VSL Cardinals Report: July 19, 2009

Josh Jones' weekly report on the 2009 Venezuelan Summer League Cardinals. The club went 2-5 on the week and are now just one game over .500 for the season.

The Venezuelan Summer League Cardinals had one of their worst weeks this period only taking two of seven games played and ended the week on a four-game losing streak.  The Redbirds are now one game above .500 at 27-26 and fell in the standings to fourth in the league and 12 games out.  The Cardinals are 13-13 at home and 14-13 on the road.


The Cardinals opened up this period on the road at the Mets.  The Mets were the first to score, plating two in the first, but the Cardinals tied it up in the fourth.  The Redbirds starter went seven innings and with some help from one reliever kept the Mets scoreless in the final eight frames.  The Cardinals added a pair in the fifth to take the lead and the win at 4-2.


The Cardinals stayed on the road and visited the Phillies.  The Redbirds were the first to strike but the Phils came back take a lead. The Cardinals received some great pitching from their starter but the bullpen couldn't hold the edge and the hitters weren't contributing.  The Redbirds scored another to tie it up in the sixth but the Phillies had the final say-so, plating the winning run in the seventh for the 3-2 win.


The Tigers came to town to take on the Cardinals next. This game was scoreless until the seventh inning when the Redbirds scored the first run.  Both teams then traded off runs in the final two frames as the Cardinals held off the Tigers for the 3-2 victory.


The Cardinals sent their hottest pitcher as of late to the mound to face the Pirates on the road.  The Redbirds were the first to score in the third but the Bucs doubled that in the next inning.  The Pirates then scored another two after the Cardinals tied it up and knocked their starter out of the game.  The Pirates went on to win 4-2.


The Cardinals visited the Mariners to finish up a suspended game and play a brand new one.  The Redbirds had the lead to re-open the meeting but that was erased in the next three innings.  The Cardinals opening pitcher coughed up four runs and the team just couldn't get the bats swinging as they were held to three hits all game.  The Mariners took the contest 4-2.


In the regularly scheduled match up, the Mariners out-hit and outscored the Cardinals, plating two in the second and fifth and then adding on another three in the sixth.  The Redbirds only mustered two runs and one error gaving away two runs to their opponents.  The Mariners took the second game 7-2.


The Cardinals played their sixth game on the road at the Rays.  This game ended up being the worst defeat for the Redbirds all year long.  The Rays knocked out the Cardinals returning starter after three innings and chewed through their next three relievers.  The Rays plated four runs in the first two innings and added another 13 between the fifth and seventh, with the help of an five errors by the Cardinals.  The Rays hammered on the Cardinals for a 17-5 win.


Who's Hot


Hector Garcia extended his hitting streak to seven games but it was broken up three games in.  The 19-year old right-handed hitter went 8-for-22 (.364) with one double, one home run, two RBIs, one run, one hit by pitch and two strikeouts.  He played six games at third base and committed only one throwing error.  The third-year VSL participant leads the team in batting average, hits, doubles, RBIs, total bases, SLG, and OPS.


Anthony Fonseca will look to add on to his four-game hitting streak in the next period.  The 20-year old right-handed hitter went 5-for-16 (.313) with one double, one home run, three RBIs, one run, two walks, two hit by pitches, one sac fly, three strikeouts, and was caught stealing in both his attempts.  He played five games in centerfield, where he had two outfield assists, one fielding error, and assisted in one double play, and one game in left field.  The third-year VSL participant is tied for the lead on the team in runs scored, third in home runs, third in stolen bases, and second in batting average.


Jose Cortez turned it around at the plate after struggling the past couple weeks.  The 20-year old right-handed hitter went 8-for-19 (.421) with one RBI, one run, but struck out seven times.  He played three games in right field, where he committed one throwing error, two in left, and one in centerfield.  The third-year VSL participant is third on the team in runs scored, second in doubles, third in RBIs, and third in total bases.


Omar Viloria got his chance to get a little time in behind the plate.  The 18-year old right-handed hitter went 3-for-10 (.300) with one home run, two RBIs, two runs, two walks, three hit by pitches, and two strikeouts.  He played all four games at catcher throwing out two of four base runners and assisted in one double play.  The second-year VSL participant is currently batting .210 on the season with two home runs, five RBIs, seven runs, and 15 strikeouts in 25 games.


Deimer Bier stepped up this week and again pitched another gem.  The 18-year old right-hander made his only start on July 14 pitching seven scoreless innings and giving up two hits, one walk, and striking out nine.  He has now struck out eight or more in four of his ten starts this season.  The second-year VSL pitcher has struck out a team-leading 55 and walked only 14 over 47 innings.


John De Aguas has not allowed an earned run this season, spanning a total of 12 relief appearances and 21 innings.  The 17-year old left-hander pitched his first game this week on July 12, with two hitless and scoreless innings, hitting one batter, and striking out one for his second save of the season.  On July 15 the Colombian native was called on to pitch one and a third.  The rookie reliever not only held the opponents hitless but kept both inherited runners on base.


Who's Not


Roberto Perez really hit a bump in the road the last week and went hitless in his last five games.  The 20-year old right-handed hitter went 1-for-19 (.053) with one double, two RBIs, four walks (one intentional), one hit by pitch, and one strikeout.  He played all six of his games at first base and was on the back end of three double plays.  The third-year VSL participant watched his batting average drop to .277 on the season but still leads the team in home runs.


Alexander Castellano's struggles continue.  The 20-year old switch-hitter went 1-for-8 with one run, one walk, one hit by pitch, two strikeouts, and grounded into one double play.  He played one game in right field, two as designated hitter, and one as a pinch hitter.  The second-year Cardinals outfielder has only connected for two hits in his last 20 at-bats and his season batting average sits at .228.


Osmir Medina is another player having trouble at the plate and in the field this season.  The 18-year old right-handed hitter went 1-for-11 (.091) with one double, two runs, two walks, and two strikeouts.  He played all four of his games at shortstop where he helped turn tow double plays and committed two fielding errors.  The second-year VSL participant's batting average is hovering under the .200 mark at .195 and leads the team with a huge margin in errors at 17.


Jackson Solarte took it on the chin in his two relief appearances this period.  The 19-year old right-hander entered his first game on July 13, pitching two innings and allowing three hits, one earned run, one strikeout, and picked one runner off for his second loss of the season.  On July 18 he was tagged with four hits, six runs (five earned), walked three, and hit one batter in 2.1 innings of relief.  After not allowing an earned run between June 20-29, it has all gone downhill for the second-year VSL pitcher since then.


Gregorio Ramos had his no earned-run streak ended at three games.  The 19-year old right-hander made his only relief appearance on July 17 coughing up four hits and three earned runs over one inning.  The second-year VSL pitcher has struck out seven and walked nine over 18 innings in 12 games.


The Happenings


Angelo Echeverria has not pitched since June 12 and Fabian Marquez since July 8, Gerwuins Velazco has not played since July 6 and Limbert Rivas since July 11.

Ramon Ulacio made the return to the mound for the Cardinals after missing two weeks.  He made the start on July 18 allowing eight hits, four earned runs, two walks, and struck out three for his second loss of the season.


Wilfred Vivas was reinstated from the suspended on July 17.  The 19-year old infielder played in two games this past week going 2-for-7 (.286) with one double, one RBI, two runs, one walk, and committed three errors (all in one game).


Jesus Montero also rejoined the team a couple of times this past week.  The 18-year old catcher played in three games going 1-for-10 (.100) with six strikeouts.


Venezuelan Summer League Stats


The Cardinals hitting slipped for the third week, from .262 to .258 average on the season.  The team is third in home runs, second in strikeouts, third in OBP, and third in OPS.  All other stats have fallen into the bottom third of the league.


The Cardinals pitching took a hit jumping from 3.57 to 3.74, but their WHIP stayed even at 1.42.  The team leads the league in saves, third in shutouts, and second in strikeouts.  They rank in the better half of the league in runs allowed, home runs, and hit batters.


Hector Garcia is eighth in batting average, fifth in hits, tied for first in doubles, tied for tenth in home runs, eight in RBIs, fifth in total bases, seventh in SLG, and eighth in OPS.

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

Roberto Perez is tied for sixth in home runs, tied for third in walks, tenth in SLG, and tenth in OPS.

Kaizer Inojoza is tied for tenth in home runs and tied for tenth in walks.

Osmir Medina is tied for tenth in stolen bases.

Javier Avendano is second in ERA, tied for fourth in wins, third in strikeouts, and tied for tenth in WHIP.

Deimer Bier is sixth in ERA, second in strikeouts, and seventh in WHIP.

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

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

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

Jackson Solarte and John De Aguas are tied with others in ninth for saves.

Sergio Nieves is sixth in innings pitched.

Fernando Cedeno is tied for first in holds.

Ramon Ulacio is tied for ninth in holds.


Next Up (Overall, vs. Cardinals)

July 19: Mets (22-30, 2-6)

July 20: Phillies (20-33, 4-5)

July 21: @ Tigers (18-35, 0-9)

July 22: Pirates (39-14, 7-2)

July 23: Off Day

July 24: Mariners (28-25, 7-2)

July 25: Rays (31-22, 6-3)



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