Memphis Redbirds Notebook: 2011 Week 16

The Cardinals Triple-A club had a rough 1-5 week, losing two games in the PCL American North race. Bryan Anderson is among the team's hot hitters.

The big picture

This report covers the week from Thursday, July 21 through Wednesday, July 27.

Manager Chris Maloney's Memphis Redbirds opened their week with the final game of the four-game home series against first-place Omaha (Kansas City) on Friday night. Next, the Redbirds went on the road for four at Oklahoma City (Houston) then four at Round Rock (Texas). The first two games of the latter series are included in this report.

After being swept by last-place Oklahoma City, the Redbirds finished at 1-5 on the week. Their record stands at 52-52 and they remain in second place in the American North Division. Memphis was two games behind first-place Omaha entering the week but now is four games back.

Game summaries

Thursday, July 21: Omaha at Memphis
The Redbirds lost a valuable chance to gain a game on the first-place Storm Chasers when the series finale was canceled due to inclement weather and unplayable field conditions in the final game of the homestand at AutoZone Park.

Friday, July 22: Oklahoma City 5, Memphis 2
The Redbirds jumped out to an early 2-0 lead, but could not hold on. Nick Additon started and allowed five runs on nine hits while striking out nine over 5 2/3 innings. Tyler Greene's hitting streak was ended at 16 games as the offense managed just four hits in total.

Saturday, July 23: Oklahoma City 7, Memphis 4
Allen Craig was 1-for-3 with a double and an RBI as he played five innings in his first rehab start with Memphis. Bryan Anderson hit a two-run homer in the eighth as Shane Robinson and Tyler Greene had two hits apiece. Brandon Dickson took the loss as he threw six innings and allowed four runs and seven hits while striking out six.

Sunday, July 24: Oklahoma City 7, Memphis 0
The Redbirds were shut out for the second time in a week (also on July 18) and managed just five hits. Starter Adam Ottavino fell apart in the third, departing after an RBI single and two bases-loaded walks. Reliever Cory Rauschenberger allowed two of his inherited runners to score plus two of his own in the fourth and that was that.

Monday, July 25: Oklahoma City 8, Memphis 2
The Redbirds were swept out of town. Andrew Brown's two-run home run in the first put Memphis up, but their scoring ended right there. Starter Maikel Cleto took the loss as he allowed six runs, five earned, on five hits and a season-high six walks in four innings.

Tuesday, July 26: Memphis 10 at Round Rock 4
Nick Stavinoha was 3-for-4 with a home run and six RBI in the opener against the first-place team in the American South. Six Redbirds joined Stavinoha with multiple-hits. Donovan Solano was 3-for-5, while Tyler Greene, Allen Craig, Matt Carpenter, Aaron Luna and Bryan Anderson all had two. Starter Brian Broderick allowed three runs on seven hits over seven innings. The right-hander walked three and struck out two.

Wednesday, July 27: Round Rock 13, Memphis 4
Blaine Boyer's Memphis debut was not memorable as he yielded eight runs, six earned, in 4 2/3 innings. In total, six of the Round Rock runs were unearned as the Redbirds committed three costly errors. The 13 runs are the season high for a Memphis opponent. Nick Stavinoha went 0-for-5 with four strikeouts. Bryan Anderson and Adron Chambers each had two hits.

On the Mend

On Thursday, Mark Hamilton was placed on the seven-day disabled list. The first baseman had been markedly slowed by a sprained right thumb, having batted just .179 in his 11 games since his last return from St. Louis.

Infielder Freddie Bynum remains on the seven-day disabled list for his third stretch this season. The 31-year-old sprained his left thumb.

Two Redbirds are done for the season - reliever Adam Reifer with a torn knee ligament and catcher Steven Hill with a broken foot.

Despite spotty results, reliever Francisco Samuel was moved up from A-Advanced Palm Beach to Double-A Springfield last Thursday.

On the Move

Having joined the Redbirds at the start of St. Louis' last road trip to continue his rehab from a broken kneecap, infielder/outfielder Allen Craig officially began play on Saturday. He is expected to play a week or more with Memphis before returning to St. Louis.

After one week with the Springfield Cardinals, outfielder Shane Robinson was returned to Memphis on Friday with outfielder Jim Rapoport heading in the other direction. In 31 Springfield at-bats, Robinson put up a line of .484/.568/.839/1.406, including three home runs and eight RBI. In 15 July contests with Memphis, Rapoport batted .238 with an OPS under .600. On the season, the left-handed hitter's PCL line was a power-free .252/.368/.309/.677.

Lefty starter Nick Additon was on the temporary inactive list from last Monday until Thursday. He was activated in time to make his start on schedule Thursday evening. On Tuesday, he was sent down to Springfield from where he was promoted on May 11. Additon's July ERA was 6.26 in four starts.

To replace Additon, Blaine Boyer was called up from A-Advanced Palm Beach. In three Florida State League starts, the 30-year-old had mixed results. On the positive, his ground ball to fly ball rate was 3.2:1, he held FSL batters to a collective .158 average and his strikeout to walk ratio was 11:3. On the other hand, he was charged with six earned runs in 10 2/3 innings for a 5.06 ERA. Boyer's most recent start was a five-inning one-hitter last Friday.

Who's Hot

During his 16-game hitting streak that started on July 2 and ended on July 22, Tyler Greene hit .357 (25-for-70) with eight doubles, two home runs, 13 RBI and a .423 on-base percentage. For the season, his average is up to .317.

In July, catcher Bryan Anderson has a line of .365/.481/.524. His strikeouts and walks are equal at 14.

When called upon, infielder Donovan Solano has been even hotter. His July line is .417/.462/.583, though he has just seen 24 at-bats.

In six outings since joining the Redbirds, veteran reliever Ron Mahay has not allowed a run. He has logged five strikeouts and walked just one in 5 1/3 innings.

Who's Not

Over his last ten games, PCL All-Star Andrew Brown is batting just .128 and is .200 with 23 strikeouts in 80 July at-bats.

Since his return from Springfield, outfielder Shane Robinson is just 5-for-25 (.200), four singles and a double.

Outfielder Aaron Luna is 7-for-32 (.219) with ten strikeouts in his last ten games.

Reliever Pete Parise has yielded seven earned runs in 13 1/3 July innings for a 4.73 ERA. He fanned nine but walked four.

In six Memphis starts, Maikel Cleto has a 5.01 ERA. The right-hander has walked 18 in 32 1/3 innings and also fanned 28.

Pacific Coast League individual leaders

The continued struggles of Andrew Brown and the improvement from Matt Carpenter are obvious. Lance Lynn and P.J. Walters are gone and Brandon Dickson and Adam Ottavino are slipping a bit.

Offense # PCL rank
BA no one in top 20
OBP Carpenter 0.414 10th
SLG Brown 0.531 20th
OPS Brown 0.922 19th
BB Carpenter 62 2nd
Pitching # PCL rank
ERA Dickson 4.28 10th
Ottavino 4.22 6th
Strikeouts Ottavino 93 6th
Dickson 86 12th
Saves Marte 19 2nd
Wins Lynn 7 T11th
Walks Ottavino 46 T12th
HR allow Dickson 16 T12th

(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 continued dip in rate stats this past week, the Redbirds offense moved closer to the bottom of the PCL. The staff maintains the best ERA in the league but the pitching numbers are showing signs of erosion as players change.

Offense Prev week PCL rank Season PCL rank
YTD # of 16 # of 16
BA 0.264 15th 0.263 15th
Runs 466 14th 488 15th
OPS 0.754 14th 0.750 15th
Doubles 163 14th 175 14th
HR 87 14th 91 14th
Steals 46 T15th 51 15th
Pitching Prev week PCL rank Season PCL rank
YTD # of 16 # of 16
ERA 3.88 1st 4.03 1st
Ks 707 4th 745 6th
Walks 324 Fewest 353 Fewest
HR allow 96 T5th fewest 98 2nd fewest
Saves 24 T6th fewest 24 T5th fewest

Up Next

The Redbirds finish the final two of the four at Round Rock (Texas) before returning home to AutoZone Park on Saturday. The short homestand consists of four against the Iowa Cubs before the club heads west to Reno (Diamondbacks) and Colorado Springs (Rockies) starting next Wednesday. Their next day off on August 11 will end a grueling stretch of 20 consecutive games including 16 on the road.

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