Johnson City Cardinals Notebook: 2010 Week 11

Johnson City won the 2010 Appalachian League Championship for the first time in 34 years on Saturday night after sweeping both rounds of the playoffs.

The Johnson City Cardinals finished the final three games of the regular season with an 0-3 record to finish 42-24 (.636 win percentage) overall.  They clinched the title and the top seed in the playoffs in the five-team Western Division of the Appalachian League on Sunday August 29.  Johnson City finished with the best record in the Appalachian League and with a one game lead over the second place Elizabethton Twins.  It was their best winning percentage finish since 1986 (.667) and their most wins since 1996 (42-26).


They clinched a playoff spot on Sunday Aug 22.  Their first round playoff opponent, the Burlington Royals, was decided on Monday night August 30.  They swept the Royals in two games.  They won Game 1 in Burlington, NC by a score of 8-4 on Wednesday and then returned home on Thursday to win 20-2. 


Johnson City learned Thursday night that they would face their rival in the West, the Elizabethton Twins, in the Appy League Championship Series.  The Twins swept the East Division regular season champion Pulaski Mariners in two games in the first round.  The best-of-three series began Friday night in Elizabethton, TN and returned to Johnson City Saturday night.  The Cardinals won the opener by a score of 7-2 and then swept the Twins winning the second game 6-2. 


I attended the last three regular season games and three of the four playoff games in person.  I listened to the internet broadcast of Brian Boesch of the Burlington Royals on Wednesday night and charted pitch counts based on his account of the action from Burlington, NC.  Those observations provide the basis for this report. 


Roster Changes


Steven Ramos was promoted from the Gulf Coast League Cardinals on Monday.  Ramos began the year with Johnson City and then was reassigned to the GCL after going 0-for-11 with six strikeouts in six Appalachian League June games.  Ramos was 39-for-138 (.283) in 40 Florida games.  The utility outfielder was an excellent thief as he recorded 15 stolen bases while being caught just twice.


The roster increased from 33 to 34 active players (max of 35). 


Cody Stanley was promoted to the Quad Cities River Bandits on Sunday after the season in Johnson City was over. 




1B/DH David Medina would like to forget about his summer of hamstring troubles.  Medina, who finally saw action at first base on Monday August 30, is pictured getting hit with a pitch near the shoulder in his first at bat after missing eight games in a row.  Not sure he wanted to forget about the hamstring like that. 


RF/1B Phil Cerreto fractured his hand when he was hit by a pitch in the fifth inning on Friday August 6.  His cast was removed on Tuesday August 24 and he made a quick recovery.  He was a late inning defensive replacement in left field on Sunday August 29 in the eleventh inning and then had his first at bat (a single) in the last regular season game of the year.  Cerreto started in the playoffs Cerreto missed 19 games.


OF Virgil Hill was hit in the right hand by a pitch in the tenth inning of the game against the Bluefield Orioles on Sunday August 29.  He was removed from the game in the eleventh inning after running the bases in the tenth.  He was diagnosed with a bad bruise (no break) and was rested for the final two regular season games of the year and most of the first two playoff games.  Hill, pictured, made up for lost time by leading all batters in post season play with three home runs.


RF Roberto Reyes was hit in the left foot with a pitch in the last game of the regular season.  He was removed immediately from the meaningless game by Manager Mike Shildt.  Reyes started the next night in the playoffs. 


Regular Season Statistical Review


The first place offense hit well below their season average for the last three games.  After posting a line of .285/.346/.426 last week, they recorded a line of .223/.305/.311 this week.  They hit 7 extra base hits in three games while striking out 33 times.  They averaged 1.7 runs and 7.7 hits per game.  They stole no bases this week while being caught once.  They hit no home runs this week to finish fourth for the season in that category.  They hit two triples this week to finish the season second in the league.  The offense finished in first place in the league in ten different categories:  batting average (.287), on-base percentage (.355), slugging (.438), on-base plus slugging (.793), hits, runs, doubles, RBIs, walks, and total bases.  The Cardinal hitters finished with the fourth fewest strikeouts in the league. 


The defense committed eleven errors in three games this week (four in one game by 3B Roberto De La Cruz) that led to nine unearned runs.  The season total finished at 103 errors (91 by batters and 12 by pitchers) for an average of 1.6 errors per game.  The team allowed 63 unearned runs in 66 games and finished fifth in that category. 


The Cardinals pitching staff's ERA got worse the final three games after improving for four weeks in a row.  A 3.41 ERA this week gave them a 3.72 season ERA (fifth in league).  The pitchers allowed no home runs this week in three games.  They finished in a three-way tie for 6th in the league in home runs allowed (47).  The pitchers allowed 13 walks this week in 29 innings pitched.  Despite an awful week, they finished with the fewest walks (129) in the league after 66 games and averaged just 2.0 walks per nine innings pitched (BB/9).  Their walks plus hits per inning pitched (WHIP) was 1.59 this week.  Their season WHIP of 1.23 was fourth best in the ten-team league, down one spot from last week.  As a team during the regular season, the pitchers grounded out 26.6 percent of the batters they faced, struck out 22.0 percent, and walked 5.2%.  They finished third in the league in strikeouts averaging 8.4 per nine innings pitched (K/9).  The relievers inherited four runners this week and allowed two to score (50 percent scored for the week).  The relievers finished the season allowing 34 percent of the inherited runners to score.  The pitchers led the league in wins (by one), saves (by six), and holds (by thirteen). 




Game 64:  Sunday night was the night Johnson City clinched the West Division title and the top playoff seed in the West but it didn't happen the way they had hoped.  The Cardinals entered the game with a three game lead and with three to play so any win by Johnson City or any loss by Elizabethton would clinch it for the Cardinals.  Johnson City ended up losing the game to the Bluefield Orioles by a score of 5-2 in eleven innings but the Twins lost 6-0 to Princeton.  The good news was that Johnson City clinched (thanks Rays!).  The bad news is that they still didn't know who they were going to play.  After Sunday night's results, Burlington and Danville were tied in second place in the East with 33-33 season records.  They were playing each other in Danville the last two games of the regular season to decide who plays Johnson City in the first round of the playoffs.


Sunday night's game was another tough loss for the Cardinals.  Johnson City outhit the Orioles 12-6 but lost 5-2 in eleven innings.  They used a season-high seven pitchers and gave up two costly unearned runs in the loss.  1B Kleininger Teran, who was 3-for-4 with a double, a triple, a walk, and an RBI did exactly what I asked him to do while he was on deck to lead off the bottom of the tenth inning.  I told him to "muscle-up on one for me".  Teran had hit the ball extremely well all game long and I figured the stage was set for him to be the hero.  Teran took a 1-0 pitch to deep centerfield off the wall for a triple over a leaping catch try from Oriole Brenden Webb.  With a runner on third and nobody out, it looked like Johnson City was a sure winner.  However, five different Cardinal batters couldn't get pinch runner Cesar Valera home. 


Bob Revesz took the loss (his second) and Hector Corpas collected his third blown save.  The Cardinals had numerous opportunities to win but they combined to go 1-for-14 with runners in scoring position while leaving 14 runners on base.  Romulo Ruiz and Packy Elkins combined to leave seven runners on base with two outs.  Greg Garcia extended his hit streak to five games and had a tough error charged against him on a bunt in the Orioles three-run eleventh.  The sacrifice bunt went between the pitcher (Bob Revesz) and first base (Romulo Ruiz) with a runner on second.  Both Revesz and Ruiz broke for the ball and Garcia wheeled around behind them to cover first base.  Revesz got to the ball first and fielded it cleanly.  When Ruiz, who was playing out of position, saw that Revesz would field the ball, he broke backwards toward first (perhaps not knowing that Garcia was standing on the base waiting for the throw).  Revesz threw the ball toward Garcia but as Ruiz was moving backwards and falling toward first base between Revesz and Garcia, he ticked the ball with his glove in an attempt to field it.  The ball hit Garcia in the face and garnered him a missed catch error. 


On Monday afternoon, the Appalachian League Pitcher of the Week (Aug 23-29) was announced and Angel De Jesus was the winner!  De Jesus, pictured below warming up before facing Bluefield on August 28, was the first Johnson City pitcher to be honored this year as he joined Phil Cerreto (Batter of the Week, July 19-25 and Aug 2-8) as winners for the Cardinals this year. 


Game 65:  With the Division title in hand, Johnson City took the field Monday night for the last time ever against the Bluefield Orioles.  The Orioles had been in Bluefield, WV for 53 years but 2010 will be their last.  Tyrell Jenkins, pictured below, took the mound for his second professional start.  He was scheduled for two innings and delivered a total of twenty six pitches while struggling with his control:


1st Inning

1st batter:     Five pitch walk to a lefty.  Balls 1, 3, and 4 were 91, 90, and 91 MPH.  Was just settling into a spot to see a radar gun display and missed the locations of the pitches. 

2nd batter:    Two pitch 4-6-3 double play.  Ball one was 91 MPH (up and in to a righty with a lot of arm side run).  The double play ball was 90 MPH and was a two-hopper up the middle. 

3rd batter:     Lefty.  Ball - outside, swinging strike (90 MPH), swinging strike (91), ball – low (76), swinging strikeout (84).


2nd Inning (all right-handed batters)

1st batter:     Two pitch fly out to center field.  High and easy.  Ball (89) then F8 (90). 

2nd batter:    Very hard hit first-pitch single pulled past the third baseman through the hole to left field (91).

3rd batter:     Throw to first then pretty hard hit first-pitch (89) liner to center field (F8) that was about three steps back for the outfielder and was easily caught.  

4th batter:    Called strike (90), ball (91), throw to first, and then a two-hop sharply hit grounder between the first baseman and the bag down the right field line for a double (runner on first advances to third).    

5th batter:    Ball (91), ball (89), ball (91), called strike (91), and ball (89).  Bases loaded with two outs.   

6th batter:    Mound visit by Pitching Coach Doug White.  Called strike (91) and weak pop-up off the end of the bat to the second baseman (F4) on a 91 MPH fastball.


Jenkins threw 13 balls and 13 strikes and was 4-for-9 first-pitch-strikes.  He walked two, struck out one, and gave up two groundball base hits.  Both of his strikeouts this year have been recorded on his changeup.  This was likely Jenkins' last appearance of the year for Johnson City. 


It was time to rest some starters Monday night as C Cody Stanley, LF Oscar Taveras, 2B Greg Garcia, and 3B Packy Elkins all rested in place of newcomers C Anthony Garcia, LF Steven Ramos, 2B Starlin Rodriguez, and 3B Roberto De La Cruz.  The game was about as ugly a game that I have seen all year long from the Cardinals.  They were fortunate to lose by a score of just 6-1 as they gave up 16 hits and committed seven errors (four by De La Cruz).  Five of the runs were unearned.  The Cardinals were held hitless until the fifth inning despite a hit batter and three walks in the first four innings.  Johnson City finished 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position.  Although CF Reggie Williams recorded three outfield assists at third base, only one of the three was due to a good throw and a heads-up play.   On a positive note, Phil Cerreto saw action in his second game in a row as a defensive outfield substitute for one late inning.  The Cardinals also learned Monday night that their first round playoff opponent would be the Burlington Royals.  Johnson City took 2-of-3 from the Royals both at home and on the road to finish 4-2 against them in the regular season.  All six of the games were decided by four runs or less and were competitive, close games. 


Game 66:  The last game of the regular season on Tuesday night in Johnson City was against the second place Elizabethton Twins.  Manager Mike Shildt started an offense of regulars but held back his best pitchers for the playoffs.  However, when the game got out of hand in the seventh inning, Shildt substituted liberally and ended up using 16 different position players in the nine inning 9-3 loss.  Boone Whiting pitched the first inning but was a little bit unlucky when the Twins jumped out to a 2-0 lead.  Whiting hit the leadoff hitter with a check-swing glancing blow off the hands on an up and in pitch.  An error by 3B Packy Elkins put runners on second and third with no outs.  Both unearned runs scored and the Cardinals never recovered from that first inning.  Pat Daugherty relieved Whiting in the second.  This served to keep Whiting available for a possible Championship Series start later in the week.  Daugherty kept Johnson City in the game by allowing just one run over five innings while striking out six.  Hector Hernandez was hammered in the seventh inning though as he allowed six runs and six hits (including four doubles and a triple) while walking two over just two thirds of an inning pitched.  Iden Nazario was impressive in his longest outing of the year.  The little used lefty from Miami, FL started out by striking out four batters in a row and retired all seven batters he faced without allowing a hit or walk.  Nazario's first pitch to all seven batters was a ball.  Greg Garcia ended the regular season with a six game hit streak.  Phil Cerreto, with his first at bat since August 6, ended the regular season with an eight game hit streak that started on July 28.  The season ending standings, as displayed on the Elizabethton Twins right field wall, are shown below.



Playoffs, Round 1, Game 1:  Johnson City travelled to Burlington, NC on Wednesday to play their first Appalachian League playoff game since 1994.  They won their first game against the Royals by a score of 8-4.  By the way, after sitting through two-umpire games throughout the regular season, four-umpire playoff games were a very pleasant change.  The Cardinals jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first inning on four singles and three walks.  The big blow was a two RBI groundball single to center field by Roberto Reyes.  Cody Stanley hit two home runs; a two run shot to left center field in the second that gave the Cardinals a 6-1 lead and a solo "no doubter" bomb over the scoreboard in right field that gave Johnson City a 7-2 lead.  Starter Ryan Copeland was a strike throwing machine.  Copeland had just one two-ball count and no three-ball counts to the first 23 batters he faced.  He walked his last batter, the 26th batter he faced, for his first three-ball count.  Copeland, who recorded the win, finished 23-for-26 on first pitch strikes, struck out five, and scattered nine hits (eight singles and a double) that produced just two runs.  Drew Benes relieved Copeland with two outs in the sixth inning, struck out his first batter to strand two base runners, and added a scoreless inning after that to record a hold.  Aidan Lucas struggled in the ninth but closed out the game after allowing two runs and striking out three over two innings.  


Playoffs, Round 1, Game 2:  Thursday night brought the Burlington Royals to Johnson City for Game 2 of the best-of-three first round Appalachian League playoff series.  With a win, Johnson City would win their first ever playoff series.  The Cardinals were 2-6 in three previous Appy League Championship Series.  Johnson City lost to Grady Little and the Pulaski Braves two games to one in 1986, the first year for the Appalachian League playoffs.  The Cardinals lost again in 1987.  This time they were swept in two games by the Burlington Indians.  Every current Johnson City Cardinal wasn't even born yet when those two series were completed.  In 1994, their last appearance in the playoffs prior to 2010, Johnson City lost to the Princeton Reds two games to one.


Johnson City saved their biggest offensive output for the playoffs as they trounced the Royals by a score of 20-2 and swept the best-of-three first round series two games to none.  The Cardinals connected for the most runs in a game this year and their second most hits (19).  They had twenty hits against the Danville Braves on July 23.  For the second game in a row, the Cardinals scored in the first inning (RBI single) and never trailed.  They blew the game out in the second inning when they sent thirteen batters to the plate, scoring ten runs and posting an early 11-0 lead.  C Travis Tartamella, pictured bullpen catching, had a good game in the second inning alone.  "Tart" started the scoring in the inning with a solo home run to left field on a 3-1 pitch and then came up later in the inning to drive home the eighth and ninth runs of the inning with a double down the left field line.  Tart scored both the first and tenth runs in the second and went 2-for-2, with a double, a home run, and three RBIs.  3B Packy Elkins was also 2-for-2 in the inning with a double and an RBI.  All nine starters scored consecutive runs in the second inning and eleven batters in a row reached base.  The eleven batters combined to go 8-for-8 with three doubles (Teran, Tartamella, and Elkins), a home run (Tartamella), a hit batter (Garcia, his second in as many playoff games), and two walks (Stanley and Cerreto). 


The offense wasn't over yet though.  Johnson City scored four more runs in the fourth to stretch the lead over the Royals to 15-0.  The big blow was a two-RBI double by Elkins.  Starter Cale Johnson allowed his first run in the fifth inning on two hits, a walk, and a wild pitch.  Roberto Reyes connected for a two run opposite field home run in the fifth inning to stretch the lead to sixteen runs (17-1).  It was Reyes' team leading fifth post-season RBI.  Johnson finished his night after the sixth inning.  Cale scattered seven singles and a walk while striking out five.  Johnson threw the most pitches (92) in any game this year while collecting nine groundouts (the fifth most by a pitcher this year). 


The Cardinals ended the scoring in the eighth inning with a couple of home runs.  Virgil Hill made his first post-season action memorable with a deep opposite field solo shot.  Hill had missed three games in a row and most of the fourth with a bruised right hand from a hit by pitch near the end of the regular season.  Romulo Ruiz added a two run blast to left center field that just missed the tall Dr. Enuf sign and that completed the Cardinal slugfest.  Francisco Guzman and Bob Revesz did their part the last three innings by throwing strikes (combined 11-for-15 first pitch strikes). 


Playoffs, Championship, Game 1:  The Championship Series began a day earlier than scheduled (Friday night) since both West Division representatives swept the East in the first round.  Johnson City made the short 20 minute drive for Game 1 to face the nine time (since 1975) Appy League Champion Elizabethton Twins.  In fact, the Twins have been the best team in the Appy over the last decade having won five of the last ten championships.  As expected, attendance at the game was small due to home high school football games in both Elizabethton and Johnson City.  However, a loud and passionate bunch of Cardinal fans made the trip to cheer on Johnson City from the third base stands. 


Johnson City won game one of the series 7-2.  It was a well played game from the start by both teams.  Elizabethton jumped ahead early on an opposite field solo home run by Nate Roberts to left centerfield.  Johnson City scored two in the third to take a 2-1 lead behind very good "heads-up" base running from Cesar Valera, pictured swinging, and Greg Garcia.  Valera led off with a line drive single to left field on a 1-1 pitch.  After pushing the count to 3-1, Greg Garcia hit a high chop in the hole to second base.  The second hop went 15 feet in the air over the second baseman into right field for another single.  Valera went to third on the play and the Cardinals had runners on the corners with nobody out.  Oscar Taveras hit the fifth pitch (1-2 count) for a medium depth sacrifice fly to left field.  The throw home, which would have been late, sailed a few feet over the cutoff man and Greg Garcia read it perfectly to take second base.  Garcia later scored from third, after a Cody Stanley groundout, on a two-out RBI single to centerfield by Phil Cerreto. 


With the score 2-1 going to the bottom of the third inning, the two starting pitchers (RHP Boone Whiting and LHP Pat Dean) settled down to retire 15 of the next 17 batters (Whiting allowed two singles) on no walks and seven strikeouts.  Johnson City looked to add to the 2-1 lead in the top of the sixth inning when Oscar Taveras lead off with a line drive single that went in and then out of the shortstop's glove after a really high leaping catch attempt.  Neither Cody Stanley no Phil Cerreto could advance Taveras before Kleininger Teran came to the plate with two outs.  Teran hit a first pitch line drive bullet down the right field line that rolled all the to the wall.  Manager and third base coach Mike Shildt waved Taveras around third but the relay throw (9-3-2) beat him easily to the plate.  It appeared that Taveras may have slid head first under the tag but home plate umpire Ben Leake called him out. 


The momentum had swung back to the Twins in the bottom of the sixth after that play and they capitalized on it with a leadoff first pitch double down the left field line by leadoff hitter Jamaal Hawkins.  This is when Boone Whiting really had to focus on pitches 76-90.  He ran the count to 3-2 before getting an unassisted groundout to 1B Teran down the line that advanced the runner to third with one out.  With the infield in, Whiting brushed Appy League Player of the Year Oswaldo Arcia's ribs with an inside 0-1 fastball that put runners on the corner with one out.  The Twin fans were loud and the Cardinal fans apprehensive.  Whiting made some real quality pitches with his last seven offerings.  He struck out clean up hitter Brian Burke swinging on five pitches and then induced a high infield pop-up to SS Cesar Valera with his 90th and last pitch.  This quieted the home crowd, pushed a small but boisterous group of Cardinal fans into a frenzy, and swung the momentum clearly back in Johnson City's favor. 


The Cardinals used that momentum to jump on left handed Twins' reliever Ryan O'Rourke for three runs in the seventh inning.  Virgil Hill got things started with one out.  After fouling the first pitch off toward first base on a bunt attempt, Hill decided to muscle up on the second pitch.  Hill hit a deep home run off the very top of the 30 foot tall scoreboard in right centerfield for a 3-1 lead that had the Cardinal bench pumped.  3B Packy Elkins, SS Cesar Valera, and 2B Greg Garcia each singled in consecutive at bats.  A throwing error by left fielder Nate Roberts on Garcia's single plated Valera and pushed the Johnson City lead to 5-1. 


Drew Benes allowed one run in the seventh after allowing a two out double and single on back-to-back pitches.  The run scored after DH Jhonatan Arias ran through a stop sign put up by Twins Manager and third base coach Ray Smith.  Oscar Taveras decided to concede the run after Smith put up the sign by throwing to second base but would have thrown out Arias easily had he thrown home. 


Johnson City added two more runs in the eighth inning when it looked like they would be retired in 1-2-3 fashion.  Cesar Valera swung and missed a 2-2 pitch in the dirt with two outs that went to the backstop and allowed him to reach first base safely.  Valera then stole second.  Greg Garcia then lined a single that ticked the third baseman's glove as it went to leftfield.  Perhaps learning from his mistake in the sixth inning when he waved Taveras home or knowing that Taveras was on-deck, Shildt put up a late (but correct) stop sign on Valera heading for home.  Taveras then rewarded Shildt's decision by lining a double to the right centerfield gap that rolled to the wall and scored both Valera and Garcia. 


Relievers Trevor Rosenthal (Rosie) and Hector Corpas sat down the Twins 1-2-3 in the eighth and ninth innings respectively to secure the 7-2 win.  They combined for two innings pitched, three strikeouts, 16 pitches, 14 strikes, 6-for-6 first pitch strikes. 


CF Oscar Taveras was 3-for-4 with a double and three RBIs.  2B Greg Garcia was 3-for-5 with two runs and one RBI.  SS Cesar Valera was 2-for-4 with three runs.  Boone Whiting got the win over six innings pitched.  Whiting struck out seven, walked none, and allowed one earned run on five hits. 


Playoffs, Championship, Game 2:  The Championship Series moved to Johnson City Saturday night and the Cardinals hoped to sweep the series with starter Kevin Siegrist taking the mound.  The game started poorly as Twins leadoff hitter Jamaal Hawkins hit a solo home run off of a 2-1 pitch (the the fourth pitch of  the game) into the netting over the left field wall.  It was the second night in a row that the Twins belted a solo home run in the first inning. 


As they have done throughout the playoffs and the regular season, the Cardinals responded immediately in the bottom of the first inning by scoring three runs on four singles and retaking the lead 3-1.  With the swing shown, Phil Cerreto tied the game 1-1 with an RBI single.  It was a 3-1 pitch that was hit high and deep to right field that one hopped the wall on top of the berm.  The runners had to hold up to be sure the fly ball wasn't caught or Cerreto would have had a standup double. 


The big blow in the inning was a first pitch, two out, two RBI, line drive, on one hop to centerfield by C Travis Tartamella.  "Tart", pictured being interviewed after the game by local TV, also added his first sacrifice bunt of the year later in the game.


Pitching took center stage for the next four and half innings behind Siegrist and the Twins LHP Logan Darnell. From the top of the second through the top of the sixth, the two lefties combined for nine innings, no runs, one hit, one hit batter, no walks, and nine strikeouts.


This part of the game was very quick and helped hold the total game time below two hours.  The hit batter was Greg Garcia, pictured left as he took one off of his forearm for his third HBP in four playoff games. 


Johnson City extended their lead to 4-1 in the bottom of sixth inning.  Phil Cerreto started things off with a one out, nine pitch walk.  Kleininger Teran, with the swing on the next pitch shown, advanced him to second on a bloop to right field.  With runners on first and second and one out, C Travis Tartamella popped out foul to the first baseman in the Twins on deck circle.  That brought up RF Virgil Hill with two outs.


Hill hit an 0-1 pitch with the swing shown for a double to right field.  The drive hit the top part of the berm on the fly and brought home Phil Cerreto with his league leading sixth run scored of the playoffs. 


Siegrist took a 4-1 lead to the seventh but got into trouble with two outs after brushing the jersey of one batter and allowing an infield single through the box to SS Cesar Valera.  Trevor Rosenthal extinguished the fire on his second pitch by inducing and easy groundout and stranding two of Siegrist's base runners.


The Cardinals threatened in the seventh with a leadoff single from Valera, a sacrifice from Garcia, and an intentional one out walk to Taveras.  However, starter Logan Darnell and reliever Michael Tonkin retired Cody Stanley and Phil Cerreto with two pitches and two strikes respectively. 


The Twins made it interesting against Trevor Rosenthal in the eighth inning after Rosie struck out the first batter swinging on three pitches.  Elizabethton put runners on first and second with one out after back-to-back line drive singles to right field.  Rosie, pictured,  induced a potential 3-6-1 double play groundout but a late slide into second disrupted Cesar Valera's relay to first.  The throw went high into the Twins dugout, the lead was cut to 4-2, and Manager Mike Shildt argued unsuccessfully that Valera was interfered with by the base runner. 


Shildt then brought in Appy League Reliever of the Year Hector Corpas for a potential four out save.  The only problem was that the tying run, in the form of Appy League Player of the Year Oswaldo Arcia, was coming to the plate with first base open.  The Cardinals decided to pitch to Arcia and Corpas struck out the lefty on three consecutive swinging strikes.  The crowd went crazy as the Cardinals came to the plate for the bottom of the eighth inning.


It looked like the Cardinals would go quietly in what could be their last at bats of the 2010 season when leadoff hitter Teran hit an easy grounder to the first baseman but the 3-1 try was little high to the pitcher, who briefly took his eye off the throw as he searched for first base.  Tart sacrificed Teran to second with a picture-perfect bunt that brought Virgil Hill to the plate.  Hill took an 0-1 pitch about ten feet over the right field fence for a two-run home run.  The blast was Hill's league leading third home run of the playoffs, it extended the lead to 6-2, and it gave the Cardinals and closer Hector Corpas some much needed breathing room.  Hill's "home"coming after the home run is shown. 




Corpas mowed down the Twins 1-2-3 in the top of the ninth.  The crowd stood and clapped for the last out, something that never happens, as Corpas struck out Daniel Ortiz swinging with the last pitch in the 2010 Appy League season. 


The Johnson City bench quickly cleared and the celebration began both on the field and in the stands.



Bluefield 5 @ Johnson City 2, Cardinals Minor League Notebook: 08/30/10

Bluefield 6 @ Johnson City 1, Cardinals Minor League Notebook: 08/31/10

Elizabethton 9 @ Johnson City 3, Cardinals Minor League Notebook: 09/01/10

Johnson City 8 @ Burlington 4, 1st Rnd, G1, Cardinals Minor League Notebook: 09/02/10

Burlington 2 @ Johnson City 20, 1st Rnd, G2, Cardinals Minor League Notebook: 09/03/10

Johnson City 7 @ Elizabethton 2, Champ. G1, Cardinals Minor League Notebook: 09/04/10

Elizabethton 2 @ Johnson City 6, Champ. G2, Cardinals Minor League Notebook: 09/05/10


Tandem Starting Pitchers


Listed below were the pairings at the end of the regular season. 


Tandem Starting Pitchers (11): 

LHP Ryan Copeland and LHP Hector Hernandez

RHP Angel De Jesus and LHP Pat Daugherty

RHP Trevor Rosenthal and RHP Cale Johnson

LHP Kevin Siegrist and RHP Charllan Jimenez

RHP Boone Whiting/RHP Tyrell Jenkins and LHP Jeff Nadeau


In the playoffs, the Cardinals chose to abandon the tandem system.  They started Appy League Pitcher of the Year (LHP Ryan Copeland) on the road and then their biggest innings work horse this year (RHP Cale Johnson) at home for the two games against Burlington.  Copeland, pictured, didn't like the mound in Johnson City much and his road/home splits support that contention.  Johnson had a very good August and had performed well in the past when well rested.  


In the Championship Series, Boone Whiting, the Cardinal Nation August Pitcher of the Month, got the start on the road against Elizabethton on just two days rest.  Of course, Whiting threw just nineteen pitches two days earlier as the Cardinals had the luxury of setting up their playoff starters with an early playoff clinch. 


Kevin Siegrist, pictured warming up in the bullpen Saturday night, started game two in Johnson City.  Siegrist had a much better road (3-0, 0.55 ERA) than home (1-3, 3.31 ERA) split during the regular season over sixteen and one third innings pitched for each. 


Pitch Counts


8/29:  Cale Johnson:  34 pitches, 24 strikes, and 8-for-11 first pitch strikes.

8/29:  Jeff Nadeau:  29 pitches, 18 strikes, and 6-for-8 first pitch strikes.

8/29:  Trevor Rosenthal:  15 pitches, 10 strikes, and 3-for-3 first pitch strikes.

8/30:  Tyrell Jenkins:  26 pitches, 13 strikes, and 4-for-9 first pitch strikes.

8/30:  Kevin Siegrist:  43 pitches, 29 strikes, and 5-for-13 first pitch strikes.

8/30:  Charllan Jimenez:  61 pitches, 41 strikes, and 12-for-17 first pitch strikes.

8/31:  Boone Whiting:  19 pitches, 14 strikes, and 5-for-6 first pitch strikes.

8/31:  Pat Daugherty:  89 pitches, 52 strikes, and 10-for-21 first pitch strikes.

8/31:  Hector Hernandez:  36 pitches, 22 strikes, and 6-for-10 first pitch strikes.

1st Round, Game 1

9/1:  Ryan Copeland:  72 pitches, 56 strikes, and 23-for-26 first pitch strikes.

9/1:  Drew Benes:  20 pitches, 11 strikes, and 2-for-5 first pitch strikes.

9/1:  Aidan Lucas:  33 pitches, 22 strikes, and 4-for-9 first pitch strikes.

1st Round, Game 2

9/2:  Cale Johnson:  92 pitches, 58 strikes, and 15-for-25 first pitch strikes.

9/2:  Francisco Guzman:  33 pitches, 25 strikes, and 7-for-9 first pitch strikes.

9/2:  Bob Revesz:  15 pitches, 11 strikes, and 4-for-5 first pitch strikes.

Championship, Game 1

9/3:  Boone Whiting:  90 pitches, 66 strikes, and 18-for-23 first pitch strikes.

9/3:  Drew Benes:  16 pitches, 11 strikes, and 4-for-5 first pitch strikes.

9/3:  Trevor Rosenthal:  10 pitches, 8 strikes, and 3-for-3 first pitch strikes.

9/3:  Hector Corpas:  6 pitches, 6 strikes, and 3-for-3 first pitch strikes.

Championship, Game 2

9/4:  Kevin Siegrist:  78 pitches, 53 strikes, and 14-for-24 first pitch strikes.

9/4:  Trevor Rosenthal:  11 pitches, 9 strikes, and 3-for-5 first pitch strikes.

9/4:  Hector Corpas:  17 pitches, 12 strikes, and 3-for-4 first pitch strikes.


End of Regular Season Hitters


The Cardinals were 0-3 over the last three "meaningless" games of the year and the offensive output seemed to coincide with the lack of significance of the games.  Kleininger Teran (3-for-6, .500, double, triple) and Starlin Rodriguez (2-for-5, .400) were the only Cardinals that hit .300 or better over five or more at bats.  


Eight hitters hit at or below the "Mendoza" line (.200 or less) during the last three games.  Those hitters were:  Greg Garcia (2-for-10, .200), Cody Stanley (1-for-6, .167), Oscar Taveras (1-for-6, .167), Packy Elkins (1-for-6, .167), Reggie Williams (2-for-13, .154), Cesar Valera (1-for-7, .143), Roberto De La Cruz (0-for-6, .000), and Roberto Reyes (0-for-7, .000). 


Regular Season League Leading Hitters


LF/CF Oscar Taveras (.322) was a league leader in eight different offensive categories:  batting average (.322, 3rd), RBIs (43, tied 4th), slugging (.526, 5th), total bases (111, tied 5th), OPS (.889, 6th), hits (68, 6th), home runs (8, tied 7th), and runs (39, tied 9th).


C Cody Stanley (.321) was also a league leader in eight different offensive categories:  batting average (.321, 4th), OBP (.380, 5th), hits (67, tied 7th), triples (5, tied 7th), OPS (.878, 7th), RBIs (39, tied 7th), total bases (104, 8th), and slugging (.498, 9th). 


2B/SS Greg Garcia (.290) was second in the league in runs (49) and tenth in OBP (.363).


DH/3B/1B Romulo Ruiz (.256) led the league in walks (34) and was fourth in doubles (19). 


1B/DH/3B Kleininger Teran (.303) was tenth in the league in batting average.   


OF/1B/DH Phil Cerreto (.425) missed 19 games in a row (29 percent of the season) with a fractured hand but still finished tenth in the league in RBIs (38). 


CF Reggie Williams (.269) was sixth in the league in triples (6) and hit ZERO doubles in 134 at bats. 


End of Regular Season Pitchers


Only two pitchers allowed no earned runs over the 0-3 end of regular season with walks plus hits per innings pitched (WHIPs) of less than 1 over more than two innings pitched. 


Cale Johnson (5-4, 3.61 ERA, pictured) allowed one hit and one walk during the last three games (0.67 WHIP) over three scoreless innings pitched. 


Iden Nazario (1-0, 4.09 ERA) allowed no hits or walks (0.00 WHIP) during the last three games while striking out five over two and two thirds innings pitched. 


Regular Season League Leading Pitchers


Hector Corpas (0-1, 2.13 ERA) led the league in saves (17), games finished (21), and games (24).


Aidan Lucas (2-1, 3.32 ERA) led the league in holds (7) and games (24). 


Ryan Copeland (7-0, 1.86 ERA) was tied for second in the league in wins (7).  Copeland missed qualifying for the league leaders in both WHIP (0.86, would have been 1st) and ERA (1.86, would have been 1st) by just one and one third innings pitched.   


Chris Patterson (4, tied for second), Drew Benes (3, tied for sixth), and Charllan Jimenez (3, tied for sixth) were among the league leaders in holds.


Boone Whiting (5-3, 3.50 ERA, pictured) was tied for fifth in the league in strikeouts (68).  Whiting missed qualifying for the league leaders in WHIP (1.09, would have been 9th) by just two thirds of an inning pitched.


Top Playoff Performers


If only one hitting statistic had to be chosen to explain why Johnson City went 4-0 in the playoffs, you would have to point toward batting average with runners in scoring position.  In four playoff games the Cardinals combined to go 22-for-41 (.536 w/RISP). 


As a team, the Cardinal batters were 50-for-146 (.342).  Oscar Taveras (.500) was second in the league in batting average and Greg Garcia (.467) was third.  


As a team, the Cardinal batters posted a .402 on base percentage.  Greg Garcia (.526) was second in the league and Oscar Taveras (.500) was tied for third.  


Phil Cerreto was first in runs scored (six) while Cody Stanley and Greg Garcia tied for second with five each. 


Kleininger Teran was tied for second in hits with Greg Garcia (seven each) while Oscar Taveras was first (eight). 


Packy Elkins and Kleininger Teran each tied for second in doubles with two each.


Virgil Hill was first in home runs (three) and Cody Stanley was second with two. 


Oscar Taveras, Virgil Hill, Travis Tartamella, and Roberto Reyes all tied for the lead in RBIs with five each.  This statistic alone probably best exemplifies the true team effort put forth by this year's team. 


Virgil Hill was first in total bases (14).


Cody Stanley was first in walks with four while Phil Cerreto and Romulo Ruiz tied for second with three each. 


The pitching was almost equally as impressive.  The staff combined for a 2.00 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 1.0 BB/9, and 9.3 K/9.  They led the league with three holds and one save. 


Kevin Siegrist was second in WHIP (0.45) and third in ERA (1.35).


Boone Whiting was tied for third in BB/9 (0.00).


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