After eight weeks of play in the 2008 Venezuelan Summer League, the VSL Cardinals rookie-level club has a 20-22-2 record, in sixth, nine games out of first place in the eight-team league. Gerardo Mannbel and Javier Avendano are among this week's standouts.
The VSL Cardinals sunk, stunk
(pick a word) in their eighth week.
They began the week extending their winning streak to three games. But the second game of this period
started a whirlwind down hill. A
four-game losing streak would follow and end the week, which hopefully doesn't
continue going forward. The
pitching took another hit and the hitting slumped as no batter took the reins
this week for the team. The team
went 1-4 in six games (one being suspended due to weather), falling to sixth in
the league, and nine games out of first.
The Cardinals began the week with
a 6-3 win over the Pirates, scoring five in the 5th inning. The team got some all around solid
pitching from the starter and relievers.
Walks and errors were the downfall for the Pirates. The next game will probably go down as
one of the worst of the season. The
team would commit a season high ten errors. Ten errors? I still can't believe it. The Cardinals lost the game 9-4 to the
Rays. Ten errors and the Rays win
by only five. Only two runs from
the game were earned for the pitching staff. I'm still in shock and awe here.
The Astros came to town the next
day and this would end in the 7th tied 2-2 due to rain. The game will be finished on July 18
when the Astros come back to town.
In this game the Cardinals brought the same gloves committing another
three errors, costing a possible win for a solid starter. Next up, the Cardinals visited the
Phillies and kept within distance, but again no win. The team lost 3-1 as the their closer
blew the save, as the Phils chalked up three runs in the bottom of the
8th. A well wasted start
by the Cardinals' star arm.
In the following two games, the
Cardinals give up a total of 17 runs.
The bullpen blew the first of the two, allowing seven runs in the last
four frames. In three of those
four, the Mariners scored two runs in each. The last game of the week, we saw the
bullpen blow two saves in one game following a struggling starter. Once again, the Cardinals' closer
couldn't hold the lead for the win, giving up two runs in the bottom of the
ninth. This came after the team scored two in the top of the ninth for the lead.
The Tigers committed four errors but still took the win, 9-8.
Ten errors, ten errors, ten
errors....I still can't get past it.
Gerardo Mannbel makes a slow return to the Hot
List. The 18-year old middle
infielder will be carrying a six-game hitting streak into the next week. Mannbel went 6-for-16 (.375) with one
RBI, two runs, two walks, one stolen base, two strike outs, and one caught
stealing. On a negative note, he
did commit three errors in one game (the day the team had ten total). Could be the beginning of a slump
Jesus Montero finally showed some life at the
plate this week, collecting three hits in four games played. The 17-year old catcher went 3-for-9
hitting his first home run of the season and driving in three runs while only
striking out twice. The Cardinals
2007 July 2nd signee also gunned down two of three base runners
making steal attempts.
Javier Avendano keeps adding on to his stellar
rookie season in the Cardinals organization. The 17-year old right-handed starter
made one start this week on July 3 vs. the Astros. The Cardinals 2007 July 2nd
signee pitched six scoreless innings allowing only two hits, one walk, striking
out seven and committing one balk. Yonathan Gonzalez blew the save
and Avendano didn't get a decision in his impressive effort. The 6'3" 180 pounder had struck out six
or more in his last three of four starts.
Hector Corpas turned it around in his latest
start after struggling in his last two outings. The 18-year old right-hander made his
only start on July 2 vs. the Astros.
He pitched five scoreless innings allowing only three hits, three walks,
and striking out three. Unfortunately the pitcher he replaced in the VSL
Cardinals rotation, Moises Colorado, gave up two runs and rain fell
causing the game to be suspended at a 2-2 standstill.
Miguel Lopez has been a steady arm out of the
bullpen for the VSL Cardinals squad.
The 17-year old left-handed specialist made two appearances this
week. In his first on July 3, he
pitched a 1/3 of an inning allowing no hits or runs and striking out one, but he
did walk two (one was intentional.
Lopez, who was signed on February 17, 2007, has only allowed three earned
runs in his last ten outings (18 innings).
Yorbel Alcala continues his struggling ways at
the plate. The 18-year old C/1B/DH
went 3-for-20 (.150) with one RBI and three strikeouts. Alcala, who was signed on July 17, 2006,
made one start at catcher this last week gunning down one of two attempting base
stealers. The second-year VSL
participant has been seeing less time at the catcher position as the team gives
newcomers Jesus Montero and Limbert Rivas more
Jose Cortez took a dive this week after having
a great week before. The 19-year
old outfielder went 1-for-17 (.059) with four strikeouts. The second-year VSL participant still
has gone 10-for-36 in his last ten games, including a five-hit game and has a
.223 average on the season.
Yonathan Gonzalez managed to blow two saves in
three save situations this week.
The 20-year old right-handed closer's best outing came June 30 in which
he pitched one inning allowing two hits and no runs en route to his team-leading
seventh save. The next two were
different stories. In those two
opportunities, he pitched a total of two innings allowing five hits, five
(earned) runs, one walk, two hit batters, and striking out two. The 6'1" 170 pound Venezuelan would take
home both the loss and blown save in those two games. It very unusual to see Gonzalez walk
batters as he only has seven over 30.1 innings.
Carlos Noguera finally appeared after being
pushed back due to weather. The
19-year old right-handed starter made two starts this week. The first was on
June 30, as he pitched five innings allowing four hits, two runs (one earned),
one walk, two hit batter, struck out two, and had one throwing error. He claimed the win as the bullpen was
solid following him. Noguera,
signed by the Cardinals on July 12, 2005, crumbled in his next start on July
5. He had his shortest start since
joining the rotation, lasting only two innings allowing seven hits, five
(earned) runs, one walk, and striking out one. Hopefully he just hit a small bump in
the road, from being idle for nine days, and he can regroup in the next
New Additions, Notes and Missing
Ildemaro Vargas was recently signed and added to
the VSL Cardinals roster this past week.
The 17-year old utility infielder made his debut July 2, at second base,
going 0-for-2 with one strikeout, one throwing error, and assisted in one double
play in a rain shortened game. His
next game came July 3, this time playing short stop, as he went 0-for-3 with one
Francisco Guzman has made the switch from
catcher/first baseman to relieve pitcher.
You can read all about the newly converted right-hander here.
Cristofher Dumont still has been out of action since
June 16. No word yet has been
released on whether or not he will be joining the GCL squad yet as reported in a
St. Louis Cardinals release a couple weeks ago.
David Brito has been missing since June
23. This is very unusual as the
19-year old reliever usually makes two or three short, quick appearances a
Jose Valera who was brought in during the
Venezuelan Parallel League in the winter did not catch on with the Cardinals
organization. No age was released
on him, but the right-handed hitter played third base going 0-for-1 with one run
in his only appearance.
The team's overall hitting took a
couple steps back, dropping from .246 to .244. The Cardinals are last in doubles,
triples, SLG, and OPS. They are
also second to last in hits, total bases, stolen bases, OBP, and AVG. The team's pitching stumbled again this
week, as the ERA rose from 3.48 to 3.59 and their WHIP sits at 1.38
Gerardo Mannbel is 5th with 49 hits,
tied for 8th with four home runs, tied for 11th with 70
total bases, tied for 8th with 20 walks, 8th with a .411
OBP, 9th with a .446 SLG, and 6th with a .857
Alberto Rivero is tied for 4th with
three triples and tied for 8th with 26 RBIs.
Hector Corpas is tied for 7th with
David Brito is tied for 7th with
Moises Colorado is 5th with 38
Yonathan Gonzalez is tied for 3rd with
seven saves and tied for 1st with 20 game
Deimer Bier is 8th with a 1.02
Miguel Lopez and Carlos Oraa are both
tied (along with five others) with three holds.
July 7: Split doubleheader: Mets,
followed by @ Mets (19-26, 7th
July 8: @ Pirates (30-14,
July 9: Rays (22-21-2, 4th
July 10: @ Astros (22-22-1,
July 11: Phillies (23-19-3,
July 12: @ Mariners (27-17-1,
VSL Official Site: http://www.vsl.com.ve/
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