This report covers the week from Thursday, July 14 through Wednesday, July 20.
Manager Chris Maloney's Memphis Redbirds opened their second half with a nine-game homestand that started last Thursday. It began with five against Round Rock (Texas), including a doubleheader last Friday. First-place Omaha (Kansas City) arrived at AutoZone Park for four starting Monday night. The first three games of that fight for first place are included in this report.
After 1-5 start to the week, the Redbirds finished with two wins. Their record stands at 51-47 and they remain in second place in the American North Division. Memphis was 1.5 games behind first-place Omaha entering the week but now are two games back.
Thursday, July 14: Round Rock 6 at Memphis 2
The Redbirds didn't show much in their first game back. Maikel Cleto allowed four runs on five hits in five innings to take the loss. Bryan Augenstein threw 1 1/3 scoreless innings. Aaron Luna was 2-for-4 and Tyler Greene doubled.
Friday, July 15: Round Rock 6 at Memphis 3 – DH game 1 (7 innings)
Brian Broderick was charged with five runs over four-plus innings. Nick Stavinoha's two-run home run provided most of the Memphis offense.
Friday, July 15: Memphis 4, Round Rock 1 – DH game 2 (7 innings)
For the second time on Friday, Stavinoha slammed a two-run homer in the fifth inning. Freddie Bynum added a solo shot. Cory Rauschenberger went four solid innings in a spot start. Chuckie Fick threw two perfect innings for the win with Victor Marte collecting the save.
Saturday, July 16: Round Rock 3 at Memphis 2
Starter Nick Additon allowed three runs on eight hits over seven innings for the loss. Matt Carpenter drove in Mark Hamilton for Memphis' first run while Aaron Luna was the only other Redbird to reach home with a solo shot to right field in the sixth.
Sunday, July 17: Round Rock 8 at Memphis 5
Once the visitors jumped on starter Brandon Dickson for four runs, three earned, in the first three innings, the Redbirds were unable to close the gap. Dickson walked two and fanned five while absorbing his eighth loss of the season. Tyler Greene led the offense, going 2-for-5 with two RBI and extending his hitting streak to 13 games.
Monday, July 18: Omaha 4 at Memphis 0
The initial game of the first-place showdown was a dud for Memphis and their fans. The Storm Chasers' Luis Mendoza threw a no-hitter at the Redbirds in their own park, though it was later overturned by the PCL league office to a one-hitter. A ninth-inning double by Tyler Greene was originally scored an error. The Redbirds did collect four walks, including two by Bryan Anderson, but the first Omaha run scored in the third against losing Redbirds starter Adam Ottavino was all the visitors needed. Matt Carpenter made two fielding errors, leading to one of Omaha's three tallies being unearned.
Tuesday, July 19: Memphis 6, Omaha 5 (14 innings)
Pete Kozma singled in Matt Carpenter in the 14th inning for the walk-off win. The game went into extras after Mark Hamilton drove in Adron Chambers with a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the ninth. Carpenter had five hits including two doubles. Nick Stavinoha was 3-for-5 including a three-run home run. Maikel Cleto started and allowed three runs (two earned) in six innings. Bryan Augenstein earned the win by throwing one scoreless inning.
Wednesday, July 20: Memphis 6, Omaha 4
The Redbirds led 6-1 before holding on for a win in their 1,000th home game in franchise history. Tyler Greene opened the scoring with a two-run home run, extending his hitting streak to 16 games. Starter Brian Broderick picked up his third win on the year tossing a season-high seven innings while giving up four runs on nine hits, walking one and striking out three. Victor Marte nailed down his 19th save with a scoreless ninth inning.
On the Mend
Right-handed starting pitcher Adam Ottavino (forearm tightness) was activated off the disabled list and started the same night, on Monday. That was exactly two weeks since he last took the mound.
On Sunday, infielder Freddie Bynum was placed on the seven-day disabled list for the third time this season. The 31-year-old sprained his left thumb.
After six rehab games with the Gulf Coast League Cardinals, outfielder Shane Robinson was activated last Thursday and assigned to Double-A Springfield so he can play every day. Robinson is coming back from a concussion, facial fractures to the right side of his face and a fractured left hand as the result of his April 16 collision with Andrew Brown.
Reliever Francisco Samuel is pitching for A-Advanced Palm Beach. He won't be back anytime soon if his most recent outing is any indication. Samuel allowed four runs in the seventh on Monday to talk a blown save and a loss.
On the Move
After two appearances with Palm Beach, 40-year-old left-handed reliever Ron Mahay was assigned to Memphis and placed in the bullpen last Thursday.
On Sunday, catcher Nick Derba was activated off the disabled list of Springfield and added to the Redbirds' roster to replace Bynum. Bryan Anderson had been Memphis' only true catcher since Hill went down with injury. Nick Stavinoha is also available as more of an emergency option.
Lefty starter Nick Additon was placed on the temporary inactive list on Monday. He is still penciled in as Memphis' Thursday hurler.
On Tuesday night, Matt Carpenter became the third Cardinals player to collect five hits in one game this season. The other two are Donovan Solano and Shane Robinson. These five hits ties a franchise record held by many.
Bryan Anderson's four walks that same evening also tied the Memphis team record held by a number of players. The last Redbird to draw four walks in a game was Ruben Gotay on April 9, 2010.
Nick Stavinoha has become the Redbirds all-time franchise leader in three categories - at-bats (1,660), hits (483) and RBI (276). (All totals through Wednesday.)
As mentioned above, shortstop Tyler Greene has hit in 16 consecutive games. Greene has scored 13 runs, hit four home runs and collected 13 RBI in 17 July games, during which his batting line is .342/.415/.644/1.058.
In his last ten games, catcher Bryan Anderson has 12 hits and ten walks for a line of .387/.537/.484/1.020.
Outfielder Nick Stavinoha had eight RBI in the eight games this week and has plated 15 in 18 games this month.
In eight July outings totaling 11 1/3 innings, reliever Chuckie Fick has three wins, an ERA of 1.59 and a 12:3 strikeout to walk ratio.
Until Pete Kozma's RBI single Tuesday, the infielder had gone through a dismal 0-for-21 stretch with runners in scoring position. Kozma hadn't driven in a run since July 2 and now has just two RBI this month. He is batting just .158 in July is down to .206 on the season.
Outfielder Jim Rapoport is 10-for-32 (.238) in July with just one extra-base hit and three runs scored.
PCL All-Star outfielder Andrew Brown is hitting just .237 in July with an OPS under .700 this month. As a result, he has dropped to 28th in the league in batting average at .312 for the season.
In the 11 games since he was returned from St. Louis, first baseman Mark Hamilton is batting just .179 with only two RBI.
In five July relief outings totaling 6 1/3 innings, Bryan Augenstein has yielded 12 hits and five earned runs for a 7.11 ERA. Overall, the right-hander's ERA is at 4.95 since he rejoined Memphis.
Pacific Coast League individual leaders
|BA||no one in||top 20|
|HR allow||Dickson||16||T10th most|
(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
With a slight dip in rate stats this past week, the Redbirds offense remains among the bottom of the PCL. The pitching staff is a mirror image, with the best ERA in the league by a considerable margin.
|Offense||Prev week||PCL rank||Season||PCL rank|
|YTD||#||of 16||#||of 16|
|Pitching||Prev week||PCL rank||Season||PCL rank|
|YTD||#||of 16||#||of 16|
|HR allow||89||5th fewest||96||T5th fewest|
|Saves||22||T7th fewest||24||T6th fewest|
On Thursday, the Redbirds entertain first-place Omaha (Kansas City) for the final game of their four-game set. They then hit the road starting on Friday with four at Oklahoma City (Houston) then four at Round Rock (Texas).
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Brian Walton can be reached via email at email@example.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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