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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 28, 2009

By Josh Jones, Cardinals Best News Links

The Venezuelan Summer League Cardinals turned it around during this period taking four of five games that were completed.  The Cardinals extended their losing streak, at the beginning of the week, to four games but went on to take the final four.  The Redbirds are 18-16 and are eight games out of first in a two-way tie in third place in the league.  They are 9-9 at home and 9-7 on the road.  The team has also tied last season’s mark of 23 home runs, still with another month and a half to go.

The Mets visited the Cardinals in the first game of this period. The Mets jumped out in front and that was all she wrote.  Two big errors cost the Redbirds and gave free passes to the Mets four of six runs scored.  The Mets extended the Cardinals losing streak to four games with a 6-1 victory.

The Cardinals hosted the Phillies next.  The Cardinals scored first and their pitching held the Phils within check throughout the game.  The Phillies did out hit the Cardinals, but only scored one run the whole entire game.  The Phillies also committed three errors giving way to the Redbirds final and game-winning runs in the seventh.  The Cardinals won 3-1 to halt their losing streak.

The Cardinals went on the road to play the Tigers and broke out the good bats.  The Redbirds out hit the Tigers 18-6, with every Cards player connecting for at least one hit.  The Cardinals tacked on six runs in the first three frames and added another seven on between the sixth and eighth innings.  The Cardinals drilled three home runs and beat down the Tigers 13-2.

The Pirates came to town to take on the Cardinals in the next game.  The Cardinals got some stellar pitching from their ace but four errors during the game contributed to runs being scored against him.  The Pirates had the lead heading into the fifth but the Redbirds came out swinging in the bottom half and took the lead.  The Cardinals’ reliever held the Bucs hitters in check and won 5-3.  This marks the first win for the Cardinals over the Pirates in six games played between the two.

After an off day, the Cardinals hosted the Mariners.  The Mariners plated two runs in the first two innings before a delay in game.  The contest resumed only to be suspended after the top of the third.  The Mariners led 2-0 and the game is scheduled to be resumed on July 10.

For the final game of the period the Cardinals hosted the Rays.  Two of the top pitchers on the Cardinals’ staff shut down the Rays and held them to only six hits.  The Redbirds scored five runs in the second and added on another two, on errors, in the seventh.   The Cardinals won 7-0 and picked up their fourth shutout of the season.

Who’s Hot

Limbert Rivas extended his on base streak to six games and will carry a four-game hitting streak into the next week.  The 18-year old right-handed hitter went 7-for-17 (.412) with one RBI, two runs, two walks, two stolen bases, four strikeouts, and was caught stealing once.  Rivas played three games at first base, one as designated hitter, and split another between first and catcher.  He was on the back end of two double plays while at first.

Jose Cortez nudged his way back into the leadoff role and has a six-game hitting streak to bring into the next period.  The 20-year old right-handed hitter went 7-for-18 (.389) with two doubles, one home run, seven RBIs, six runs, two walks, and was caught stealing once.  Cortez is 12-for-36 (.400) and has drove in ten runs in his last ten games.

Hector Garcia had his hitting streak extended to ten games, but was snapped in the last game of the week.  The 19-year old right-handed hitter went 9-for-22 (.409) with three doubles, two home runs, nine RBIs, three runs, one walk, two strikeouts, and grounded into one double play.  Garcia played four games at third base, where he committed one throwing error, and split one between the corners.

Hildemaro Vargas has silently been hitting real well as of late and has made it on base at least twice in the last four games.  The 17-year old right-handed hitter went 6-for-11 (.545) with one double, one triple, three RBIs, four runs, three walks, hit by pitcher twice, and struck out twice.  Vargas committed two fielding errors and assisted in one double play in his two games at shortstop and played his other three game at second base.

Omar Viloria got his shot at some playing time behind the plate this past week.  The 18-year old right-handed hitter went 4-for-15 (.267) with one RBI, four runs, one walk, one hit by pitch, three strikeouts, and grounded into two double plays.  He had his best game of the season on June 23 going 3-for-5 with one RBI and two runs.  Viloria was the backstop for all four games he played, throwing out two of five attempting base stealers, assisting in one double play, and throwing away the ball twice for a couple errors.

Deimer Bier continued his dominance at the top of the hill this past week.  On June 21, the 18-year old right-hander had a little trouble pitching five innings allowing seven hits, four runs (two earned), and struck out eight for his second losing decision.  In his next start he gave up four hits, no runs, one walk, struck out four, and picked one runner off over six innings.  His eight strikeouts tied a season-high and the second start was an opening to the third shutout he has been involved in this season.

Moises Colorado had some control issues but was still effective in his latest start.  The 19-year old right-hander made his start on June 23, pitching five innings and allowing two hits, one earned run (home run), four walks, one balk, threw one wild pitch, and struck out five for his third winning decision of the season.  Colorado had been up and down all season but finally lasted through five innings this time around.

Carlos Oraa had one of the best starts for the Cardinals, this past week, and his best yet this season.  The 19-year old right-hander tossed five innings of shut out ball, giving up five hits, one walk, and striking out five on June 22.  This was his first start that he has not allowed a run and has struck out four plus in four of his six starts (23 over 24 innings).

Hector Corpas seems to have taken over as the Cardinals closer picking up two saves in both appearances this period.  The 19-year old right-hander closed out the June 22 game striking out his only batter faced and holding both inherited runners on for the win.  On June 24, Corpas entered in the sixth and pitched four scoreless innings giving up two hits and striking out five for another team victory.  The third-year Cardinals affiliated pitcher has not allowed an earned run in five of his seven relief outings this season.

John De Aguas returned to action after being overlooked for a week and extended his unearned runs streak to 16.1 innings.  The 17-year old left-hander made his first appearance on June 21, going three innings and allowing one hit, one unearned run, two walks, and striking out one.  He earned his first save of the season on June 27, giving up two hits, no runs, two walks, and striking out a season-high five over three innings.

Who’s Not

Jem Argenal and Carlos Yegues both went 1-for-11 (.090) during the week.  Argenal had one run, one walk, and struck out three times. Yegues struck out seven times.

Jose Weffer, still showing the rookie butterflies, pitched on June 23.  He walked three batters and induced a ground out before being pulled in the eighth inning.

The Happenings

Angelo Echeverria has still not pitched since June 12.

Jackson Solarte and Johnny Polanco have not made an appearance since June 20.

Dail Villaneuva was suspended for 50-games on June 23 for testing positive for metabolites of Nandrolone, a performance-enhancing drug banned by Major and Minor League Baseball. The 19-year old left-hander made seven appearances (three starts) posting an 0-1 record and 3.86 ERA.  He allowed 15 hits, nine runs (seven earned), ten walks, and struck out four over 16.1 innings.

Wilfredo Vivas’ days on the suspended list are coming to an end.  The Cardinals have played 34 games, as of Saturday, and it should be just a matter of time before he returns and adds some depth to the middle infield.

Venezuelan Summer League Stats

The Cardinals hitting improved from .268 to .273, good for second in the league.  The team ranks second in runs, hits, home runs (tied), total bases, OBP, and OPS.  They also rank third in doubles, walks, and SLG.

The Cardinals pitching also had a great week, watching their ERA drop from 4.63 to 4.09 (third worst) and their WHIP went from 1.54 to 1.49 (second worst).  They rank second in shutouts (tied), strikeouts, holds, and first in saves.

Roberto Perez is eighth in batting average, tied for sixth in home runs, tied for tenth in total bases, fourth in walks, fourth in OBP, fourth in SLG, and third in OPS.

Jose Cortez is tenth in batting average and tied for third in doubles.

Anthony Fonseca is tied for tenth in runs scored and tied for ninth in home runs.

Hector Garcia is tied for tenth in hits, tied for first in doubles, tied for ninth in home runs, tied for tenth in RBIs, tied for fifth in total bases, and tenth in SLG.

Hildemaro Vargas is tied for second in triples and tied for ninth in stolen bases

Alexander Castellano is tied for sixth in triples.

Carlos Yegues is tied for ninth in home runs.

Osmir Medina is tied for ninth in stolen bases.

Javier Avendano is tied for fourth in wins, second in ERA, tied for fourth in innings pitched, and third in strikeouts.

Deimer Bier is tied for fourth in wins, tied for fourth in innings pitched, and fourth in strikeouts.

Moises Colorado is tied for fourth in wins and tied for eighth in strikeouts.

Francisco Guzman is second in saves and first in game finishes.

Hector Corpas is tied for third in saves.

Fernando Cedeno is tied for first in holds.

Up Next (Overall, vs. Cardinals)

June 28: @ Mets (16-17, 2-3)

June 29: @ Phillies (12-22, 2-4)

June 30: Tigers (10-24, 0-5)

July 1: @ Pirates (26-8, 5-1)

July 2: Off Day

July 3: @ Mariners (18-15, 4-1)

July 4: @ Rays (18-16, 3-3)

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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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