Diamond Diaries

Cardinal baseball, from the girls

Tag Archives: Kolten Wong

*Not an NFL Draft Post*

Oh, the pervasiveness of the stupid NFL draft…

Oscar Taveras

Oscar Taveras

Let’s talk baseball instead, shall we?

Exit McGregor

Exit McGregor

Last night, the Cardinals’ AAA Redbirds of Memphis faced the local Oklahoma City Redhawks in Bricktown for the 3rd match of a 4–game series.  The Redbirds struck first with an Oscar Taveras triple, scoring Shane Robinson and then Taveras scored on a wild pitch.  However, the lead was short-lived as Memphis’ starting pitcher, Scott McGregor had a rather messy outing, giving up 5 runs in just the first 2 innings, leaving Memphis with a differential their bats simply could not overcome.  Hard-throwing Memphis pitcher Jose Alamarante entered the game with two outs in the 2nd inning, pitched a 3-up, 3-down third inning and then gave up a double and a homerun in the 4th inning to give OKC a 2-7 lead.

Stephen Piscotty

Stephen Piscotty

A spark of hope was ignited at the top of the 5th when Kolten Wong hit a lead-off single, but Shane Robinson followed with a pop out and Oscar Taveras then flew out to CF.  Kolten Wong bit back and stole second, with Stephen Piscotty’s rbi single then scoring the speedy Wong (Memphis 3, OKC 7).  Piscotty, not to be outdone, followed up his single by stealing second and then got a bonus bag after a throwing error by OKC’s first baseman, Jon Singleton.  However Scott Mooore (walked in the 1st, singled in the 4th) struck out to end the inning and strand Piscotty at third base.

Heath Wyatt

Heath Wyatt

Submarine pitcher Heath Wyatt took the mound for the bottom of the 5th and faced just three batters – striking out two and inducing a pop out to Scott Moore at first. In the 6th inning, our old pal Pete Kozma smacked a double on a line drive to left field, but the Redbirds couldn’t bring him home.  Wyatt returned with his mesmerizing sidearm throw to strike out two more in the 6th (with a single and a pop out as well). Lefty Nick Greenwood entered the game throwing for Memphis in the 7th, hit a batter and gave up two singles (one run scored) before getting OKC to hit into a double play and a groundout to end the inning.  (Memphis 3, OKC 8).

This game is not going well!

This game is not going well!

Memphis bats failed to get anything going in the 8th inning, but Nick Greenwood returned for a clean bottom of the 8th – 3 up, 3 down with two ground outs fielded quickly and cleanly by second baseman, Kolten Wong.

Good ol’ Kozma drew a walk to kick off the top of the 9th, but was erased on the double play ball off the bat of catcher, Ed Easley.  All of our hope for a two-out Redbird rally was then quickly dashed as Luis Mateo grounded out to first.

That being said, it was a perfect night for kicking back and watching baseball.

Wong, Kozma, Moore and Mateo

Wong, Kozma, Moore and Mateo

Some observations from a Cardinal fan:

  • Shane Robinson (recently sent down from St. Louis) was visibly frustrated at the plate. He did draw a walk (and scored) to start the game, but grounded out, popped out and had a knee buckling strikeout in the 7th.
  • Oscar Taveras tripled (scored), walked, flew out to CF, and grounded out to 2nd.  I had hoped to be able to report on something impressive defensively, however I was disappointed.  Curiously Shane Robinson appeared to be covering far more outfield grass from LF than Taveras in CF.  And on the one occasion I watched Taveras field a hit (bottom of the 7th), a run scored easily from 2nd as Taveras did little to challenge, nonchalantly scooping the ball and holding onto it as the runner raced home.
  • Kolten Wong flew out, grounded into a double, singled (stole 2B, scored), and grounded out- a rather mediocre performance offensively.  Defensively, he started off a bit shaky, with a little trouble getting a ball out of his glove (but still making the out at first.)  However by the end of the game, Wong was flashing the leather quite well and giving us reason to ooh and aaah.
  • Ed Easley made some young fans, tossing both of my kiddos baseballs during the game – and I have to give him credit for catching a crazy first couple of innings when McGregor couldn’t find the plate!
  • Stephen Piscotty was hit by a pitch, ground into a double play and smacked 2 singles (one rbi), but his show-stopping moment came late as he chased a Matt Holliday-esque linedrive/almost-homerun to far right field line and caught it on the run with outstretched glove, looking over his shoulder.
  • But my absolute highlight of the night was watching Heath Wyatt take the mound.  I LOVE to watch the mechanics of sidearm and submarine pitchers, and Heath was brilliant.
Heath Wyatt Baseball

Heath Wyatt Baseball

After the final out, Heath came out of the dugout just as we were leaving – serendipity, I tell you!  He signed a ball for us and I’m going to add it to my collection of favorite baseball mementos.  I’ve been hoping to catch a game when Heath Wyatt pitches for a couple of years now.  And last night, a baseball wish came true.

Sometimes, it’s not getting the win that makes a baseball night special…

Thanks for reading.

~Erika

Souvenir Baseball Pic

Souvenir Baseball Pic

St Louis Cardinals, Spring Training 2014

A quick post to share player photos from our recent trip to sunny Jupiter, Florida – the Spring Training home of our beloved St. Louis Cardinals.  Photos (from the February 28th game against the Marlins and the March 2nd game against the Mets.)

Coming soon:  Photo diary with tips on how to be a baseball tourist in and around Jupiter Florida, Roger Dean stadium and the practice back fields.  (LINK HERE)

Click on any photo to enlarge and/or to shift through larger photos one at a time.  Enjoy!

Baseball is back!!  🙂

Photo Blog: Memphis Redbirds in OKC

Oscar Taveras, Kolten Wong, Ryan Jackson, Adron Chambers, Jamie Romak, Michael Wacha, Barret Browning, Sam Freeman, Victor Marte, Maikel Cleto, John Gast, Seth Maness, Eduardo Sanchez…

If you recognize any of those names, you might be a Memphis Redbirds fan.

Memphis is in town this weekend for the OKC Redhawks Home Opener, and our boys are spoiling all the fun for the Redhawks.  Two games down and Memphis has whupped up on OKC  10-6 on Friday night and 8-7 Saturday night.  Here are some photos from our seats in the stands for those of you who couldn’t make it to Oklahoma to cheer on the baby birds personally.

First up:  Saturday’s starting pitcher, Michael Wacha. (5 IP, 3H, 3R, 2ER, 1BB, 3SO, 1 HR, 4.0 ERA)

wacha 4

wacha 3

wacha mound visitwacha 2

Next: hot prospect OF Oscar Taveras

taveras

taveras swing

And here’s a few of another highly anticipated name:  Kolten Wong, IF

wong at 2B

wong

Manager Pop Warner at the pregame meeting at the plate:

pop warner pregame

pitcher Barret Browning pitched the 8th on Friday, gave up a HR, walked 1 & struck out 1

browning

Seth Maness, starting pitcher on Friday, pitched a solid 6 innings, allowing only 1 run, striking out 6 with 2 walks.

maness

Sam Freeman, LH pitcher who saw some time in St. Louis last season, pitched the 6th & part of the 7th on Saturday with 3H, 1 run, no walks, and 1 SO.

freeman

and then there was Adron Chambers, who although struggling at the plate, is always smiling.

adron with crowd

Today’s game time: 2:05 at the Bricktown Ballpark. Then Monday night the Redbirds finish up the series (and hopefully a sweep??) first pitch at 7:05pm.

Come help us cheer on the Baby Birds!  😉

Sparks from the Farm: My Top 7 Cardinal Prospects List

In September, the UCB (United Cardinals Bloggers) combine their efforts once again, this time to determine the top 7 Cardinal prospects.  We were each invited to select our Top 7 candidates.

How does one rank a prospect?  Well, I am taking the liberty of using my female fan intuition (for the fellas, that would be “gut instinct”) along with whatever stats tend to back me up.  Honestly, my rankings favor the guys I’ve followed more closely, the guys in AA and AAA.  And granted, some of them earned bonus points for that elusive quality of “being more fun to watch” or having that extra spark of personality, but all are players I’ll be keeping an eye on over the coming years.  So, here are my top seven Baby Bird prospects.  (okay, I have 12. But really…  How was I supposed to pick just 7?!) 😉

Shelby Miller

#1- Shelby Miller.  So far Shelby’s arm has lived up to the hype surrounding the Cardinals’ 2009 first-round draft pick. Pitching in AA Springfield this season, Shelby earned a 9-3 record with a 2.7 ERA.  Miller made headlines in August when off-field drama resulted in a one-week suspension for his violating team policy in an alcohol-related incident, but Shelby shut the book on 2011 with an impressive 8 innings of shutout baseball and 9 strikeouts during his final appearance on September 2nd.

#2 – Matt Adams.  Matt played first base for AA Springfield this season, raking 32 homeruns with 101 RBI and ending 2011 batting .300 and slugging .566 with an OPS of .923 (stats compliments of baseball-reference.com.)  Matt snagged high honors too, voted Texas League Player of the Year for 2011. The question for 2012: Can Matt maintain that power in AAA and translate it into big league success?

#3 – Carlos Martinez:  Martinez, the highly anticipated right-hander from the Dominican Republic, signed with the Cardinals last Fall.  Still a teenager (he turns 20 this month), Martinez is a true flamethrower (mid to upper 90’s) with a curveball, slider and possibly a changeup (by some reports) to supplement his primary fastball .  The Cardinals are understandably drooling over the potential of this young arm.  Martinez started the 2011 season in A level ball in Quad Cities (2.33 ERA, 8 games) and was promoted to high-A Palm Beach (5.28 ERA, 10 games).

Tony Cruz

#4 – Tony Cruz.  Tony logged playing time in 34 Major League games this season, establishing a hold on the backup-backup catcher position.  However, Cruz’ versatility was also on display earlier in the season when he covered 1B, 2B, 3B and outfield as needed.  Plus Cruz did throw out a respectable 50% of base-stealers during his MLB service (small sample size alert.)  Versatility.  Strong, accurate arm.  Backup catcher batting .258? (.262 with 4 HR in AAA Memphis during 2011)  What’s not to like?

Brandon Dickson

#5 – Brandon Dickson.  Made his first Major League start on September 1 in Milwaukee and pitched into the 4th inning, striking out 3 but giving up 2 homeruns in an eventual Cardinal win against the Brewers (8-4).  Dickson has a strong resume in the farm system including a 2009 ERA (AA) of 3.78,  2010 ERA (AAA) of 3.23 and 2011 ERA (AAA) at 3.95.  He’s put in the time, showing consistency and effectiveness. I expect Dickson to be a solid contributor from the Cardinal bullpen in 2012.

#6– Matt Carpenter. You may remember, Matt had a brief (but lackluster) stint in St. Louis for a week in early June. However, Matt did hit .300 (OPS .880) with 12 HR and 70 RBI for Memphis this year.  Matt’s name continues to pop up in top prospect lists all over Cardinal Nation, and I’m giving him a spot in mine because 1) the baseball gurus believe in him and 2) I’m still curious to see what he’s got.  Granted, in the few games (small sample size alert) that I’ve been able to watch Matt firsthand, his bat wasn’t popping.  Maybe I’m bad luck?  Nah…. 😉

#7 – Zack Cox First round draft choice in 2010, Zack moved up from Palm Beach to AA Springfield this year where he ended the season batting .306 with 13 homeruns (A+ and AA combined).  Even those of us with intense loyalty to our current 3rd baseman cannot deny that Zack Cox has potential written all over him.

Honorable Mentions:  Because an even dozen is even better than just 7.

* Kolten Wong:  Highly touted 2011 first-round June draft pick.  Wong plays 2B and batted .335 with a .911 OPS for Quad Cities this year.  In a recent interview, Wong’s love for the game was not only obvious, but inspiring.  There’s nothing quite as wonderful as watching a ballplayer who truly ENJOYS being on the field and SAVORS the opportunity.

Adron Chambers

*Adron Chambers.  Cardinal Nation got their first glimpse of Chambers at Busch Stadium on September 6th when he made his Major League debut as a pinch runner. On September 9th, again pinch-running, Chambers tore into 2nd base in an aggressive slide, taking out Dan Uggla, in an admirable and bullish attempt to break up the double play. Chambers batted .277, playing centerfield for AAA Memphis this year and stole 22 bases.  If he can trim down his strikeouts and improve his OBP, Chambers could be an entertaining menace on the basepaths for the Cardinals.  Adron does get bonus points for his extreme likeability.  Whether you’ve met him in person or just heard reports of his character, you can’t help but cheer for Chambers.

*Maikel Cleto:  The remnant of our Brendan Ryan trade.  Thankfully, Cleto has some upside.  He can throw hard and FAST, reaching triple digits at times.  Cleto sped through the system this year, starting in Palm Beach (2.48 ERA), to AA Springfield (3.93 ERA) and then AAA Memphis (4.29 ERA).  Cleto was rushed to the Majors briefly in June (after injuries had depleted the Cardinal bullpen) with disappointing results but returned this month with a much better result:  4 batters faced, 1 hit, 2 Ks and no earned runs to close the 9th in the Cardinals 4-1 loss to Milwaukee. If Cleto continues to improve his command and control as well as develop his secondary pitches, he may be a valuable arm in the pen.

*John Gast:   Drafted in 2010, Gast moved from Palm Beach to Springfield this year with a 4.02 ERA. He impressed the Cardinals during his first Spring Training, earning the right to stick around far longer than most expected.  Praise for Gast’s killer pick-off move is hedged with worries about command. However this lefty hurler, who had TJ surgery out of highschool, remains an alluring prospect, especially for a team that values their LOOGYs.

*Heath Wyatt:  Drafted in June 2011, Wyatt pitched in relief for the Johnson City Cardinals (A), earned a 3-1 win/loss record as a reliever and a 3.24  ERA with a ratio of 30 strikeouts to 7 walks (25 innings).  Okay, okay…. None of that is important as the primary reason he’s on my list.  Heath’s a SUBMARINER – and that’s a guaranteed Gold Glove for “watchability” in my opinion.

Want to read more about the sparks in the Cardinal farm system?  Check out who made the Top 7 Prospect lists of the other UCB members here.

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