Cardinals Arizona Fall League Notebook – November 14, 2021

photo: Juan Yepez and Lars Nootbaar (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

The AFL Fall All Stars Game took place on Saturday night at Salt River Fields. Two Cardinals were in the starting lineup for the West Division, Lars Nootbaar in right field and Juan Yepez. The first baseman/cleanup hitter doubled twice and plated one on a sacrifice fly. Two other Cardinals saw action; Zack Thompson pitched the fifth inning, and Brendan Donovan entered the game as a substitute at shortstop.

Results from the Arizona Fall League Fall Stars Game played Saturday, November 13.

AFL West 5 at AFL East 6

The AFL West squad was topped by the AFL East by a lone run in the Fall Stars Game on Saturday night at Salt River Fields. Four Cardinals appeared, with two in the starting lineup for the West.

The West got on the board first in the top of the first inning. Leadoff hitter Lars Nootbaar drew a walk, Nick Gonzales of the Pirates singled, and Bryan Stott of the Phillies doubled to score Nootbaar. Juan Yepez, batting fourth, launched a sac fly that scored Gonzales.

The East responded in the bottom of the first with four runs and added to the lead with single tallies in the fourth and fifth. The West came back in the sixth with three runs to bring the score within one. Yepez doubled to left and Ji-Hwan Bae of the Pirates singled. Nathan Eaton of the Royals plated Yepez and Bae on a triple to make it 6-5. Eaton came home on a sac fly by Royals teammate Seuly Matias.

The game technically ended with the final West out in the top of the ninth. The game continued into the bottom of the ninth and gave East a chance to pad their lead, but all three hitters were retired.

Nootbaar walked and doubled in his three plate appearances. Yepez went 2-for-3 with two doubles and an RBI on a sac fly. On his second double, Yepez’ ball’s exit velocity was 99.3 mph. The first baseman played the full nine innings for the West.

Brendan Donovan entered in the sixth at shortstop. His only plate appearance came in the seventh when he walked but was stranded when Yepez struck out.

10 pitchers took the mound for West. Cardinal left hander Zack Thompson pitched the fifth and yielded one of the East’s six runs. He surrendered a double to the first hitter, then struck out the next. A single scored the run. His final two batters were retired on ground outs.

Thompson threw 20 pitches, 14 for strikes. According to Baseball Savant, he deployed five pitches, with his four-seamer in the low 90’s peaking at 94 mph. His trademark curve was 73 to 75 mph, along with showing a changeup, sinker and slider.

During the early innings, Nolan Gorman was interviewed by the broadcast team. The Cardinals’ No. 1 prospect was named to the Fall Stars Game but was unable to play due to a hamstring injury. Gorman related his journey to move from third base to second base as well as other topics.

A late roster addition, Cardinals pitcher Andre Pallante, did not appear for the West.

Miami outfielder J.J. Bleday (single, home run, three RBI) was the game’s Most Valuable Player.

The AFL season moves into its final week on Monday, ending with the Championship Game on Saturday, Nov 20 between the winners of the East and West Divisions.

Sunday’s game:  No AFL games are played on Sunday.
Monday’s game: Glendale vs. Peoria, TBD vs. TBD 1:35 CT.

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