The Palm Beach Cardinals Report: 06/06/08

Beat reporter Herb Uzzi's update on the 2008 season of the Palm Beach Cardinals of the Florida State League (A-Advanced). The first-place club is pushing to clinch the first-half title in the FSL East.

Record:  6-1 week, 39-21 season            

Longest Streak: W6


All in all, it was a pretty good week for the Palm Beach Cardinals.  The Redbirds went 6-1, extended their Florida State League East division lead to nine games and put themselves in position to capture the first-half division title Friday night at Tampa. 


The Cardinals lone loss came in the week' first game, a 5-1 defeat at the hands of the St. Lucie Mets.  Shaun Garceau started for Palm Beach, but struggled, yielding four earned runs in 5 2/3 innings.  He gave five hits, but also walked five.  The Cardinals, however, bounced back behind solid outings from Brad Furnish and Kyle Mura and swiped the final two games of the series. 


Next, the Cardinals welcomed in the Daytona Cubs and promptly swept them out of town with three one-run victories.  Matt Clement made a rehab start in the middle game of the series and produced a stellar outing.  He pitched six innings of shutout ball, allowing only one base runner (a single) and struck out five.  It was Clement's first start of 2008, after being on the mend for the entirety of 2007. The Cardinals got RBIs from Andrew Brown and Tony Cruz, who hit a solo homer, in the win. 


Palm Beach finished off the week with a 6-2 win over Tampa.  Furnish earned his second win of the week and improved to 5-3 on the season. 


Mura receives FSL honors


Palm Beach pitcher Kyle Mura was named the Florida State League's Pitcher of the Week for the period of May 26-June 1.  For the week, Mura pitched 15 2/3 innings, including a season-high 8 1/3 inning performance, yielding only two runs and nine hits.  He struck out 12.


The Nebraska Trio


With the return of first-baseman Brandon Buckman from the 7-day DL, the Cardinals now boast three players from the University of Nebraska.  Buckman, alongside fellow one-bagger Andrew Brown and outfielder Luke Gorsett, were all on the same Cornhusker team, and filled out the heart of their lineup for the 2006 squad that made it to the NCAA Tournament. Now, the only problem is finding playing time for both Buckman and Brown, but expect them to platoon at first base with the other doing the designated hitting.


All-Star Birds


The first-place Cardinals will send three representatives to the FSL All-Star Game on June 14.  Cruz, infielder Donovan Solano and outfielder Daryl Jones will be on hand for the festivities at Brevard County. 


Comings and Goings


Brandon Buckman was reinstated from the disabled list on May 29, and Scott Vander Weg was promoted to Double-A Springfield. 


Who's Hot

Brad Furnish, P:  Furnish won two games for the Cardinals this week, dealing 12 innings and giving up only four runs and 10 hits.


Kyle Mura, P: It has been customary for FSL award winners to find their names in this section, so the tradition will continue with Mura.  He was named the league's top pitcher for last week, and pitched into the ninth and eighth innings, respectively, in two starts. 


Tony Cruz, C/3B:  Cruz batted .400 (8-for-20) this week, with a double, triple and a homer.  Cruz also drove in five runs.


Who's Not


Daniel Descalso, IF: Descalso hit a meager .083 (2-for-24) this week and scored only one run.  His average is down to .231 for the season.


Brandon Buckman, 1B:  Buckman has struggled since returning from the disabled list, hitting only .143 (3-for-21).  Buckman, however, did slug his second homer of the season in a June 4th win over Daytona.


The Week Ahead


The Cardinals have a chance to clinch a post-season birth this weekend in Tampa, as they finish the remaining three games of a four game set with the Yankees.  Palm Beach then returns home for a four-gamer with the Clearwater Threshers.  Next Saturday is the annual FSL East vs. West All-Star Game in Melbourne, FL.



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