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Brian Walton's news and commentary on the St. Louis Cardinals (TM) and their minor league system

VSL Cardinals Report: June 7, 2009

By Josh Jones, Cardinals Best News Links

The Venezuelan Summer League Cardinals started the week off by extending their losing streak from two to four games, but rebounded and split this period’s six-game series. The team is now 10-7 on the season and tied for second in the league, only two games out of first. The Cardinals are still playing better ball on the road then at home with a 6-3 away record and 4-4 at home.

The number one team in the league came to visit the Cardinals on their first game of this period. The Redbirds scored in the first and watched as the bullpen coughed up the lead in the later innings. The club committed five errors in the game and it didn’t help that the Bucs went on to pound out 16 hits on the pitching staff. The Pirates doubled up the Cardinals 8-4.

The Cardinals opened the month of June up making a trip to face the Phillies. The game was defined by the incredible pitching by both staffs. Both teams combined for 14 hits and and the game went into extra innings where an error caused the Cardinals the win. The Phillies beat the Redbirds 2-1 in ten innings.

The Tigers came to town to take on the Cardinals in their next game. This time the Cards whipped out the rocking sticks and clubbed four home runs in the game, including two by their first baseman. The Cardinals starter was solid until he got into the middle of the game and the bullpen followed giving up a few more runs. The Cardinals took the game 9-7.

The next game the Redbirds took on a familiar opponent already faced during the week, in the Pirates. This game ended worse then the first time around with the Pirates plating 12 runs, including a six-run rally in the sixth inning. The Buccs manged to knock the Cards starter out after three innings by tacking on five runs. The Pirates spanked the Cardinals 12-5.

After a day of rest the Cardinals took on the Mariners at their place. The M’s were probably thrilled to take on the Redbirds since they already thumped them twice already this season. However the Cardinals turned things around shutting out the Mariner 4-0. The Cardinals starter only lasted two batters, but the bullpen tightened up their belts and gave up only three hits in the game.

The final game of this weekly report ends on a positive note with the Cardinals extending their winning streak to two games and evening off their record for the week. The visited the Rays and squeaked by with a 4-3 win. The Redbirds had a three-run lead heading into the eighth and gave up two runs that inning, but recovered to take the “W”.

Who’s Hot

Osmir Medina after slumping in the beginning of the season has now started connecting the bat on the ball. The 18-year old shortstop went 8-for-25 (.320) with three RBIs, four runs, three walks, three stolen bases, and struck out nine times. The improvement in his hitting could be credited to the right-handed hitter moving up in the batting order to the second and third spot in the order. He also committed two errors during the week for a team leading total of six and assisted in four double plays. Medina will be carrying a four-game hitting and eight-game on base streak into the next period.

Roberto Perez continued to pound the ball this past week. The 20-year old first baseman went 6-for-23 (.261), slugging his third and fourth home run of the season, drove in three runs, scored five, walked twice, and struck out twice. The right-handed hitter is now leading the Cardinals in home runs (four), RBIs (11), total bases (32), walks (seven), SLG (.667), and OPS (1.095). In the field, perez was on the back end of six double plays and couldn’t handle a throw for a pickoff error.

Moises Colorado put together one of his best performances of the season. The 19-year old left-hander picked up the game for Carlos Oraa, who left early, and went on the pitch 4.2 scoreless innings only giving up three hits. Colorado picked up his second win of the season and leads the team in inning pitched (15.1) and strikeouts (18). I feel him making a move back to the rotation.

Francisco Guzman started the week off a little slow but closed out two games for the Cardinals to finish it off in style. The 21-year old right-hander made three appearances this past week with the first coming on the first of June. In extra innings, Guzman’s defensive backing committed an error and the very next batter tripled to drive in the run and hand him his first loss of the season. He went on to pick up two saves in the following two games he pitched. Guzman gave up two hits, no runs, and one walk over his next four innings. On the season, the former catcher has not allowed an earned run and struck out ten over 10.1 innings and has earned six saves in nine games pitched.

Hector Corpas finally made his season debut this past week. The 19-year old right-hander pitched three innings and gave up two hits, no runs, one walk, hit a batter, threw one wild pitch, and struck out two to start off his 2009 season. Corpas followed Colorado, in his second game, and out pitching him with four hitless and scoreless innings for the save on June 4. The Panamanian native is one of three pitchers on the staff that hasn’t allowed an earned run in five plus innings.

Who’s Not

Alexander Castellano slipped a little in the hitting department this past week. The 20-year old switch hitter went 4-for-20 (.200) with one triple, one home run, three RBIs, two runs, two walks, eight strikeouts, and grounded into one double play. During the month a June, he’s only 2-for-16 with both hits singles and coming in separate games. The Colombian native also committed one fielding error in left.

Hector Garcia is htting the ball at the defending team’s fielders. The 19-year old right-handed hitter went 3-for-17 (.176) with one double, one RBI, two runs, three walks, and struck out once. In his last nine games he’s only connected for four hits in 29 at-bats. The starting third baseman also got some time in at first base at the beginning of the week.

Sergio Nieves followed his best start with his season’s worst start. On June 2, the 17-year old right-handed pitched 4.1 innings giving up five hits, three earned runs, three walks, and struck out three. He’s second on the team in walks allowed.

Deimer Bier, like Nieves, had his worst start of the season this past week. The 18-year old right-hander was dinged up on June 3. He allowed six hits, five earned runs, oen walk, hit one batter, and struck out two over three innings. The second-year VSL Cardinal pitcher picked up his first loss in his shortest outing of the season.

Fernando Cedeno is still having trouble pitching in the league. The 19-year old right-hander made three relief appearances coughing up a total of eight hits, seven earned runs, one home run, three walks, and struck out four. He allowed four earned runs over one inning on June 3. Cedeno has only had one relief outing, up to this point in the season, where he didn’t give up a run.

Missing In Action

Angelo Echeverria still has not shown up since May 20.

Moving On

The St. Louis Cardinals assigned catcher Yorbel Alcala to the Dominican Summer League Cardinals for the 2009 season. The 19-year old switch hitter spent all of last season with the VSL squad as their starting catcher and joins Jesus Montero as the second Venezuelan player to join DSL this summer.

Venezuelan Summer League Stats (as of Friday)

The Cardinals team batting average improved from .265 to .269 on the season and second in the league. The team ranks third in runs scored, total bases, walks, strikeouts, and on base percentage.

The Cardinals pitching staff took a hit watching their ERA balloon from 4.27 to 4.43, which is third worst in the league. They do had the second most shut outs, first in saves, and third in strikeouts. On the other end they have given up the third most hits, runs, and home runs and second most in earned runs and walks.

Jem Argenal is ranked third with a .357 batting average.

Roberto Perez is tied for tenth with ten runs scored, tied for second with four home runs, tied for fifth with 11 RBIs, fourth with 32 total bases, seventh with a .429 OBP, second with a .667 SLG, and leads the league with a 1.095 OPS.

Jose Cortez and Hector Garcia are tied, with others, for seventh with five doubles.

Alexander Castellano and Hildemaro Vargas are tied, with others, for third with two triples.

Osmir Medina is tied for seventh with four stolen bases.

Javier Avendano is fourth with a 0.60 ERA and eighth with 15 strikeouts.

Moises Colorado is tied for second with two wins and second with 18 strikeouts.

Francisco Guzman leads the league with six saves and nine game finishes.

Fernando Cedeno is tied for first with two holds.

Next Up (Overall Record, vs. Cardinals)

June 7: Mets (9-8, 2-0)
June 8: Phillies (5-12, 2-1)
June 9: @ Tigers (5-13, 3-0)
June 10: Pirates (12-5, 0-3)
June 11: Off Day
June 12: Mariners (10-7, 1-2)
June 13: Rays (9-8, 2-1)

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Brian Walton

Brian Walton runs The Cardinal Nation and The Cardinal Nation Blog, covering the St. Louis Cardinals and minor league system.
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