Palm Beach Cardinals Notebook: 2010 Week 1

The St. Louis Cardinals' Florida State League entry secured their first win of the season Thursday after five losses and a rainout to start 2010.



This report covers the period from Thursday, April 8 through Thursday, April 15.


New manager Luis Aguayo's 2010 Palm Beach Cardinals had a rough start to their season, going 0-5 with one game rained out before finally collecting their first win. They began with two away and two home games against Charlotte (Tampa Bay). Sunday's fourth contest was rescheduled for May 14 prior to the regular game that day. After a day off on Monday, the Cardinals then traveled to nearby Port St. Lucie to take on the Mets for three.


In the first half, the Cards are in sixth, last place in the Florida State League South Division, 3 1/2 games behind co-leaders Bradenton (Pirates) and Jupiter (Marlins).


Day by Day


The season opened last Thursday with a 4-2 defeat at Charlotte. Brian Broderick took the loss, allowing three runs on seven hits and a walk in four innings. Ramon Delgado and Matt Frevert combined for three scoreless innings of relief to keep the game close. Osvaldo Morales and Jose Garcia each singled and doubled. Tony Cruz singled, walked twice and collected the lone RBI. Rich Racobaldo had two hits, a stolen base and an outfield assist.


On Friday, Jared Bradford allowed six runs in five innings and the offense was quiet in a 6-3 loss at Charlotte. Chris Swauger was the only exception as he plated all three Cardinals runs on a pair of home runs in his final at-bats. The rest of the team went 2-for-26.


The series moved to Palm Beach on Saturday, but the result was the same in the home opener as the Cardinals fell to Charlotte, 5-3. The Cards did take their first lead of the season in the fifth on Matt Carpenter's solo home run but Matt Frevert yielded a run in the seventh to get tagged with a blown save. David Carpenter was saddled with the loss after giving up two runs, one earned, in the ninth.


After Sunday's game was suspended due to rain and a day off Monday, Palm Beach invaded St. Lucie on Tuesday. The Cardinals never led in the 9-6 defeat. Arquimedes Nieto was charged with four earned runs, Kevin Thomas three and Joel Pichardo two. Casey Mulligan fanned the side in the ninth. Matt Carpenter was 2-for-3 with a walk and RBI while Tony Cruz singled, doubled and drove in two. Tommy Pham swiped his third base in four games, walked twice, singled and scored two runs.


The Cardinals continued their pattern of getting behind early, but almost made it back from a 5-1 deficit as the Mets won 5-4 on Wednesday. The Palm Beach hitters struck out 15 times on the evening and went 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position. Brian Broderick took his second loss after being charged with all five runs in five innings of work.


Thursday brought a first-inning offensive explosion as the Cardinals put up a seven-spot on the Mets, but Jared Bradford gave five back in the home first and departed after securing just one out. The bullpen, consisting of Mark Diapoules, Ramon Delgado, David Carpenter and Casey Mulligan picked up the club, spinning 7 2/3 shutout frames and fanning 12. Matt Carpenter went 3-for-4 with a run scored. Jose Garcia and Tony Cruz had RBI doubles.


Who's Hot


Jose Garcia and Matt Carpenter are each batting .333, 8-for-24 and 7-for-21, respectively. In a tremendous gulf between those two and the rest of the team, no other active Cardinal currently has an average over .211.


Reliever Casey Mulligan has allowed just three baserunners in four innings and has collected eight of his 12 outs via strikeouts. He also has the team's lone save. Fellow bullpen mates Mark Diapoules and Ramon Delgado have tossed 5 2/3 and five scoreless innings, respectively.


Who's Not


Our spring MVP, Tommy Pham, is batting just .182, same as fellow outfielder Alex Castellanos and cleanup hitter Tony Cruz. The catcher also has three passed balls on the young season. Xavier Scruggs and Osvaldo Morales have .208 averages while Rich Racobaldo is batting .211. No Cardinal has more than four runs scored or four RBI.


After two starts each, Jared Bradford's ERA is 18.56 and Brian Broderick's 8.00, highest and fourth-highest in the FSL, respectively.


On the Move


Infielder Jermaine Curtis was activated off the seven-day disabled list on Thursday, April 15 and was inserted into the starting lineup at second base. Primarily a third baseman as a professional, the 22-year-old also appeared at second in 18 games for Palm Beach last summer.


On the Mend


Outfielder Chris Swauger was placed on the club's seven-day disabled list on Thursday in the corresponding transaction to Curtis' activation. Swauger last played on Sunday and is 3-for-12 on the season with all three hits for extra bases, with two doubles and a home run plus three RBI.


Florida State League leaders


There is not much to say here. Swauger's two home runs tie him for third in the FSL, but he won't be adding to his total from the DL. Osvaldo Morales and Tommy Pham have three stolen bases each, good for a tie for fourth in the league.


None of the pitchers appear among the league leaders in any categories other than the aforementioned relievers with 0.00 ERAs.


Team stats and rankings


Collectively, the hitters are averaging .222 and have scored 25 runs, both eighth in the league. Their 62 strikeouts place them sixth while they have coaxed 24 walks, fifth-best in the FSL.


The pitchers' ERA of 5.58 is last in the league as is their meager total of 46 strikeouts. On a positive note, their 12 free passes issued are the fewest in the FSL.


Up Next


The Cardinals return home for a six-game homestand, three against Fort Myers (Twins) and three more vs. Port St. Lucie. Palm Beach's next scheduled day off isn't until May 9.



Brian Walton can be reached via email at Also catch his Cardinals commentary daily at The Cardinal Nation blog.

Follow Brian on Twitter.


© 2010 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

The Cardinal Nation Top Stories