Cardinals Minor League Notebook – June 29, 2021

Photo: Luis Montano (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

In the only action on Monday, the Florida Complex League (FCL) Cardinals dropped their season opener.  Luis Montano scored the team’s only run.

Results from the game played Monday, June 28th

Memphis – off
Fresh off a two-week road trip in which they went 3-9 against the Midwest Division’s Indianapolis (PIT) and Toledo (DET), seventh-place Memphis (18-30) heads home to AutoZone Park to host division rival Jacksonville.

Tuesday’s game:  vs third-place Jacksonville (26-20)(MIA),  7:10 pm CT, Connor Thomas (2-0, 3.70)

Springfield – off
Like Memphis, Springfield (16-31) also heads home after two weeks on the road but their road trip remained exclusively within their own North Division.  The fifth-place S-Cards went 4-8 against first-place Wichita (MIN) and second-place Tulsa (LAD) but hope to do better against third-place Northwest Arkansas.

Tuesday’s game:  vs Northwest Arkansas (22-23)(KC), 6:35 pm CT, Tyler Pike (0-2, 7.52)

Peoria – off
After going 2-4 at fourth-place Wisconsin (MIL) last week, sixth-place Peoria (19-29) comes back to Dozer Park to host East Division rival West Michigan (DET).

Tuesday’s game:  vs West Michigan (22-24)(DET), 6:35 pm CT, Jack Ralston (1-4, 4.34) or Connor Lunn (3-2, 4,80)

Palm Beach – off
Palm Beach (17-31) is in the midst of a two-week home stand.  Last week the Beach Birds went 3-3 against the West Division’s Fort Myers Mighty Mussels (MIN) and this week host another West Division team, the Dunedin Blue Jays.

Tuesday’s game: vs Dunedin (20-27) (TOR), 6:30 pm ET, John Beller (0-3, 5.51)

FCL Cardinals 1 at FCL Nationals 3
A defensive lapse ended up determining the outcome in the FCL Cardinals’ 3-1 road defeat to the FCL Nationals in the season opener.

The opener was a contest in which offense was in short supply, both squads mustering just three hits apiece.  With the arms dominating the bats, the game turned on defensive efforts and the Florida Birds came up short.

The visitors scored first after left fielder and Player of the Day Luis Montano tripled to open the second.  Third baseman Brandon Hernandez’ fly out to left was not deep enough for Montano to score but he eventually raced home when Nationals’ catcher Ivan Murzi was charged with a passed ball.

Luis Montaño

Unfortunately, the FCL Cardinals’ miscue the next frame proved more costly. Starter Yordy Richard (L, 0-1) began his final inning of work by issuing a free pass.  The 18-year-old retired the next two batters via a force at second and strikeout looking and it appeared as if he would escape unscathed.

However, a throwing error by Hernandez put two runners aboard, the trail runner advancing to second on a stolen base.  Richard’s second and final hit yielded was a two-run double giving the home team the lead.  The right-hander plunked three batters.

Tyler Statler succeeded Richard, base-on-balls proving costly for the 19-year-old.  After tossing a one-two-three fourth in which he struck out two batters looking, the righty began the fifth by issuing consecutive free passes.  Statler notched two swinging K’s then permitted an RBI single to right, the only earned run for the game from either side.

The three remaining frames were split evenly between Omar Sanchez, Enrique Saldana and Tink Hence.  Sanchez, a southpaw signed out of Puerto Rico in June 2020, made his professional debut which was comprised of a strikeout swinging, walk-caught stealing and fly out to center.

A ‘veteran’ of two years’ experience in the Dominican Summer League, right-hander Saldana walked his first batter but erased him on a force at second.  His replacement on first base was caught stealing before a 4-3 ground out ended the seventh.

Last but not least of the bullpen trio was righty Tink Hence, the 63rd pick in the June 2020 First-Year Player Draft.  Hence faced the minimum, inserting a swinging K between fly outs to right and center.

Tink Hence

Offensively, center fielder Tre Fletcher doubled once in four at bats, striking out twice at the top of the order.  Second baseman and number nine batter Albert Inoa garnered the final hit, going 1-for-3 with two K’s.  Catcher Roblin Heredia reached base twice via free passes and was charged with catcher’s interference behind the plate.

Tuesday’s game:  Off

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