Memphis Redbirds Notebook: 2011 Week 12

Despite solid starting pitching, the Cardinals' Triple-A club split a set at first-place Omaha. Outfielder Adron Chambers is in a hot streak.

The big picture

This report covers the week from Thursday, June 23 through Wednesday, June 29.

Manager Chris Maloney's Memphis Redbirds began the week with the final two contests of their five-game series at the Iowa Cubs before they moved down Interstate 80 for a four-game set with the first-place Omaha Storm Chasers (Royals). The Redbirds took off Wednesday, June 29 as they traveled home.

With one contest remaining in June, the Redbirds are 18-10 to date during the month and 41-38 on the season. They remain in second place in the American North Division. Memphis lost one game in relation to first-place Omaha this past week and sit 1.5 games out of first.

Game summaries

Thursday, June 23: Iowa 7, Memphis 3
Adam Ottavino took the loss as he struck out nine, but allowed six runs on 10 hits in six innings. Adron Chambers was 2-for-3 and Nick Stavinoha went 1-for-4 with his Cardinals system-leading 49th RBI.

Friday, June 24: Iowa 5, Memphis 3
Starter Nick Additon threw five innings, giving up three runs on three hits while striking out five. Cory Rauschenberger took his first Memphis loss as he allowed two runs on three hits in two innings. Bryan Augenstein threw one scoreless frame. Adron Chambers was 3-for-3 with two RBI.

Saturday, June 25: Memphis 3 at Omaha 1
Maikel Cleto impressed in his first Triple-A start. The righty earned the win by allowing just four hits and striking out nine over 7 1/3 innings. Victor Marte collected his Cardinals system-leading 12th save of the season. Steven Hill was 2-for-4 with a home run in his first game since being promoted from Springfield.

Sunday, June 26: Memphis at Omaha
The game was postponed due to rain and rescheduled as part of a Monday doubleheader.

Monday, June 27: Omaha 2, Memphis 1 (game one – seven innings)
P.J. Walters went the distance but took the loss, allowing two runs on six hits over six innings. The Redbirds faced former Cardinals pitcher Jeff Suppan as Tyler Greene and Bryan Anderson had two hits apiece and Adron Chambers launched a home run.

Monday, June 27: Memphis 5 at Omaha 2 (game two – seven innings)
Memphis stormed ahead with four in the sixth on home runs by Nick Stavinoha and Steven Hill. Stavinoha finished 2-for-4 with four RBI and Adron Chambers was 2-for-3 with a triple. Brandon Dickson threw all seven innings and earned the win as he yielded two runs on six hits.

Tuesday, June 28: Omaha 6, Memphis 2
Adam Ottavino pitched well, going seven innings and giving-up only five hits, a walk and one earned run, while striking-out seven, but did not figure in the decision. In a tie game in the ninth, Jess Todd loaded the bases, then yielded to Cory Rauschenberger, who served up a walkoff grand slam to Omaha's Kila Ka'aihue. Andrew Brown and Matt Carpenter hit solo home runs.

Wednesday, June 29: off day
The Redbirds return home to Memphis.

On the Move

It was another busy week for the clubhouse attendants and support workers as at least ten players were involved in transactions, whether coming, going or changing status.

Last Thursday, left-handed reliever Raul Valdes was placed on the 40-man roster and promoted from Memphis to St. Louis. In an oddity, right-handed starter Maikel Cleto was sent down from St. Louis to make his Triple-A debut - after his second MLB stint completed. Also that day, right-hander Bryan Augenstein finished his rehab assignment at Memphis for the Cardinals, but did not go anywhere. He was taken off St. Louis' 60-day disabled list and optioned to the Redbirds.

The Cardinals switched reserve catchers on Friday, moving Nick Derba back down to Springfield while promoting Steven Hill. Derba, a defensive specialist, batted just .107 in 28 at-bats over eight Pacific Coast League games. Hill had been with the Double-A Cardinals for the last month after starting the season on the disabled list with a knee injury. He finished 2010 with the Redbirds.

Cardinals third baseman David Freese was assigned to Memphis on a rehab assignment, which began on Tuesday, June 21 and ended with his activation by St. Louis on Monday the 27th. Players on MLB rehab do not use up a roster spot at their temporary minor league home.

With Freese and Nick Punto activated by the big club, outfielder Andrew Brown and shortstop Pete Kozma were returned to the Redbirds. Two second basemen took the hit as Jose Garcia was sent back down to Springfield despite batting .333 with the Redbirds.

On the Mend

The other second baseman deactivated is Freddie Bynum, placed on the DL Tuesday with an undisclosed injury.

Outfielder Shane Robinson remains out following surgeries on his face and hand as the result of his April 16 collision with Andrew Brown. He is progressing and may be back in July.

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

After a set-back in extended spring training, 40-man roster right-handed reliever Francisco Samuel (lat injury) was activated and assigned to Palm Beach but was promptly sidelined again and headed back to the DL, this time in the Florida State League.

Brown

Recognition

Memphis outfielder Andrew Brown will be a starting outfielder for the Pacific Coast League All-Star team, the Redbirds announced on Wednesday.

The 26-year-old has a .343 average with 12 home runs and 42 RBI in his first 52 games at the Triple-A level. In addition, Brown made his major league debut with St. Louis and went 4-for-22 (.182) in 11 games.

The PCL will take on the top International League players in the Triple-A All-Star Game to be held on July 13 in Salt Lake City.

Who's Hot

Adron Chambers. The outfielder is on a hot 14-for-34 (.412) stretch with three home runs and six RBI. The only blemish is his having been caught three of four times attempting to steal. Chambers is batting .333 in June.

Steven Hill. It is a small slice, but in his three games since being promoted from Springfield, Hill has provided a welcome bat to the lineup. He is 4-for-9 (.444) including home runs in each of his first two starts. In addition, the catcher gunned down both opposing runners trying to steal and the club has won all three games in which he appeared (two at catcher and one as designated hitter).

The starters. P.J. Walters' and Brandon Dickson's outings in Monday's doubleheader split were Memphis' first complete games of the season. Evan MacLane had the only Redbirds complete game in 2010. Including Maikel Cleto and Adam Ottavino, the Memphis starters logged a 1.98 ERA in the four-game Omaha series.

Who's Not

Donovan Solano. The versatile infielder is mired in a 1-for-18 (.056) slump during which he struck out seven times.

Daryl Jones. The former top prospect has cooled considerably in recent days. The outfielder is just two for his last 20 (.100) with a whopping 11 strikeouts.

Cory Rauschenberger. The normally-reliable reliever had a bad week finishing series. First, he allowed two runs in two innings and took a loss against Iowa in Friday's series finale. Then on Tuesday, he served up a walkoff grand slam to end the Omaha four-game set on another downer.

Pacific Coast League individual leaders

I have switched to the tabular form from here on out for individual stats like I have done for team stats all along. Not unlike the team stats that follow, the hitting leaders slid this past week.

Offense # PCL rank
BA Brown 0.343 12th
OBP Brown 0.441 3rd
Carpenter 0.422 11th
SLG Brown 0.623 8th
OPS Brown 1.064 6th
BB Carpenter 47 T3rd
Pitching # PCL rank
ERA Lynn 3.84 6th
Dickson 3.86 8th
Ottavino 3.97 9th
Walters 4.45 17th
Strikeouts Ottavino 86 T3rd
Walters 82 4th
Dickson 70 10th
Lynn 64 T18th
Saves Marte 12 3rd
Wins Lynn 7 T3rd
Walters 6 T9th
Walks Walters 38 10th most
Ottavino 37 T11th most
HR allow Dickson 14 T6th most
Ottavino 12 T17th most
HBP Walters 12 1st
Ottavino 5 T16th

(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.)

Team stats and rankings – Season to date

After one week of heating up, the offense cooled back off. The pitching staff remains the most effective in the league.

Offense Prev week PCL rank Season PCL rank
YTD # of 16 # of 16
BA 0.266 13th 0.262 14th
Runs 367 11th 384 T13th
OPS 0.751 12th 0.743 14th
Doubles 129 T14th 132 15th
HR 57 14th 63 T13th
Pitching Prev week PCL rank Season PCL rank
YTD # of 16 # of 16
ERA 3.83 1st 3.87 1st
Ks 528 6th 569 8th
Walks 238 Fewest 251 Fewest
HR allow 71 9th fewest 78 7th fewest
Saves 15 T2nd fewest 16 T2nd fewest

Up Next

The Redbirds return to AutoZone Park for a four-game homestand against Oklahoma City from Thursday through Sunday before heading back out on the road again. The seven-game road trip leading up to the Triple-A All-Star Break begins with three at Nashville (Brewers) on Monday through Wednesday.



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

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