Memphis Redbirds Notebook: 2011 Week 5

The Cardinals' Triple-A club continues to struggle to find the timely hit, going 2-5 on the week. Andrew Brown and Matt Carpenter are among the hot hitters.

The big picture

This report covers the week from Thursday, May 5 through Wednesday, May 11.

Manager Chris Maloney's Memphis Redbirds began the week with the final five contests of an eight-game road trip that began in New Orleans (Florida) and finished in Albuquerque (Dodgers). Sacramento (Oakland) arrived at AutoZone Park for a four-game set that began Tuesday.

Following the 2-5 period which included a 1-4 conclusion to the road trip and a 1-1 start to the homestand, the 12-20 Redbirds remain in third place in the American North Division, and have fallen 6 1/2 games behind first-place Omaha. The Redbirds are likely happy to be done until next month with New Orleans, against whom they are 1-7 to date in 2011.

The Redbirds are often in their games, but can't seem to get over the final hump. They are 4-12 in one-run games this season and are 1-16 when trailing through eight innings. Memphis is 3-12 on the road.

Game summaries

Thursday, May 5: New Orleans 5, Memphis 4 (11 innings)
Andrew Brown hit his first 2011 home run, a two-run shot, to give Memphis a 4-3 lead, but the Zephyrs tied the game in the seventh and won in extras. Rich Rundles took the loss on an unearned run after Matt Carpenter's bases-loaded error allowed the game-winner to score. Brown finished with a 3-for-4 evening. P.J. Walters started and allowed four runs on eight hits while striking out six over seven innings.

Friday, May 6: Albuquerque 8, Memphis 7
The Redbirds blew an early 7-2 lead and didn't score after the third. Brandon Dickson started and took the loss as he allowed all eight runs on 13 hits in 6 1/3 innings. Adron Chambers went 2-for-5 with two doubles and Andrew Brown hit a two-run home run in the losing effort.

Saturday, May 7: Albuquerque 7, Memphis 6
With the score tied at 6-6 in the ninth, the Redbirds lost in walk-off fashion. Victor Marte took the defeat after a collision at first base knocked the ball away from Nick Stavinoha and the unearned run crossed the plate. Raul Valdes started and allowed four runs on five hits and struck out five over five innings. Stavinoha was 2-for-4 with a double and a solo home run. Tony Cruz was also 2-for-4 with a solo homer.

Sunday, May 8: Memphis 6 at Albuquerque 4
On Mother's Day, the Redbirds broke their five-game losing streak. Nick Stavinoha had a two-run home run and Aaron Luna added a solo shot. Lance Lynn got the win despite yielding all four runs over six innings. He fanned seven. The pen came through as Pete Parise and Cory Rauschenberger each logged a shutout inning with Victor Marte collecting his third save.

Monday, May 9: Albuquerque 4, Memphis 3
Adam Ottavino took the loss as he allowed four runs on 13 hits while striking out six over 6 2/3 innings. Jason Buursma threw a perfect 1 1/3 innings in relief. Andrew Brown hit his third home run of the season and finished 2-for-4 with two RBI. Bryan Anderson was 2-for-3 with a double.

Tuesday, May 10: Memphis 10, Sacramento 8
Matt Carpenter led the way, driving in four via a pair of two-run doubles and going 3-for-4 on the night. Jim Rapoport added three hits. Cory Rauschenberger earned the win, pitching 1 2/3 scoreless innings of relief while Victor Marte picked up his fourth save. Starter P.J. Walters was charged with seven earned runs over five innings.

Wednesday, May 11: Sacramento 7 at Memphis 0
Despite six hits and six walks collected against three River Cats hurlers, the Redbirds couldn't collect a clutch hit and suffered the shutout home defeat. Two of the runs were unearned as the result of a pair of Memphis errors. Brandon Dickson yielded four runs, three earned, over six innings and took the loss. Aaron Luna reached base three times.

On the Mend

The new addition to the disabled list this past week was left-handed reliever Rich Rundles. The 29-year-old suffered a bruised left hand and was placed on the DL retroactive to May 6.

Outfielder Shane Robinson remains out a considerable length of time following surgeries on his face and hand as the result of his April 16 collision with Andrew Brown.

Reliever Adam Reifer is done for the season with a torn knee ligament.

Outfielder Daryl Jones has been on the disabled list since April 25 with an undisclosed injury.

One Redbird began the season on the disabled list and remains there, right-handed reliever Francisco Samuel (lat injury). I saw Samuel toss his first inning in extended spring training last Saturday.

On the Move

To replace Rundles on the active roster, left-hander Nick Additon was promoted from Springfield on Wednesday. In six Double-A starts, Additon posted a 2-0 record and a 2.85 ERA over 41 innings. The 23-year-old walked only five while fanning 32.

Who's Hot

Victor Marte. The closer has allowed just one earned run in 13 2/3 innings of relief (11 appearances) this season (0.66 ERA) and has converted four of six save opportunities.

Cory Rauschenberger. The busy reliever has allowed just one run in four May outings totaling 6 1/3 innings. His Memphis ERA is down to 1.65.

Matt Carpenter. The third baseman is batting 11-for-30 (.367) in May and has raised his season average to .298 in the process. With an impressive 16:25 strikeout to walk ratio, Carpenter has brought his on-base mark up to .448.

Andrew Brown. The clean-up hitter is on fire. Brown has a current seven-game hitting streak during which he has 11 hits in 23 at-bats (.478), three home runs and seven RBI. The right-handed hitter has raised his season line to .349/.419/.571.

Ramon Vazquez. The veteran infielder has hits in 11 of his last 12 games and due to a .370 May to-date, has brought his season average to .349, tying Brown for the team lead.

Who's Not

Adron Chambers. The outfielder continues in his offensive slide with a .154 (4-for-26) month of May so far.

Pete Kozma. The shortstop's struggles with the bat are increasing during his second month in Triple-A. Kozma is just 4-for-29 (.138) in May after a .205 April. Overall, Pete has just three extra-base hits in 117 at-bats with a season line of .188/.256/.214.

Donovan Solano. Despite being the club's designated hitter on Wednesday, the reserve infielder can't buy a hit. An 0-for-9 May has dropped his season average down to .140.

P.J. Walters. The veteran right-hander is still looking for his first win. Walters has allowed four or more earned runs in five of his seven outings as his season ERA has grown to 6.64.

Blake King. After a promising beginning to the season, King's control problems have returned. Over his last five outings, the right-hander has issued as many walks, eight, as outs collected, also eight.

Pacific Coast League individual leaders

Brown, Vazquez and Aaron Luna (.300) don't have enough at-bats to qualify among the league leaders. Matt Carpenter is the highest-ranked Redbird qualifier (2.7 plate appearances per game minimum) in batting average at .298. 38 PCL hitters have a higher average than Carpenter.

No Memphis batters are among the top 20 in any individual category with the exception of Carpenter, third in on-base percentage at .448 and second in the PCL with 25 free passes.

Adam Ottavino (2.25) is third in the league in ERA, yet has no wins through six starts.

The Redbirds remain well-positioned on the PCL strikeout leader board with three hurlers in the top ten. Brandon Dickson is sixth with 37, Ottavino is tied for seventh with 35 and Raul Valdes is tenth with 33.

On the less-positive side, only four PCL pitchers have walked more hitters than Ottavino (19). Walters is right behind with 18 free passes issued.

Walters is second in the league with six hit batters.

Team stats and rankings – Season to date

The hitting remains among the league's cellar-dwellers in every major category while the pitching alarmingly tacked on almost a half-run of ERA and backslid in most other areas as well during the past week.

(Red/yellow/green denotes period-to-period change of the season-to-date totals, where red is decline, yellow is steady and green is improvement since last report.)

Offense Prev week PCL rank Season PCL rank
YTD # of 16 # of 16
BA 0.252 14th 0.251 15th
Runs 100 15th 136 15th
OPS 0.697 15th 0.702 16th
Doubles 31 16th 40 16th
HR 16 T15th 23 T14th

Pitching Prev week PCL rank Season PCL rank
YTD # of 16 # of 16
ERA 3.68 2nd 4.11 4th
Ks 193 9th 241 T10th
Walks 101 8th fewest 126 T8th
HR allow 19 T2nd fewest 29 T9th most
Saves 5 T10th 7 T11th

Up Next

The final two games of the home series against Sacramento (Oakland) will be on Thursday and Friday before Fresno arrives at AutoZone Park for four starting on Saturday. The Redbirds will be off next Wednesday as they prepare to head out west for four each in Tacoma and Salt Lake City.

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Brian Walton can be reached via email at Also catch his Cardinals commentary daily at The Cardinal Nation blog. Look for his weekly minor league column on Thursdays at Follow Brian on Twitter.

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