Springfield Cardinals Notebook: 2010 Week 18

Matt Carpenter, Andrew Brown, Aaron Luna and Blake King are among the hot players on the St. Louis Cardinals' Double-A Texas League club.

Current Record:  23-21

Current Standing:  Third, four games behind Northwest Arkansas (Kansas City) and a game behind Tulsa (Colorado)


Springfield still holds a seven and one-half game lead for the final North Division playoff spot over Tulsa if first-half winner Northwest Arkansas also takes the second half.



Roster Moves:

08/04/10 – Right-handed reliever Francisco Samuel promoted to Triple-A Memphis


Samuel was called up when Memphis reliever Fernando Salas was re-called to St. Louis after the Cardinals' Jason Motte went on the 15-day disabled list.  More on Mr. Samuel in the ‘Of Interest' section.



08/05/10 – Right-handed reliever Kyle Mura activated from the 7-day disabled list and given his unconditional release;  Right-handed reliever Ramon Delgado called up from A-Advanced Palm Beach


08/09/10 – Catcher Tony Cruz placed on the 7-day disabled list (strained right hamstring);  catcher Charles Cutler recalled from A-Advanced Palm Beach


Cruz injured himself during Sunday's game while legging out a bunt and is expected to miss one-to-two weeks, according to the Springfield News-Leader.  Cutler returns to Double-A after seeing limited playing time before his June 13th re-assignment.  While Cutler went .205/.317/.250/.567, 18-for-88 in 28 games, he was hitting much better just prior to his demotion to Palm Beach:  .357/.500/.429/.929, 5-for-14 with a .308 BABIP in his last four games covering the period June 2nd through June 13th.



Of Interest:

Third baseman Matt Carpenter has been named the Texas League Player of the Week for the second time in the last three weeks.  The period covered is August 2nd through August 8th.  During that time Carpenter went .593/.647/.815/.1.462, 16-for-27, with three doubles, a home run, ten runs scored, two driven in, six walks against five strikeouts and two stolen bases.


Kary Booher of the Springfield News-Leader reports that first baseman Curt Smith broke the hamate bone of his left hand and is done for the season.  Recovery from this type of injury can be tricky as the player's bat speed can be impacted. 


Francisco Samuel is holding Double-A batters to a .217 batting average and well under a hit an inning, 18 in 22.1 innings and averaged 10.9 strikeouts per nine innings pitched.  His overriding issue is his control.   Samuel averaged 6.5 walks every nine innings overall at the time of his promotion to Memphis but that number does not reflect the improvement in his control. 


April 28th through June 29th – 11 G, 12.2 IP, 11 H, 12 BB, 17 SO, 9 R, 6 ER, 4.26 ERA, 5.88 FIP, 1.82 WHIP, .224 BAA, .205 BABIP, 8.52 BB/9 IP, 12.08 SO/9 IP, 1.42:1 K/BB


June 30th through August 4th promotion – 11 G, 9.2 IP, 7 H, 4 BB, 10 SO, 3 R/ER, 2.80 ERA, 4.03 FIP, 1.14 WHIP, .206 BAA, .214 BABIP, 3.73 BB/9 IP, 9.32 SO/9 IP, 2.5:1 K/BB


So, Samuel's average walk rate declined from 8.5/9 IP in his first 11 appearances to 3.7/9 IP in his last 11 appearances, although the latter period covered three less innings.  His batting average against improved somewhat while his average strikeouts declined from 12.08/9 IP to 9.3/9 IP but his K/BB ratio improved from 1.4:1 to 2.5:1.  Thus, Samuel's control improved dramatically, his strikeout numbers declined somewhat but while opposing batters did not strike out as much, they also did not get a hit from the contact since the BAA went from .224 to .206.


Kyle Lohse's rehab start at Springfield had some interesting stuff in it, stats-wise.  Lohse gave up five runs, earned, on 12 hits in five innings.  That gave him a 9.00 ERA, 2.40 WHIP and .500 BAA.  But he also did not either give up a home run or walk a batter and he struck out four to give him a 1.60 FIP with a .571 BABIP.



Who's Hot:  First baseman-outfielder-third baseman Andrew Brown, third baseman Matt Carpenter, outfielder Aaron Luna//Righty reliever Blake King


All three players posted an OPS above 1.000 for the week with a minimum of 21 plate appearances.  Brown went .476/.522/.857/.1.379, 10-for-21 in five games, with two doubles, two home runs, four runs driven in, five scored, two walks, six strikeouts and a .615 BABIP.  Carpenter hit .591/.655/.773/.1.428, 13-for-22 in six games with a double, a home run, three runs driven in, seven scored, six walks against four strikeouts and a .706 BABIP.  Luna went .353/.476/.706/1.182, 6-for-17 in five games, with two home runs, three runs driven in, five scored, two walks, two strikeouts and a .308 BABIP. 


This week's report spotlights one of the Springfield bullpen that has been pitching fairly well, Blake King.  King has not given up an earned run in his last nine appearances dating back to July 17th.  (The last time he gave up an earned run was on July 12th.)  King inherited runners just once during that time period, a first and third with one out situation, and a run did score on a sacrifice fly.  Since July 21st, the last three weeks, King has appeared in six games, seven innings, and has not given up a hit.  He struck out 12 for a K/9 IP average of 15.4 but control is an issue as he walked six batters in seven innings but two in his last four innings and four appearances. 



Who's Not:  Second baseman Jose Garcia and shortstop Pete Kozma//Right-handed starter Trey Hearne


Both Garcia and Kozma had an OPS under .350 for the week, minimum 21 plate appearances.  Garcia had just a single hit in 16 at bats in six games for a .063 batting average.  He did three times which boosted his on-base percentage to .250 and left him with a .313 OPS and a .077 BABIP.  Garcia struck out three times and had a stolen base in two attempts.  Kozma had two hits in 21 at bats (.095 average) but walked only once (.136 on-base percentage) against five strikeouts.  He had an 232 OPS and a .125 BABIP.


The loss Trey Hearne absorbed on August 4th was entirely justified as it was an ugly start.  He gave up seven hits in five innings including three home runs.  Hearne walked more batters (four) than he struck out (three).  The results were an 11.25 ERA, 14.45 FIP, 2.75 WHIP, .412 BAA and .267 BABIP.  Ouch.



How They Stack Up:

Third baseman Matt Carpenter leads the league in batting average (.331) and on-base percentage (.436).  His .520 slugging percentage is third behind Northwest Arkansas' Clint Robinson (.581) and just-called-up-to-The Show Steven Hill's .543.  Carpenter's .956 OPS is second to Robinson's .972 OPS. 


Aaron Luna's .416 on-base percentage is good for third in the league and his .480 slugging percentage is seventh.  Luna has an .899 OPS which is third in the league while Steven Hill's .895 OPS is just behind Luna's for fourth place. 


The active leader in strikeouts is Tulsa righty Cory Riordan who has struck out 107 in 128.1 innings which is good for third overall.  The league leader in strikeouts is Cory Kluber with 136 in 122.2 innings.  Kluber was the (in)famous pitcher traded by San Diego to Cleveland in the ‘Ludwick Goes to the Padres' trade.  Second in the league in strikeouts is Jordan Lyles who was recently promoted to Triple-A by Houston.  Lyles had 115 strikeouts in 127 innings.  Springfield's Nick Additon leads the Cardinals with 88 strikeouts in 126.1 innings.  That is an average of 6.3 strikeouts every nine innings.  He is fifth among active pitchers in the Texas League but that ranking is more a factor of longevity in the Texas League than it is strikeout prowess.


Overall, the Cardinals' team batting continues to be very competitive.  Springfield is either first or second in all listed categories except for triples, stolen bases and strikeouts.

Team  AB  AVG  OBP  SLG  OPS  R  H 
Springfield 3842 0.268 0.354 0.425 0.779 596 1030
Lge Ranking - 1st 2nd 2nd 2nd 2nd 2nd 2nd
week change - U - - - - - -
League Lead   0.290 0.367 0.451 0.819 630 1106
Team -   KC KC KC KC KC KC
  2B  3B  HR  RBI  BB  SO  SB 
Springfield 206 25 116 546 445 838 68
Lge Ranking - 2nd 5th 1st 2nd 2nd 6th 6th
week change - - D - - - - -
League Lead 223 36 --- 587 455 673 136
Team - KC Texas   KC SD KC KC


The pitching remains fairly mediocre.  They walk too many and do not strike out enough.  One area of strength is in fewest hits per nine innings pitched where the Cardinals are second with 8.49 hits/9 IP.  However, when opposing batters connect the ball tends to leave the park.  One out of every 9.74 hits allowed is a home run which is second to last in the league behind Tulsa's 1:9.1 ratio.

Springfield 3.90 4.38 0.48 981.2 1.37
Lge Ranking - 3rd 7th   8th 4th
week change - - -   - U
League Lead 3.18 3.41   1011 1.29
Team - SD SD   SD SD
  H/9 IP HR/H BB/9 SO/9 K/BB
Springfield 8.49 1:9.4 3.80 7.02 1.85:1
Lge Ranking - 2nd 7th 6th 5th 6th
week change - - - - - U
League Lead 8.36 1:17.1 3.00 7.86 2.41:1
Team - SD SD Col SD SD



The Games:

Springfield went 3-3 for the week.  They began the week by dropping the final two home games of their three-game series with Arkansas 6-1 (box score) and 5-3 with St. Louis starter Kyle Lohse taking the loss in the latter game.  (box score)


The Cardinals traveled to Tulsa where they took three-of-four from the Drillers, winning the first three 7-3 (box score), 10-6 (box score) and 4-1 (box score) before losing the final game 6-5 after blowing a 5-2 lead going into the bottom of the eighth.  (box score)


Springfield begins a six-game home stand this upcoming week with a three-game series each against Texas South bottom feeder Corpus Christi (18-26) (Houston) and second-place San Antonio (22-22) (San Diego).  Division leader Northwest Arkansas is on the road this week for two three-game series against Frisco (21-23, third place in the Texas South Division) (Texas) and first-place Midland (23-21) (Oakland).  Second-place Tulsa has the same road trip as Northwest Arkansas except in reverse:  They play Midland first and then Frisco.  Frisco won the Texas South Division first-half title. 



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