth award of the year in twenty-eight games but it was his first since Game 55. 


Beau Riportella had to come out of this game in the fourth inning, possibly due to an injury, since he didn't play in the last two games.  Riportella was the only one of twelve Cardinals to not strike out against a lefty in the series and he scored both runs in the series. 


Most of the damage was done against first reliever Ray Silva.  Silva gave up four runs on three hits and one walk over just one third of an inning pitched.  First tandem starter Reynier Gonzalez gave up the other two runs on three hits and three walks.  Reliever Joel Pichardo and second tandem starter Senger Peralta pitched much better in a 6-1 ball game.  Peralta won the pitcher of the game award, only his second of the year.  Peralta's only other award was in Game 12.  Peralta allowed no runs, two hits, and one walk over three innings pitched while adding three strikeouts. 


Game 67 (Game 1 of Doubleheader), Princeton Devil Rays 0 @ Johnson City 1:  Tuesday's game was rained out so the season ended with a Wednesday night doubleheader.  The Cardinals recorded their league leading eighth shutout of the year on the strength of starter Jose Mateo's sharp-breaking slider.  Mateo allowed only five singles over a season high six and one third innings pitched. 


Mateo won his team high ninth pitcher of the game award.  Mateo allowed no walks and used three double plays, two outfield assists, and a pickoff to work around two errors.  Mateo faced just two batters over the minimum and came just two hitters short of recording the Appalachian League's fifth complete game of the year and the first for the Cardinals.  Two more outs would have given Mateo just the second complete game shutout in the league this year.  Mateo has been pitching to contact with his slider better than any of the Johnson City starters lately and that was reflected in the stats by his one strikeout, eleven ground ball outs, four fly ball outs, and the one hour and twenty-nine minute game time.       


The Cardinals only generated two hits but they got them both in the third inning and that, along with a stolen base, was enough to produce the only run of the game.  Designated hitter Rob Sanzillo led-off the third with a single, advanced to second on a stolen base, and then scored on an Adron Chambers two-out run-batted-in (RBI).  Chambers won his first player of the game award since Game 40 and his fifth on the season.      


Well-rested-closer Eduardo Sanchez came into the game in the seventh to record a two-out save for Mateo.  It was Sanchez' first action in eleven days.  Sanchez recorded his team high fifth save by striking out both of the batters he faced. 


Game 68 (Game 2 of Doubleheader), Princeton Devil Rays 4 @ Johnson City 1:  It was a 1-1 game going into the top of the fifth inning on a pair of solo home runs.  First baseman Osvaldo Morales led-off the third inning with his third home run in seventeen games since being promoted from the GCL Cardinals.  Starter Jose Arredondo gave up a solo home run to the first batter he faced and then scattered two singles over the next three innings.  Arredondo assumed the position that was vacated by Nick Additon's promotion to Batavia. 


Arredondo hit the first batter he faced in the fifth and almost got out of the inning without allowing a run but a two-out walk and a two-out single gave Arredondo the loss.  Arredondo still won his sixth pitcher of the game award this year after recording the lowest WHIP of the four pitchers used in the game.  


The Cardinals recorded the most hits, a whopping five, in a game this week.  Center fielder Adron Chambers and shortstop Pete Kozma both added their second hits this week.  Morales won his third player of the game award this year by going 1-for-2 with solo home run and a walk. 


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, Omar Javier, Senger Peralta, Jose Mateo, Andres Rosales, and Reynier Gonzalez. 


The tandem starters threw eighty-one percent of the thirty innings pitched this week and produced a collective 1.36 walks-plus-hits per inning pitched (WHIP) in the process.  Three of the six had WHIPs below the starter's average but no single pitcher really stood out from the others.  Senger Peralta and Jose Arredondo both posted WHIPs of 1.0 but Arredondo allowed two earned runs.  Peralta recorded three strikeouts but on the strength of his slightly lower WHIP, the only win of the week, and a near complete game victory, Jose Mateo wins his second tandem-starting pitcher of the week award in a row.  Mateo leads the tandem starters in groundball out to fly ball out ratio (2.83). 


Relief pitchers eligible for selection:  Joel Pichardo (two games), Ray Silva (two games), Eduardo Sanchez, Ryan Hodinka, and Steve Hill. 


As a group, the pen threw five and two-thirds innings while allowing six earned runs this week (9.53 ERA).  Only two of the five relievers recorded WHIPs of less than 1.5 with Eduardo Sanchez recording a 0.0 WHIP over just two thirds of an inning pitched.  On the strength of a 0.75 WHIP allowed over two and two thirds innings pitched, Joel Pichardo wins the reliever of the week award for the second time this year (Week 8) since being promoted from the Gulf Coast League Cardinals.


Starting position players eligible for selection:  1B-Matt Arburr, 2B-Mike Folli, SS-Pete Kozma, 3B-Casey Mulligan, LF-Joey Hage, CF-Adron Chambers, RF-Nick Vera, C-Ivan Castro, and DH- Rob Sanzillo.


All nine of the starters averaged .200 or less for the week but only Castro failed to get at least one hit.  Vera led the team in RBIs but was third to last in batting average.  Kozma had the only extra base hit, a double.  This week's position player of the week, for the second time this year, was Adron Chambers.  Chambers only hit .182 for the week but he led the team with two hits. 


Reserve players eligible for selection:  3B-Hector Alvarez (0-for-1), 1B/DH-Osvaldo Morales (1-for-6), LF/RF-Beau Riportella (3-for-5), and C-Roberto Espinoza (0-for-5).  Although Morales had the team's most total bases (four) and walks (two) for the week, the competition wasn't really that close.  In fact, if it weren't for the one and half games played, this week's reserve of the week probably would have been the starter of the week.  Beau Riportella is the reserve player-of-the-week for week twelve.  Riportella hit .600 for his brief week and was the best hitter against the left-handed pitching of the Danville Braves.  Despite putting together a solid year, Riportella always seemed to be outshined by another player when analyzing the weekly statistics.  Riportella never won a player of the week award however; this was Riportella's second reserve of the week award this year (Week Two).  Riportella will have a very good chance at winning the player-of-the-year award.  


League Leaders in Hitting (Top Ten for Season)

Riportella – fifth in average (.315).

Edwards – tied for eighth in home runs (7) and tied for tenth in walks (28). 


League Leaders in Pitching (Top Ten for Season)

Mateo – ninth in WHIP (1.34), tied for ninth in innings pitched (60.2), and eighth in ERA (3.41).

Arredondo – third in WHIP (1.03), tied for eighth in wins (5), and sixth in ERA (3.04).

Additon – tied for ninth in strikeouts (61).

Sanchez – eighth in saves (5).

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

Silva – tied for second in games (21).


2007 Johnson City Cardinals Invited to Instructional League

SP-Brian Broderick (Batavia)

SP-Nick Additon (Batavia)

SP-Mark Diapoules

SP-Matt North (GCL)

RP-Matt Spade (Quad Cities)

RP-Chuck Fick (Quad Cities)


C-Paul Vasquez (Quad Cities)


2B-Mike Folli

SS-Pete Kozma

3B-Nick Vera

3B-Tony Cruz (Quad Cities)


OF-Brian Buck (GCL)

OF-Beau Riportella

OF-Adron Chambers

OF-Joey Hage


These fifteen players join three former Johnson City Cardinals:

SP-Stuart Pomeranz (2003)

SP-Elvis Hernandez (2006)

OF-Daryl Jones (2005 and 2006)



The Elizabethton Twins beat the Danville Braves for the Appy League championship by winning both games of the two-game series. 


Two members of the Appy League All-Star team this year played a significant role in eliminating Quad Cities form the Midwest League playoffs.  Former Elizabethton Twins and current Beloit Snappers - catcher Gregory Yersich (2-for-3, with a double, a run, and an RBI) and outfielder Rene Tosoni (3-for-11 with a double, a run, and an RBI) – appeared in the playoffs against the Swing.   


I plan to issue a season end report for the Johnson City Cardinals some time in the next few weeks. 



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