The Springfield Cardinals Report – 2007 Recap

John Brayfield recaps the entire 2007 Double-A Springfield Cardinals season.

Ok, the St. Louis Cardinals are not going to repeat their miracle of 1964. But, have heart Cards fans, there is a bright future shining in Double-A land  The Springfield Cardinals have some young talent who know how to win championships and are eager to step into any retiring or departing position. So, from Springfield the future of Cardinals baseball looks rosy and here is how the championship season went:

 

April 5-13 – Former St. Louis Cardinals star player and manager Red Schoendienst, threw out the first pitch at the home opener then later leaned over to a few of us in the press box and said, "I sure like to see the way that centerfielder takes charge out there." That centerfielder was Colby Rasmus.

 

April 14-20 -- Mother Nature and the Springfield Cardinals just couldn't seem to meet eye-to-eye in the month of April. The Cards were snowed out on April 7 in Midland (Texas, no less), rained out on April 12, and then snowed out on the 13th at home against Midland.

 

In their home opener at Hammonds Field, the Cards were behind 1-0 early in the game when Joe Mather smashed a hit to left field that cleared the fence and sent the ball soaring into the train yard. The Midland RockHounds came back and tied the score, but the next time Mather came to the plate, he sent another piece of horsehide, his fourth of the year, into the pine trees beyond center-field to once again claim the lead. The Cards lost, but they saw a knight in red round the bases and give them a very encouraging glimpse of things that would be yet to come in the 2007 season.

 

The Springfield Cardinals managed to leave town with a 2-3 record, winless at home, after that loss to the Frisco RoughRiders 7-4. Some good news--Joe Mather was named the first Texas League Player of The week for the 2007 season.

 

April 21-27 -- Somehow, with only one win at home, the Springfield Cardinals snuck into third place in the Texas League North. On April 26, they found themselves a full game ahead of last place Arkansas Travelers, a half-game back of second place Wichita Wranglers, and two games behind the league-leading Tulsa Drillers.

 

Juan Encarnacion, a member of the 2006 World Champion club, joined the Double-A Springfield Cardinals for an eight-game home stand at Hammons Field. Encarnacion, who had surgery on his left wrist in December to have a ligament realigned, had been on the Disabled List since the beginning of the 2007 season. He remained with Springfield for the duration of the eight-game home stand, which ended on April 30.

 

April 28-May 4 -- In a mere two days, the Cardinals fell from a share of first place in the Northern Division of the Texas League to sole owner of last place. Springfield split a doubleheader with the Wichita Wranglers at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium in Wichita,]] played to make up for a rainout. Cory Rauschenberger got his first Double-A win, as Joe Mather hit his league leading 11th home run of the season while Colby Rasmus hit two long balls during the pair of games. The Cardinals were 10-13, 1 1/2 games behind the division-leading Tulsa Drillers.

 

May 5-May 11 -- Tony La Russa announced that rehabbing major leaguer Juan Encarnacion would return to St. Louis on Sunday, following Springfield's last game of the current home stand, which ended on Saturday. Encarnacion, went 8-for-56 and with no home runs and no RBI, told members of the media on Thursday that he had viewed playing in Springfield pretty much like going to spring training. He said he felt like he had done what he had to do during his short stint in the minor leagues and could be an asset to St. Louis and do what was expected of him even though he hadn't put up overly impressive numbers for Springfield during his 20-day stay.

 

Rain continued to plague the Cardinals as a make-up game, scheduled to be played May 10, as part of an unscheduled double-header with the Wichita Wranglers, was rained out. Springfield would manage to get only three pitches from Eric Haberer before a major downpour chased the players from the field, the fans to the concession stands and the ground crew to their assigned positions. The rain delay lasted nearly three hours before the teams could once again take to the field. It was decided that only one game would be played. The Cards wound up losing the soggy game to Wichita 6-1, dropping their record to 13-17. The Cardinals were in third place in the Texas League North Division.

 

May 12-17 -- Cory Rauschenberger gave a great performance in dropping the Travelers 9-4 in the opening game of a four-game series on the road. The second game saw the Cards lose to Arkansas 4-3 with Jaime Garcia giving up four runs in five innings and receiving his second straight loss of the season. Jon Jay's 10-run hitting streak also ended in that game. The third game was rained out.  The fourth game saw the Cards rally in the seventh inning to come from behind and beat the Travs 7-4. Jay hit his second home run of the season and Kevin Ool got the win while Chris Perez earned his ninth save in his last 10 attempts. Cardinals outfielder Sean Danielson was named Player of the Week by the Texas League.

 

May 18-25 -- Springfield found themselves in second place in the Texas League North Division, 2 1/2 games behind Tulsa and 4 1/2 games in front of Wichita, after an impressive 8-1 thrashing of San Antonio on May 24 in Texas. Colby Rasmus who earlier had a 12-day hitting streak, went 2-for-4 with two RBIs and a run scored, Tyler Greene was 4-for-5 with one RBI and four runs scored; lead-off man Sean Danielson went 1-for-5 but scored twice in the game; Joe Mather hit his Texas League-leading 12th home run and took the team RBI lead with his 27th of the season; Mitchell Boggs got his second win in as many tries and Matt Scherer picked up his first save of the year. This was the second straight win for Springfield and the third straight series win for them as well. They were 7-3 on a 15-day road trip and were set to play Corpus Christi for the final three-game series. The Cards were just one game under .500 at 21-22.

 

May 19-June 8 -- The Cardinals were once again perched just below the .500 mark. Then they met the Tulsa Drillers at Hammons Field. The Cardinals were 9-4 against the Drillers (3-2 at home) and had a season record of 26 wins and 27 losses. It seemed a perfect time for the Cards to push over the pinnacle or at least draw even. It was not to be as the Cards lost 8-6 sending their record back to 26-28.

 

The next night Springfield used a season-high seven-run inning, pounding the Drillers by a final score of 10-3 The Redbirds improved to 27-28 on the year, once again just teetering on edge of 500, just 1 1/2 games back of Tulsa in the North Division.

 

June 9-June 15 -- It was an exciting week in Springfield Cardinal Country. The Cardinals moved into a tie for first place on Sunday, June 11, when they beat the Arkansas Travelers 4-3, putting them over .500 for the first time this season and giving them their first share of first place this year. The Cards won their third straight game on Monday night, downing the Travelers by a score of 3-2. With the win, Springfield stayed in a first-place tie with the Tulsa Drillers, who edged Wichita 2-1.

 

On Tuesday night, Springfield got its fourth win in a row when Tyler Greene's two-out solo homer in the eighth inning snapped a 6-6 tie, as the Cardinals edged the Arkansas Travelers by a score of 7-6. The victory gave Springfield a full-game lead over Tulsa. On Wednesday, Springfield's Eric Haberer combined with three relievers on a five-hit shutout, as the Cardinals tied a franchise record with their fifth straight win, blanking the Wichita Wranglers by a score of 2-0. The victory kept the Cards alone in first place with a two-game lead over the Drillers. Thursday's game was stopped with two outs in the top of the ninth inning, as heavy rain started to fall. After a mandatory thirty-minute rain delay, the game was called, giving Springfield an 11-2 win.

 

Also during the week, the Texas League front office named a record eight Springfield Cardinals to the North Division All-Star team. Joe Mather started at first base; Colby Rasmus in centerfield, Bryan Anderson as the starting catcher; and Juan Richardson the starting designated hitter. Infield and outfield reserves were Jarrett Hoffpauir and Sean Danielson, respectively. Pitchers Chris Perez and Jaime Garcia represented Springfield from the bullpen.

 

June 23-29 -- It was a busy week for the Cardinals. After winning the first half pennant for the Texas League Northern Division, dropping below and coming back over the .500 mark, eight Cards headed into Corpus Christi for the Texas League All Star Game held on June 27. All eight Cardinals elected to the game saw playing time. Juan Richardson, Bryan Anderson and Colby Rasmus all started, with all three players logging two at-bats. Rasmus was the only player to reach though, going 1-for-2 with a run scored. Sean Danielson was 1-for-2 with an RBI and Jarrett Hoffpauir finished 0-for-2. All three Springfield pitchers recorded one inning of scoreless relief. Mitchell Boggs and Jamie Garcia both allowed two hits in their scoreless frame, while Chris Perez worked a 1-2-3 ninth.

 

The Cards' week did start off a bit slow as the Tulsa Drillers blanked the Cardinals by a score of 2-0 at Hammons Field on Tuesday. The Drillers dropped the Cardinals for a second straight game the next night, 9-2. Springfield used three home runs and a strong bullpen to beat the Drillers on Sunday afternoon, winning by a final score of 6-2. In taking the final game of the four-game series, the Cards earned a split with Tulsa and headed into the All-Star Break with a second-half record of 3-3 and an overall mark of 39-34.

 

On Wednesday, Springfield beat the Midland RockHounds for the first time this season, picking up a 6-3 win in Midland. The Cardinals tied a season-high for runs scored, pounding the RockHounds on Thursday night by a final score of 13-2. The Cards improved to 5-3 in the second half and moved to an impressive seven games over .500 at 41-34 overall.

 

June 30-July 5 -- This week, the Springfield pitching was nothing short of sensational. To start the week off, Adam Daniels earned the first of three straight team wins as he gave the Cardinals seven scoreless innings. The Redbirds blanked Midland June 30, winning by a score of 4-0 at Citibank Ballpark in Midland. The Cards' victory gave them a three-game sweep over the Hounds and 11 consecutive wins on the road. On Saturday night Mitchell Boggs was just as impressive as the Cards beat the Hounds 5-2. Springfield improved to 7-3 in the second half, one game up on Tulsa in the second-half North Division standings.

 

Sunday was not a good day for the first place Cards. Springfield saw their 12-game road winning streak and five-game overall winning streak come to an end, as the Frisco RoughRiders up-ended the Redbirds by a score of 8-2. Things didn't get any better in Texas Monday night as Springfield's Cory Rauschenberger (6-5) got hit around over just 2 2/3 innings, allowing six runs on nine hits and the Cards dropped their second consecutive game, wrapping up a 4-2 road trip with an 8-3 loss in Frisco.

 

After having a well deserved Tuesday off, the Cardinals returned to Hammons Field to face the Midland RockHounds in the opening game of a six-game homestand. As luck would have it, Springfield tallied seven runs in the second inning, helping to snap a two-game skid with a 7-2 win, knocking off the RockHounds for the fourth straight game, giving them six wins in their last eight games. The Redbirds improved their record to 8-5 in the second half and 44-36 overall.

 

On Thursday Adam Daniels turned in his second straight gem against the RockHounds, allowing just one run on six hits over seven innings, as Springfield knocked off Midland 4-1. The Cards remained in first place in the Texas League Northern Divison, 2 1/2 games ahead of the Wichita Wranglers, three games ahead of the Tulsa Drillers, and five games in front of the Arkansas Travelers.

 

July 7-12 -- Colby Rasmus and catcher Bryan Anderson both played in the Futures Game held in San Francisco as part of Major League Baseball's All-Star festivities. Anderson, who started and hit ninth, went 0-for-2. He threw out one of three base runners attempting to steal. Colby Rasmus also went 0-for-2, taking over for Justin Upton in center field midway through the game. The World Team defeated the US Team by a score of 7-2.

 

The Cards won their fourth straight game on Saturday night (July 7), shutting out the Frisco RoughRiders 3-0 at Hammons Field. On Sunday night, Cory Rauschenberger threw the first complete game for the Cardinals this year, as they beat the Frisco RoughRiders by a final of 5-1.

 

On Monday night, the Cardinals won their sixth straight game, an 8-3 victory over Frisco at Hammons Field. The win for Springfield accomplished a couple of firsts, as it gave the Redbirds their first-ever home stand sweep, as they went a combined 6-0 against Midland and Frisco. The victory also took Springfield 13 games over the .500 mark at 49-36, the first time they have ever been that far over .500 in franchise history.

 

Springfield had their six-game winning streak end Wednesday night, with a 5-2 loss to the Wichita Wranglers at Lawrence Dumont Stadium in Wichita. But, they bounced right back and beat the Wranglers 6-3 the very next night. The Cards (50-37) again matched their best record in franchise history at 13 games over .500 with the win.

 

July 13-Aug 2 -- The Cardinals made a number of moves on July 31, first of all sending closer Chris Perez to Triple-A Memphis. Perez left the Cards with 27 saves, tied for most in franchise history as well as the most in a single season. All 27 saves were consecutive, after blowing his first opportunity in his 2007 debut in Midland. Mark Worrell also had 27 saves in 2006. Cory Doyne, who had been recently called up to the big leagues by the Baltimore Orioles, is third on the all-time list with 25.

 

St. Louis Cardinals' reliever Tyler Johnson, a member of last year's World Series Championship team, joined Springfield as part of a Major League rehab assignment. Johnson had been on the DL for almost six weeks with a strained biceps tendon. He was the second Major League "rehabber" to join Springfield this year (Juan Encarnacion was first) and the fourth in team history, joining pitcher Cal Eldred and outfielder Larry Bigbie.

 

On July 27, Springfield came from behind to defeat the Wichita Wranglers, winning 9-8 in 11 innings at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium in Wichita. The next night, Jorge Padilla's walk-off home run gave the Wichita Wranglers an 8-7 win over the Cardinals. Jason Motte (3-2) threw just three pitches, giving up the Padilla blast and suffering the loss. Mitchell Boggs got a no-decision, giving up five runs on seven hits in six innings. The right-hander struck out a season-best eight men, walking three on the night.

 

The Cardinals got blanked in a rain-shortened game on Sunday afternoon, losing their second straight game to the Wichita Wranglers by a score of 1-0. After an off-day on Monday, the Cardinals returned to Hammons Field on Tuesday, July 31st and got back in the win column, snapping a two-game skid with a 14-4 victory over the Travs. Cards' starter Eric Haberer recorded his seventh win in his last seven starts and Cody Haerther made a successful return to the lineup, homering and driving in a pair of runs. The Cards were unable to repeat their performance on Thursday as the Arkansas Travelers beat the Cards 4-1 at Hammons Field. Adam Daniels (4-4) suffered the loss for the Cards. The Cardinals (23-16) were two games up on Arkansas (21-18) in the second half North Division standings.

 

Aug. 3-9 -- The Cardinals dropped their record to 25-20, only two games ahead of Arkansas in the Texas League Northern Division, as they scrapped to try and win the second half championship. It was a whirlwind week with more tallies in the loss column than on the win side. Springfield dropped a wild one, losing the opening game of a four-game series by a score of 11-10. On Saturday night, P.J. Walters won his first Double-A game, helping the Cards end a two-game skid, as Springfield knocked off Tulsa by a score of 4-2 at Drillers Stadium.

 

Sunday saw the Drillers hold on for a 6-5 win, defeating Springfield in game three of a four-game set. Monday didn't get any better as the Drillers took the final game of the four-game series that night, shutting out the Cardinals by a score of 3-0 at Drillers Stadium. Springfield fell to 24-19 in the second half and 60-50 overall.

 

On Wednesday, the Cards returned to Hammons Field where the San Antonio Missions managed to rip four home runs, taking the opening game of a three-game series by a final score of 12-8 at Hammons Field. Daniels (4-5) suffered the loss, allowing seven runs on seven hits in just 2 1/3 innings.

 

Aug. 11-Aug. 16 -- Reid Gorecki and Rico Washington were back in Double-A uniforms as the Cards continued a three-game home series with the San Antonio Missions, completed a three game series with Corpus Christi, then went on the road to play both teams in Texas, suffering a rain out on Thursday due to Tropical Storm Erin. Despite a late rally, the Cardinals fell short on Friday night (August 10), losing to the Missions in front of a sell-out crowd of over 8,000 fans, by a score of 5-3 at Hammons Field. The win for the Missions (25-19) gave them two of three in the series and kept them in first place in the Texas League South Division.

 

On Sunday, Colby Rasmus ripped his team-leading 20th homer of the year in the bottom of the eighth inning, snapping a 6-6 tie to give the Cardinals a come-from-behind 7-6 victory over Corpus Christi at Hammons Field. The Cards (26-22) scored the game's final six runs, as they snapped a two-game losing streak and increased their lead in the North Division to two games over Arkansas (24-24). Cards' reliever Mike Sillman (1-0) earned his first win since joining the club, throwing a scoreless eighth inning.

 

The Hooks took two of three from the Cardinals, winning the series finale at Hammons Field on Monday night by a score of 6-1. Cards starter Adam Daniels (4-6) issued five walks and struck out just one in dropping his third straight decision. Springfield fell to 26-23 in the second half, after going just 2-4 on the six-game home stand.

 

Thursday's game between the Cardinals and the Missions was postponed due to continuous heavy rain in the San Antonio area. The Cards were 26-24 after Wednesday night's loss, only one-half game in front of Arkansas and two ahead of Tulsa in the Texas League North race for the second-half championship.

 

Aug. 17-23 -- Springfield and San Antonio split a double-header on Friday night in San Antonio, as Springfield took the first game 2-1, then got blanked 1-0 in game two.   P.J. Walters tossed five scoreless innings of two-hit baseball in game one, as he won for the second time in five Double-A starts. Game two's only run came in the second inning against Cards' starter Eric Haberer.

 

The Corpus Christi Hooks outlasted the Springfield Cardinals on Saturday night, getting a bases-loaded walk in the 13th inning to beat the Cards 3-2 at Whataburger Field in Corpus Christi. Cards' reliever Nick Webber (1-3) got himself in a bases-loaded jam and couldn't get out of it, issuing a four-pitch walk to force in the game-winning run. Springfield (27-26) dropped their second straight and fell one game back of Arkansas in the Second Half North Division race.

 

The Cardinals broke out of an offensive slump in a big way on Sunday night, matching a franchise record by scoring 17 runs in a 17-10 victory over the Hooks. Springfield pounded out 20 base hits, also tying their season high.

 

After enduring a rough two-game stretch, the Cardinals' bullpen held tough in a 4-3 victory over the Drillers on Wednesday night at Hammons Field. Eric Haberer pitched 5 2/3 innings of one-run ball after Todd Wellemeyer made the start as part of a big-league rehab assignment. Matt Scherer and Mike Sillman combined to work the final 2 1/3 innings, as Springfield stopped a two-game losing streak. Wellemeyer worked a scoreless inning in the first, but left after loading the bases with no outs in the second. Wellemeyer, who hadn't pitched since July 8th, had been on the Disabled List with a sprained right elbow. Since being claimed off waivers from Kansas City on May 15th earlier this season, the right-hander had made eight starts and 12 appearances for St. Louis, going 3-1 with a 4.19 ERA.

 

The Cardinals hit three home runs and Cory Rauschenberger got back over the .500 mark, as the Redbirds defeated Tulsa by a score of 8-2 on Thursday night at Hammons Field.  Jose Martinez, Mark Hamilton and Cody Haerther all went deep, as Springfield (30-28) won their second straight and moved into a first place tie with Arkansas (30-28).

 

Aug. 24-30 -- Springfield won their third straight game to close out their regular season road schedule on August 27, dropping the Arkansas Travelers by a final score of 10-3. Springfield moved to 33-29, 2 ½ games up on Arkansas in the Second Half North Division Standings. The Redbirds went off for a second straight day offensively, pounding out double-digit runs to go along with 15 hits, in finishing at 36-33 on the road this year.

 

The Cardinals held off the Wichita Wranglers in the ninth inning, winning for the fourth straight game, a 5-4 win at Hammons Field on Tuesday night. All five runs came via the long ball, as the Cards belted three home runs on the night. Colby Rasmus lead off the bottom of the first inning with a solo home run, his league-leading 28th, to make it 2-1. Rasmus was just the second Cardinal in history to homer in four straight games. The homer for Rico Washington was just his second of the year. Casey Rowlett added a solo shot to left field, also his second of the year.

Rauschenberger (10-8) pitched six quality innings, allowing just two runs on two hits. He struck out two and walked three in earning his second straight victory.

 

The Wichita Wranglers used a six-run second inning, ending the Redbirds' four-game winning streak with a 9-5 victory over Springfield on Wednesday night at Hammons Field. Cards' starter Adam Daniels couldn't get out of the second inning, as the Wranglers scored six runs against the left-hander, chasing him just five outs into the game. Allen Craig's first career Double-A home run, a solo shot to left field, gave the Cards their second run. Cody Haerther blasted a three-run homer to right field in the eighth, his fifth of the year. Colby Rasmus finished the game 1-for-4, extending his hitting streak to 15 straight, tying the franchise mark held by 2005 Springfield Cardinal Aaron Herr. The Cards (34-30) remained 2 ½ games up on Arkansas (32-33) with just five games to play in the regular season.

 

Mitchell Boggs fired eight scoreless innings on Thursday night, as the Cardinals shut out the Wranglers by a score of 8-0 at Hammons Field. The Cardinals' win, combined with Arkansas' loss at Tulsa on Thursday, reduced Springfield's magic number to one with just four games to play in the regular season. 

 

Springfield finished the second half of the season with a 37-32 record, 2 1/2 games ahead of second place Tulsa, who finished with a record of 34-34. Arkansas came in third in the Northern Division with a 34-36 record and Wichita was dead last with a 31-39 record and 6.5 games behind Springfield. This was the final year that the Kansas City Royals Double-A Team will play in Wichita and will be performing next year in Springdale, Arkansas as the newly named Arkansas Naturals.

 

Northern Division Championship

 

The Springfield Cardinals took a 1-0 lead in the five-game series for the Texas League Northern Division Championship by beating the Tulsa Drillers 4-3 in a come from behind win.  And the game two win on Thursday night went strictly to the skipper, Pop Warner for his magnificent decision to punch up the defense in right field in the late innings. Reid Gorecki started a double play to end the eighth inning with the score tied. Starting pitcher P.J. Walters pitched six strong innings. In the bottom of the ninth, Colby Rasmus came to the plate and blasted a 392 foot home run over the right center field, to give the Cards a win and a 2-0 lead over the Drillers.

 

The series moved to Tulsa with a game on Friday night and Saturday if necessary—but it was not needed as the Cards beat the Drillers and earned the title as the 2007 Texas League Northern Division Champions.

 

Finals

 

The San Antonio Missions defeated the Cardinals three games to one in the best-of-five series to take the 2007 Texas League Championship.

 

2008

 

The Springfield Cardinals will open their 2008 season at home on April 3, against the Frisco RoughRiders. And, the 2008 Texas League All-Star game will be held at Hammons Field.


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