By Josh Jones, Cardinals Best News Links
The Venezuelan Summer League Cardinals finished off this period on a low note of a two-game losing streak after extending their winning streak to five games earlier in the week. The Cardinals took four of their six contests and settled in at second place in the division with two games separating them from the first place team. Just before their first loss of the week they were tied for first in the league. The Cardinals are now 4-1 on the road and 3-3 when defending their own turf.
The Cardinals opened up this period visiting the Mets. The Mets came out swinging in the first and scored the first two runs of the game. Behind a solid bullpen and some late inning errors by their opponents, the Cardinals came back in the final three innings tacking on five runs. The Cardinals took the game 5-2.
The Tigers came to town in the next game vs. the Redbirds. The Cardinals put ten runs on in the second and third inning as the team’s pitching staff held the Tigers to only five hits through out the game. The Cardinals slapped on another six runs in the fifth and following innings and had their biggest victory of the season with a 16-4 win over the Tigers.
The next game the Cardinals and Tigers switched roles in terms of home and visiting team. The Redbirds struck early and the team’s ace pitched another quality outing, holding the Tigers scoreless through five innings. As soon as the Cardinals starter was pulled, the Tigers came to life scoring five runs in the sixth and seventh. The Cardinals did calm down and hold on to win 7-5.
The Cardinals welcomed the Phillies on Wednesday and this game was a low scoring game, unlike the previous games, with all the runs except for one being an earned run. The Cardinals put the first two runs of the game on in the third and fifth, but the Phils tied it up in th sixth. The Redbirds bullpen then held the Phillies to just one hit over the next three plus innings and went on to win 3-2.
The Mariners visited after the day off and ended the Cardinals’ five-game winning streak with a slugfest. Both teams were tied up at 2-2 heading into the fifth, but all things changed as the bullpens took over the games with a total of 15 runs being put on the board in the five innings. The M’s kicked it off taking the lead with three runs in the top half of the fifth and the Cardinals tried to keep up scoring two. The Cardinals then struggled getting runners across the plate in the late innings as the team’s bullpen imploded coughing up a total of six in the eighth and ninth. The Mariners went on to win 13-6.
The Rays visited and extended the Cardinals’ losing streak. The Rays scored first but the Cardinals came back to take and hold a lead until the sixth. The game ended up heading into extra innings and like the previous game, the bullpen gave away the win handing away three runs in the tenth. The Rays won 7-4.
Roberto Perez pulled out the thunder stick during the week and racked up some extra base hits. The 20-year old first baseman went 8-for-16 (.500) with two doubles, two home runs, seven RBIs, five runs, two walks, and struck out twice. The right-handed swinger had a five-game hitting streak during the Cardinals’ winning streak and had two multi-hit games during that time. He was on the back end of three double plays and committed only one error.
Jem Argenal continued to show he can swing the bat this past week. The 17-year old first baseman/designated hitter went 8-for-17 (.470) with three RBIs, three runs scored, one sac fly, and struck out once. The left-handed hitter will be bringing a three-game hitting streak into the next week and leads the team in hitting with a .407 average. He did commit one fielding error in one of the three games he played at first.
Alexander Castellano put together his best hitting performance up to the point of the season on Friday going 4-for-5 with two doubles and two runs. The 20-year old left fielder went 7-for-19 (.368) with two doubles, one triple, one RBI, seven runs, one walk, and struck out five times during the period.
Sergio Nieves came through with a great start in a close game for the Cardinals on Wednesday. The 17-year old right-hander made his second start going 5.2 innings allowing three hits, two unearned runs, two walks, hit one batter, threw one wild pitch, and struck out three batters. He did not pick up a decision in the start but did improve his season ERA to 1.86, which is second best in the rotation.
Javier Avendano takes on the role of ‘ace’ for the Cardinals’ pitching staff with his latest performance of the season. On Tuesday, the 18-year old right-hander made his second start pitching five scoreless innings, giving up six hits and struck out six. He picked up his first winning decision of the season and has not allowed a run over nine innings.
John De Aguas was the steady arm out of the bullpen during the week. The 17-year old left-hander had three relief appearances (four innings) without coughing up a single run. He did let three runners get on base (via one hit, one walk, and one hit by pitch), but they did not create any damage. The 5’9”, 160 pound Colombian has only given up two hits and no runs over five innings during the season.
Omar Viloria is still hitless through four games this season. The 18-year old right-handed swinger went 0-for-5 with one strikeout and grounded into one double play in the two games he played. The catcher did manage to throw out one of the four attempting base stealers this past period.
Ramon Ulacio started off the week on a bad note but recovered to end his week. On May 26, the 18-year old right-hander was sacked with three hits, four earned runs, one home run, and hit one batter before getting the hook without securing an out. His next relief appearance was much better as he pitched 1.1 innings and allowed one hit, no runs, and struck out one. The 6’1″ 190 pounder also got three ground outs and held on all three runners in that last game.
Jose Weffer made a not so pretty professional debut on Friday. The 16-year old left-hander gave up three hits, three earned runs, one home run, and walked one over a third of an inning for the losing decision.
Fabian Marquez saw his ERA shoot up in his two games pitched this period. The 17-year old right-hander made his first relief appearance on May 25, going two innings and giving up two hits, one earned run (home run), hit one batter, and struck out two for his first winning decision of the season. And on May 29, he allowed two hits, two earned runs, and one walk before being knocked out after two-thirds of an inning.
Gregorio Ramos took a thumping during this past week and it hurt. Combined over two relief appearances, the 19-year old right-hander was drilled for six hits, seven runs (six earned), walked two, and hit one batter in just one and a third innings. He ate five runs in his last relief outing and watched his ERA balloon to 23.62 on the season.
Missing In Action
Angelo Echeverria has not seen game action since May 20. The 17-year old left-hander pitched an extended relief appearance for three innings and gave up only one hit and one walk, while striking out four for the win.
Venezuelan Summer League Stats
The Cardinals are ranked second in the league with a team batting average of .265, falling 32 points behind the league leader. They are tied for first in doubles and are in tied for second in triples. The team is ranked third in on base percentage and slugging, but sits middle of the pack in all other categories.
The Cardinals pitching is taking a hit with their ERA, second worst in the league at 4.27. They are second in the league in earned runs and walks but are tops in strikeouts and are tied for first in shutouts and saves.
Single player leader stats will come later when more games are played.
Next Up (Season Record, vs Cardinals)
May 31: Pirates (9-2, 0-1)
June 1: @ Phillies (4-7, 2-0)
June 2: Tigers (3-9, 2-0)
June 3: @ Pirates (9-2, 0-1)
June 5: @ Mariners (6-5, 0-2)
June 6: @ Rays (5-6, 1-1)
Dominican Summer League
The season opened Saturday, be on the look out for highly touted prospects Grabiel Hernandez and Victor Encarnacion along with returning stars Eduard Estalis, Jose Pasen, and Juan B. Cabrera.