Cardinals Minor League Notebook – July 25, 2019

photo: Tommy Parsons (Springfield Cardinals FANatic Photos)

On a Wednesday with two double-headers, the St. Louis Cardinals system went 6-5 overall. Player of the Day Tommy Parsons led Springfield to a win by pitching eight innings of one-run ball. Enmanuel Solano (SC), Michael YaSenka (JC) and Nathanael Heredia (GCL) also made strong starts.

Results for games played Wednesday, July 24th.

New Orleans 5 at Memphis 2

Adolis Garcia (Steve Mitchell/Imagn)

Memphis fell to 42-61 in losing at home 5-2 to the New Orleans Baby Cakes on Wednesday night. Austin Warner was the starting and losing pitcher, going 4 1/3 innings and allowing four runs on eight hits. The 25-year-old lefty fanned six and walked four before handing off to Kodi Whitley, making his second Memphis appearance. The righty permitted one run in 1 2/3 innings, and fanned three while walking no one. Seth Elledge threw two perfect innings with a pair of whiffs.

Adolis Garcia had three hits for the Redbirds, and was backed by John Nogowski, Randy Arozarena, and Max Schrock with two knocks apiece. The only Memphis extra base hits were doubles by Kramer Robertson and defense-first backstop Jose Godoy, who is now batting .381/.409/.643 since his promotion three weeks ago.

Thursday’s game: vs. New Orleans, Ryan Helsley (2-3, 5.06) 7:05 CT.

Springfield 12, Amarillo 1

Tommy Parsons (Peoria Chiefs)

Springfield had hitting, pitching, and defense in a 12-1 thrashing of Amarillo on Wednesday at Hammons Field, raising their second half record to 18-14. Center fielder Dylan Carlson and left fielder Conner Capel each had three hits and a walk, as the S-Cards took the lead in the fourth frame and never looked back. Capel also had an outfield assist, as did right fielder Justin Toerner. Springfield, which turned two double plays, got additional multi-hit games from Toerner, catcher Brian O’Keefe, and third baseman Yariel Gonzalez.

Tommy Parsons dazzled in perhaps his best Double-A outing, needing only 96 pitches to navigate eight one-run innings and lower his ERA to 4.17. The 23-year-old righty struck out eight and walked one while holding the Sod Poodles to six safeties. Parsons has now fanned 50 in 49 2/3 innings for Springfield, while walking just half a dozen. The problem has been the longball, and what a problem, as he’s conceded a fairly astronomical 13 of those — and in fact Wednesday’s lone Amarillo run came on a solo shot.

Thursday’s game: vs. Amarillo, Evan Kruczynski (2-5, 6.23) 7:10 CT.

St. Lucie 8 at Palm Beach 2

Julio Rodriguez (Steve Mitchell/Imagn)

The struggling Palm Beach offense managed just four hits in an 8-2 home loss to St. Lucie on Wednesday, leaving their second half ledger at 10-25. Catcher Julio Rodriguez had half the base knocks, singling and doubling for the Beach Birds’ only extra base hit. Luken Baker drove in the two runs with a bases loaded single to at least keep the game close early.

Southpaw Diego Cordero made the start and took the loss, yielding four runs in as many innings. The 21-year-old allowed seven hits, including a homer and three doubles. All three relievers were scored upon, but Ben Yokley surrendered only one tally across 3 1/3 innings, on three hits and a free pass.

Thursday’s game: vs. Dunedin, Edgar Gonzalez (5-12, 4.85) 5:30 CT.

Peoria 9 at Quad Cities 5

Brandon Benson (State College Spikes)

It was lucky sevens in Davenport as Peoria exploded for seven in the seventh and moved to 7-24 for the second half with a 9-5 win at the River Bandits on Wednesday evening. The key blow was a grand slam by the scuffling Brandon Benson, who raised his season average to .140 with his 1-for-3 night. Multi-hit games were provided by center fielder Jonatan Machado (two singles), first baseman Brady Whalen (the same), and teen catcher Ivan Herrera, who had a very fine all-around game with a single, double, walk, and one of two stealers gunned down. (Herrera continues to knock the cover off the ball away from the hitter’s graveyard that is Peoria, batting .339 on the road and slugging .514.)

Colin Schmid started but only went five innings and was thus not around to benefit from the Chiefs’ offensive fireworks. The 21-year-old lefty permitted just one earned run and fanned four while walking two. Tony Locey relieved and picked up the victory with two strong innings, allowing no earned runs and whiffing five helpless River Bandits. The effectively wild 20-year-old now has 21 whiffs and 11 walks in just 10 professional innings. Freddy Pacheco recorded his first Peoria save by fanning three in 1 1/3 innings.

Thursday’s game: at Quad Cities, Michael Brettell (3-6, 5.30), 6:35 CT.

Mahoning Valley 2, State College 1

Enmanuel Solano (State College Spikes)

State College slipped to 19-20 on Wednesday night with a narrow 2-1 loss at Mahoning Valley. Starter and loser Enmanuel Solano was solid, giving up two runs over 6 1/3 stanzas. The 20-year-old righty permitted five hits and a walk, while whiffing six Scrappers. Excellent relief was once again provided by towering UCLA righty Jack Ralston, who remained unscored upon as a professional with a spotless 1 2/3 innings featuring a trio of strikeouts. The 21-year-old has now allowed four hits and one walk in 12 2/3 pro innings, with 17 punchouts.

The Spikes had four hits, two by Brylie Ware (single, triple), who also coaxed a walk. Thus the first baseman had the rare distinction of accumulating half of his team’s hits, and half of their free passes. Leadoff man David Vinsky, who also tripled, scored his club’s only run. And shortstop Moises Castillo had the sole RBI.

Thursday’s game: at Mahoning Valley, Dalton Roach (1-0, 1.50) 6:05 CT.

Johnson City 7 at Kingsport 1 (Game 1)

Michael YaSenka (Robert Kell)

In the opener of their Wednesday doubleheader, Johnson City jumped on top with four in the third and was never headed, whipping Kingsport 7-1 on the road and raising their record to 17-16 for the year. Third baseman Malcom Nunez singled twice and doubled, leading the J-Cards attack. Pitching in with multi-hit games were designated hitter Kyle Skeels, with a pair of singles, and second sacker Liam Sabino (two singles, two walks, two stolen bases). First baseman Todd Lott had one hit but made it count, with a two-run bomb.

Eastern Illinois product Michael YaSenka twirled a seven-inning complete game, yielding just five hits and a run, fanning 10 while walking one. Unfortunately for him, that increased the 21-year-old’s ERA to 0.68 in 26 1/3 professional innings. The 19th round pick in this year’s draft has whiffed 34, walked six, and limited batters to a .174 average.

Johnson City 11 at Kingsport 3 (Game 2)

Kevin Vargas

In the second seven-inning contest of the twin bill, Johnson City completed the road sweep and improved to 18-16 by routing Kingsport again, this time by an 11-3 margin. Kingsport scored three in the first against 19-year-old righty Luis Ortiz, but never scratched again as the teenager settled down to give his club four innings total. A trio of relievers combined for three hitless innings, with Walker Robbins grabbing the win, but John Witkowski impressed the most with three strikeouts in 1 2/3 innings.

Shortstop Kevin Vargas and right fielder Carlos Soler each reached four times, combining for five singles and three free passes. Vargas scored four times, and center fielder Tre Fletcher had the only multi-RBI game, driving in two.

Thursday’s game: at Kingsport, Francisco Justo (2-1, 4.13) 5:30 CT.

GCL Cardinals 9, GCL Nationals 1

Nathanael Heredia (State College Spikes)

The Gulf Coast League Cardinals lifted their ledger to 12-14 on Wednesday afternoon with a 9-1 home thumping of the GCL Nationals. Converted outfielder and “opener” Blake Drake made the start and pitched a spotless first frame (three up, three down, one whiff) before deferring to regular starting pitcher (and winner) Nathanael Heredia. The 18-year-old Dominican lefty tossed five scoreless stanzas with eight strikeouts but a quintet of walks.

Designated hitter William Jimenez had his third straight multi-hit game, and second in a row with three RBI. Rehabbing Double-A third baseman Elehuris Montero went 2-for-3 and the 20-year-old is 4-for-10 in three GCL tilts. Shortstop Yowelfy Rosario had one hit but it was a doozy, crushing a sixth-inning grand slam to truly put the game out of reach.

Thursday’s game: vs. GCL Mets, pitcher TBA, 11:00 a.m. CT.

DSL Cardinals Blue 9, DSL Orioles2 8 (12 innings)

Scoring in each of the final four innings, the Cardinals DSL Blue team (26-14) rallied multiple times at home to beat the DSL Orioles2 by a 9-8 tally in 12 innings. Multiple Blue batters reached safely three times, but designated hitter Brandon Hernandez had the only three-hit performance. The 17-year-old Canadian started his season 4-for-36 with 18 strikeouts but has been banging the ball around and controlling the strike zone ever since, with a .375 average, a 1.006 OPS, and a stout 10/12 walk-to-strikeout ratio.

Generous offensive support came from backstop Jose Zapata (single, two walks), third sacker Erik Pena (the same, plus a walkoff hit-by-pitch), left fielder Leudy Pena (walk, two singles) and most notably second baseman Elvin De Jesus, who smashed a game-tying three-run homer with one out in the bottom of the ninth.

Starter Engels Martinez went five innings and allowed two runs, both earned, on seven hits and no walks. The 17-year-old fanned just one batter. Yeoman relief work was contributed by Americo Lugo and Victor Villanueva, who combined for five innings and just a pair of unearned runs. The win went to Nelson Prada, who permitted the unearned run in the top of the 12th.

Thursday’s game: The DSL Blue squad is not scheduled Thursday.

DSL Tigers1 5, DSL Cardinals Red 4 (Game 1)

Mustering only three base hits, the DSL Cardinals Red team lost the first game of a twin bill 5-4 to the homestanding DSL Tigers1, dropping the Red to 17-27 on the season. Righty Yonael Dominguez started and went four innings, allowing one run on three hits. The 17-year-old Dominican fanned four and passed a pair. Augusto Calderon relieved and was rocked, taking the loss due to four runs, three earned, over just 1 2/3 innings.

Center fielder and leadoff batter Smith Vargas did his duty, drawing two walks and singling in four trips to the plate. But he received scant support as the team went 1-for-8 with men in scoring position. There were no extra base hits, and nobody but Vargas reached safely more than one time. Vargas also stole his 14th base in 16 tries — one of the caught stealing coming in this game, when he was picked off first base by the catcher.

DSL Tigers1 9, DSL Cardinals Red 6 (Game 2)

The DSL Cardinals Red squad fell to 17-28 by losing 9-6 in the seven-inning doubleheader Game 2 at the DSL Tigers1, and thus were swept on Wednesday. Third baseman Sander Mora singled three times, right fielder Fernando Brazoban singled twice, first baseman Luis Andujar tripled and drove home a pair, and 17-year-old left fielder Miguel Marcos hit his first professional homer, a two-run shot. But that was all for naught, as the Red allowed five in the first and never got close after that.

Brayan Ramirez started and took the loss, going just 2/3 of an inning before being pulled. Though four of the five runs charged to him were officially unearned, it would be hard to argue that fate mistreated him Wednesday. The 17-year-old Colombian righty hit two batters, walked two batters, permitted two hits, and uncorked a wild pitch before getting the hook. Miguel Yedis had the best bullpen showing, logging 1 2/3 innings with no earned runs, two strikeouts, and two baserunners.

Thursday’s game: vs. DSL Tigers1, pitcher TBA, 9:30 a.m. CT.

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