2010 held great promise for the St. Louis Cardinals' Triple-A affiliate, defending Pacific Coast League champions. The coaching staff, headed by manager Chris Maloney, returned as did a number of their 2009 contributors.
The opening day staff was anchored by 2009 ace Evan MacLane and prospect Adam Ottavino, joined by MLB veteran Rich Hill, 2009 Cardinals organizational Pitcher of the Year Lance Lynn and unheralded Brandon Dickson, the latter two promoted from Double-A Springfield.
The roster looked strong up the middle with a group of returnees that included catchers Bryan Anderson and Matt Pagnozzi, the second base-shortstop combination of Daniel Descalso and Tyler Greene along with centerfielder Shane Robinson.
Three Redbirds were out of action in early April. Starter P.J. Walters was on the temporary inactive list while first baseman Mark Hamilton (thumb) and swingman Trey Hearne (shoulder) began the season on the disabled list.
The regular season
The Redbirds began slowly with 14 of their first 22 on the road. A 9-13 April resulted, including a season-worst five-game losing streak. At that point, the club hit what would be their low point all season, seven games out of first place.
Momentum changed quickly. On the heels of an 18-10 May that included a sharp 11-5 home tally, the Redbirds entered June with a winning record overall and found themselves just two games off the American North division lead.
Despite a middling 15-14 June, the
club actually picked up a game in the standings and had two stints in first
place totaling six days during the month. The 49-42 first half ended with a July
11 home victory over
Home cooking was again key in July
as the Redbirds took 12 of 16 at
On September 2,
That became important as the Redbirds dropped the final two before storming back to win a 15-inning marathon in Game 3 and eking out a 7-6 victory in the final regular season contest to earn a berth in the conference championship.
A historical view
With their 82-62 record,
The Redbirds entered the
post-season for the second consecutive year – something that had not been
accomplished since the Cardinals moved their Triple-A affiliation to
Strong starting pitching
performances were key in the American Conference Championship Series as the
Up next was
Just as pitching led the way in
Round 1, it failed
Maloney and staff did a fine job through an amazing amount of churn. By my count, the Redbirds had at least 125 roster changes during the season. Obviously, there are too many to list individually, but here are a few of the highlights.
Salas set what I believe is a
record, having been called up to
After starting the season on the
major league roster, Allen Craig was recalled four times. Joe Mather also made
the opening day roster in
Jay was really the only 2010 Redbird with MLB staying power as he stuck on his second time up, which began on July 3.
Despite a reliance on youngsters,
the Cardinals also signed a number of major league veterans for the Redbirds.
Especially on the pitching side, the results were middling at best. The former
Cubs star Hill was moved to relief before being released in late June. Veteran
lefty Renyel Pinto was added on July 1 after his release by
Veteran minor league infielder
Mike Folli was with the club for a month, up from
Well-traveled outfielder Amaury Cazana was loaned to
On the pitching side, Parise
injured his shoulder before April was out, returned in May, but by the end of
June was hurt again and missed the remainder of the season. Norrick also injured
his shoulder in the season's first month and didn't work his way back to the
Redbirds until late August. Hearne had continuing shoulder problems and ended up
After missing most of April with
the aforementioned thumb injury,
In a chain reaction from the
injuries suffered by Jason LaRue in
Stavinoha, Greene, Pagnozzi and Anderson had been added by
Lineups and batting orders
The most common regular-season lineups and batting orders used by Maloney this past season follow, with post-season designated as +x.
Team hitting and pitching
As a team, the
|Memphis||Season||PCL rank||Memphis||Season||PCL rank|
|Offense||#||of 16||Pitching||#||of 16|
|Doubles||268||9th||HR allow||143||6th most|
Individual hitting and pitching leaders
Ruben Gotay, primarily a second baseman who became the regular third baseman, was an on-base specialist all season long. Craig plated at team-best 81 in just 83 games.
|Hitting leaders||Pitching leaders|
|* team record|
Lynn and Dickson were back-to-back organizational Pitchers of the Month for May and June, respectively. Cardinals organization Players of the Month were Jay in April and Anderson in June.
Here at The Cardinal Nation, we also selected Jay as April Player of the Month and tabbed Craig in June. Salas earned our top Pitcher award for May.
The Redbirds had three PCL
Pitchers of the Week – Walters (May 10-16), Salas (July 5-11) and Dickson
Dickson, Salas and Greene were
selected as mid-season PCL All-Stars. Greene was unable to participate in the game due
to one of his promotions to
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