VSL Cardinals Report: July 26, 2009

Josh Jones' weekly report on the 2009 Venezuelan Summer League Cardinals. The club went 4-2 on the week.

The Venezuelan Summer League Cardinals put an end to their four-game slide and took four of six games this period.  The Redbirds are now 31-28 on the season and 12 games out of first place.  They are 16-15 at home and 15-13 on the road.


The Cardinals opened up the week by welcoming the Mets to town.  The Redbirds struck first with two in the third and added on another five in the next five frames.  The Mets had trouble hitting the Cardinals starter who held them to only four base runners in the first seven innings.  The Cardinals won the game 5-1.


The Cardinals hosted the Phillies in their next match up.  The Phillies scored first with two in the first but the Redbirds tied and took the lead in the third by plating four.  The Cardinals again received some great pitching from the staff after their starter calmed down and held the Phils scoreless over the last eight frames.  The Cardinals won 5-2.


The Cardinals went on the road to take on the Tigers in the next contest.  The Redbirds took and early lead with a two-run home run in the first as the Tigers only answered with one.  The Cardinals pitching staff again was dominant only giving up two runs and seven hits in the game.  The Cardinals added on another in the fifth and held off the Tigers for a 3-2 victory.


The Pirates visited the Cardinals and ended their three-game winning streak.  The Redbirds had the early lead over the Bucs heading into to the fourth but the team's starter coughed up three runs in that very inning.  The Cardinals tied it up only to watch it fly away as the bullpen gave up another two.  The Redbirds got a solo home run from their second baseman but it was not enough as the Pirates went on to win 5-4.


The Mariners visited the Cardinals in the next game and pounded on their starter.  The Redbirds starter gave up seven runs in the first two frames and was pulled in the second without getting an out.  The bullpen slowed it down giving up only five hits and one run over the last eight innings.  The Cardinals offense struggled connecting for three hits and getting on across in the bottom of the ninth.  The M's extended the Cardinals losing streak to two games with an 8-1 win.


The Cardinals gave a shot to one of their relievers to start as they hosted the Rays.  The only run scored on the Redbirds freshman starter was via an error.  The Cardinals came back to take the lead in the sixth but the bullpen allowed the tie in the eighth.  The Redbirds ended up following that with one of their own in the bottom half and holding the Rays off for the 3-2 victory.


Who's Hot


Hector Garcia will have a four-game hitting streak to work on when he returns to the lineup.  The 19-year old right-handed hitter went 5-for-11 (.455) with three RBIs, three runs, one walk, one hit by pitch, two strikeouts, and one caught stealing.  He played all three of his games at third base and has not played in the last two games.  The Cardinals' July 1, 2007 signing is batting .327 (64-for-196) with 16 doubles, five home runs, 34 RBIs, 95 total bases, and 23 runs in 55 games.


Javier Avendano had the best start for the Cardinals this past week.  The 18-year old right-hander made his start on July 19 pitching seven scoreless innings and allowing three hits, one walk, and striking out six.  The Cardinals' July 2, 2007 signing has given up two earned runs, struck out 27, and walked nine over his last six starts (31.1 innings).


Francisco Guzman was called on in his second appearance to eat some innings for the club and did a fine job in doing so.  The 21-year old right-hander pitched his first relief outing on July 21 pitching two scoreless innings and giving up one hit, one walk, and striking out two for his first hold of the season.  Then on July 24 he picked up the game for the teams struggling starter.  Guzman pitched a season-high six innings allowing four hits, one earned run, one walk, striking out four, and did let the inherited runner score.  The Cardinals' May, 24 2007 signing has given up three earned runs over his last ten appearances (21.1 innings) and earned two saves.


Fernando Cedeno extended his streak of scoreless innings to four this past week.  The 19-year old right-hander made his first relief appearance on July 20 pitching a hitless and scoreless inning, keeping his inherited runner on base, and picking up his fifth hold of the season.  He then again pitched another hitless and scoreless inning and struck out one over one inning on July 22.  The Cardinals' July 8, 2006 signing had struck out nine, walked two, and earned six runs over his last ten innings pitched (5.40 ERA).


John De Aguas got his shot at making an impression for a spot in the starting rotation.  The 17-year old left-hander made his first appearance of the week on July 20, pitching two scoreless innings and giving up only one hit for his first hold of the season.  The club then slotted him for a spot start on July 25.  De Aguas held his opponents to two hits, one unearned run, one walk, and struck out four over five innings.  The Cardinals' 2009 signing has not allowed an earned run all season, extending his streak to 14 games and 28 innings this period.


Who's Not


Roberto Perez ended his hitless streak at six games but still continues to struggle at the plate.  The 20-year old right-handed hitter went 3-for-19 (.158) with two runs, two walks (one intentional), three strikeouts, and grounded into one double play.  He played three games at first base, being on the back end of one double play, and two games as designated hitter.  The Cardinals' February 17, 2007 signing is 3-for-34 in his last ten games with one RBI, two runs, five walks, and three strikeouts.


Carlos Yegues is not hitting very well as of late since missing some time in early July.  The 18-year old right-handed hitter went 1-for-11 (.091) with one walk, four strikeouts, and was picked off base.  He played two games at third base and one as designated hitter.  Since making a return to the lineup/bench the Cardinals' July 2, 2007 signing has played in eight games batting .160 (4-for-25) with two walks and 11 strikeouts.


Osmir Medina is not only having a hard time at the plate, but also in the field.  The 18-year old right-handed hitter went 0-for-7 two games he played and committed three errors at shortstop.  The Cardinals' February 27, 2008 signing is batting .185 (25-for-135) with 31 total bases, 33 strikeouts, and has committed a team-high 20 errors in the field.


Jesus Montero is having some trouble adjusting back to the Venezuelan pitching after making his return.  The 18-year old right-handed hitter went 1-for-15 (.067) with one run, one RBI, two walks, one hit by pitch, two strikeouts, and grounded into one double play.  He played five games behind the plate allowing four stolen bases, one passed ball, and throwing out four runners.  The Cardinals' July 11, 2007 signing has struck out in ten of his 25 at-bats this season, in the VSL, compared to 18 of his 101 at-bats in the Dominican Summer League.


Jose Weffer made his return to the starting rotation and most likely was knocked right back out of it.  The 17-year old left-hander made his start on July 24 and was pounded out for five hits, seven earned runs, one home run, four walks, and one balk over one inning.  The Cardinals' July 2, 2008 signing has had one decent appearance all season coming on June 6, and has struck out five and walked 17 over ten innings this season.


The Happenings


Angelo Echeverria has been out of action since June 12 with unspecified injuries.


Gerwuins Velazco has been out of action since July 6 with a fractured finger that may need surgery.  Hopefully more details coming later.


Ildemaro Vargas hasn't played since July 19 and Ramon Ulacio hasn't pitched since July 18.


Limbert Rivas returned to the lineup after being out for ten days with unknown injuries.  The 19-year old right-handed hitter spent time at both designated hitter and first base in the two games he played.  He went 4-for-7 (.571) with one home run, two RBIs, one run, one walk, one hit by pitch, and one stolen base.


Fabian Marquez also returned to the mound making a relief appearance on July 24.  He pitched one scoreless inning and striking out one of the three batters he faced.


Fermin Montanez was signed in the last week or so.  The 18-year old right hander made three relief appearances, picking up a hold, a save, and blew one save.  He allowed three hits, two earned runs, one walk, and struck out one over 3.2 innings.  Montanez's ground out-to-fly out ratio is 9-to-1.


Venezuelan Summer League Stats


The Cardinals batting made a slight dip from .258 to .257 on the season and fifth in the league.  The team is third in home runs, fourth in walks, second in strikeouts, third in SLG, and third in OBP.


The Cardinals pitching improved from 3.74 to 3.68, good for third in the league.  Their WHIP also improved from 1.42 to 1.40.  They are third in shutouts, first in saves, second in walks and strikeouts.  They are among the leagues' top three in runs, earned runs, hit batters, and home runs allowed.


Hector Garcia is tied for sixth in batting average, tied for seventh in hits, tied for second in doubles, eighth in RBIs, sixth in total bases, tied for ninth in OBP, sixth in SLG, and tied for fourth in OPS.

Ildemaro Vargas is tied for fourth in triples.

Roberto Perez is tied for seventh in home runs and fifth in walks.

Javier Avendano is second in ERA, tied for second in wins, sixth in innings pitched, third in strikeouts, and fifth in WHIP.

Deimer Bier is sixth in ERA, tied for tenth in wins, second in strikeouts, and tied for eighth in WHIP.

Carlos Oraa is seventh in ERA and seventh in WHIP.

Hector Corpas is tied for first in saves and sixth in game finishes.

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

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

Sergio Nieves is seventh in innings pitched.

Fernando Cedeno is in first for holds.

Ramon Ulacio and Johnny Polanco are tied with others for sixth in holds.


Next Up (Overall, vs. Cardinals)

July 26: @ Mets (23-35, 2-7)

July 27: @ Phillies (23-36, 4-6)

July 28: Tigers (19-39, 0-10)

July 29: @ Pirates (43-16, 8-2)

July 30: Off Day

July 31: @ Mariners (32-26, 8-2)

August 1: @ Rays (34-25, 6-4)



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