Venezuelan Summer League Cards Report: 07/27

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 League.


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 frame.


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. 


Who's Hot


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 walks.


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.


Who's Not


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 hits.


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 innings.


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.


Promotion and Activation


Former VSL outfielder/designated hitter Christofher Dumont finally was activated by the GCL Cardinals as reported earlier this week: link


Venezuelan Summer League


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 RBIs.


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 54 strikeouts.


Miguel Lopez, Carlos Oraa, and Fernando Cedeno are tied with others for 3rd with three holds.


Final Week Games


July 28: Phillies (31-29-3, tied 3rd Place)

July 29: @ Mariners (37-24-1, 2nd Place)

July 30: Tigers (22-40-2, 8th Place)

July 31: @ Mets (24-36-1, 7th Place)

August 1: Pirates (42-21-1, 1st Place)

August 2: @ Rays (27-33-4, 6th Place)

* Not sure how the playoffs, if any, are set up


VSL Official Site: link (More pictures of team posted)


MiLB VSL Cardinals Site: link



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