The Palm Beach Cardinals Report: 07/16/08

The St. Louis Cardinals' Florida State League entry had a successful 5-1 week and moved into first place. Shaun Garceau posted 13 shutout innings on just five hits and four walks and fanned seven.

Recap

 

The Palm Beach Cardinals of the Florida State League East Division had a solid week, with a 5-1 record before getting a well-deserved day off on Tuesday. The Cards are 9-4 here in July.

 

The week began on Wednesday with a masterful start by Shaun Garceau, who allowed four harmless singles in six shutout innings at Clearwater. Charlie Kingrey was on base four times with a walk, single, double and home run. The Cards finished a 3-1 series edge over the Threshers behind seven one-run innings by Brandon Dickson. Matt Arburr doubled and homered.

 

In the first game of the Lakeland Flying Tigers series at home on Friday, the Cardinals gave up a five-run lead before coming back to win the contest in the tenth inning. Arburr's two-run blast ended it right. On Saturday, it took an extra inning again, and again the Cards ended up on top. Tony Cruz homered, and ignited the win with a walk, stolen base, advancing on an error and scoring on Daniel Descalso's game-ending single.

 

The Cardinals' four-game winning streak came to an end on Sunday.  Palm Beach was unable to hold a 5-2 lead as the two clubs went into extra innings for the third consecutive game. This time, Lakeland took the victory as Francisco Samuel blew the save opportunity and Kenny Maiques yielded the winning run in the tenth.

 

On Monday, Palm Beach ended their second consecutive four game series at 3-1 with a regulation nine-inning win over the Tigers. Garceau topped his last start by carrying a perfect game into the seventh inning. Still, it would be the third consecutive one run game between the two clubs. The Cards collected the only tally in the contest when Tyler Henley doubled and scored on Kingrey's first-inning RBI single.

 

Where they stand

 

The Cardinals are 14-9 in the second-half standings in the FSL East, a half-game ahead of the St. Lucie Mets. Overall, the first-half champion Cardinals are 56-37, 7.5 games ahead of their nearest FSL East competition and second-best in the full league.

 

Who's Hot

 

As noted above, all right-handed pitcher Shaun Garceau did was pitch 13 shutout innings this past week and pick up a pair of wins. The 20-year-old lowered his FSL ERA to 2.81, following his 2.08 ERA with Quad Cities prior to his promotion. The only chink in his armor is 25 walks to go along with 29 strikeouts at the higher level.

 

Outfielder Charlie Kingrey went 10-for-26 (.385) for the week with two home runs and five RBI.

 

Shortstop Donovan Solano broke out of his slump, going 9-for-26 (.346) this past week. The 20-year-old Colombian's one extra base hit was a home run.  

 

Second baseman Daniel Descalso has a five-game hit streak and has hit in eight of his last ten. He is batting .324 in that stretch, raising his season mark to a still-modest .229.

 

Catcher/third baseman Tony Cruz has hit in nine of his last ten games, five of which were multi-hit outings. He is hitting .357 during the stretch with eight RBI.

 

Who's Not

 

Since his call up from Quad Cities, first baseman Matt Arburr is batting just .143, though three of his five hits have been home runs.

 

Outfielder Daryl Jones had just two singles in 15 at-bats (.133) on the week. The 20-year-old is still hitting .316 on the season.

 

Closer Francisco Samuel has one loss and two blown saves in his last five outings. He is still 19 of 23 in save opportunities on the season.

 

Who's on the Move

 

Lefty Tyler Norrick was promoted all the way up to Triple-A Memphis. Norrick compiled a 1-1 record and 5.84 ERA in three starts for Palm Beach, allowing 12 hits, eight (earned) runs, eight walks, and striking out 15 over 12.1 innings.

 

On the Mend

 

Right-handed starter David Kopp has made his first appearance in his rehab assignment with the Gulf Coast League Cardinals, tossing one scoreless inning.

 

Pitcher Gary Daley, Jr. also remains on his rehab assignment with the GCL Cardinals. The 22-year-old has alternated good and bad outings in his last six, but carries a 19.29 ERA in the GCL.

 

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

 

Florida State League leaders

 

Jones is fourth in average (.316) and on-base percentage (.396), eighth in slugging (.461) and tied for tenth in stolen bases (17).

 

Cruz is third in RBIs (58).

 

Brandon Dickson's 2.95 ERA is sixth-lowest. (Garceau has not pitched the league-minimum of innings.)

 

Dickson and Brad Furnish are among those tied for fifth in wins with seven.

 

Samuel is in a three-way tie for the league lead with his 19 saves.

Team stats and rankings

 

The hitters are batting .258, up to fourth in the 12-team league, while their slugging mark of .386 remains second-best. They have the third-fewest strikeouts in the FSL and have moved up to third in runs scored.

 

The pitchers' ERA of 3.55 is fourth-best in the league and their 41 saves are still tops. The staff has taken over the FSL lead in both strikeouts and walks issued.

 

Up Next

 

The Cardinals hit the road for a pair of four-game series, first at Sarasota (Reds) starting Wednesday, then Dunedin (Blue Jays) from Sunday through next Wednesday.

 

 

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

 

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