Springfield Cardinals Notebook: 2010 Week 2

The 8-4 Cardinals are in first place with the youngest team in the Texas League North Division.

Current Record:  8-4

Current Standing:  First place, one game ahead of Northwest Arkansas (Kansas City)


Of Interest:  Springfield had an excellent first home stand, going 5-1 with their sole loss coming by just one run.  On Monday, third baseman Andrew Brown was named the Texas League Offensive Player of the Week for the week ending April 18th.  Although Springfield's press release refers to Brown as a first baseman, he has played third base in seven of the 12 games contested to date.  Mike Folli plays third when Brown is at first. 


Adron Chambers is sporting a nifty .400 on-base percentage in the lead-off spot.  He did miss the last two games of the week with a stomach ailment but will likely be back in the line-up on Thursday when the Cardinals travel to Tulsa for a four-game set.  Aaron Luna has a .459 OBP in a little more limited action.


 Jim Rapoport deserves a mention as well.  Rapoport is leading the team with a .333 average but averages about four games played per week.  He had some timely hitting this week as will be seen in the game write-ups.


Finally, below is a chart of the average roster age on Opening Day for Springfield's North Division.  (Time constraints does not allow for calculating the average age for the South Division.)  Look what team is the youngest…


Texas League - North Division
  Parent Average Age
Team Club Years Months Days
Springfield Cardinals St. Louis 23 9 17
San Antonio Missions San Diego 24 1 6
Arkansas Travelers LAA 24 5 4
Frisco RoughRiders Texas 24 5 9
NW Arkansas Naturals KC 24 5 26
Corpus Christi Hooks Houston 25 3 7
Tulsa Drillers Colorado 25 6 17
Midland RockHounds Oakland 25 8 11


Who's Hot:  Since Andrew Brown was named the league's Player of the Week, it would look a bit silly if he was not given the current ‘Hot' nod.  Brown batted .300 with a double, eight runs scored and a Texas League leading four home runs and 14 RBI. He also walked five times. 


Starters Gary Daley Jr. and Scott Gorgen share ‘Hot' honors this week.  Both are off to excellent starts, going a combined 3-0 in four starts over 21 innings.  Gorgen has a 1.20 WHIP while Daley's is 1.18 – a good sign is that Daley's history of control issues seems to be under control.  He has walked three batters in 11 innings and while that may not win any control awards, it is light years better than it has been.


Who's Not:  Shortstop Pete Kozma.  While Kozma flashed some nice leather this week and has already hit two home runs after hitting a total of six last season, he is simply not very productive.  Kozma is hitting .196/.260/.391/.651 in 46 at bats.  He has driven in eight runs and scored seven, so he is fairly productive when he does hit.  He just does not hit often enough.


Starter Shaun Garceau is struggling in his first taste of Double-A ball.  He has lost all three of his games, allowing 10 earned runs in 14 innings on 18 hits and nine walks.  Garceau is the only Springfield starter with no prior Double-A experience and, at 22, is one of the younger pitchers on the team.  Watch to see how Mr. Garceau handles this adversity.


Game Summaries:

Thursday, 04/15/10 (H) – Frisco (Texas) - Springfield's home opener mirrored their parent club in many ways.  First, they had Hall of Fame Manager Whitey Herzog throwing out the first pitch.  Next, their pre-game ceremonies included a players' tour of the field in new pick ups.  Finally, the Cardinals delivered a win for the home crowd, defeating Frisco 8-3.  The starters were a repeat of last Friday's contest:  Springfield's Nick Additon versus Frisco's Richard Bleier.  Additon (W, 1-0) tossed six innings, allowed two runs, both earned, on six hits, one walk and one wild pitch.  That wild pitch was costly since it came with a runner on third and plated a run.  Eduardo Sanchez (S, 2) picked up the save by recording the final four outs of the game without a blemish.  Pete Kozma connected in the third inning for his first home run of the season.  Lead-off man Adron Chambers went 2-for-5 with two RBIs and two runs scored.  Kozma also went 2-for-5 but drove in three runs.  Daryl Jones went 2-for-3, including a double, with two runs scored.  Andrew Brown and Colt Sedbrook also had two hits apiece.  


Friday, 04/16/10 (H)  Frisco – Springfield clinched the series with a 4-3 win.  Starter Gary Daley Jr. was excellent, leaving after six innings with a 3-1 lead.  Daley scattered six hits and one walk and recorded six strikeouts, out-pitching his more celebrated counterpart, Frisco's Kasey Kiker.  Kiker, the 12th pick overall in the 2006 draft, went just five innings, allowing three runs, all earned, on five hits and four walks.  Kiker did live up to his ‘K' name by striking out seven.  Neither pitcher figured in the decision as the Springfield bullpen immediately went out and gave up the lead in the top of the seventh.  Thomas Eager gave up a two-out single to right fielder Joey Butler.  Eager was immediately replaced by lefty Matt Meyer who was an absolute gas can.  Meyer (BS, 1) walked the first batter he faced then allowed a two-run double to five hitter Wes Bankston.  Adam Reifer (W, 1-0) entered the game after Meyer walked another batter and recorded a strike out to end the inning.  Reifer struck out Frisco's lead-off and two hitters to end the eighth inning as well.  Closer Eduardo Sanchez (S, 3) pitched around a lead-off single and a walk to get his third save.  Adron Chambers got on base all four times he came to the plate with a single, two walks and a hit-by-pitch.  He scored a run and was caught stealing.  Third baseman Andrew Brown went 3-for-4 with a run scored and Steven Hill had a double, a sacrifice fly and two runs batted in. 


Saturday, 4/17/10 (H) – Frisco – Springfield swept Frisco out of Hammons Field, winning 6-4.  This contest featured one of the true Texas League stars, 19-year-old Venezuelan lefty Martin Perez.  Perez, who very recently turned 19, is considered one of the top talents both in the Texas League and in the minors.  He retired the first nine Cardinals he faced, striking out four.  But Springfield punched through in the fourth inning with the key at bat possibly coming from lefty hitter Jim Rapoport.  With Adron Chambers on first due to a fielding error, Rapoport worked an 11-pitch at-bat for a clean single to right.  Steven Hill doubled in Chambers and Andrew Brown singled to right to plate both Rapoport and Hill.  That was the end of the damage for the inning but it was enough to tie the game and Perez' day was finished after four innings and 69 pitches (47 for strikes), 36 of those pitches coming in the fourth inning.  Starter Scott Gorgen (W, 2-0) outlasted Perez by going five innings with five hits, two walks and four strikeouts that resulted in three runs, one earned.  Chuckie Fick, Blake King and Adam Reifer pitched the final four innings with Reifer (S, 1-0) picking up the save as Eduardo Sanchez was rested due to his back-to-back performances the prior two games.  The Cardinals took the lead in the bottom of the fifth off righty Brennan Garr (L, 0-1)when Colt Sedbrook got a one-out single then took two bases on one wild pitch.  Sedbrook subsequently scored the go-ahead run on an Adron Chambers single to left.  A Jim Rapoport single and Steven Hill sacrifice fly scored Chambers.  Pete Kozma scored the final run in the sixth inning when he led off with a walk, stole second and scored on a double when Antone DeJesus got his first hit of the season.  Andrew Brown also had two runs batted in.


Sunday, 04/18/10 (H)Midland (Oakland) – Springfield opened their three-game series with Midland by steamrolling them 13-0.  David Kopp (W, 1-0) picked up his first win of the season, and only his second Double-A win, tossing five shutout innings on six hits and three strikeouts.  Kopp did not walk a batter and was 11-for-19 on first-pitch strikes, according to The Springfield News-Leader.  Lefty Ryan Kulik (S, 1) picked up just his second save of his professional career, pitching the final four innings.  He allowed just one hit and one walk against two strikeouts.  Kulik recorded six groundball outs and four fly ball outs.  In a game with many big bats by Springfield, Andrew Brown's was the biggest.  Brown went 3-for-5 with two home runs, one of them a grand slam, and seven runs batted in.  Steven Hill and right fielder Aaron Luna each drove in two runs and the latter scored three runs while Hill scored two.  Daryl Jones scored two runs as well.


Monday, 04/19/10 (H)MidlandSpringfield fell to Midland 7-6 as the Rockhounds held off Springfield's rally.  Shaun Garceau (L, 0-3) had one of those performances that one hopes will be a learning experience for him.  He was inconsistent, allowing all of Midland's runs in the four and one-third innings pitched.  Garceau kept the game relatively close going into the fifth inning with Midland up 3-1.  But the Rockhounds chased Garceau by scoring three of the four runs scored before he recorded the second out.  The big blow was a three-run triple by third baseman Alex Valdez.  Midland's final run, charged to Garceau, came after a pitching change that saw Thomas Eager give up a fly ball to right that scored Valdez.  Springfield's offense took a hit when lead-off hitter Adron Chambers was a late scratch due to a stomach bug.  Jim Rapoport was moved into the lead-off slot and filled in admirably:  2-for-4 with a walk, a run batted in and two runs scored.  Steven Hill drove in two runs and Andrew Brown both scored and drove in one run.  Springfield stranded 12 runners as they were 4-for-19 with runners in scoring position.  Midland stranded 10 runners themselves.


Tuesday, 04/20/10 (H)MidlandSpringfield finished off the week with a narrow 2-1 victory over Midland Tuesday afternoon.  Nick Additon struck out eight in his stint against four hits but only lasted four and two-thirds innings since his pitch count climbed to 103 pitches, 69 for strikes.  The only run to score against Additon came in the top of the third when second baseman Jemile Weeks (younger brother of Milwaukee's Rickie Weeks) led off with a triple to center and was sacrificed home on a fly ball to left by designated hitter Corey Brown.  The Cardinals tied the game up in the bottom of that frame on a solo shot by Pete Kozma, his second of the season.  That is the way the game stayed until the bottom of the ninth when first baseman Curt Smith hit a one-out double to center.  Catcher Charles Cutler had a walk-off line-drive single to former Cardinals farmhand Shane Peterson in right to score Smith and give Springfield both the win and the series.  Justin Souza (L, 0-1) took the loss in his third inning of work while Springfield closer Eduardo Sanchez (W, 1-0) picked up his first win of the season by tossing a perfect eighth and ninth innings.  Chuckie Fick was the bridge from Additon to Sanchez with two and one-third innings of no-hit one-walk ball.  Springfield managed just six hits for the game with five of the six hits coming from Smith, Cutler and Kozma; the five, six and seven hitters.  Adron Chambers did not start his second consecutive game due to an intestinal ailment but pinch hit for Aaron Luna in the eighth inning and stayed in the game for the ninth inning. 



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