Springfield Cardinals Notebook: 2010 Week 3

Outfielder Jim Rapoport has been leading a quiet Springfield offense as they fight to remain in first place in the Texas League North.

Current Record: 11-7

Current Standing: Tied for first with Northwest Arkansas (Kansas City), three games ahead of Arkansas (LAA)


Of Interest:  If you follow the Springfield Cardinals and you are not reading Kary Booher's excellent coverage of them at The Springfield News-Leader, then the question arises:  ‘Why not?'  Last Wednesday, the 22nd, he had an excellent article on the Springfield bullpen which is well worth the read (and includes some dandy action shots):  link


Jim Rapoport's BABIP for the past two weeks is .500 which is no surprise when you look at his offensive numbers for that time.  (See ‘Who's Hot')


Many of the Cardinals ‘qualified' for the ‘Not' mention this week as the offensive numbers over the past two weeks are fairly offensive.  Eight of the twelve position players hit .250 or lower.


Springfield's pitching staff is among the league leaders with a 2.92 ERA.  Three of the five starters have an earned run average under 3.50 with the other two starters being over 4.00.  Their FIP is a different story.  Listed below is each starter followed by their ERA and then their FIP:

Nick Additon (3.32 - 4.31),

Gary Daley Jr. (2.91 - 4.45)

Shaun Garceau (4.50 - 3.75)

Scott Gorgen (1.59 - 3.55)

David Kopp (4.20 - 3.87)


Who's Hot:  Jim Rapoport is hitting .394/.459/.576/1.035 in 33 at bats over the past two weeks.  During that timeframe, Rapoport has been hitting primarily in the lead-off or five spot in the order.  Unfortunately, most of his teammates are ice cold so Rapoport has scored only six runs and driven in three.  It is hard to either score runs or drive them in when few others are hitting and getting on base.


Scott Gorgen continues to get the results, going 2-0 with 12 strikeouts in 12 innings over two starts.  He had a 1.08 WHIP and held the opposition to a .196 average.  The gap between his FIP (3.55) and his ERA (1.96), however, indicates that he is getting some help from his fielders.


Who's Not:  Daryl Jones hit a measly .182/.308/.242/.550 in 33 at bats in the last two weeks.  Jones hits mainly in the seven slot and has a .222 BABIP for that period.


Shaun Garceau's two starts over the past two weeks were like night and day.  The first was pretty bad while the second was his best of the season to date.  The combination of those starts led to the following numbers:  0-1, 6.10 ERA, 4.17 FIP, 10.1 IP, 12 H, 7 R, 7 ER, 1 HR, 5 BB, 9 SO, 1.65 WHIP. 


Game Summary:

Thursday, 04/22/10 (A)Tulsa (Colorado) – One of the signs of a team that is ‘clicking on all cylinders' is when they get production from unexpected places.  Well, in Thursday's contest, unexpected production came from the Cardinals' starter, Gary Daley Jr.  Daley (W, 2-0) not only tossed six and two-thirds quality innings for the 5-4 win but his first professional hit was a two-run home run in the top of the second inning.  Daley had more strikeouts (six) than hits (five) and his home run came against lefty Brandon Durden (L, 0-2), fourth-round pick from the 2005 draft.  Matt Meyer came on in the seventh inning with runners on the corners and two outs to induce a ground out to second by fellow lefty Jeff Kindel.  Eduardo Sanchez (S, 4) cleaned up Adam Reifer's eighth-inning jam by inducing a 6-4-3 double-play ball with two on and two runs in.  He pitched a perfect ninth.

Pete Kozma hit a one-out double and subsequently scored on Steven Hill's single to initiate the scoring in the first inning.  Kozma went 2-for-4 with the aforementioned run scored and a walk from the two hole.  Right fielder Aaron Luna did his best Gary Daley Jr. impression when he smashed a two-run home run in the top of the third that scored Andrew Brown.  Luna went 2-for-3 and was hit once.  Kozma and Luna were the only Cardinals with multi-hit games.


Friday, 04/23/10 (A)TulsaSpringfield edged Tulsa 4-3 as starter Scott Gorgen continues to impress.  Gorgen (W, 3-0) allowed just four hits and two walks over seven innings while striking out eight.  Tulsa's only run off Gorgen came in the bottom of the fourth when Drillers' catcher Willen Rosario hit a two-out solo shot over the left field wall.  The Cardinals got to Bruce Billings (L, 1-1) in the first inning when Adron Chambers singled to lead off the game and subsequently scored on Steven Hill's one-out ground out.  


Springfield broke the tie game in the sixth when Steven Hill drew a one-out walk.  Hill advanced to second on a wild pitch and scored the tie-breaker when Andrew Brown singled to left.  The next batter was right fielder Jim Rapoport and his two-run home run chased Billings.  


Tulsa closed the gap in the eighth off Chuckie Fick who allowed two runs on a lead-off walk, triple and ground out.  Fick settled down to strike out the remaining two batters he faced.   Adam Reifer collected his second save of the year by striking out the side in the ninth.  Springfield's big hitters were Brown, 3-for-4 with a run scored and an RBI, and Rapoport who went 2-for-3 with the aforementioned home run.


Saturday, 4/24/10 (A)Tulsa – The Cardinals took the third- of the four-game series 11-4, a game that saw a combined 21 hits and four errors.  David Kopp (W, 2-0) gave up all four runs scored by the Drillers, three of them earned, on five hits, three walks and a hit batsman in six innings.  The hit-by-pitch came with one out in the bottom of the first and the runner advanced to second on a ground out.  A passed ball by Steven Hill resulted in the runner at third and he then scored on a single to tie the game at one.  Kopp threw 86 pitches in all, 55 of them for strikes.  Blake King and Thomas Eager combined on three hits and two walks over the final three frames and King struck out three.


Pete Kozma had a big day at the plate, going 3-for-6 with two runs scored.  Two of his three hits were for extra bases; a double and a three-run home run.  Both extra base hits were off Tulsa's starter.  Steven Hill went 3-for-5 with a walk, a run scored and four runs batted in.  Left-handed hitting Jim Rapoport led off and went 2-for-5 with a walk and two runs scored but was only 1-for-4 against Tulsa's lefty starter.   


Sunday, 04/25/10 (A)TulsaTulsa avoided the four-game sweep by nipping the Cardinals 4-3 in 11 innings.  Shaun Garceau had his best outing of the season, by far, holding Tulsa scoreless through six on five hits and one walk against five strikeouts.  Garceau left the game with a 2-0 lead but the Springfield bullpen could not hold the lead.  Chuckie Fick started the eighth inning, after Ryan Kulik tossed a scoreless seventh, and this is what transpired:  catcher's interference, single, single (score), sac bunt (score), fly out, pop out.  The damage was done.  But the Cardinals' bullpen was given another chance to deliver a win when the Cardinals re-took the lead in the top of the ninth but, alas, it was not to be.  Springfield closer Eduardo Sanchez suffered his first blown save of the year when he gave up a lead-off home run to a light-hitting shortstop that is currently hitting below the Mendoza line.  Matt Meyer (L, 0-1) eventually gave up the winning run in the 11th inning when he retired only one of the five batters he faced.


Springfield's first run of the game came in the third when switch-hitting Shaun Garceau turned around to the right and drew a lead-off walk.  He eventually scored on a Charles Cutler ground out.  Andrew Brown's only hit was a solo shot in the sixth that temporarily put Springfield up 2-0.  He also walked twice. Adron Chambers went 2-for-4 with a double and a key walk.  That walk led to Springfield's final run of the game when Aaron Luna singled home Chambers to put the Cardinals back ahead.  Regular clean-up hitter Steven Hill was given his first game off of the season.


Monday, 04/26/10 (H) – Northwest Arkansas (Kansas City) – Springfield came home to take on the Naturals in a four-game series that was billed as a contest between the pitching staff with the league's best earned run average in Springfield (2.72) and the league's best team offense in Northwest Arkansas (.280).  Well, bats beat arms in this contest as the Cardinals fell 6-2.  Nick Additon (L, 1-1) went six innings but fell prey to the big inning when he allowed the Naturals to score three runs in the third inning.  Additon lacked control as well, walking four and hitting the Naturals' big bag, Mike Moustakas.  Thomas Eager effectively put the game out of reach by giving up three additional runs on three hits and a walk in his two innings of work.

Springfield's offense only mustered three hits the entire game, one of them being Aaron Luna's third inning home run with no one aboard.  Springfield's other run came in the eighth when Luna got a lead-off walk and advanced to third on Curt Smith's double.  Luna subsequently scored on a groundout by Colt Sedbrook.    


Tuesday, 04/27/10 (H) – Northwest Arkansas – Springfield lost its third consecutive game, falling to the Naturals 6-2.  Gary Daley Jr. (L, 2-1) went just four innings, allowing five runs, three earned, on six hits and two walks.  His final inning was particularly brutal due to two errors, both by second baseman Colt Sedbrook, that led to two unearned runs.  Another unearned scored off Chuckie Fick in the eighth inning due to a passed ball by Steven Hill.  Edgar Osuna, the Naturals' starter pitched too well for Springfield to be able to make errors and still win the game.  Solo shots by Hill and Andrew Brown were the first earned runs scored off Osuna in 23 innings pitched.  Jim Rapoport was the only Cardinal with more than one hit.  He went 2-for-4 with a double in the lead-off spot but lack of timely hitting led to zero results.



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