The Palm Beach Cardinals Report: 07/09/08

The St. Louis Cardinals' Florida State League entry played seven games in five days, winning four. Eddie Degerman picked up a pair of wins on the week, his first of the season.

Recap

 

The toughest opponent of the Palm Beach Cardinals of the Florida State League East Division last week may have been the weather, with two games called off due to rain - on Thursday the third and Monday the seventh.

 

The week started on Wednesday with a doubleheader split versus Vero Beach. After losing the first of a three-game home series to Jupiter on the fourth, the Cardinals came back with wins on Saturday and Sunday.

 

The first two games of the series with Clearwater were held as part of a doubleheader on Tuesday. Though scheduled for seven innings each, game one took eight as normally-reliable closer Francisco Samuel couldn't hold a one-run lead. The Cards did come back to take the nightcap, however.

 

All told on the week, Palm Beach went 4-3 around the two washouts.

 

Where they stand

 

In the second-half race in the FSL East, the Cardinals are at 9-8, in third place, one game behind the leader, St. Lucie (Mets). Overall, the Cardinals are 51-36, 6.5 games ahead of their nearest FSL East competition and second-best in the full league.

 

Who's Hot

 

Right-handed pitcher Eddie Degerman picked up a pair of wins, his first two of the 2008 season. In the first outing, he allowed two runs in five innings in game two on Wednesday and in the second game, he pitched the seventh inning behind Tyler Norrick on Sunday. Degerman fanned six and walked two in his six innings this week.

 

In the aforementioned contest, Norrick allowed two runs in six innings and fanned eight. He has 15 strikeouts over his last 11 innings pitched.

 

Third baseman Tony Cruz had six RBIs on the week and is batting .333 (5-for-15) this month.

 

After starting the season 0-for-17, infielder Dan Nelson went 6-for-20 (.300) since June 28.

 

Who's Not

 

Shortstop Donovan Solano is hitting just .214 (3-for-14) in July. His average has dipped each month, from .316 (April) to .307 (May) to .271 (June).

 

Second baseman Daniel Descalso is just 13 of his last 81 (.160) since June 1st.

 

Since his call up from Quad Cities last week, outfielder Charlie Kingrey is 2-for-15 (.133).

 

Who's on the Move

 

There were no roster changes over the last seven days. That may be a record at any level during the ever-changing 2008 season across the Cardinals minor league system.

 

On the Mend

 

Pitcher David Kopp remains on the seven-day disabled list. He hasn't pitched in game action since May 17 but is nearing a rehab assignment with the Gulf Coast League Cardinals.

 

Pitcher Gary Daley, Jr. remains on his rehab assignment with the GCL Cardinals, but has struggled. He had allowed three earned runs in two innings over his first four outings for an ERA of 22.50. Daley had yielded three hits, but issued eight walks. However, he came back with a spotless inning in a start for the GCL Cards on Tuesday, so there is something positive to build upon.

 

First baseman Brandon Buckman remains on the DL. He last played on Friday, June 27.

 

Florida State League leaders

 

Outfielder Daryl Jones is fifth in average (.326) second in on-base percentage (.405), eighth in slugging (.472) and tied for tenth in stolen bases (16).

 

Cruz is fifth in RBIs (54).

 

Brandon Dickson's 3.08 ERA is sixth-lowest.

 

Samuel's 17 saves put him in a tie third in the league, but his ERA has crept up to 3.60. Samuel has fanned an eye-popping 53 in 35 innings, but has also walked 28.

Team stats and rankings

 

The hitters are batting .258, sixth in the 12-team league, while their slugging mark of .391 is second-best. They have the second-fewest strikeouts in the FSL and are tied for fourth in runs scored.

 

The pitchers' ERA of 3.59 is fourth-best in the league and their 39 saves are tops. In the good and bad news department, the staff ranks third in both strikeouts and walks issued.

 

Up Next

 

The Cardinals finish up the final two games of the series at Clearwater (Philadelphia) on Wednesday and Thursday. They return home to entertain Lakeland (Detroit) for four games, Friday through Monday, before hitting the road again for four straight at Sarasota (Cincinnati) after a day off on Tuesday the 15th.

 

 

Brian Walton can be reached via email at brwalton@earthlink.net

 

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