After ten weeks of play in the 2008 Venezuelan Summer League, the VSL Cardinals rookie-level club remains below .500 at 29-31-4, in fifth, 11 games out of first place in the eight-team league. Alberto Rivero and Geney Rios are again among this week's standouts.
The Venezuelan Summer League
Cardinals have now finished off ten of eleven weeks in the 2008 season. Results were a lot better this week
compared to last week's 1-4-1 record.
This time, the Rookie-Level club split their schedule 4-4, including a
game that was completed from a previously suspended game. The team's record is now 29-31-4 and
they have hopped up to 5th place but fell back to eleven games out in
The Cardinals started the week off
where they ended it on July 18 with a loss. Their losing streak was extended to four
games in the process. The first was
a 4-3 loss to the Mariners at home.
The Cardinals' starter gave up four runs in the first four innings. The Cardinals tried to make a comeback
in the 4th and even scored a run in the 9th but came up
short in the end.
The third straight loss was to the
Tigers, as the last-place team pounded out 12 hits and nine runs. Eight of those runs came between the
4th and 7th innings.
The team had trouble finding holes to put the ball in play and only
collected four hits and one run on the loss.
The fourth game was a completion
of a rain-delayed game from July 15.
As reported in the last VSL weekly update, the Cardinals were up 5-2
after a grand slam. The home Mets
made a huge comeback, tearing up the Cardinals' relievers for four runs in the
final three frames for a 6-5 disappointing loss. The hitters didn't help much either as
they only had one hit in that time.
The Redbirds would turn it all
around in the second game vs. the visiting Mets, beating them 6-3. The Cardinals came out swinging and had
six runs in the first four innings, including three in the 1st. However the team did forget to bring
their gloves to the game, picking up six errors.
The Cardinals visited the Pirates
and extended their winning streak to two games with a 6-5 nail biter. Both teams each had eleven hits and
three errors, but the Cardinals snuck a run across on an error by the Pirates in
the 9th inning and shut them down in the bottom of the
The Rookie-Level club probably has
their best game July 25 as the Rays came to town and were held to only two hits
by the Cardinals' ace and their rookie reliever. The Cardinals went right at the Rays
knocking their starter out in the 3rd inning and continued the
pounding on the following relievers, winning the game 10-0, for their fourth
shutout on the season.
And for the final day of their
work week, the Cardinals split a doubleheader with the Astros. The first was another close game for the
visiting Birds. It went one extra
inning as the Astros knocked in a run in the bottom of the 8th to end
the Cardinals three-game winning streak.
The second game was taken to the Cardinals home field and was another
very close contest. The Redbirds'
former closer pitched a very impressive complete game holding the Astros to one
run on four hits. The Cardinals won
the second game, 2-1.
The Venezuelan Summer League is
coming to a close in the next week and the Cardinals have six games left on the
schedule. This could be a chance
for the team to jump into second or third in the league.
Alberto Rivero extended his hitting streak from
nine games to now 15. The 19-year
old outfielder went 9-for-25 (.360) with three doubles, three RBIs, eight runs,
three walks, and five strikeouts.
The left-handed swinger has pushed his batting average up to .299 and is
climbing right behind Gerardo Mannbel for the team lead in hits (64) and
runs (30). He also leads the team
with 31 RBIs and is tied for team lead with 25
Jose Cortez continues to flip flop between
the hot and not lists, as this week he ends with a three-game hitting
streak. After struggling at the
plate last time, the 19-year old outfielder went 8-for-17 (.471) with three
doubles, one RBI, three runs, one walk, and three stolen bases. The 6'0" 165 pound right-handed hitter
bumped his 2008 season average up to .253 and jumped up to 2nd on the
team with ten doubles and 3rd with seven stolen bases. He once again showed off his arm by
nailing an Astros runner trying to score on July 26.
Billy Bolivar has turned around his horrible
July with a pretty good performance this past week. The 20-year old utility player went
5-for-17 (.294) with one home run, four RBIs, three runs, one walk, two strike
outs, and one caught stealing. The
5'11" 170 pounder has shown a lot of versatility in the field as this week he
started out in right field and ended playing first base. On July 22 he, like Cortez, showed off
his arm and drilled two runners for outfield assists.
Geney Rios made one of his best starts of
the season on July 25. The 20-year
old right-hander pitched six scoreless innings allowing only one hit, one walk,
and striking out seven. Ruben Alvarado followed, giving up only one hit and no runs, handing Rios his
third win on the 2008 season. This
is now two consecutive starts for the 5'11" 175 pounder where he has struck out
seven and he now has 52 in 62.2 innings this year.
Yonathan Gonzalez has been moved from closer to
middle reliever and even spot starter this past week. The 20-year old right-hander made two
appearances, the first coming July 21 as he pitched five innings allowing three
hits, no runs, hit one batter, and struck out three. Gonzalez burned some innings saving the
Cardinals bullpen that has been strung out lately.
With that outing he earned himself
a spot start in the second game of a doubleheader on July 26. The 6'1" 170 pounder pitched a complete
game (seven innings) allowing four hits, one (earned) run, one walk, and
striking out four. Maybe this
impressive start can get him back into the rotation, where he was during winter
league play and parts of the 2007 season.
David Brito made his big return this week and
might be getting the move into the closer role for the Cardinals, given
Gonzalez's struggles. The 19-year
old right-hander made two relief appearances with the first coming July 22 after
he missed a month of action. He
pitched one inning allowing one hit, no runs, and striking out one. The Cardinals used Brito, an April 30,
2006 signing, as their closer in his second game, pitching the final frame and
giving up one hit and no runs, en route to his second save of the 2008
season. He still has only allowed
two runs (one earned) in 27.1 innings this year while holding opponents to a
batting average to .202.
Yorbel Alcala also returned this week after
little over a week out. The 18-year
old catcher went 2-for-11 (.182) with one double, and two strike outs at the
plate. He also had some troubles
behind the plate committing an error, allowing six stolen bases, and only
gunning down two runners. The 6'0"
160 pound switch hitter was struggling at the plate right before his absence and
is hitting .179 in his last ten games, striking out more times than
Wilfred Vivas must have been swinging a pencil
at the ball this past week. The
18-year old second baseman went 0-for-9 with two walks and one caught
stealing. Vivas has gone 2-for-21
in his last ten games and has seen a drop in his playing time to Osmir Medina (pushing Mannbel over) and the signing of Ildemargo Vargas a
couple weeks ago.
Moises Colorado continues his struggles from the
rubber since his return to the team.
The 18-year old left-hander made two shaky short starts this past
week. On July 21 to start this
period, he pitched four innings allowing six hits, four runs (three earned),
three walks, one wild pitch, one balk, striking out three and even had a pickoff
error. His second start was almost
similar to his first as he only lasted 3.2 innings allowing six hits, three
(earned) runs, two walks, one hit batter, one balk, and striking out four. But he did get the pickoff down in his
second game. The 6'3" 170 pounder
has a 0-2 record with a 2.75 ERA and has struck out a team leading 58 over 39.1
Miguel Lopez has had a rough July after
starting the 2008 season well. The
18-year old left-hander made two more relief appearances to add to that. On July 22 he came in for only a third
of an inning. The 6'1" 175 pounder
allowed three hits, three (earned) runs, one walk, and was only able to strike
out one for his only out. In his
second outing two days later, Lopez allowed four hits, two (earned) runs, three
walks, one balk, and striking out four in 3.2 innings. Lopez was very affective when it came to
keeping inherited runners on, as he kept a total of five on base in both
games. He also laid claim to a
pickoff error in his second appearance.
During his July tour he has now given up seven earned runs over 11
innings, forcing his ERA upward to a 3.82 mark.
Former VSL outfielder/designated
hitter Christofher Dumont finally was activated by the GCL Cardinals as
reported earlier this week: link
The Cardinals team batting took a
small step up from .243 to .244 this past week. As for all other hitting stats, the team
is in the bottom half of the league except for walks, where they are
3rd with 208.
The team's pitching took a small
hit as their ERA rose from 3.42 to 3.47 and their WHIP returned to where it was
a couple of weeks ago (1.33 to 1.35).
The Cards moved up to 4th overall with their fourth shutout of
the 2008 season on July 25. They
are also 3rd best when it comes to runs allowed (284), home runs
(15), and tops with 44 hit batters.
Gerardo Mannbel is tied for 7th with a
.314 batting average, 6th with 65 hits, 9th with 90 total
bases, 6th with a .412 OBP, 9th with a .435 SLG, and
5th with a .847 OPS.
Alberto Rivero is tied for 8th with
61 hits, tied for 7th with three triples, and 10th with 31
Anthony Fonseca is tied for 8th with
ten stolen bases.
Hector Corpas and David Brito are tied
with others for 10th with four wins.
Deimer Bier is 8th with a 2.57
ERA, 4th with a 1.02 WHIP.
Geney Rios is 10th with a 2.73
ERA, 6th with 62.2 innings, 5th with 52 strike outs,
6th with a 1.05 WHIP.
Yonathan Gonzalez is 4th with eight
saves and 2nd with 24 game finishes.
Moises Colorado is tied for 3rd with
Miguel Lopez, Carlos Oraa, and
Fernando Cedeno are tied with others for 3rd with three
July 28: Phillies (31-29-3, tied
July 29: @ Mariners (37-24-1,
July 30: Tigers (22-40-2,
July 31: @ Mets (24-36-1,
August 1: Pirates (42-21-1,
August 2: @ Rays (27-33-4,
* Not sure how the playoffs, if
any, are set up
VSL Official Site: link (More pictures of team
MiLB VSL Cardinals Site: link
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