Cardinals Minor League Notebook: 08/11/14

Xavier Scruggs

St. Louis’ minors split Sunday’s six-game schedule right down the middle, winning three and dropping the other three. Memphis was a winner behind outstanding efforts by Carlos Martinez, Ed Easley and Xavier Scruggs, as were Springfield and Peoria. Palm Beach, State College and Johnson City all fell while both the GCL and DSL clubs were off.

Editor’s note: Welcome to first-time readers of The Cardinal Nation’s best-of-breed daily minor league notebooks. These reports, posted each morning seven days a week, were previously Scout member-only content and are written most days by TCN veteran Leonda Markee.

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Results from games played Sunday, August 10th.

Memphis 12 vs. New Orleans 0

The Redbirds’ bats and arms both came to play on Sunday, resulting in a 12-0 whitewash of the visiting Zephyrs. The victory clinches Memphis’ (64-58) win of the five-game series with one game remaining.

A trio of Redbirds hurlers spun a four-hitter, with Carlos Martinez leading the way. Tri-Player of the Day Martinez (W, 1-0) dazzled in his second start since his return from St. Louis, giving up three hits through six, fanning three with six ground- and five fly-ball outs. 47 of his 70 pitches went for strikes.

Now in a long relief role, Zach Petrick yielded one hit and two free passes in two frames, the only walks permitted by Memphis’ pitching staff. Justin Wright worked a perfect ninth.

The home team’s offense pushed across double-digit tallies for the second straight game, banging out 18 hits with five bases-on-balls. Tri-Player of the Day Ed Easley was hot at the plate, going 4-for-5 with a solo shot and grand slam that were part of his five RBI. Tommy Pham also went 4-for-5, touching home twice.

Xavier Scruggs, our third Player of the Day, was a perfect 3-for-3 with his own multi-homer game. Scruggs’s three-run bomb got his team on the scoreboard in the first before he blasted another long ball with one on as part of a three-run third. The first baseman scored three times, worked two free passes with five RBI.

What almost gets lost in Easley’s and Scruggs’ numbers is Pete Kozma’s solid night at the plate. Kozma went 2-for-4 with a walk and home run.

Monday’s game: vs. New Orleans (60-62) (MIA), 7:05 pm CT, John Gast (3-2, 4.97)

Spotlight on – John Gast. The 25-year-old is coming off consecutive starts that are shy of the desired six innings. Gast gave up two runs in four at Omaha on the 31st, followed by three tallies in 5 2/3 at Round Rock on the 5th. The lefty last faced New Orleans on July 13th, yielding two runs on five hits and a walk through six.

Springfield 9 at Midland 1

Starter Mike Mayers and right fielder Rafael Ortega were key components in Springfield’s 9-1 pounding of Midland (OAK) in the rubber game of the three-game set.

Mayers (W, 3-5, 2.93) twirled his best of 10 Double-A starts to date, shutting down the first-place (South) RockHounds on four hits through seven. The 22-year-old struck out four, inducing 10 groundball outs to just three fly-ball outs. Mayers threw 86 pitches, 54 for strikes. On any other night, this performance would garner Mayers Player of the Day recognition.

Newly-arrived Dixon Llorens allowed Midland’s only tally on two hits and a wild pitch in the eighth. He fanned two. Jeremy Berg continues to dominate Double-A hitters with a one-two-three ninth.

Ortega led the team-wide attack by the S-Cards (21-28), all nine starters either scoring or driving in tallies. The Venezuelan native went 3-for-5 with a two-run home run that came with Curt Smith (walk) aboard. Ortega crossed home twice, driving in three and was caught stealing once.

Alex Mejia and David Popkins each knocked in two, Mejia singling and doubling in four at bats, touching home once while Popkins’ only hit in three at bats was a triple to go with a base-on-balls.

Monday’s game: Off

Spotlight onSam Tuivailala. The talented right-hander has taken to Double-A like a duck to water, excelling in his 10 appearances to date. Tuivailala has given up 10 hits and five walks in 13 1/3 innings for a 1.13 WHIP to go with a 2.03 ERA. The California native has fanned 17, an average of nearly 11.5 every nine innings pitched, while averaging 3.4 walks per nine.

Fort Myers 9 at Palm Beach 1

Jimmy Reed lasted just three plus frames as Palm Beach (29-20) was drubbed by Fort Myers 9-1. The third-place Beach Birds (29-20) will try to prevent a three-game sweep by the Miracle (MIN) on Monday.

Reed (L, 4-1) gave up six runs on seven hits and two walks in three plus, striking out six. His final two runners scored under Iden Nazario’s watch, Nazario yielding three hits and three base-on-balls in three, resulting in two tallies of his own.

Logan Billbrough and Corey Baker hurled the final three innings. Billbrough fanned four in 1 2/3, allowing both two hits and one of Nazario’s two runners to touch home. Baker froze Billbrough’s runner on in the eighth but yielded a run on three hits the next inning.

Monday’s game: vs. second-place Fort Myers (29-19), 6:35 pm ET, Silfredo Garcia (6-2, 3.58)

Spotlight on – Silfredo Garcia. Garcia last faced Fort Myers on July 9th when he threw his longest outing in his last ten, seven innings, permitting two runs on four hits and a free pass. The 23-year-old tossed a solid six-inning, two tallies effort against Dunedin last time out.

Peoria 6 vs. Wisconsin 4

Peoria (25-24) banged out 10 hits on their way to a 6-4 win over Wisconsin (MIL). The Chiefs dropped the series, two games to three.

Third baseman Rafael Medina smashed his second long ball of 2014, a two-run bomb with Cesar Valera (walk) on, that padded Peoria’s lead to 5-2 in the fourth. Medina, one of three Chiefs mustering more than one hit, added a single to his long ball in four at bats.

Justin Ringo led the hit makers, going 3-for-4 with one driven in. Carson Kelly singled twice in three at bats with a free pass, scored one and knocked in another. Kelly was nailed at the plate trying to score in the fifth.

Kyle Helisek (W, 1-0) picked up the win despite giving up all four Timber Rattlers tallies on eight hits and three walks over five plus. Helisek struck out three in his second start, third appearance, since being re-assigned to Peoria from Palm Beach.

Kevin Herget tossed the next three, giving up two hits and a sac fly that scored Helisek’s runner in the sixth. Kyle Barraclough faced the minimum in the ninth, earning his fourth save.

Monday’s game: Off.

Spotlight onJuan Herrera. The shortstop, a key part of Peoria’s offense, was hitting .301 just before going on the disabled list in July. He has struggled since his return on July 28th, going .158/.233/.211/.443 in 38 at bats over his last 10 games.

State College 7 at Connecticut 11

It was a long night for Spikes pitchers Trey Nielsen and Jeff Rauh as State College (33-23) fell at Connecticut 11-7. It was the Spikes’ fourth loss in a row, including the first two versus the Tigers.

State College scored five runs in the first four innings which was enough to get Nielsen off the hook for the loss. The righty gave up seven hits and a base-on-balls through three, resulting in five tallies. Jeff Rauh (L, 4-2) yielded the same number of runs in one plus, giving up one in the fourth plus four in the fifth on four hits and two walks. Two of the five runs were produced by his fourth home run allowed in 2014.

The only hit permitted by Joe Scanio during his three-inning stint plated Rauh’s last runner. Scanio also allowed a run of his own via a hit batsman, single and a sac fly. Kyle Grana retired the side in order in the ninth.

Nielsen’s and Rauh’s efforts spoiled a strong night for Spikes batters. They generated 12 hits, although all of them were singles. Robelys Reyes and Jhohan Acevedo each went 3-for-4 with two runs scored, Reyes driving in two. Darren Seferina and Danny Diekroeger added two hits apiece in five at bats, Seferina scoring twice and Diekroeger knocking in one.

Monday’s game: at Connecticut (30-26), 7:05 pm ET, Fernando Baez (2-1, 3.00)

Spotlight on – Fernando Baez. Baez will see action for the first time since his July 20th start at Tri-City. The 22-year-old dominated the Appalachian League in 2013, his first season of ball in the United States. The converted catcher has appeared in nine games for State College, the most recent five as a starter. Baez has fanned 32 in 30 frames but issued 16 walks during that span.

Kingsport 7 at Johnson City 4

Johnson City (25-23) was downed by Kingsport 7-4 in the series’ opener on Sunday, snapping the Appy Birds’ six-game winning streak.

Up 4-2 after six, the Mets took advantage of JC-Cards’ miscues to score five runs against the bullpen, three unearned. Juan Perez went the first five, giving up two runs, one earned, both of which scored via a long ball that was one of four hits and three walks given up. Perez struck out five.

Sasha Kuebel tossed a clean sixth before Kender Villegas allowed Kingsport to come within one with a tally on three hits in the seventh. Juan Caballero (BS, 1)(L, 0-1) was touched for four runs, one earned, on three hits and two free passes in 1 2/3. Jeff Barkley retired his only batter faced, leaving two inherited aboard.

Casey Turgeon, Casey Grayson and Jesus Ustariz each had two of nine team hits. Turgeon added a base-on-balls, scoring twice with his seventh stolen base of the season while Grayson’s double was the Spikes’ only extra-base hit. Grayson and Ustariz both worked a base-on-balls with Grayson accumulating two RBI and Ustariz scoring once.

Monday’s game: vs. Kingsport (25-25), 7:00 pm ET, Steven Farinaro (1-3, 3.72)

Spotlight on – Steven Farinaro. In his second professional season, the California native made his 2014 debut in a June 14th start for State College prior to the start of Johnson City’s season. Farinaro, who will turn 19 on August 18th, has tossed 29 Appalachian League innings, giving up only six walks versus 18 strikeouts but has yielded 38 hits.

GCL Cardinals - off

The Gulf Coast League takes Sundays off.

Monday’s games: Yet another Gulf Birds (28-15) double-header versus the Marlins (13-30). Game one – 10:00 am ET, Frederis Parra (3-1, 2.45)/TBA

Spotlight on – Frederis Parra. Parra leads his team in both innings pitched (36 2/3) and ERA among starters, 2.45. The 19-year-old is holding opponents to a .233 batting average, giving up 31 hits and 11 walks for a 1.15 WHIP.

DSL Cardinals - off

The DSL Cardinals (18-42) are off on Sundays.

Monday’s game: vs. DSL Giants (39-20), 10:30 am ET, tandem start – Will Changarotty (1-3, 5.31)/Oneiver Diaz (1-3, 2.95)

Spotlight on – Will Changarotty. Changarotty is in his second Dominican Summer League season, having compiled a 2.36 ERA in 53 1/3 innings in 2013. The righty has struggled this year, giving up 25 earned runs in 42 1/3 with 44 hits and 20 free passes, a 1.51 WHIP. The 18-year-old has struck out 35.



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