BlueClaws second baseman Adrian Cardenas stepped to the plate Monday night at FirstEnergy Park and saw a familiar face on the mound for the Delmarva Shorebirds in that of Pedro Beato. The two have had many opportunities to face each other during the year with 31 games being played between the two teams. The conclusion of the season series came on Monday night and Cardenas promptly greeted Beato with a line drive single to right.
This meeting was a little different from the last time they met, but ended with the same result. A week ago the two met in the All-Star Futures game at Pacific Bell Park in San Francisco. Representing Team USA, Cardenas hit a looper down the left field line that landed just inside the foul line for a single in his only at bat of the game. Cardenas was only the second BlueClaw to play in the Futures game following Carlos Carrasco, who was selected to the Futures game in 2006 as a BlueClaw. Team USA dropped a 7-2 decision to the World Team, but Cardenas had a memorable trip nonetheless.
Cardenas’ single off Beato Monday night was slighty more impressive than his single in the Futures game, but they were both a hit in the box score. “I’ll take that hit during the season, but it wasn’t what I was looking to do in an All-Star game”, said Cardenas on his bloop single in the Futures game. Cardenas was anticipating a match-up with hard throwing lefty Franklin Morales, a Colorado Rockies farmhand. Morales started the sixth inning, but was relieved by Beato. “ I was actually looking forward to facing Morales, I’ve never hit against a lefty throwing a 97 mph fastball”. So, some 3,000 miles away from their respective teams the two met on a much bigger stage. “We joked before the game about facing each other and I told him to throw me a first pitch fastball”. Beato must have thought about their conversation and he threw a first pitch curveball. Cardenas singled on the next pitch keeping the inning alive for Team USA, bringing the tying run to the plate. However, it was to no avail as Beato retired the next hitter to end the inning. “I wasn’t thrilled with my hit, but I was happy to keep the inning alive and give us a chance to tie the game up”, said Cardenas on his single.
Along with his hit, Cardenas had a great experience in San Francisco. “It was great playing in front of so many fans and being around the other great players in a great ballpark”, said Cardenas on his experience. He was able to turn double plays with Ozzie Smith and mingle with the likes of Dave Winfield and Ernie Banks. Cardenas and his teammates were able to watch the Homerun Derby and take part in the All-Star festivities. “This is definitely an incentive to make it to the big leagues”, said Cardenas on his overall experience at the 2007 Futures game.
The BlueClaws Beat:
The BlueClaws are currently off to a 15-9 start, leading the Northern Division of the South Atlantic League. They are 48-40 overall on the year. They are looking to claim the second half title and defend their 2006 SAL championship.
The BlueClaws welcomed their 3 millionth fan Monday night, becoming the fastest team in SAL and New Jersey history to do so.
Antonio Bastardo has been a major player in the BlueClaws second half resurgence. The lefty starter is 5-0 with a 1.64 ERA.
R.J. Swindle has taken hold of the closers role and converted 8 of 9 save opportunities with a 1.21 ERA.
Quintin Berry has become one of the SAL top leadoff men, hitting .316 with 37 stolen bases.
Carl Henry, Jr., a former 1st round pick in 2005 by the New York Yankees continues to struggle, hitting just .169 on the season with 105 strikeouts in 249 at bats.
The BlueClaws welcome 1st half champion West Virginia to FirstEnergy Park on Tuesday 7/16 for a 4 game series.