Memphis Redbirds Notebook: 2011 Week 9

The Cardinals' Triple-A club had a 4-2 week as they swept Oklahoma City (Astros) on the road. Led by hot Brandon Dickson, the pitching has been consistently strong and Andrew Brown is pacing an offense missing Mark Hamilton and Matt Carpenter.

The big picture

This report covers the week from Thursday, June 2 through Wednesday, June 8.

Manager Chris Maloney's Memphis Redbirds began the week with 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 had a scheduled off day on Wednesday.

As the result of the 4-2 period, the 28-30 Redbirds inch closer to .500 and have taken over second place in the American North Division. Their four-game winning streak is a season-best as was their 14 runs scored on Monday. Memphis picked up one game on first-place Omaha this past week and are 4.5 games out of first.

Game summaries

Thursday, June 3: Albuquerque 5 at Memphis 4
Mitchell Boggs struggled in his third Memphis start, allowing three runs on five hits over 4 1/3 innings. He took his second loss as a Redbird. The home club mounted a rally in the ninth but fell short with only one run scored. Andrew Brown singled, homered and drove in two. In his final game before being called up, Matt Carpenter drew three walks but never touched home plate.

Friday, June 3: Albuquerque 3 at Memphis 2
In his first game back from St. Louis, Pete Kozma doubled and homered. Starting at third, Donovan Solano chipped in two hits and an RBI, but the rest of the offense managed just three hits. Starter Nick Additon did not pitch poorly. He allowed three runs, two earned, on five hits across six innings but took the loss in the final game of the series split.

Saturday, June 4: Memphis 8 at Oklahoma City 4
Adam Ottavino tossed 6 2/3 innings allowing two runs, one earned on five hits while walking three and striking out six for his second win of the season. The offense went just 3-for-16 with runners in scoring position, but tallied enough to win. Andrew Brown, newcomer Jose Garcia and Bryan Anderson each plated two. Brown and Pete Kozma went deep.

Sunday, June 5: Memphis 3 at Oklahoma City 2
P.J. Walters was strong in his seven innings of work. The right-hander allowed just one run on five hits while striking out six batters for his third win on the year. Victor Marte picked up his sixth save after pitching a perfect ninth inning. The Redbirds made the most of five hits, with RBI singles by Freddie Bynum and Daryl Jones. Memphis' final run scored as the result of a bases-loaded wild pitch.

Monday, June 6: Memphis 14 at Oklahoma City 2
On the pitching side, the Redbirds received a similarly strong performance as the night before. This time, Brandon Dickson held the home club to one run on five hits over seven innings. He fanned eight and walked just one to earn his third win of the year. Pete Kozma scored three, Andrew Brown drove in three and Nick Stavinoha plated four, three on a home run. Donovan Solano had five hits in five at-bats, including a pair of doubles.

Tuesday, June 7: Memphis 2 at Oklahoma City 1 (12 innings)
After a 1-1 tie had endured since the first inning, Aaron Luna's solo home run to left gave Memphis the win. In his fourth Memphis start, Mitchell Boggs had his best outing yet as he threw five innings allowing just one unearned run and two hits while striking out four. Raul Valdes earned the win via two scoreless innings of relief and Victor Marte earned his Cardinals minor league-leading (T1st) seventh save. Chuckie Fick threw two scoreless in relief and struck out six of the seven batters he faced. Nick Stavinoha was 2-for-5 with a double.

Wednesday, June 8
Scheduled day off

On the Move

As reported here first at The Cardinal Nation last Thursday, right-handed pitcher Lance Lynn was added to the 40-man roster and made his MLB debut with St. Louis, where he is likely to remain until Kyle McClellan is ready to come off the disabled list. With the change, the temporary tandem pairing of Mitchell Boggs and Nick Additon have been split up, with each taking their own turn.

The next day, Friday, shortstop Pete Kozma was returned from St. Louis. After receiving his call up on May 18, the 23-year-old played respectably in the field, but his offensive line was just .125/.364/.250 in his first taste of the bigs.

Replacing Kozma, hot-hitting first baseman Mark Hamilton received a deserved call back to St. Louis, also on Friday. In 14 Pacific Coast League games since being returned to Memphis on May 19, Hamilton had six doubles, a home run, 18 RBI and an extremely impressive line of .460/.550/.640/1.190.

Third baseman Matt Carpenter was the second Redbirds player to be added to the 40-man this past week and make his MLB debut as he was also promoted to St. Louis on Friday. Carpenter departed the PCL with an active 27-game on-base streak.

On Saturday, second baseman Jose Garcia received his first-ever call to Memphis from Springfield, bringing the Redbirds roster back to full strength. The 23-year-old Venezuelan was immediately inserted into the lineup. He brings some speed to the Redbirds, having led the system with 25 stolen bases in 2010, when he split time between Palm Beach and Springfield.

On the Mend

Last Friday Friday, reliever Pete Parise was activated from the DL after missing the seven-day minimum.

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 his 11-game hitting streak ended, Brown went a 2011 team-best 12 more before going hitless but still walked three times in his final game of May. He was selected as the Cardinal organization's May Player of the Month.

Earlier, the 26-year-old was also named The Cardinal Nation May Player of the Month and was the Pacific Coast League Player of the Week as well. Brown is currently working on a new seven-game hitting streak and has driven in 34 runs since May 3.

Who's Hot

Pete Kozma. All the shortstop has done since his return from St. Louis is forge an active ten-game hitting streak. During that time, the 23-year-old is 14-for-43 (.326) with 14 runs scored. Seven of those hits went for extra bases (1.000 OPS) and he plated ten.

Donovan Solano. The utility infielder is on fire in June, batting .448 (13-for-29). He could use some help though, as his teammates have only brought him home twice. Batting just .210 as the month opened, Solano has raised his season average to .261.

Brandon Dickson. In two June starts, the right-hander has gone seven innings each time, allowing just five hits and one run in both outings for a 1.29 ERA. His strikeout to walk ratio is 12:2.

Raul Valdes. Since the left-hander was moved out of the rotation, he has been tremendous. Valdes has now tossed 11 1/3 scoreless innings in 10 appearances. During that time, Valdes has allowed only four hits, one walk and one hit batter while striking out 13.

Who's Not

Bryan Anderson. The catcher just can't get going. In June, Anderson is 4-for-23 (.174), all singles. His season average teeters on the Mendoza Line at .203 and he has contributed just nine RBI in 123 at-bats in 2011.

Jim Rapoport. The centerfielder is mired in a 1-for-20 (.050) slump during which he has fanned seven times. Rapoport's season average is down to .222.

Daryl Jones. Relegated to bench duty, the organization's former Player of the Year is just 4-for-19 (.211) in his last ten games.

Aaron Luna. Known as an on-base specialist, Luna is slumping in that area. In his last ten games, the outfielder has just seven hits and one walk for a .250 OBP.

Pacific Coast League individual leaders

At .348, Andrew Brown remains 12th in the league in batting average and is the only Redbirds qualifier above Matt Carpenter's .283. Brown is fifth in on-base percentage at .444 with Carpenter 17th in the league at .421. Brown also ranks eighth in slugging at .615 and eighth in OPS at 1.059. Carpenter is third in the PCL with 39 walks and Adron Chambers has 27, tied for 20th. Chambers is tied for 18th in the league with nine stolen bases (in 12 attempts).

Lance Lynn's 4.06 ERA is 15th in the league with Adam Ottavino up to 12th at 3.90. Brandon Dickson is in between at 14th with his 3.99 ERA. Dickson is eighth with 57 strikeouts, Ottavino is ninth with 56, with Lynn and P.J. Walters tied for 10th with 54. Raul Valdes is tied for 14th with 50 Ks.

On the less-positive side, Walters' 32 walks are tied for the fifth-most in the league with Ottavino tied for seventh place at 31 free passes issued. Walters holds the league lead with ten hit batters after plunking two in his last start. Dickson is tied for eighth with 11 home runs allowed. With nine long balls yielded each, Ottavino is tied for 15th.

Team stats and rankings – Season to date

The offense continues to tread water but remains among the league's cellar-dwellers. The ERA of the pitching staff has improved to the best in the league and the hurlers also improved in strikeouts compared to their peers.

(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 0.258 14th 0.258 15th
Runs 253 13th 286 T14th
OPS 0.730 15th 0.730 15th
Doubles 84 15th 94 T15th
HR 38 15th 44 15th

Pitching Prev week PCL rank Season PCL rank
YTD # of 16 # of 16
ERA 4.24 2nd 3.99 1st
Ks 374 11th 428 8th
Walks 193 4th fewest 211 4th fewest
HR allow 50 6th fewest 55 6th fewest
Saves 9 T15th 11 T14th

Up Next

Familiarity may breed contempt this coming week. The Redbirds head to the Big Easy for a four-game set against the New Orleans Zephyrs (Marlins) Thursday through Sunday. In some very questionable scheduling, the same two teams travel to Memphis for four more games starting on Monday.

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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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