The Cardinals Minor League Notebook 06/23

P.J. Walters held Nashville scoreless through four innings Sunday, before being taken out of the game at 79 pitches, because he was pitching on short-rest, limited to a 75-pitch limit, but 79 pitches would be all he needed to take home the Birdhouse, ‘Pitcher of the Day' honors.


Games Played Sunday


Memphis Redbirds (Triple-A) - Winners 4-1 over Nashville

Starter P.J. Walters pitching on short rest with a 75-pitch limit on Sunday pitched four scoreless innings before leaving in the fifth with two runners on base. The bullpen, with John Wasdin picking up the win and Mark Worrell his sixth hold on the season, turned the game over to Kelvin Jimenez, who earned his second save at Memphis with 1.2 innings of scoreless, no-hit relief, to close out the game.

Nick Stavinoha has had his contract purchased by St. Louis prior to Sunday's game. Stavinoha was leading the Redbirds in batting average (.346), hits (90) and RBI (50) before his first big league promotion. Shane Robinson was promoted from Double-A Springfield to Memphis to replace Stavinoha on the roster. Robinson was hitting .352 with four home runs, 17 doubles and 46 runs scored for the Cardinals.

In his first game for Memphis, Robinson, wearing #12, playing centerfield and batting leadoff, went 1-for-3, with a walk, an RBI and a run scored.

Third baseman David Freese hit his 11th home run on the season, a solo blast coming in the sixth inning to give the Cardinals a 1-0 lead, they would never surrender. The win moves the Cardinals a game above the .500 mark.

TOP PROSPECTs WATCH: Joey ‘Bombs' Mather is back in the lineup, after missing several games to lower back problems. He went 1-for-3 on the day and is currently hitting .306 with 13 HR and 26 RBIs in 43 games for Memphis.

Going into Sunday's game, Colby Rasmus had extended his on base streak to 30 games Saturday night with a single in the third inning. By reaching base in 30 straight games Rasmus was holding the longest streak in the Pacific Coast League this season. The Cards top prospect is hitting .339 (39x115) during the streak with a .437 on-base percentage. He has scored 23 runs, driven in 18 with 20 walks and 26 strikeouts. Sunday, he did not get an official at-bat, coming into the game in the bottom of the ninth as a defensive substitution for Shane Robinson, in center field.

COMING UP: Monday night, Memphis will send RHP Clayton Mortensen (1-1, 5.06) to face former St. Louis Cardinals prospect, LHP Chris Narveson (2-8, 5.03).


RECORD: 39-38, 2nd Place, 5.0 GB


Springfield Cardinals (Double-A) - Lost to Tulsa 7-1

I guess you can only bully a team so much, before they get up on their hind legs and make you pay. The Cardinals after winning nine straight games at Tulsa, this season, suffered their second straight loss to the Drillers on Sunday, 7-1, falling to a 3-2 record in the second half.

Cardinals starter, Jess Todd, who has rarely struggled this season, gave up two runs in the first inning and would go on to allow five runs on seven hits (2-HRs), and two walks, while striking out two. The loss evens Todd's Double-A record at 2-2, with still a very impressive ERA of just 1.79, even after giving up five earned runs in five innings, Sunday.

The Cardinals had a rough time generating any offense, as Tulsa's starter, Chas Roe (2-0), allowed only three Redbird hits over six scoreless frames. The Cardinals would eventually get on the board, on an RBI grounder by Mark Hamilton, scoring All-Star shortstop, Tyler Greene from third base to make it a 6-1 game, at the time.

COMING UP: The Cardinals will send Adam Ottavino (1-4) to the mound on Monday afternoon in the series-finale. Ottavino who has struggled for most of the season, we will be going for his second straight win. Monday's game will be the 20th time these two teams have matched up, with the Cardinals holding a commanding series advantage of 12-7, after Sunday's loss.

ALL-STARS – The Cardinals will have eight players representing them on this year's North Division All-Star team, including OF Shane Robinson, SS Tyler Greene and 3B Allen Craig have all been given the starting nod for the Cards, while Brandon Yarbrough will be the reserve catcher and Jon Jay will be a reserve outfielder. Pitchers Jess Todd, Luke Gregerson and Fernando Salas will throw for the North Division. The 2008 Texas League All-Star Game presented by Great Southern will take place at Hammons Field this Wednesday, June 25th.


RECORD: 3-2, 2nd Place, 1.0 GB


Palm Beach Cardinals (High-A) - 4-2 over Fort Meyers

Third time is a charm, as the first half FSL Eastern Division Champions, the Cardinals won just their first game in three starts in the second half, beating first half, FSL Western Division Champions, Fort Meyers, 4-2 on Sunday.

Staked to a 1-0 lead in the bottom half of the first, Brandon Dickson made his way back to the .500 mark in wins, pitching six complete innings, scattering sixs and three walks, while striking out four, to keep things interesting, while picking up his fifth win on the season, to go along with his five losses.

Leadoff man and center fielder James Rapoport had one of his better games on the season, going 2-for-4 with a double and three runs scored.

TOP PROSPECT WATCH: Brandon Buckman, the 19th round pick of the St. Louis Cardinals out of the 2006 draft, ranked by the Birdhouse in its staff 2008 pre-season polls at #37, was the highest ranking prospect in Sunday's lineup for Palm Beach. Buckman, went 2-for-4 with two RBIs, raising his batting average up to .258 at the end of the day.


RECORD: 1-2, 3rd Place, 1.0 GB


Quad Cities River Bandits (A) - Lost 10-3 to Cedar Rapids

Quad Cities (1-3, 34-34) lost their third straight game, as it was Mark Diapoules (L, 4-1) who suffered his first loss of the year for the River Bandits, after giving up four runs to the Kernals in the bottom half of the first frame.

Catcher Paul Vazquez went deep Sunday, hitting his second home run on the season, a solo shot in the fourth inning, to pull the Cardinals within three runs.

Cedar Rapids extended their lead in the sixth, after reliever Blake King issued four consecutives walks, forcing in a run and exiting the game with the bases loaded, as the Kernals scored two more runs to put the game basically out of reach.

TOP PROSPECT WATCH: Pete Kozma went 2-for-3, and walked twice.


RECORD: 1-3, 3rd Place (sort of) 3.0 GB


Batavia Muckdogs (SS) - Lost to Mahoning Valley 8-6

Down 2-0 in the 4th, Batavia responded by scoring three runs in the fifth and tacked on another three runs in the sixth to take a six to two lead. Mahoning Valley, not to be denied a victory on Sunday, came roaring back with two more runs in the seventh inning and four runs in the ninth to hand Batavia their fourth loss on the season.

Starter Arquimedes Nieto pitched good enough to deserve a better fate than a no-decision. Nieto, scattered five hits over five innings, giving up just two unearned runs, while striking out four batters and walking two. In his first two appearances, Nieto has pitched a total of nine shutout innings.

Adam Reifer, was tagged with a blown save and a loss, as he gave up two hits, walked three batters and allowed two runs, without retiring a batter.

Left-fielder Chris Swauger, the Cardinals 26th round draft pick out of this year's draft from The Citadel in Tampa Florida, was the offensive star in the losing cause on Sunday, going 2-for-5, with a double, two RBIs and a run scored. Shortstop Jose Garcia had two base hits and a double to raise his batting average to .286 and catcher Chris Cutler, the Cardinals 1th round pick, hit his first home run in his brief professional career, driving in two runs.


RECORD: 2-4, 4th Place, 3.0 GB


Johnson City Cardinals (R) - Lost to the Mets 13-4

The Cardinals were never really in the game Sunday, the Mets scored three unanswered runs in the third and would go on to score 13 times before Johnson City managed to score four runs in the bottom of the ninth to avoid an embarrassing 13-0 shutout.

Johnson City deployed five pitchers to try to put out the fire started by the Mets hot bats, with only Jorge Rondon, getting out of the game with giving up any runs. Rondon pitched the top of the ninth and held the Mets at bay.

Deryk Hooker on in relief, had one of the worst games in his young professional career, giving up seven earned runs on seven hits and two walks while striking out two. But it was Brett Zawacki (L, 0-1) who will have to bear the loss to the Mets. Brett pitched four complete innings, giving up three runs on four hits and two walks, while striking out six.


RECORD: 4-2, 2nd Place, 1.0 GB


Gulf Coast League Cardinals (R) - OFF DAY

The Cardinals were idle on Sunday and remain in a tie for first with the GCL Dodgers, both teams with a 2-0 record.

RECORD: 2-0, 1st Place, Tie


VSL Cardinals (R) - OFF DAY

The Cardinals will begin play on Monday, in fifth place, 4.5 games back of the VSL Pirates, after the Redbirds have split their last 10 games.

RECORD: 17-16, 5th Place, 4.5 GB


DSL Cardinals (R) Lost to the A's (1) 5-2

The Cardinals took an early 2-0 lead in the fourth, but the A's answered with a run and the fifth and added four more run in the seventh to beat the Redbirds 5-2, despite being outhit by the Cardinals 7-6.

Starter Keury Herrera five complete innings, giving up a run in the fifth, Herrera walked four batters in the five innings on the mound, while striking out three. It was Pedro Pena, who suffered a blown save, en-route to his third loss already. Pena gave up four runs on six hits before he was done for the day.

Not much offense from the ‘Birds', outfielders Alexander Castellano and Santo Sandoval each had a pair of hits, with Sandoval hitting a double and scoring one of the two Cardinal runs.





Minor League Pitcher of the Day - P.J. Walters

Walters held Nashville scoreless through four innings Sunday, before being taken out of the game because he was pitching on short rest limited to a 75-pitch limit, but 75 pitches would be all he needed to take home the Birdhouse,‘Pitcher of the Day' honors.



Minor League Player of the Day - James Rapoport

The Palm Beach Cardinals leadoff man and center fielder, James Rapoport had one of his better games on the season, going 2-for-4 with a double and three runs scored.


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