Memphis Redbirds Notebook: 2011 Week 8

The Cardinals' Triple-A club had a 5-2 week and first baseman Mark Hamilton is raking since his return from St. Louis.

The big picture

This report covers the week from Thursday, May 26 through Wednesday, June 1.

Manager Chris Maloney's Memphis Redbirds began the week with the final game of a West Coast trip that concluded at Salt Lake (Angels). Four home dates with Omaha (Kansas City) began last Friday, followed by the first two of a four-game set with Albuquerque (Dodgers) that started on Tuesday.

As the result of the 5-2 period, the 24-28 Redbirds remain in third place in the American North Division. They picked up 1/2 game on first-place Omaha this past week and are 5.5 games out of first.

Game summaries

Thursday, May 26: Memphis 11 at Salt Lake 7
The Redbirds rapped out 12 singles and seven extra-base hits in the road trip-closing win. Mark Hamilton and Andrew Brown led the offense as each had a two-run home run. P.J. Walters allowed four runs in seven innings, but picked up his second win of the season.

Friday, May 27: Omaha 4 at Memphis 2
Brandon Dickson didn't have it as he surrendered all four runs on 12 hits across a season-low four innings of work. Raul Valdes, Jess Todd and Chuckie Fick combined to toss five scoreless innings following Dickson, but the bats were quiet. Andrew Brown had one-third of the offense's hits with two doubles and an RBI.

Saturday, May 28: Memphis 6, Omaha 5
Victor Marte was rescued by Andrew Brown. After the closer blew the save in the top of the ninth, the hot-hitting outfielder hit a two-run walkoff home run in the bottom of the inning, turning Marte into a winner. In doing so, Brown capped off a 2-for-5 night during which he also scored twice.

Sunday, May 29: Memphis 9, Omaha 4
The largest crowd of the season, 12,270, witnessed baseball fireworks before the real thing after the game. Five Redbirds had two hits, including Aaron Luna's solo home run. Luna and Matt Carpenter plated two. Lance Lynn was the beneficiary of the support. He earned his third straight win and fifth of the season after yielding four runs on seven hits in seven innings.

Monday, May 30: Omaha 9 at Memphis 2
Adam Ottavino crumbled in the sixth inning. After a bases-loaded walk, the starter served up a grand slam. Reliever Jess Todd was touched for two runs and Cory Rauschenberger yielded the ninth Omaha tally. The Redbirds offense managed just three hits, including an Andrew Brown triple.

Tuesday, May 31: Memphis 10, Albuquerque 4
Relievers Raul Valdes and Brian Broderick each entered the game with two runners on base. Only Broderick yielded a run on a sacrifice fly, but that still meant a blown save in his 2/3 inning of work. He soon collected his first Memphis win however, as the offense re-took the lead in the bottom of the sixth. Nick Stavinoha had three hits, including a home run and drove in five to lead the 12-hit offensive attack. Starter P.J. Walters allowed four runs, three earned, on eight hits over 5 1/3 innings, walking one and fanning four.

Wednesday, June 1: Memphis 11, Albuquerque 1
The 12-hit parade continued for the second consecutive night as Adron Chambers homered in his first two at-bats, driving in three. Hot-hitting Mark Hamilton had two singles, a double and plated four. Brandon Dickson earned his second win of the season as he tossed seven solid innings. The 26-year-old right-hander allowed only one run on five hits with one walk and four strikeouts.

On the Move

Taken by Washington in the Rule 5 draft in December before making the Nationals out of spring training, right-hander Brian Broderick was returned to the Cardinals and assigned to the Redbirds a week ago Monday. He was activated on Thursday.

Outfielder Aaron Luna left the club for several days and was placed on the Temporary Inactive List backdated to Wednesday when Broderick was activated. Luna was re-activated three days later, on Saturday, May 28.

The second reliever in a week was released as veteran Rich Rundles was cut on Sunday, May 29. The 29-year-old left-hander had been on the disabled list backdated to May 6 due to a bruised hand.

P.J. Walters was outrighted by St. Louis. In other words, the Cardinals removed him from their 40-man roster and the right-hander went unclaimed by the other 29 organizations. Walters remains in the Redbirds' rotation.

In a similar situation this past week, former Redbirds reliever Blake King, since demoted to Springfield, was claimed off waivers by Houston and was assigned to their Double-A club.

In his minor league contract announced in January, infielder Ramon Vazquez had the right to declare free agency if not in the major leagues on June 1. That is what the 34-year-old did.

Though not formally announced as of Thursday morning, right-hander Lance Lynn is being added to the organization's 40-man roster and will be called up to St. Louis to make his MLB debut Thursday evening. Lynn, who started for the Redbirds on Sunday, will be pitching on three days rest. His replacement on the Memphis roster has not yet been announced.

On the Mend

On Saturday, reliever Pete Parise was returned to the DL effective Friday. After the 26-year-old right-hander was first activated on April 19, he appeared in 11 games. In 13 innings, he has allowed eight earned runs, including two long balls, for a 5.54 ERA.

Infielder Freddie Bynum returned from his left groin strain and was activated on Wednesday, June 1, replacing Vazquez on the 24-man roster.

Outfielder Shane Robinson remains out 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 was pitching in extended spring training games.


Andrew Brown. After a recently-ended 11 game hitting streak, the longest by a Redbird this season, Brown went 12 more before going hitless but still walked three times in his final game of the month. He is the reigning Pacific Coast League Player of the Week as well as The Cardinal Nation May Player of the Month.

Who's Hot

Mark Hamilton. In just 13 Triple-A outings since his return in mid-May, the left-handed hitter has a home run, 18 RBI and a very, very impressive .468 batting average.

Matt Carpenter. Carpenter has reached base in 26 consecutive games, dating back to May 5. It is the tied for the longest active streak in the Pacific Coast League. During the streak, Carpenter has gone 27-for-88 (.307) with a .429 on-base percentage.

Adron Chambers. The outfielder went 10-for-25 (.400) this past week, hit two home runs, drew four walks, stole four bases and crossed the plate 11 times.

Raul Valdes. Since the left-hander was moved out of the rotation, he has tossed eight scoreless innings in seven appearances. During that time, Valdes has allowed only three hits, one walk and one hit batter while striking out 10. He retired all first batters faced and none of his four inherited runners have crossed the plate.

Who's Not

Nick Stavinoha. On the positive side, the veteran outfielder has 12 multi-RBI games this season and a team-leading 36 RBI in total. On the other, Stavi's line during May was just .195/.227/.398.

Bryan Anderson. Playing every day has not yet awakened the catcher's bat. This past week, Anderson went 4-for-24 (.167), all singles, and fanned eight times. His season average has dipped to .202.

Jim Rapoport. The centerfielder finished May with a line of .232/.354/.242/.596.

Adam Ottavino. In six May starts, the right-hander won just one game. Ottavino posted a 5.85 ERA and opposing hitters batted .320 against him last month.

Victor Marte. The closer hasn't converted a save since May 14. Last week, the 30-year-old took a blown save – win combination. On the season, Marte has a 1-3 record, has blown 5 of 10 save opportunities and nine of his 15 inherited runners have crossed the plate.

Pacific Coast League individual leaders

At .346, Andrew Brown has moved up to 12th in the league in batting average and is the only Redbirds qualifier above Matt Carpenter's .287. Brown is fifth in on-base percentage at .440 with Carpenter 17th in the league at .417. Brown also ranks eighth in slugging at .610. Carpenter is third in the PCL with 36 walks and Adron Chambers has 26, tied for 15th.

Lance Lynn's 4.06 ERA is 13th in the league with Adam Ottavino (4.20) 17th. Lynn is sixth with 54 strikeouts and Ottavino is seventh with 50 Ks. Brandon Dickson is tied for eighth at 49 strikeouts, P.J. Walters is tied for 12th with 48 and Raul Valdes is tied for 14th with 47 Ks.

On the less-positive side, Walters' 30 walks are tied for the fourth-most in the league with Ottavino tied for tenth place at 28 free passes issued. Walters holds the league lead with eight hit batters. Dickson is tied for ninth with ten home runs allowed. With eight long balls yielded each, Walters and Ottavino are tied for 16th.

Team stats and rankings – Season to date

The offense continues to show progress but has a deep early-season hole to dig out of in comparison to their PCL peers. The ERA of the pitching staff remains the second-best in the league and the hurlers improved in walks and home runs allowed.

(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 0.250 16th 0.258 14th
Runs 202 14th 253 13th
OPS 0.707 16th 0.730 15th
Doubles 65 16th 84 15th
HR 31 T14th 38 15th

Pitching Prev week PCL rank Season PCL rank
YTD # of 16 # of 16
ERA 4.19 2nd 4.24 2nd
Ks 327 10th 374 11th
Walks 174 9th most 193 4th fewest
HR allow 44 T7th most 50 6th fewest
Saves 9 T12th 9 T15th

Up Next

Next up are the final two of the four-game home set with Albuquerque (Dodgers) on Thursday and Friday. The Redbirds hit the road for four in Oklahoma City (Houston) starting on Saturday. Memphis is scheduled for an off day on Wednesday, June 8.

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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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