DSL Cardinals Report: June 22, 2009

By Josh Jones, Cardinals Best News Links

The Dominican Summer League Cardinals ended their three-game losing streak and went on a five game terror, to have it end in a losing effort.  The Cardinals took five of six games during this period and improved to 10-9 on the season.  The team is only three games out of first, 6-3 at home, and 4-6 on the road.

After a well rested day off, the Cardinals hosted the Mariners to open the week.  The game was scoreless heading into the bottom of the fourth when the Cards plated two runs to take the lead.  They then went on to score four more over the next four frames as the pitching staff held the M’s to no runs and only four hits.  The Mariners committed a total of five errors, but they didn’t really factor into the game as the Cardinals won 6-0.

The Cardinals visited the Athletics in the next game.  Both teams traded off runs and the lead throughout the contest and errors cost the A’s the game in the end.  Both pitching staffs were hammered for a total of 23 hits and 21 runs.  The Cardinals came out on top 11-10 as their closer pitched two scoreless innings to close out the game.  The DSL Official Site posted photos from this game.

The Phillies came to town to take on the Cardinals in the following game.  Both teams pretty much shut each other down until late in the game, with the Phils out in front heading into the seventh.  The Cardinals then jumped all over the Phillies closer in the ninth and took a lead for the win.  The Cardinals won 5-4.

The Cardinals took on the Mariners for the second time this period, this time on the road.  The Cards received almost the same results as they did in the first game.  The Redbirds took an early lead and the pitching staff held it for them.  The Cardinals knocked the M’s starter out with four runs in the first two innings and ran through another four pitchers for an 8-2 victory.

The Athletics visited the Cardinals in the next game.  The Cards and A’s traded off leads until the Redbirds plated six runs on one reliever in the sixth.  All the A’s runs were unearned on the Cardinals staff due to three errors committed.  The Cardinals extended their winning streak to five games by doubling up the Athletics 8-4.

The Cardinals hoping to go for six straight wins visited the Phillies for the finale of the week.  The Cardinals were up 1-0 heading into the fifth when the Phils proceeded to slap on five runs in the following four innings.  The Cards were held to four hits by two Philly pitchers.  The Phillies ended the winning streak with a 5-1 win over the Cardinals.

Who’s Hot

Luis Pimentel continues to tear up the Dominican Summer League.  The 20-year old right-handed hitter went 13-for-24 (.542) with five doubles, one home run, three RBIs, seven runs, three walks, one walk, and one caught stealing.  Pimentel began the week out extending his hitting streak to six games (four straight multi-hit games), but was broken up on the second to last game.  The second-year DSL participant does have an eight-game on base streak and played at three different positions during the week, including third and first base, where he committed two errors, and as the team designated hitter in one game.

Grabiel Hernandez returned after a three-game absence, just as if he hadn’t missed a beat.  The 17-year old switch hitter went 9-for-28 (.321) with three triple, three RBIs, five runs, three stolen bases, and five strikeouts.  He had three multi-hit games, assisted in four doubles plays, and committed four fielding errors in the last three games while at shortstop.  Hernandez leads the team in triples and stolen bases.

Roberto Reyes became the first Cardinal hitter to connect for two home runs in a game this season.  The 20-year old left-handed hitter went 5-for-16 (.313) with one triple, two home runs, six RBIs, three runs, one walk, two stolen bases, and eight strikeouts.  On June 18 he drilled his two home runs and drove in four runs, but in the following game struck out all five times to the plate.

Michael Santana made two great starts for the team, even though one ended in a loss.  The 18-year old right-hander hurled six scoreless innings on June 15, allowing three hits and striking out two for his first winning decision of the season.  Then on June 20 he gave up six hits, two earned runs, one walk, and struck out a season-high seven over 4 and two-thirds innings for a losing decision.  Santana has struck out 17 and walked only five over 20 innings this season.

Angel Tapia had himself another effective relief appearance this season.  The 19-year old right-hander followed the Cardinals starter on June 18 with five scoreless innings for his second winning decision of the season.  He only allowed three hits, two walks, hit one batter, struck out four and even assisted in one double play.  Tapia has only given up two earned runs over 16 innings this season.

Keury Herrera showed some of the potential he showed in 2008 in his latest start.  The 18-year old left-hander made his start on June 19 and allowed one hit, no runs, two walks, threw one wild pitch, and struck out four over four innings.  Herrera has not allowed an earned run in his last two appearances (six innings) and has struck out eight.

Who’s Not

Jorge Lopez ended his his four-game hitless streak but didn’t get much going after that.  The 18-year old right-handed hitter went 2-for-14 (.143) with one double, one RBI, two runs, three strikeouts, and one caught stealing.  He played three of four games at second base, where he turned one double play and committed one error, and the other as designated hitter.

Juan B. Cabrera (pictured) went hitless in three of four games this last week.  The 21-year old right-handed hitter went 1-for-12 (.083) with two RBIs, three runs, two walks, and two strikeouts.  He has been on base his last three games but hitless in the last two.  The third-year DSL infielder played three games at third and two at second base, turning a total of four double plays and committing one fielding error.

Victor Encarnacion has seen a lot of his playing time deplete in the last week or so.  The 19-year old went 2-for-11 (.182) with one hit by pitch and three strikeouts.  He’s gone 4-for-28 in his last ten games, including ten strikeouts.

Ramon Urena made his first start of the season, which ended bad for him.  The 19-year old right-hander started on June 16 and lasted just three innings giving up five hits, four earned runs, one walk, one balk, threw two wild pitches, and struck out three.  His ERA took a huge hit shooting up to 7.20 on the season.

Juan Mercedes made his return to the team after sitting for eight days.  The 20-year old left-hander walked both batters faced and was pulled from the game.  The following reliever (Jefferson Segundo) let both runners score and in the process hiked his ERA up to 135.00 on the season.  Mercedes has made three relief appearances and allowed one hit, five earned runs, six walks, and struck out only one over a third of an inning in 2009.

The Happenings

Wader Perez made his return on June 16 and hasn’t played since.

Victor Ferreria has also returned to the team and went 1-for-8 with a double and six strikeouts in the two games played upon return.

Adriano Uribe hasn’t pitched since June 11.

Two pitchers made their 2009 debuts, Bryan Martinez on June 16 and Luis Mata on June 19.

Word is that Major League Baseball is investigating Miguel Angel Sano’s age, courtesy of ESPN Insider.

The Pittsburgh Pirates, Minnesota Twins, and Cardinals are considered to be the frontrunners in the Sano sweepstakes, with the Cards having a small lead, courtesy of MASN Sports.

The New York Yankees are still thinking about making a run at Sano even though they have a verbal agreement with top catching prospect Gary Sanchez (not yet 16) and are eyeing two Cuban defectors, according to New York Post.

The Boston Red Sox signed left-handed pitcher Victor Payano, according to Jorge Arangure’s Twitter.  The Cardinals had been linked to him in past weeks as somebody of interest by the organization.

Dominican Summer League Stats

The Cardinals hitting jumped up from .217 to .234.  The team is fifth in doubles, second in triples, fifth in strikeouts, sixth in stolen bases, and pretty much in the bottom half of the league in all other stats.

The Cardinals team ERA improved from 4.22 to 3.73 and their WHIP went from 1.61 to 1.53.  The team is fifth in strikeouts and middle of the pack in all other stats.

Luis Pimentel is tied for third in doubles.

Grabiel Hernandez is tied for second in triples and tied for tenth in stolen bases.

Roberto Reyes is tied for sixth in triples.

Eduard Estalis is tied for eighth in saves.

Next Up (Overall, vs. Cardinals)

June 21: Mariners (13-6, 3-3)

June 22: Day Off

June 23: @ Athletics (6-13, 3-3)

June 24: Phillies (9-10, 3-4)

June 25: @ Mariners (13-6, 3-3)

June 26: Athletics (6-13, 3-3)

June 27: @ Phillies (9-10, 3-4)

June 28: Mariners (13-6, 3-3)