This report covers the period from Wednesday, August 27 through Sunday, August 31, one that was incredibly busy for the Palm Beach Cardinals.
Eight games were on the schedule
over the final five days, the final contests of the 2008 regular season. The first three were home games with St.
Lucie, including a Wednesday doubleheader, then five contests were supposed to
be packed into three weekend days at
After a 3-3 week previously, the Cardinals had an odd week, winning the first and last games, but losing four in the middle, for a 2-4 finish. They also had three rained out as one of the lost Saturday games was added to Sunday, but the new double-header was rained out, too.
The final standings
In the second half, the Cards finished in fourth place in the Florida State League East Division at 33-34, 7 1/2 games behind the Daytona Cubs, their first-round playoff opponent.
Overall, taking both halves into
account, the Cardinals' 75-62 (.547) mark would have put them ½ game behind
Daytona in the East. Including both divisions,
Day by day
The week began with a Wednesday doubleheader at Port St. Lucie against the Mets.
Nick Additon owned game one, allowing just an unearned run over six innings, lowering his FSL ERA in the process to 0.50. Offensively, Matt Arburr had a pair of doubles and scored twice, Mike Folli singled, tripled, scored three times and drove in two and in an oddity, Pete Kozma picked up two RBI without the benefit of a hit via sac flies as the Cardinals won, 9-1. Even better, the Mets were eliminated from the playoffs in the process.
Game two did not go as well for
the hitters, as the Mets prevailed by a 2-1 score.
On Thursday, the Cards final
regular season home game ended in another loss as the Mets prevailed by an identical
2-1 tally. This time, Casey Mulligan, Samuel Freeman and Francisco Samuel
combined for five shutout innings of relief, but the
What could be the final games
played at the venerable
Mark Diapoules had a rough outing
in game one, as he was charged with seven runs (four earned) in five innings en
route to an 8-1 defeat. Diapoules committed an error and the Rays swiped three
bases against he and catcher Nick Derba. The offense again delivered only three
Game two became
The two clubs would only get in
one game of Saturday's scheduled doubleheader. After being down 4-1, the Cards
rallied to defeat Vero, 6-4, in what would be their final regular-season
contest. Derba drove in three with a pair of home runs while
The rained-out game two of Saturday's doubleheader was to be tacked onto Sunday's finale, but neither game could be played.
Outfielder and leadoff man Antone DeJesus has been on fire. He is 16 for his last 33, a .485 mark, but scored only six times as the RBI men aren't bringing him in.
Moved down in the order to the number four and five hole, Tyler Henley has four RBI in his last four games and is batting .313 in his last ten contests.
Reliever Pete Parise has four straight scoreless outings, yielding just one hit and two walks over 5 2/3 innings pitched.
Batting second, shortstop Pete Kozma continues to struggle at the dish, going 2-for-15 (.133) on the week. He did drive in four runs at least.
Batting third and clean up, Steven Hill went 7-for-35 (.200) and has 11 strikeouts in his last ten games.
In three games, nine at-bats, Colby Rasmus went hitless.
Oliver Marmol is just 2-for-28 (.071) with nine strikeouts over his last ten games.
Outfielder Charlie Kingrey went 1-for-11 (.091) on the week.
Shaun Garceau has allowed 19 baserunners and nine runs in his last 11 innings, yet still managed to win one of the two games.
Mark Diapoules is even colder, having yielded 21 baserunners and 12 earned runs in his last 8 2/3 innings. He had won three straight prior to the two bad losses. The Cardinals need both these starters to rebound to have a chance in the playoffs.
On the Mend
Reliever Gary Daley, Jr. made one Gulf Coast League appearance this week. In one-third inning, he walked three and was charged with one run. His GCL ERA rose to 24.39.
They were joined by starting pitcher Mark McCormick and swingman Eddie Degerman last week.
On the Move
Pitcher Jose Mateo was promoted
Outfielder Aaron Luna, mired in a slump and having lost any momentum gained when at Quad Cities, was moved over to the Gulf Coast League Cardinals. Top prospect Colby Rasmus, in a rehab assignment from Triple-A Memphis, was activated to replace him.
With all the injuries and roster churn, none of the offensive players finished in the top ten in the league in any major statistical category.
Francisco Samuel was the lone pitching leader, tied for the league lead with 29 saves.
On Wednesday, manager Gaylen Pitts became the Cardinals' all-time winningest manager. With his 145th victory with the club, Pitts passed Ron "Pop" Warner, now with Double-A Springfield.
Team stats and rankings
The Cardinals hitters' batting average dropped again to .252, with the club finishing ninth in the 12-team league, while their slugging mark stayed ninth, at .365. They ended with the fifth-fewest strikeouts in the FSL but fell to seventh in runs scored.
The pitchers' ERA had steadily fallen to its final 3.86 mark, eighth in the FSL. Their 51 saves were tops in the league. The staff dropped to a tie for fifth in strikeouts and maintained their huge lead in an unpleasant category, walks issued.
After opening on the road
Tuesday night at
Before the rainouts, the rotation was to be Nick Additon on Tuesday, Mark Diapoules next, and Shaun Garceau to pitch the deciding game if necessary on Thursday. However, since he did not pitch on Sunday as planned, Tyler Herron is getting the Tuesday start instead.
The Cardinals are making their third appearance in the last four years in the Florida State League playoffs, including their 2005 league championship season.
Brian Walton can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
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