VSL Cardinals Report: June 21, 2009

By Josh Jones, Cardinals Best News Links

The Venezuelan Summer League Cardinals has another slow week in the winning department taking only two of six games this period.  The team will be riding a three-game losing streak into the next week.  The Cardinals have fallen under the .500 mark with a 14-15 record overall and sit in fourth place and eight games out.  The club is now 8-7 on the road and 6-8 when defending their home territory.  But not is all lost as the team saw an increase in power as they have now clubbed a total of 19 home runs on the season (four shy of 2008’s total of 23) and have jacked one out in eight of their last ten games.

The Cardinals opened this period up visiting the Mets.  The Mets took an early lead scoring four in the third and knocking out the Redbirds starter.  The Redbirds were held within check the hole game and made their own comeback late in the game plating four runs in the eighth and taking a one run lead.  The Cardinals’ closer couldn’t hold the lead and gave up the game in the eighth as the Mets won 6-5.

The Cardinals stayed on the road and took on the Phillies in the second game of the week.  The Phillies struck first, but the Cardinals came back to tie and win in a low scoring game.  The Redbirds received solid pitching from their starter and bullpen and held the Phils to only four hits and two runs.  The Cardinals won 3-2.

The Tigers came town in the next game and the Cardinals tore them up.  The game was tied up heading into the fifth at 3-3 and the Redbirds capitalized on some Tiger mishaps.  The Cardinals twice scored four in the following four frames and the bullpen held the Tigers to one run as the Cards went on to win 13-4.

The Pirates welcomed in the Cardinals in the following game and jumped on them quick.  The Bucs scored five in the first three frames for an early lead and tacked on another two runs on Cardinals errors.  The Redbirds had the hits but couldn’t get the runners across the plate and lost 7-3.

The Cardinals stayed on the road and visited the Mariners and were beat on in this game.  Again errors by the Cardinals came back to bite and the M’s knocked the Redbirds’ ace out after four innings.  The Mariners plated ten runs in the fifth, including eight on one Cards reliever, and went on to win 14-6.

The Cardinals ended the period with their third straight road game, this time against the Rays.  The Redbirds took an early lead of 5-2 until the bullpen took over in the sixth.  In The sixth, the relievers coughed up the lead and game allowing the Rays to score eight in two innings.  The Rays won 10-7.

Who’s Hot

Carlos Yegues broke out the hot stick and will be carrying a four-game multi-hit streak into the next week.  The 18-year old right-handed hitter went 9-for-29 (.450) with one double, three home runs, nine RBIs, five runs, and two strikeouts.  Yegues has managed to play himself into the starting lineup, getting time in at second and third base, and is tied for second on the team in home runs, second in RBIs, and second in SLG.

Hector Garcia found his swing after slumping recently.  The 19-year old right-handed hitter went 8-for-22 (.364) with three doubles, two RBIs, three runs, two walks, and four strikeouts.  Garcia assisted in one double play, committed one throwing error, and is riding a six-game hitting streak.

Jem Argenal is another that broke his bat back out after a short slump.  The 17-year old left-handed hitter went 7-for-19 (.368) with two doubles, one RBI, four runs, and five strikeouts.  He played two of his six games at first and will bring a four-game hitting streak into the next period.

Kaizer Hinojoza has also caught fire and even pushed himself into a starting role for the Cardinals.  The 18-year old right-handed hitter went 7-for-25 (.280) with three doubles, one triple, one RBI, five runs, two walks, nine strikeouts, and one caught stealing.  He began the week with a five-game hitting streak, broke up on June 19, and drilled his first career home run in the last week on June 13.  Hinojoza has become the everyday right fielder and showed off the cannon throwing out a couple runners on June 17.

Deimer Bier was one of two pitchers in the rotation to put together a solid start this past week.  On June 15, the 18-year old right-hander pitched five innings allowing three hits, two earned runs, two walks, and struck out five.  Bier has made it through five innings in three of his six starts this season, struck out five or more in two outings, and has the second best ERA (3.52) among the starting rotation.

Carlos Oraa made his return to the rotation after missing a little over a week and was just as effective as usual.  The 19-year old right-hander ate up the most innings by any starter this week, on June 16,  going six and gave up five hits, three earned runs, two walks, threw two wild pitches, and struck out five.  He picked up his first winning decision of the season and has struck out five or more in two of five starts.

Who’s Not

Alexander Castellano played himself out of an everyday role and is still having problems at the plate.  The 20-year old went 2-for-13 (.154) with two doubles, six strikeouts and one caught stealing.  Castellano has gone 4-for-22 (.182) with no RBIs in his last ten games and leads the team in strikeouts with 26.  The Colombian born native had one outfield assist and one fielding error while playing in left field.

Hector Corpas had one great relief appearance and was plastered to the wall in his second.  The 19-year old right-hander pitched three hitless and scoreless innings on June 15.  He struck out a season-high three, earned his second save of the season, and hit one batter for the only runner allowed by him in the game.  Things flipped in his next save opportunity on June 20, as he was clubbed for four hits, four earned runs, one walk, and struck out only one in two-thirds of an inning.  Corpas also let all three inherited runners score and had his first blown save of the season.

Moises Colorado again struggled in his second start of the season.  The 19-year old left-hander lased just two and a third innings allowing three hits, four earned runs, three walks, threw one wild pitch, and struck out three.  In his only two starts this season he has only lasted into or through the third inning and picked up a losing decision in one of them.  Colorado has struck out 24 batters over 20.2 innings, which is the best among the pitching staff.

Fernando Cedeno, like Corpas, started off fine and was just clobbered in his last outing.  The 19-year old right-hander picked up his second winning decision on June 15, allowing one hit no run, and striking out one over an inning of work.  Everything came crumbling down for him on June 19, when he was tagged for six hits, eight earned runs, and two walks, over a third of an inning.  This was indeed Cedeno’s worst game of his career and his ERA has shot up to over 10.00 (now at 10.80).

Ramon Ulacio had two not so pretty relief appearances this last week.  The 18-year old right-hander made his first on June 16, pitching one inning and giving up one hit, one earned run, one walk, one balk, hit one batter, threw one wild pitch, and struck out one.  The on June 19, Ulacio coughed up two hits, two earned runs, one walk, and struck out one over two-thirds of an inning.  His season ERA sits at 6.39, but he’s struck out 13 and walked only five over 12.2 innings.

The Happenings

Both Jose Weffer and Angelo Echeverria have not pitched since June 12.

John De Aguas hasn’t made an appearance since June 14.

Fabian Marquez made his return on June 19, after missing 17 days, pitching a hitless and scoreless inning for the Cardinals.

Venezuelan Summer League Stats

The Cardinals hitting improved from .265 up to .268, which is good for second in the league.  In the seven-team league they rank second in hits, total bases, OBP, SLG, and OPS.  They rank third in walks and fourth in home runs.

The Cardinals’ pitching took a major hit as their team ERA jumped from 4.19 to 4.63 (second worst) and their WHIP went up three notches to 1.54 (tied for last).  The team is tied for second in shut outs, first in saves, and rank as one of the worst in walks allowed.

Jem Argenal is eighth in batting average.

Roberto Perez is ninth in batting average, tied for fifth in home runs, tied for seventh in RBIs, tied for fifth in total bases, tied for fifth in walks, sixth in OBP, third in SLG, and third in OPS.

Anthony Fonseca is tied for tenth in runs scored, tied for seventh in home runs.

Hector Garcia is tied for third in doubles.

Jose Cortez is tied for eighth in doubles.

Hildemaro Vargas is tied for fourth in triples and seventh in stolen bases.

Alexander Castellano is fourth in triples.

Carlos Yegues is tied for seventh in home runs.

Osmir Medina is tied for seventh in stolen bases.

Javier Avendano is tied for second in ERA, tied for eighth in wins, tied for sixth in innings pitched, and fifth in strikeouts.

Deimer Bier is tied for eighth in wins.

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

Fernando Cedeno is tied for eighth in wins and second in holds.

Francisco Guzman is tied for first in saves and first in game finishes.

Hector Corpas is tied for seventh in saves.

Next Up (Overall, vs. Cardinals)

June 21: Mets (13-15, 1-3)

June 22: Phillies (11-18, 2-3)

June 23: @ Tigers (10-19, 0-5)

June 24: Pirates (22-7, 5-0)

June 25: Off Day

June 26: Mariners (15-14, 4-1)

June 27: Rays (16-13, 3-2)