By Josh Jones, Cardinals Best News Links
The Venezuelan Summer League Cardinals opened their 2009 season this past Monday and have now played five games on the season. The team finished with a 3-2 record, which is good for second place and only one game out of first. They are 1-1 at home and 2-1 on the road to start.
Starting the week off, the Cardinals traveled to visit the Phillies. The Redbirds opened the game up scoring two in the first inning and added on another four in the seventh. The team’s pitchers didn’t allow a run until the fifth frame and doubled up their opponents 8-4. The Phils committed four errors which slightly contributed to the Cards win.
The next day the Cardinals had the Mariners in town for a contest. The M’s managed to knock out the Cards starter in the third and continued to pummel the following long reliever. Walks came back to bite the Cardinals and they couldn’t get an extra base hit during the game. The Mariners handed the Cardinals their first shutout 7-0.
The Cardinals stayed home and hosted the Mets the next day. Again the Cards opened the game with a run in the first inning and got some help from the starter, who held their opponents to one hit and no runs in the first four frames. The bullpen followed with the same success until the closer gave up a hit and run in the ninth. Cardinals held off the Mets 3-1.
The Cardinals went on the road after having an off day, visiting the Pirates on Friday. The Redbirds struck first and held a the lead until the sixth when the bullpen tanked. The Bucs ended up scoring two or more in three frames during the game. The Cards gave up their first home run but also cranked out their first of the season during this contest. Pirates took the game 8-3.
The final game of this period the Cardinals stayed away from home as they took on the Rays. The Redbirds had their best pitching performance of the season during this game. They held the Rays to only four hits and didn’t allow a single run to cross the plate. The Cardinals picked up their first shutout of the season with a 4-0 victory over the Rays.
Jose Cortez had two multi-hit games and went 6-for-19 (.316) during the week. The 20-year old right-handed hitter leads the team with eight total bases and four walks, and is tied with two doubles and three runs scored. The centerfielder also picked up his first and only RBI, struck out four times, and committed one error during this period.
Hector Garcia will be carrying a four-game hitting streak into the next week. The 19-year old right-handed hitter went 4-for-13 (.308) with one double, one RBI, five total bases, and scored two runs. He split his four games played between third base and designated hitter.
Jem Argenal (pictured) currently has a two-game hitting streak and was the first VSL Cardinal to slug a home run this season. The 18-year old left-handed hitter also has six total bases, two walks, and has scored two runs for the team. He leads the team with a .600 SLG, .462 OBP, and 1.062 OPS at this time.
Deimer Bier has pitched the most innings by any Cardinals starter up to this point in the season. The 18-year old right-hander made his first start on May 23, pitching five innings. He gave up two hits, no runs, walked two, and struck out four for his first winning decision of the year.
Javier Avendano got back on track after being slowed at the end of last season. The 18-year old right-hander pitched four innings, allowing one hit, no runs, two walks, and struck out six on May 20. He currently leads the team in strikeouts and is ranked third with a 0.75 WHIP.
Osmir Medina has gone hitless in his last three straight games. The 18-year old shortstop went 1-for-14 (.071) with one total base, one walk, scored one run, and struck out once during the week.
Tharick Martinez is wearing the sombrero for the season. The 18-year old outfielder went 0-for-6 with one walk, three strikeouts, and stole one base in the first week. The former DSL Cardinal has struck out in each of his three games.
Moises Colorado was thumped in his only appearance of the week. On May 19, the 19-year old left-hander entered the game during the third and was knocked around for five hits, five runs (four earned), two walks, and struck out two over 3.1 innings. He was able to keep the ball down on the ground and stranded both inherited runners.
Fernando Cedeno continued his so-so VSL career this past week. The 18-year old right-hander made his 2009 debut on May 18, giving up three hits, one earned run, one walk, and struck out a early season-high three over 1.1 innings. He did pick up the winning decision and kept his only inherited runner on. The third-year VSL participant made his second outing on May 22, which didn’t last long or end well. His opponents chalked up three hits, two earned runs, and the team’s first home run allowed in only a third of an inning for his first losing decision of the season.
Ruben Alvarado followed in somewhat the same fashion as Cedeno, just not as bad. The 17-year old left-hander made his season debut on May 18, picking up a hold and pitching two scoreless innings. He struck out three and gave up only one run in the appearance. Then on May 22, like Cedeno, he was slapped back down to earth. The second-year VSL pitcher gave up four hits, three earned runs, three walks, and struck out one over 1.1 innings.
Comings and Goings:
Enrique Brito assumed the manager position after holding the same title with the Gulf Coast Cardinals. He takes over for Javier Meza, who moved on to teach the hitters at GCL.
Former Cardinal farmhand Henderson Lugo, took over the pitching duties and Jesus Laya moved over form the Detroit Tigers franchise to coach the hitters.
2008 VSL Co-Players of the Year Alberto Rivero and Gerardo Mambell, 2008 Starting Pitcher of the Year Geney Rios, Yorbel Alcala, and Jonathan (formerly known as Yonathan) Gonzalez are currently in Jupiter, FL attempting to make one of the three rookie-season teams opening play in June.
Wilson Perez, Billy Bolivar, Peter Jaspe, Cristofher Dumont (GCL), Carlos Noguera, Miguel Lopez, and David Brito have all been given their unconditional releases.
Jesus Montero was reassigned to the Dominican Summer League Cardinals squad for 2009.
Wilfred Vivas is serving a 50-game suspension for testing positive for a performance enhancing substance during the winter. He probably will not make an appearance til mid-July.
Johnny Polanco, who was recently signed out of Nicaragua, should be joining the team sometime in the near future. Nothing has been set in stone at this time.
Jose Campos, who backed out of a potential deal with the Cardinals during the spring, is officially active and pitching for the VSL Mariners. He debuted on May 22, pitching 2.1 innings, and allowing no hits or runs, three walks, and struck out three.
May 24: @ Mets (2-3)
May 25: Tigers (2-3)
May 26: @ Tigers (2-3)
May 27: Phillies (2-2)
May 29: Mariners (2-3)
May 30: Rays (2-3)