The Johnson City Cardinals finished the first five games with a record of two wins and three losses. They are in a three-way tie for third place in the five-team Western Division of the Appalachian League, two games behind the Greeneville Astros. The Cardinal pitching staff has issued the fewest walks of any team in the league (6) through their first five games and is averaging just 1.26 walks per nine innings. The hitters are second in the league in drawing walks (20).
I was able to attend four of the first five games in person and I listened to the other game on the Internet. Those observations provide the basis for this report.
The only roster change that
occurred since my Johnson City Cardinals 2010
was the exchange with Batavia of P Zach Russell for P Cale Johnson. Johnson went into the same piggy-back
starter spot that was held by Russell.
As expected, C Travis Tartamella joined the team from
The Week in Review
Other than walks, neither the hitters nor pitchers are in the top or bottom three of the league leaders/losers. The Cardinals lost two one-run games in Greeneville that they easily could have won. The defense has committed ten errors which have contributed to a league third-worst seven unearned runs. SS Cesar Valera (.133) committed four errors, two throwing and two fielding, while turning in at least two very nice plays deep in the hole.
Dean Kiekhefer and the Cardinals
had some tough luck during the eighth inning of Friday's 7-6 loss.
DH Kleininger Teran (.125) narrowly missed a game-tying RBI double in the ninth inning of Saturday's 4-3 loss to Greeneville. The Astros made a defensive replacement after the eighth inning that paid off nicely when LF Ryan Humphrey tracked down a two-out deep drive in the left-centerfield gap to preserve the win.
Tandem Starting Pitchers
As a reminder, listed below are
the pairings for
Tandem Starting Pitchers (9):
RHP Angel De Jesus (2A) and LHP Pat Daugherty (2B)
RHP Cale Johnson (3A) and "To Be Determined" (3B)
RHP Trevor Rosenthal (4A) and LHP Dean Kiekhefer (4B)
Piggy-back Starter Pitch Counts
Hector Hernandez: 59 pitches, 34 strikes, 10-for-19 first-pitch strikes.
Ryan Copeland: 30 pitches, 21 strikes, 7-for-10 first-pitch strikes.
Angel De Jesus: 70 pitches, 48 strikes, 15-for-23 first-pitch strikes.
Pat Daugherty: 38 pitches, 24 strikes, 7-for-12 first-pitch strikes.
Cale Johnson: 68 pitches, 50 strikes, 17-for-21 first-pitch strikes.
Trevor Rosenthal: 61 pitches, 43 strikes, 15-for-18 first-pitch strikes.
Dean Kiekhefer: 29 pitches, 21 strikes, 7-for-11 first-pitch strikes.
Boone Whiting: 70 pitches, 50 strikes, 13-for-22 first-pitch strikes.
Jeff Nadeau: 35 pitches, 27 strikes, 9-for-13 first-pitch strikes.
Note: Rosenthal and Kiekhefer were based on an internet radio call by Steve Wilhoit of the Greeneville Astros and it is likely, especially during Kiekhefer's innings, that a few pitches may not have been announced.
Who's Hot (Hitters)
C Cody Stanley is leading the team, in limited plate appearances, in both on-base percentage (.667) and batting average (.625).
LF Chris Edmondson is second in the league in slugging (1.077), tied for third in home runs (2) and runs-batted-in (5), fourth in on-base plus slugging (1.639), fifth in on-base percentage (.563), sixth in batting average (.462), and tied for ninth in runs (4). Edmondson has been burned a couple of times in the outfield on line drives hit right at him. He who hesitates turns outs into doubles.
C Travis Tartamella, in his second
1B David Medina has been hitting the ball very well and has impressed me a lot with his approach at the plate. He has been centering both fast balls and off-speed pitches and is fourth on the team in all his "line" categories: .417/.462/.583/1.045. He appears to need a little bit of improvement with his footwork at first base and could add even more power with emphasis on a weight program.
2B Greg Garcia is fourth in the league in runs scored (5) after being only one of three on the roster that played in all five games.
CF Reggie Williams (.364) has four singles and some very good defensive range.
3B Romulo Ruiz is tied for fourth in the league in doubles (3). Ruiz looks much more comfortable at third base this year and has played well there so far despite committing one throwing error. Ruiz' batting average of .278 is just barely above the team average of .269.
Who's Not Hot (Hitters)
OF Virgil Hill is eighth in the league in strikeouts (6) and is 1-for-8 (.125). However, he has put his excellent speed to good use. He is first on the team and is tied for fourth in the league in stolen bases (2).
SS Cesar Valera is tied for first
in the league in walks (4) despite hitting just .133 (2-for-15).
1B/DH Phil Cerreto (.125) is tied for ninth in the league in runs (4). His fielding error in game three was a tough one. There was a medium-height pop-up that came down directly on top of the mound that he caught. However, the ball was dislodged from Cerreto's glove as he fell over…
…3B Packy Elkins (.200), who had
tripped and fallen on the mound while tracking the same pop-up. Elkins has the fewest at bats (5) and
has missed two games since that mound collision. Elkins missed time in April and May of
this year while at
OF Steven Ramos, used predominantly as a pinch runner and defensive specialist so far, is the only batter to remain hitless (0-for-7).
Who's Hot (Pitchers)
Pitchers with walks plus hits per inning pitched (WHIPs) of 1 or less in the early going include Hector Corpas (0.00), Jeff Nadeau (0.67), Ryan Copeland (0.67), Dean Kiekhefer (0.75), Cale Johnson (1.00), and Pat Daugherty (1.00).
P Boone Whiting, an 18th round pick in this year's draft (see above), is second on the team with a strikeout per nine innings (K/9) rate of 12.6. That alone is impressive but to consider that the righty from Centenary College (LA) did that without ever going to a three-ball count in Saturday's game is even more impressive. Unfortunately, Whiting's first pro inning was one in which the Astros found both the right and left field lines with extra base hits.
All of the pitchers deserve credit for keeping their walks down. However, there are several pitchers who have given up extra base hits with 0-2, 0-1, and 1-2 counts.
Panamanian P Hector Corpas and Venezuelan P Francisco Guzman each recorded their first save this week. Guzman leads the team with 13.5 K/9.
Who's Not Hot (Pitchers)
Right-handed relievers Drew Benes and Aidan Lucas and left-handed reliever Bob Revesz are the only pitchers with walks plus hits per inning pitched (WHIPs) of 2 or greater and earned run averages (ERAs) of 9 or greater.
Week Two Schedule
Game 6 (Sun): Hernandez/Copeland @
Game 7 (Mon): Daugherty/De Jesus vs.
Game 8 (Tue): Johnson/bullpen vs.
Game 9 (Wed): Kiekhefer/Rosenthal vs.
Game 10 (Thu): Nadeau/Whiting @ Elizabethton Twins
Game 11 (Fri): Copeland/Hernandez @ Elizabethton Twins
Game 12 (Sat): De Jesus/Daugherty vs. Elizabethton Twins
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