Springfield Cardinals Notebook: 2010 Week 20

Pete Kozma, Jose Garcia, Matt Carpenter, Jason Buursma and Ramon Delgado are among the hot players on the St. Louis Cardinals' Double-A Texas League club.

Current Record:  32-25

Current Standing:  Tied for second with Tulsa (Colorado), three games behind Northwest Arkansas (Kansas City)


Springfield still holds an eight and one-half game lead over Tulsa for the final North Division play-off spot if first-half winner Northwest Arkansas also takes the second half.



Roster Moves:

Wednesday, August 18th – Left-handed pitcher Ryan Kulik re-assigned to Double-A Springfield from Triple-A Memphis


Wednesday was last day Triple-A players could be added to the Double-A roster and be eligible for the play-offs. So this move is timely.  Kulik was not activated until the 24th because he had to attend a wedding, per the News-Leader.  He will take Nieto's slot in Springfield's rotation.


Tuesday, August 24th – Right-handed starter Arquimedes Nieto re-assigned to A-Advanced Palm Beach


Nieto simply did not pitch very well while at Double-A.  He compiled a 5.30 ERA, 5.55 FIP, 1.54 WHIP and .269 batting average against in 35.2 innings over seven games.  Nieto had a .246 BABIP and a 1.58:1 K/BB ratio.



Of Interest:

Pam Clark of the Springfield News-Leader wrote a very informative piece about pitcher Brian Broderick's development:  link


The News-Leader also reports that pitcher Scott Gorgen will be activated today.  He will replace Tyler Norrick who is headed for Memphis.  Gorgen will work out of the bullpen.


During Wednesday's game Nick Additon loaded the bases in the bottom of the first with no one out and proceeded to strike out Koby Clemens, Jonathan Gaston and Michael Affronti, all swinging. 


The Cardinals' recent road trip through Texas was not without its share of excitement.  One of their busses refused to re-start on Monday and had to be abandoned while a scheduling quirk necessitated a 12-hour overnighter back to Springfield that night.  The team, minus Tuesday's starter David Kopp, arrived home at 11:00 am for their evening game.  Kopp flew back, not that it helped his start any.  Thanks to the News-Leader for the information.


Outfielder Aaron Luna has been hit by a pitch 24 times this season.  That is a whopping 27% of Springfield's team total of 89 hit-by-pitch batters.


Below is a chart of all players that appeared in a game for Springfield, excluding David Freese's aborted rehab stint, and their walks-per-plate appearance and strikeouts-per-plate appearance numbers.


Andrew Brown 353 31 89 11.4 4.0
Matt Carpenter 425 63 74 6.7 5.7
Tony Cruz 166 17 30 9.8 5.5
Charles Cutler 125 15 16 8.3 7.8
Antonio DeJesus 206 22 40 9.4 5.2
Jose Garcia 254 16 41 15.9 6.2
Daryl Jones 471 47 87 10.0 5.4
Pete Kozma 517 49 100 10.6 5.2
Aaron Luna 361 57 62 6.3 5.8
Tommy Pham 140 18 28 7.8 5.0
Xavier Scruggs 81 6 22 13.5 3.7
Chris Swauger 128 8 34 16.0 3.8


Among active players with more than 50 plate appearances, outfielder Aaron Luna and third baseman Matt Carpenter lead the club in walks ratio at 1:6.3 and 1:6.7 respectively.  Chris Swauger appears to be allergic to walks with a 1:16 BB/PA ratio.  Catcher Charles Cutler strikes out the least with a 1:7.8 ratio with Jose Garcia in second at 1:6.2 SO/PA.  First baseman Xavier Scruggs and Chris Swauger are neck-in-neck for the ‘Mr. Whiffy' title (a title coined for former Cardinals' farmhand John Nelson) with a 1:3.7 and 1:3.8 strikeouts-per-plate appearance ratio.   



Who's Hot:  Third Baseman Matt Carpenter, second baseman Jose Garcia, shortstop Pete Kozma // Relievers Jason Buursma and Ramon Delgado


Carpenter notches his third consecutive ‘Hot' and Kozma has his second straight ‘Hot'.  Kozma posted an over 1.100 OPS for the second straight week, going .355/.429/.677/1.106, 11-for-31 in seven games, with two doubles, a triple and two home runs.  He scored five runs, drove in five, walked three times, stole two bases and struck out nine times.  Kozma had a .450 BABIP.


Carpenter went .357/.471/.464/.935, 10-for-28 in seven games, with three doubles, six walks, five runs scored, three driven in and seven strikeouts.  He had a .476 BABIP.


Jose Garcia went from ‘Not' to ‘Hot' in one week, hitting .360/.429/.480/.909, 9-for-25 in six games.  He hit a home run, scored seven runs, drove in three and walked three times against just two strikeouts. 


Both Buursma and Delgado have been very good over the past two weeks.  Neither pitcher was credited with an earned run during that span.  Buursma's streak is nine appearances and Delgado's is eight.  Buursma's line:  7 G, 7.1 IP, 3 H, 0 R/ER, 0.00 ERA, 1.57 FIP, 0.41 WHIP, 0 BB, 6 SO, .125 BAA, .167 BABIP, 2-to-1 Inh Runners/Scored.


Delgado's line for the past two weeks:  6 G, 6.1 IP, 2 H, 0 R/ER, 0.00 ERA, 0.51 FIP, 0.47 WHIP, 1 BB, 10 SO, .095 BAA, .167 BABIP, 5-to-1 Inh Runners/Scored.



Who's Not:  Right fielder Andrew Brown // Left-handed Reliever Tyler Norrick


Brown switched places with Jose Garcia, going from ‘Hot' to ‘Not' in just one week.  He went .160/.250/.160/.410, 4-for-25 in six games, with a walk, five runs scored, one driven in and eight strikeouts.  He had a .235 BABIP.


Norrick's stat line over the past two weeks: Six game appearances, three and two-thirds innings pitched, six hits, five runs/earned, six walks, three strikeouts, two hit batsmen, 12.26 ERA, 8.10 FIP, 3.27 WHIP, .353 BAA, .273 BABIP and a 0.50:1 K/BB ratio.  Norrick is apparently on his way to Memphis, the seeming beneficiary of his left-handedness.  Memphis recently terminated lefty reliever Reynel Pinto and saw southpaw Nate Robertson exercise his out option when he was not called up to St. Louis by August 23rd. 



How They Stack Up:

Third baseman Matt Carpenter and his .337 batting average are back on top this week, ahead of Midland's Corey Brown who has a .330 average.  Carpenter remains in first place with a .439 on-base percentage, just in front of teammate Aaron Luna's .438 OBP.  Luna moved from third to second while Cory Brown at .422 slid from second to third.  Carpenter is fourth in the league in slugging at .520 behind league leader Clint Robinson of Northwest Arkansas.  Robinson has a .601 slugging percentage.  Former teammate Steven Hill is in second with a .543 SLG and Cory Brown is third at .524.  Current teammates Andrew Brown (.497) and Aaron Luna (.480) are sixth and eighth respectively.  Carpenter's totals place him second with a .959 OPS behind Robinson's 1.009 OPS. 


Team  AB  AVG  OBP  SLG  OPS  R  H 
Springfield 4299 0.270 0.356 0.431 0.787 676 1159
Lge Ranking - 1st 2nd 2nd 2nd 2nd 2nd 2nd
week change - - - - - - - -
League Lead   0.291 0.367 0.451 0.818 698 1244
Team -   KC KC KC KC KC KC
  2B  3B  HR  RBI  BB  SO  SB 
Springfield 236 31 132 616 499 959 73
Lge Ranking - 2nd T-5th 1st 2nd 2nd 8th T-6th
week change - - U - - - D -
League Lead 258 39 --- 650 510 746 142
Team - KC Texas   KC SD KC KC

Springfield's rankings are mainly unchanged from last week except in triples where they went from sixth to a tie for fifth and strikeouts where the Cardinals are now dead last.  However, Corpus Christi is last in the league with a strikeout once every 5.1 plate appearances.  Springfield is tied with Midland (Oakland) for second-to-last with a 1:5.2 SO/PA ratio.  They continue to lead the league in home runs with fourteen more than Northwest Arkansas.  Springfield hits a home run once every 32.6 at bats, on average, while Northwest Arkansas hits one every 36.2 at bats.  In the ‘Things That Make You Go Hmmmm' category, the Midland Rockhounds (Oakland) have nine sac bunts this season.  Nine.  For the entire season.  Springfield is next with 36.


Springfield 3.88 4.28 0.40 1099.2 1.36
Lge Ranking - 3rd 6th   8th 4th
week change - - U   - D
League Lead 3.38 3.49   1128.1 1.31
Team - SD SD   SD SD
  H/9 IP HR/H BB/9 SO/9 K/BB
Springfield 8.58 1:9.7 3.70 7.10 1.92:1
Lge Ranking - 2nd 7th 6th 5th 5th
week change - - - - - -
League Lead 8.41 1:16.5 2.95 7.88 2.35:1
Team - SD SD/Oak Col SD SD

The Cardinals went from sixth to fifth in FIP this week with an improvement from 4.33 to 4.28.  Their 1.36 WHIP is unchanged from the last report but their ranking slipped one because Tulsa inched ahead of them into third with a 1.35 WHIP. 



The Games:


Chart records standings

Springfield went 5-2 this week but remain tied for second with Tulsa, three games behind Northwest Arkansas.  Those standings and games back are identical to their position a week ago. 


The Cardinals began their six-game road trip in fine style by sweeping last place Corpus Christi (22-35, South Division) .  They won the opening game 6-5 in 11 innings.  Trey Hearne picked up the win by tossing a scoreless 10th and 11th with no hits and two walks.  Thomas Eager and Adam Reifer both notched the undesirable blown save:  the former in the sixth inning and the latter in the bottom of the ninth.  Pete Kozma doubled in Jermaine Curtis in the 11th for the game-winning tally.  (Box)


David Kopp allowed two runs, earned, on six hits and a walk in seven and one-third innings as Springfield downed the Hooks 4-2.  Adam Reifer picked up his 12th save with a perfect ninth.  Matt Carpenter's two-run single in the fourth put the Cardinals up for good and Pete Kozma's eighth-inning triple scored Nick Derba (reached on error) to provide Reifer with a bit of a cushion.  (Box) 


Springfield finished the sweep by winning Friday's game 9-3 behind Brian Broderick's seven-inning effort.  Broderick scattered eight hits and a walk to allow just two runs, earned.  Doubles by Nick Derba and Antonio DeJesus scored three in the fourth and the Cardinals blew the game open in the fifth with four more runs, the big blow being another two-run double by Derba.  (Box)


The Cardinals lost the opening game against third-place San Antonio (25-32, South Division) 6-5 as reliever Blake King got both the blown save and his third loss of the season.  Arquimedes Nieto was mediocre in five innings, allowing six hits and three walks that resulted in four runs, two earned.  Left fielder Aaron Luna hit a bases-clearing triple with the sacks jammed and two outs in the eighth to put Springfield temporarily up 5-4.  (Box)


Springfield downed San Antonio 6-3 on Sunday behind centerfielder Daryl Jones' big game.  Jones hit a lead-off home run in the first then singled up the middle in the seventh to score Jose Garcia and Nick Derba.  He also doubled to right and walked.  Starter Scott McGregor picked up the win, allowing two runs, earned, on five hits and a walk over six and two-thirds innings.  Both runs scored against McGregor came in the seventh inning.  Adam Reifer picked up his 13th save although he gave up a run on a lead-off ground-rule double that was followed by a one-out double.  (Box)


The Cardinals outslugged the Missions to take the rubber game of the series 10-6.  Springfield rode a six-run first and a four-run fifth to their ninth win in their last eleven games.  Xavier Scruggs swung the hot bat, going 3-for-5 with a double and four runs driven in.  The Cardinals also capitalized on San Antonio's mistakes as only six of the 10 runs were earned.  Trey Hearne picked up his fourth win of the year in relief of starter Nick Additon who only lasted three innings.  Hearne was not scored upon in two innings of work, allowing two hits and a walk while striking out three.  (Box)


Springfield lost the opening game of a big four-game series against first-place Northwest Arkansas 5-2.  David Kopp had a dreadful outing, allowing four runs on 11 hits two walks in just four and two-thirds innings.  Third baseman Matt Carpenter went 2-for-3 with a walk and a run scored and first baseman Xavier Scruggs was 1-for-2 with two walks and a run scored.  Designated hitter Chris Swauger and second baseman Jose Garcia both drove in a run.   (Box)



The Race to the Play-offs:

Northwest Arkansas clinched the first-half play-off slot and will play the winner of the second-half in the first round of the play offs.  If they also win the second-half title, then they play the team with the best overall record within their division.  Currently, that team would be Springfield.  However, if either Tulsa or Springfield wins the second-half title that team obviously faces Northwest Arkansas in the play offs.


Below is a chart displaying the main contenders' remaining 13 games:

  Current Springfield NW Arkansas Tulsa
Opponent Record Home Away Home Away Home Away
Northwest Arkansas 35 - 22 3 0     3 3
Arkansas 26 - 31 3 3 4 0 0 3
Tulsa 32 - 25 0 4 3 3    
Springfield 32 - 25     0 3 4 0
Remaining Games:   6 7 7 6 7 6
Second-Half Split:   15-14 17-11 19-9 16-13 14-11 18-14


Looking at the respective schedules, Springfield has just begun their final home stand of the regular season, playing Northwest Arkansas three more times and finishing with three games against Arkansas.  Their final road trip has them playing four games at Tulsa and finishing their regular season with three games against Arkansas. 


Northwest Arkansas heads to Tulsa for three games after they finish playing Springfield.  They end the season at home with four games against Arkansas and three against Tulsa.


Tulsa plays three more games at Arkansas then heads home for a three-game series against Northwest Arkansas.  The Drillers host Springfield for four games before ending their season at Northwest Arkansas for three games.


Both Tulsa and Springfield hold their play-off fate in their own hands since each team not only faces each other again but also plays Northwest Arkansas.  Springfield ends on a seven-game road trip but the Cardinals have been a better road team in the second half than at home.



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