It was another rough week for the Gulf Coast League Cardinals. After finishing last week with a .500 record, the team lost four of six with another contest yielded to the rain. Steady reliever Manuel De La Cruz struggled, while Javier Avendano continued to stifle the young hitters of the GCL. But more important than wins and losses, the Cardinals saw the return of highly-touted infielder Jose Martinez to the field for the first time since 2008.
Starter Adriano Uribe gave up three runs in his four-inning outing. Javier Avendano was outstanding with three hitless innings while striking out four. Cole Brand got the loss after being charged with three runs and not being able to record an out.
The next day, the Cardinals took an early lead with two runs in the first. Unfortunately, the bullpen could not hold the lead and they dropped the game 4-5 to the Astros. Amaury Castillo gave up two runs in his two innings of relief and is now 2-3 on the season.
Hector Garcia led the offense with a pair of hits and an RBI.
On Thursday, the team took on the division leading Marlins. The Fish were quite rough with their Jupiter, FL roommates as they thrashed the Cards 7-0. Marlins pitching allowed only three hits and only one of those was for extra bases, a double by David Washington.
The team broke their losing streak by closing out a 7-0 victory over the Nationals in a game that was suspended due to weather. Hector Garcia reached base three times with a hit and two walks. Roberto De La Cruz doubled and drove in a run.
Jose Pasen was credited with eight shutout innings, racking up eight strikeouts on his way to his fourth victory. Cole Brand worked a scoreless inning of relief.
The Cards were unable to seize the momentum of the victory in its nightcap affair with the Nats. The team took a 2-1 lead into the sixth inning of the seven-inning game, but Manuel De La Cruz blew his second save of the week and gave up two runs in his 1.2 innings of action.
Steven Ramos led the offense with two hits and his 13th stolen base out of his leadoff spot.
The Cardinals rebounded with a 1-0 victory over the Mets on Sunday. Javier Avendano continued his mastery of the GCL with four shutout innings that lowered his ERA to 0.77. Josh Lucas picked up his first professional victory with three innings of one-hit baseball. De La Cruz appeared to rebound from his struggles to notch his eighth save.
Though he went 0-for-3 in the win, prospect watchers have to be thrilled with the return of Jose Martinez. The infielder has not seen game action since 2008 due to injuries and personal issues.
Monday's game was postponed in the fourth with the Cardinals up 2-0 over the Astros.
Only shoulder discomfort has been able to slow pitcher Javier Avendano. In three appearances since returning to game action, the right-hander has 12 strikeouts in eight innings without allowing an earned run. He has given up only three hits and one walk while the opposition is managing only a .103 batting average against.
In nine innings in August, Michael Santana has allowed only one run while striking out 10 batters. By the way, he has not allowed a free pass during that stretch.
Corderious Dodd has really struggled since turning pro. The outfielder is hitting only .125/.314/.125 and is hitting only .053 in his last 10 games.
During the month of August, Starlin Rodriguez has a slash line of .179/.319/.179 and has drawn only two walks while striking out 12 times.
Around the League
The Cardinals are now 25-25 and sit in third place in the GCL East Division. The team is eight games behind the division-leading Marlins.
Anthony Garcia's .400 on base percentage is the fourth best mark on the circuit while his .468 slugging percentage ranks seventh. He also ranks tied for the sixth highest total in home runs with five.
Luis Pimentel ranks sixth in the league with a .299 average while Roberto De La Cruz is tied for the league lead in home runs with seven.
Starlin Rodriguez is tied for sixth in triples with four. Rodriguez, along with teammate Steven Ramos, is tied for tenth in steals with 13.
Sam Tuivailala might be hitting only .186 but ranks fourth in the league in walks with 25 helping him post a respectable on base percentage of .340.
Manuel De La Cruz still paces the league in appearances with 25 while Cole Brand ranks sixth with 20. De La Cruz is tied for fourth place with eight saves.
Jose Pasen is sixth in strikeouts with 50 and seventh in the GCL with a 1.03 WHIP.
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