VSL Cardinals Report: July 12, 2009

Josh Jones' weekly report on the 2009 Venezuelan Summer League Cardinals. The club went 3-4 on the week and are now four-games .500 over for the season.

The Venezuelan Summer League Cardinals had a sub-par week only taking three of seven games that were completed.  The Redbirds are 25-21 on the season and fell back to eight and half games out of first place.  They have a 12-13 record at home and are 13-8 on the road, which is best in the league.


The Cardinals opened up this period hosting the Mets.  The Redbirds took the lead from the Mets in the first inning and the two teams exchanged a couple more runs in the fourth and sixth innings.   The Cardinals received some offensive help with a couple home runs and both teams bullpens were lights out after the sixth.  The Cardinals held on to win 4-3 but were out hit by the Mets 9-4.


The Cardinals took in another home game, this time against the Phillies.  The Redbirds struggled in the field committing a total of five errors which contributed to the Phils scoring in the later frames.  The Cardinals starter pitched a great game but the bats were a little sluggish.  The game was tied up until the eighth inning when the Phillies plated five runs and took the game 7-3.


The Cardinals went on the road to face the Tigers in their next game.  The Redbirds had their ace on the hill, who only gave up one hit over the first five frames, and the hitters came through building a six-run lead in the first two innings.  The bullpen had a little hiccup but managed to regain focus and hold on to the lead for a 7-3 victory.


The Pirates came to visit in the following game.  The Cardinals only lead of the contest came in the bottom of the first and after that the Bucs owned the game.  The Pirates scored multiple runs in four of the nine innings and even capitalized on the four errors committed by the Redbirds.  The Cardinals kept up in the hitting department but couldn't in the scoring, losing to the Pirates 10-6.


The Cardinals welcomed the Mariners in to finish up a postponed game and then play a second one.  The M's held the lead 2-0 before it was called and neither team scored when it was fired back up. 


In the following meeting between the two, the Mariners struck first to take the lead.  The Cardinals came back to plate two in the bottom half of the inning and both teams held each other scoreless thereafter.  The Cardinals went on to win 2-1 behind a pair of arms that tag teamed together six days before for a one-hitter.


In the final game of this period, the Cardinals hosted the Rays.  The Rays plated three in the second and the Redbirds starter left the game early with control issues.  The Cardinals came back scoring two in the fourth and evening up the game with one in the sixth.  The Rays picked up only three hits off the Redbirds bullpen but slipped a run across on a passed ball in the top of the ninth.  The Rays went on to win 4-3.


Who's Hot


Hector Garcia will be carrying a five-game hitting streak and 11-game on base streak into the next period.  The 19-year old right-handed hitter went 9-for-20 (.450) with three doubles, six RBIs, two walks, two stolen bases, and one strikeout.  He played six games at third base, splitting one game at first base, where he assisted in three double plays and committed one throwing error.  Garcia is now leading the team in batting average, hits, at-bats, doubles, RBIs, and total bases.


Roberto Perez will have a seven-game hitting streak to build on next week.  The 20-year old right-handed hitter went 9-for-21 (.429) with two doubles, two home runs, seven RBIs, scored seven runs, was hit by a pitch three times, and struck out seven times.  The Cardinals first baseman was on the back end of five double plays in six games.  Perez leads the team in home runs, walks, OBP, SLG, and OPS.


Javier Avendano (see photos) had one of his best starts of the season this past week.  The 18-year old right-hander made his only start of the week on July 7, pitching five innings, and allowing one hit, no runs, one walk, uncorking one wild pitch, hitting one batter, and striking out three.  He also picked up his team leading fifth win of the season and has not given up an earned run in his last four starts.  His ERA sits at an amazing 0.81 mark on the season.


Sergio Nieves has improved greatly in his last two starts of the season.  The 17-year old right-hander pitched on July 6, allowing seven hits, one unearned run, throwing away a ball for a pickoff error, and striking out three over six innings.  He had not allowed an earned run over his last two appearances (12 innings combined) and has watched his ERA fall to 3.38 on the season.


Hector Corpas has not allowed an earned run in his last six relief appearances, spanning 15 innings.  The 19-year old right-hander pitched twice during the last period,, his first coming July 5, when he gave up two hits, no runs, and struck out two over one inning for his seventh save of the season.  Then on July 10, he again worked the back end of Carlos Oraa's game and pitched three scoreless innings allowing one hit, one walk, and stuck out five for his first win of the season.  His ERA sits at 1.53 on the season and is second behind Francisco Guzman in saves on the team.


Who's Not


Jose Cortez continues to slide in the wrong direction and lose playing time.  The 20-year old right-handed hitter went 1-for-14 (.071) with three runs, one walk, two hit by pitches, and struck out three times.  He played one game in centerfield, committing one fielding error, and threw out one runner in one of his four games in left.  Cortez has gone 8-for-39 (.205) in his last ten games and hasn't picked up an extra-base hit in his last nine games and no RBIs in his last seven games.


Jem Argenal saw some playing time this past week and didn't improve his chances of getting anymore.  The 17-year old left-handed hitter went 3-for-18 (.167) with one walk and six strikeouts.  He mainly came off the bench this past week getting time in as the first baseman, left fielder, designated hitter, and as a pinch hitter.  Argenal is 4-for-27 (.148) and has struck out nine times in his last ten games.


Alexander Castellano is still struggling at the plate this season.  The 20-year old switch-hitter went 1-for-12 (.083) with a solo home run, one hit by pitch, and struck out five times.  He played mainly as the team's designated hitter getting in on four games, but also spent time in left field and as a pinch hitter.  The former DSL Cardinal is hitting .190 (4-for-21) and has struck out ten times in his last ten games.


Moises Colorado had one decent start and was knocked out early in his second of the week.  The 19-year old left-hander made his first start on July 5, pitching four innings and allowing five hits, two runs (one earned), one home run, three walks, and striking out one.  The on July 11, he was pulled after one and a third after giving up three hits, three earned runs, four walks, throwing a wild pitch, and striking out one.  Colorado's string of one earned run game sended with his last appearance and his ERA rose to 4.58 on the season.


Johnny Polanco is still showing the rookie jitters as he makes the transition into the league.  The 17-year old right-hander pitched one inning, allowing no hits, one earned run, three walks, and uncorking two wild pitches on July 5.  Then on July 8, he coughed up four hits, three earned runs, one walk, and threw another wild pitch over one inning of work.  Polanco has seen his ERA drop a couple notches to 15.43 and has only struck out one and walked seven in his 4.2 innings pitched this season.


The Happenings


Angelo Echeverria still has not ptiched since June 12, possible injuy could be keeping him out of action.


The Cardinals have played 46 games and there is a possibility infielder Wilfred Vivas could be activated in the next week. 


Venezuelan Summer League


The Cardinals htting took a second week dip from .269 to .262, good for third in the league.  The team is third in home runs, OBP, SLG, OPS, and second in strikeouts.


The Cardinals pitching improved a second week in a row from 3.75 to 3.57 (third in the league) on the season and thier WHIP stayed at 1.42.  The team leads the league in saves, second in strikeouts, and third in shut outs.


Hector Garcia is eighth in batting average, tied for fith in hits, first in doubles, fifth in total bases, tenth in OBP, eighth in SLG, and ninth in OPS.

Roberto Perez is tenth in batting average, tied for fith in home runs, sixth in RBIs, tied for eighth in walks, tied for seventh in OBP, sixth in SLG, and fourth in OPS.

Anthony Fonseca is tied for tenth in runs scored.

Ildemaro Vargas is tied for third in triples and tied for sixth in stolen bases.

Kaizer Inojoza is tied for ninth in home runs.

Osmir Medina is tied for eighth in stolen bases.

Javier Avendano is second in ERA, tied for fourth in wins, tenth in innings pitched, and tied for fourth in strikeouts.

Carlos Oraa is tied for tenth in ERA, tenth in strikeouts, and tenth in WHIP.

Deimer Bier is tied for sixth in wins and tied for fourth in strikeouts.

Moises Colorado is tied for sixth in wins.

Fernando Cedeno is tied for sixth in wins and tied for first in holds.

Francisco Guzman is first in saves and tied for first in game finishes.

Hector Corpas is third in saves and tied for seventh in game finishes.

Jackson Solarte is tied for ninth in saves.

Ramon Ulacio is tied for fifth in holds.


Next Up (Overall, vs. Cardinals)

July 12: @ Mets (21-25, 2-5)

July 13: @ Phillies (17-30, 3-5)

July 14: Tigers (15-32, 0-7)

July 15: @ Pirates (34-13, 6-2)

July 16: Off Day

July 17: @ Mariners (Completion of July 3rd game and brand new game)(24-22, 5-2)

July 18: @ Rays (27-20, 5-3)



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