photo: Dylan Carlson and Joe Kruzel (Springfield Cardinals FANatic Photos)
2019 was the year of Dylan Carlson in Springfield, Missouri.
The then 20-year old sensation is a must-watch talent. From his eye-opening home runs onto the roof of Bill Rowe Training Facility to big hit after big hit – he will be remembered as one of the greatest Springfield Cardinals ever.
Now, you can relive all those Carlson moments and more.
On Monday, March 27, Minor League Baseball announced it is offering a free preview of MiLB.TV, its subscription-based streaming service, to all fans during the delay of the 2020 season.
The MiLB.TV archives include over 18,000 hours of content, including every Triple-A and Double-A game from 2019 and more than 1,500 games from other classifications. The 6,500 games streamed on MiLB.TV can be accessed online at MiLB.TV or on Apple and Android devices with the MiLB First Pitch app.
“We all miss baseball, and by providing a free preview of MiLB.TV, we hope to help fans engage and stay connected with the game they love,” said Minor League Baseball’s Senior Vice President of Digital Strategy and Business Development Katie Davison in a statement.
“We know fans are coping with a lot of change in their lives these days and hopefully this will enable them to re-live the countless memories and highlights from last season in the comfort of their homes.”
But which games from the 2019 season were the best of the best for the Springfield Cardinals? Here are seven games we consider a must-watch for Cardinals fans eagerly anticipating the return of baseball, with the links to take you straight to the action.
- Cardinals erase 4-run deficit in extras
There’s nothing like a comeback win – and this game certainly showcased that.
Springfield was playing catch up all night on July 13 against the Arkansas Travelers (SEA). Trailing 7-3 after the Travelers put four on the board in the top of the 11th, infielder Zach Kirtley quickly cut the deficit in half with a two-run home run to lead off the inning. After shortstop Rayder Ascanio grounded out, infielder Michael Perri reached on a single to right and advanced to third on a wild pitch and a passed ball. Shortstop Alberto Triunfel then popped out for the second out, but Carlson was hit by a pitch to keep the inning alive.
Next, outfielder Lars Nootbaar ripped a two-out single that scored Triunfel and brought the Cardinals within a run. The very next pitch ended up as the walk-off from infielder Yariel Gonzalez, which was a three-run homer to cap a 9-7 comeback walk-off win for the S-Cards.
- Shew outduels Kershaw, but Drillers walk off late
It’s not every day a minor league team gets an opportunity to face a three-time Cy Young Award winner and future Hall of Famer. Springfield received that rare opportunity on April 9 and made the most of it, facing rehabbing Dodgers star Clayton Kershaw in Tulsa.
In this game, right-hander Anthony Shew went toe-to-toe with Kershaw on the mound. At the plate, shortstop Kramer Robertson and Carlson both took him deep.
“I knew I got it well,” Robertson said later in the season. “I heard the fans kind of gasp because like, ‘Wow. That just happened.’ For me, I was just trying to take it as this is just another guy. My numbers are going to count today as they would against anybody else.
“When you look back on it, you’re like, ‘Wow, that is Clayton Kershaw. Cy Young Winner. Future Hall of Famer.’ It was a cool moment when I’m looking back on it. It’s something I can cherish forever.”
- Springfield completes sweep of Naturals thanks to third walk-off in four days
The 2019 Cardinals were known for their late-game heroics. On April 14, Springfield completed a sweep of NW Arkansas (KC) via the team’s third walk-off win in four days.
Second baseman Irving Lopez started the series with a walk-off home run and he ended it with one to conclude the set. Lopez’s two-run shot on April 14 came with one out in the bottom of the 10th with outfielder Scott Hurst at second.
- Carlson nearly cycles as Cards blow past Naturals
May 17 was perhaps Carlson’s best offensive game in 2019. With a solo home run, a three-run triple and a double, the precocious prospect helped power Springfield past NW Arkansas for a 10-4 win.
Carlson’s home run traveled 400 feet to right field. The center fielder missed the cycle by just a single, but finished with four runs batted in and one stolen base.
Performances like this one enabled the 20-year old to become the Texas League Player of the Year.
- Oviedo has career-best performance, K’s 11
In another must-watch game from the 2019 season, Springfield received an outstanding performance from the dynamic right-arm of Johan Oviedo.
Oviedo tossed a career-high 11 strikeouts in the win. That was also the most by a Cardinals pitcher in 2019, and the most since right-hander Alex Reyes struck out 13 in a rehab start against the Northwest Arkansas Naturals on May 19, 2018 at Hammons Field.
Oviedo allowed just one run on six hits over seven complete innings. He issued no walks.
“I could see him in a big-league rotation as soon as next year if he keeps that up,” one scout said after his outing.
- Carlson delivers Cardinals 9th walk-off
The ninth and final walk-off of the season for the Cardinals occurred on July 28 and was Carlson’s only walk-off hit in 2019. Springfield entered the bottom of the ninth tied 5-5 after Connor Jones kept Corpus Christi (HOU) off the board in the top half of the inning. With Rayder Ascanio at second and Irving Lopez at first with two outs, Carlson hit a hard grounder that bounced off the glove of diving Seth Beer at first base and rolled into right field, allowing Ascanio to score standing up.
Dylan Carlson has arguably been the best player in the Texas League this season. He adds a walk-off hit to his resume tonight for @Sgf_Cardinals. #STLCards pic.twitter.com/vBz2e21XZ8
— Derek Shore (@D_Shore23) July 29, 2019
- Cards alone in 1st place after 12-1 romping over Sod Poodles
On July 24, Springfield found themselves alone atop the Texas League North Division for the first time all season after a 12-1 win over Amarillo (SD).
While the bats got the attention, Tommy Parsons tossed a gem on the mound, allowing one run on six hits and a walk over eight innings and striking out eight. Five Cardinals finished with at least two hits, led by a 3-for-3 line by outfielder Conner Capel and a 3-for-4 night by Carlson. Yariel Gonzalez, catcher Brian O’Keefe and outfielder Justin Toerner had two hits apiece.
Springfield sat alone in first place for the first time since June 5, 2018.
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Follow Derek Shore on Twitter @D_Shore23.
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