Memphis Redbirds Notebook: 2011 Week 6

The Cardinals' Triple-A club had a 3-3 week, one of their best stretches of the season to date. Andrew Brown had 10 RBI during his recently-ended 11-game hitting streak.

The big picture

This report covers the week from Thursday, May 12 through Wednesday, May 18.

Manager Chris Maloney's Memphis Redbirds began the week with the final two games of the home series against Sacramento (Oakland) on Thursday and Friday before Fresno arrived at AutoZone Park for four that started on Saturday. The Redbirds and the entire Pacific Coast League were off on Wednesday to close out the week.

Following the 3-3 period, the 15-23 Redbirds remain in third place in the American North Division, and have fallen 7 1/2 games behind first-place Omaha. Fans are coming out as Memphis is fifth in the PCL with an average home attendance of 6,468.

Game summaries

Thursday, May 12: Sacramento 7 at Memphis 3
The Redbirds found themselves down early and were unable to complete a comeback despite scoring three in the seventh. Raul Valdes started and took the loss after allowing seven runs and nine hits in six innings. Nick Addition threw three shutout innings of relief. Pete Kozma was 1-for-3 with a double and three RBI to lead the offense.

Friday, May 13: Sacramento 9 at Memphis 3
Lance Lynn started but did not factor in the decision as he departed with the score tied 2-2 after six innings. Lynn allowed two runs on eight hits while striking out six. Chuckie Fick took the loss as he allowed five runs (four earned) in one inning of relief.

Saturday, May 14: Memphis 7, Fresno 5
The Redbirds broke their three-game losing skid. They collected 11 hits and got out ahead early, plating three in the third and two apiece in the fourth and fifth. Andrew Brown went 2-for-3 with a two-run home run. Pete Kozma was 2-for-4 with a double, a triple and four RBI. Adam Ottavino earned his first win of the season as he allowed four runs on seven hits in five innings. Cory Rauschenberger added two shutout innings of relief and Victor Marte picked up his fifth save.

Sunday, May 15: Memphis 10, Fresno 2
Despite P.J. Walters walking a team-record eight batters in five innings, he also yielded just one run and earned his first victory of the year. Pete Kozma went 4-for-4 with two runs scored and two RBI to lead the hitters. Nick Stavinoha hit a two-run home run.

Monday, May 16: Memphis 5, Fresno 4 (14 innings)
In what had to be the oddest game of the season to date, the Redbirds were no-hit until the eighth inning, when they had their only four hits until the 13th inning. Adron Chambers and Nick Stavinoha each drove in two before the game-winner scored in the 14th on a sacrifice fly by .130-hitting Donovan Solano. Cory Rauschenberger earned the win, pitching 1 1/3 innings allowing only one hit and striking out one. He escaped an inherited bases-loaded jam in the 13th. Starter Brandon Dickson gave up three runs on eight hits across seven innings of work. In the ninth, Victor Marte blew his third save in eight opportunities.

Tuesday, May 17: Fresno 5 at Memphis 3
In his first start for the Redbirds, Nick Additon held the visitors to one run over six innings. The roof caved in on Blake King, who took over in the seventh. The righty put three runners on ahead of a grand slam by Brandon Belt. The Redbirds offense mounted a rally in the ninth, but fell short despite an RBI double by Pete Kozma and a two-run single by Nick Stavinoha. Daryl Jones had three hits, including a double, and scored one.

Wednesday, May 18: Off

On the Move

As St. Louis' Nick Punto was placed on the disabled list on Wednesday, the Cardinals called on Pete Kozma to make his major league debut. Other than Zack Cox down in A-Advanced, the 23-year-old shortstop was the only infielder on the 40-man roster available. With Skip Schumaker starting a rehab stint in Florida, Kozma may not be with St. Louis long. He is batting .220 in PCL action.

On Monday, the Cardinals picked up a familiar face off waivers from the Yankees, former Redbirds closer Jess Todd. Sent to Cleveland in the Mark DeRosa trade in 2009, Todd failed to gain traction with the Indians and spent just a week in Triple-A with the Yankees before being put back on waivers. The Cardinals organization's 2008 Pitcher of the Year had 24 saves for the Redbirds in the partial 2009 season before the trade.

After reportedly driving all night to reach Memphis, Todd joined the club on Tuesday in time to throw a bullpen session, but was not activated to close out the homestand. The Cardinals have not yet announced the corresponding transaction to make room in Memphis for Todd, who is on the Cardinals' 40-man roster.

To replace the injured Rich Rundles on the Redbirds' active roster, left-hander Nick Additon was promoted from Springfield last 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. Additon made a shutout three-inning relief debut before replacing Raul Valdes in the rotation on Tuesday.

On the Mend

The new addition to the disabled list this past week is infielder Freddie Bynum, who was injured during Thursday's game. He suffered a left groin strain.

Daryl Jones came off the disabled list last Friday after having been sidelined since April 25 with an undisclosed injury. The outfielder replaced Bynum on the active roster.

Left-handed reliever Rich Rundles is out due to 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.

One Redbird began the season on the disabled list and remains there, right-handed reliever Francisco Samuel (lat injury). Samuel is pitching in extended spring training games.

Who's Hot

Andrew Brown. At 11 games in length, Brown crafted the longest hitting streak by a Redbird this season. During the recently-ended streak, he collected 10 RBI, scored eight runs and smacked all four of his home runs. His average jumped 80 points from .275 to .355 during the streak. In his last two games, Brown has gone 0-for-9, which took his season average back down to .318. That is still the best on the team.

Aaron Luna. The outfielder has hits in each of his last five starts. Luna is six for his last 18 (.333).

Daryl Jones. Since coming off the DL, the outfielder has five hits in eight at-bats (.625).

Nick Additon. In his nine total innings pitched since joining Memphis, the lefty has allowed just one earned run. Additon's strikeout to walk ratio is 5:1.

Pete Parise. Coming back from multiple surgeries, Parise has yielded just one earned run in eight innings of relief over six games. He fanned four and walked just one.

Cory Rauschenberger. The reliever hasn't allowed a run in his last five outings and sports a 0.93 May ERA (one earned run in 9 2/3 innings).

Who's Not

Tony Cruz. The catcher is batting just .179 (7-for-39) in May, lowering his season average to .239.

Adron Chambers. The outfielder's struggles with the bat continue. Chambers has a .156 average and just one RBI in 45 at-bats this month.

Donovan Solano. The reserve infielder is in the midst of a 1-for-16 (.063) May slump.

Pacific Coast League individual leaders

Andrew Brown (.318), Ramon Vazquez (.313) and Aaron Luna (.308) do not yet 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 .294. 43 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, 13th in on-base percentage at .427 (down 21 points from last week's third-place year-to-date placement) and tied for third in the PCL with 26 free passes.

Adam Ottavino (2.85) is fourth in the league in ERA, yet has just one win through seven starts.

The Redbirds remain prominent on the PCL strikeout leader board though they are slipping. Raul Valdes is tenth with 39. Three other teammates follow with Brandon Dickson and Ottavino tied for 11th with 38 and Lance Lynn tied for 16th with 36.

On the less-positive side, only one PCL pitcher has walked more hitters than Walters (26). Ottavino is close behind in fifth place with 23 free passes issued.

Walters is tied for the league lead with seven hit batters.

Team stats and rankings – Season to date

There is not much red on the hitting table, but that is more because of the fact that the Redbirds remain among the league's cellar-dwellers in every major category rather than them having shown any marked improvement this past week. The pitching ERA increased but did not do so as quickly as their peers. Memphis' early-season strength in the strikeout category continues to erode.

(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 0.251 15th 0.251 15th
Runs 136 15th 167 14th
OPS 0.702 16th 0.703 16th
Doubles 40 16th 56 16th
HR 23 T14th 25 15th

Pitching Prev week PCL rank Season PCL rank
YTD # of 16 # of 16
ERA 4.11 4th 4.19 2nd
Ks 241 T10th 278 T11th
Walks 126 T8th 154 7th most
HR allow 29 T9th most 35 5th fewest
Saves 7 T11th 8 12th

Up Next

The Redbirds head out west for four each at defending PCL champion Tacoma (Seattle) and Salt Lake (Angels) starting on Thursday night.

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