Memphis Redbirds Notebook: 2010 Week 24

The defending champion Redbirds were swept by Tacoma in three during the Pacific Coast League finals.



This report covers the Pacific Coast League finals.


After sweeping the South Division-winning Oklahoma City RedHawks (Texas Rangers) in the best-of-five series for the American Conference championship, manager Chris Maloney's defending Pacific Coast League champion club faced National conference champion Tacoma (Seattle Mariners) in the PCL championship series. The five-game set began on Tuesday night, September 14 but ended on Friday as the Rainers' swept the Redbirds.


Due to reconstruction, the Rainiers' home field, Cheney Stadium, was unavailable for use and the nearby Seattle Mariners were playing at home, meaning Safeco Field was also tied up. As a result, Memphis was awarded all finals series contests, but was the "away" team in Games 1 and 2.


The Games


PCL Championship Series Game 1: Tuesday, 9/14: Tacoma 5, Memphis 3


Tacoma grabbed the lead for good in the bottom of the fifth inning on Justin Smoak's RBI single. Mike Wilson's sacrifice fly extended the Rainers' lead to its final two-run cushion.


Memphis starter Evan MacLane departed after 4 1/3 innings, charged with all five Tacoma runs. Three Redbirds relievers, Chuckie Fick, Matt Scherer and Rich Rundles, allowed just two baserunners and no runs over the final 3 2/3 innings, but the damage was done.


Tacoma's bullpen finished off the victory, spinning three scoreless innings and striking out six. Blake Beavan earned the win allowing three runs, two earned, on eight hits across six innings. Dan Cortes worked a perfect ninth to earn the save.


Smoak paced the Rainers' offense driving in three runs, including a two-run homer in the second inning. Greg Halman had three hits and Wilson knocked in two runs.


Perhaps the Redbirds offense was a bit rusty after three days off. Mark Hamilton and Donovan Solano each had two hits to lead Memphis with Solano driving in two runs.




Game 2: Wednesday, 9/15: Tacoma 11, Memphis 7


The Cardinals were down 4-0 after the first inning and 7-2 after two as Brandon Dickson was spanked nine runs in 3 1/3 innings. He yielded four home runs. Four of the Rainiers' runs were unearned as Mark Hamilton and Jim Rapoport committed errors. Oneli Perez followed Dickson and yielded two more tallies, including the fifth enemy long ball.


Hamilton had a two-run home run. Allen Craig had two doubles and scored twice. Amaury Cazana and Ruben Gotay also had two hits each and crossed home plate twice.


Four relievers combined for three shutout innings after the damage was done – Tyler Norrick, Francisco Samuel, Adam Reifer and Eduardo Sanchez – but the offense couldn't close the remainder of the gap despite every starter having collected at least one hit.




Game 3: Friday, 9/17: Tacoma 10 at Memphis 6 (11 innings)


The Redbirds broke out on top on a Mark Hamilton two-run home run in the first. The Rainiers cut the lead to one on a solo home run by former Major Leaguer Eliezer Alfonzo. Four of the five Tacoma runs on the fifth came off homeruns as P.J. Walters was done.


Daniel Descalso and Hamilton plated runs on singles in the bottom in the fifth to pull within 5-4. Matt Scherer yielded the fourth Tacoma home run in the sixth. RBI singles by Hamilton and Amaury Cazana in the seventh tied the game in the seventh.


The game remained scoreless until the 11th, when the Rainiers put the series away against Eduardo Sanchez. Tacoma sent nine men to the plate in their final at-bat. Dustin Ackley's one-out walk started the rally and Matt Mangini's single scored Ackley to put the Rainiers on top. Mike Carp's single drove in a run before Justin Smoak's two-run single capped the rally. Mangini finished the night with three hits to lead Tacoma. Mark Hamilton went 3-for-6 with four RBI to pace the Redbirds.





The stats


While the Redbirds scored a respectable 16 runs over the three games, their starting pitching was shredded, allowing the Rainiers to cross home plate 26 times.


PCL finals hot hitters


Amaury Cazana: 5-for-12, .417, 3 R, 2B, RBI, BB, K

Daniel Descalso: 5-for-15, .333, 2 R, RBI, 4 K

Mark Hamilton: 6-for-14, .429, 2 R, 2 HR, 6 RBI, 5 K

Jim Rapoport: 5-for-12, .357, 2 R, 2B, RBI, BB, K


PCL finals not hitters


Allen Craig: 3-for-13, .231, 2 R, 2 2B, 2 BB, 5 K

Tony Cruz: 3-for-12, .250, R, 2B, 2 RBI, BB, 4 K

Ruben Gotay: 3-for-12, .250, 3 R, 2B, BB, 4 K

Joe Mather: 1-for-14, .071, RBI, 6 K

Donovan Solano: 3-for-13, .231, R, 3 RBI, 2 K


PCL finals hot pitchers


Chuckie Fick: 1 2/3 IP, 1 H, 0 R/ER, 1 BB, 1 K, ERA 0.00

Josh Kinney: 2 IP, 4 H, 0 R/ER, 1 BB, 1 K, ERA 0.00

Adam Reifer: 2 IP: 1 H, 0 R/ER, 0 BB, 3 K, ERA 0.00

Rich Rundles: 1 2/3 IP, 0 H, 0 R/ER, 0 BB, 3 K, ERA 0.00

Francisco Samuel: 2/3 IP, 0 H, 0 R/ER, 0 BB, 2 K, ERA 0.00


PCL finals not pitchers


Brandon Dickson:  3 1/3 IP, 10 H, 9 R/5 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 4 HR, loss, ERA 13.47

Evan MacLane: 4 1/3 IP, 8 H, 5 R/ER, 1 BB, 4 K, 2 HR, loss, ERA 10.37

P.J. Walters:  6 IP, 5 H, 5 R/ER, 2 BB, 7 K, 3 HR, 2 WP, ERA 9.00

Oneli Perez:  1 2/3 IP, 2 H, 2 R/ER, 0 BB, 1 K, 1 HR, ERA 10.78

Eduardo Sanchez:  2 IP, 4 H, 4 R/ER, 2 BB, 3 K, loss, ERA 18.00




Nick Lachey, former boy band singer and reality TV star, is part-owner of the Rainiers and was on hand in Memphis for the celebration.


The annual one-game Triple-A National Championship, formerly known as the Brickyard Showdown, held between the PCL and International League champs, was held in Oklahoma City on Tuesday, September 21.


In the 2009 game, the Redbirds lost to the Durham Bulls (Tampa Bay), 5-4 in 11 innings. Durham finished 2010 with the best record in the IL (88-55) but like the Redbirds, the defending champs lost in the IL finals to the Columbus Clippers (Cleveland).


The Clippers defeated the Rainiers, 12-6 in the 2010 Triple-A National Championship Game.


Roster changes


Amazingly, between rounds, the Redbirds held their roster constant.


Following the finals sweep, the St. Louis Cardinals recalled five players. Four were already on the 40-man roster. They are first baseman Mark Hamilton, outfielders Joe Mather and Allen Craig and pitcher P.J. Walters. Left-handed pitcher Evan MacLane was outrighted to Memphis to make room for the fifth addition, second baseman Daniel Descalso, on the 40-man.


When catcher Yadier Molina was deemed out for the season due to a knee injury, Steven Hill was the sixth Redbird added to the post-season recall list. He joined the Cardinals in Chicago on Friday, September 24.


Earlier, outfielder Nick Stavinoha, shortstop Tyler Greene and catchers Matt Pagnozzi and Bryan Anderson had been added by St. Louis.



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