Memphis Redbirds Notebook: 2011 Week 18

The Cardinals Triple-A club hitters are improving, but the back end of the rotation is taking on water.

The big picture

This report covers the week from Thursday, August 4 through Wednesday, August 10.

Manager Chris Maloney's Memphis Redbirds opened their week with the final three games of the road series at Reno (Diamondbacks) before moving to Colorado Springs (Rockies) for four more. Their day off on Thursday ends a grueling stretch of 20 consecutive games, including 16 on the road.

It was an odd week as Memphis seemed to mimic their high-scoring, yet under- achieving St. Louis parent. The Redbirds scored 66 runs over the period while their opponents crossed the plate only 41 times. Yet, Memphis only managed to win four of the seven games.

The Redbirds lost the Reno series, one game to three, but then turned around and went 3-1 in front of big crowds at Colorado Springs. The home Sky Sox drew a franchise record for attendance at a four-game series at 27,113. Rehabbing major leaguer Jason Giambi suited up as did former Redbirds Joe Mather, Matt Pagnozzi and Clayton Mortensen.

The Redbirds' current record is 60-58 and they remain in second place in the American North Division. During the week, Memphis made up one game against first-place Omaha and is now five games back in the standings.

Game summaries

Thursday, August 4: Memphis 11 at Reno 0
Memphis scored 10 runs in the fifth inning. Maikel Cleto was the beneficiary as he threw six scoreless innings allowing just four hits. Bryan Augenstein (two innings) and Ron Mahay (one frame) helped complete the shutout. Light-hitting reserve catcher Nick Derba had two hits and three RBI and Shane Robinson was 3-for-5. Matt Carpenter went 2-for-4.

Friday, August 5: Reno 6, Memphis 4
Starter Brian Broderick took the loss as he allowed five runs on eight hits in six innings. Bryan Anderson had two hits and rehabbing Allen Craig went for 3-for-3 with a triple and two runs scored.

Saturday, August 6: Reno 13, Memphis 10
Blaine Boyer laid his third egg in as many starts, allowing seven runs in 3 1/3 innings. The Redbirds fought back from a 9-3 deficit to tie the game before loser Chuckie Fick allowed three eighth-inning runs on five walks and a hit. Nick Stavinoha homered and Pete Kozma drove in three.

Sunday, August 7: Memphis 10 at Colorado Springs 3
Memphis established an 8-0 lead and cruised home from there. Allen Craig opened the scoring with a first-inning solo homer and added an outfield assist, erasing a runner at home. Craig, Nick Stavinoha, Mark Hamilton and Bryan Anderson each drove in two. Brandon Dickson went eight innings, allowing two runs on ten hits and a walk.

Monday, August 8: Memphis 16 at Colorado Springs 7
As in game one, the Redbirds got out ahead early and kept the pressure on. Tyler Greene started the scoring with a solo home run in the first inning, the first of his two solo shots. Greene finished the night 4-for-6 with three runs scored and three RBI while Pete Kozma was 2-for-3 with four RBI. Matt Carpenter had two singles and a double. The 24 hits for Memphis were a single-game franchise record. Starter Adam Ottavino picked up the win despite allowing seven runs, five earned, on nine hits in 5 2/3 innings. The right-hander threw two wild pitches and hit two batters.

Tuesday, August 9: Memphis 10 at Colorado Springs 5
Andrew Brown's first-inning grand slam off former Redbird Clayton Mortensen set the tone. Mark Hamilton added a bases-loaded, bases-clearing double in the fourth. Tyler Greene doubled and hit his third solo homer in the last two games and Matt Carpenter walked twice and drove in a run with a single. Starter Maikel Cleto picked up the win allowing a run on one hit in five innings while striking out six.

Wednesday, August 10: Colorado Springs 7, Memphis 5
Once again, starter Brian Broderick had a subpar outing. The right-hander took the loss after allowing all seven runs on 11 hits in 3 1/3 innings. Mark Hamilton singled, doubled and drove in one. Shane Robinson tripled, walked and had an RBI.

On the Mend

On Thursday, first baseman Mark Hamilton was activated from the seven-day disabled list after his right thumb sprain healed. He had been out since July 21.

Left-handed reliever Rich Rundles remains on the DL for a second week.

Allen Craig was activated by St. Louis from their disabled list on Wednesday and rejoined the Cardinals. During his 10-game rehab stint with the Redbirds, Craig had a .286 average (10-for-35) while picking up four extra-base hits, nine runs and five RBI.

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

On the Move

Infielder Donovan Solano was demoted to Springfield last Thursday to make roster room for Hamilton and to help the Texas League Cards cover for another former Redbird, injured second baseman Jose Garcia. Solano, 23, last played in Double-A in 2008 and 2009 and was hitting .284 for the Redbirds in a reserve role.


Brandon Dickson is the PCL Pitcher of the Week for the period of August 1-7. The 26 year-old made two starts during that time, on August 2nd and 7th. In the first game, he pitched seven innings allowing three hits, one earned run, one home run, one walk, and struck four out for a no-decision vs. the Iowa Cubs. The right-hander's second appearance came against Colorado Springs in which he went eight innings and gave up ten hits, two earned runs, one walk, and struck three out for the winning decision.

Who's Hot

Bryan Augenstein extended his scoreless innings streak to 10 1/3 innings over six appearances after he threw 1 1/3 scoreless in relief on Monday. The right-hander made the major league club out of spring training, but had trouble regaining his form after a groin injury. Augenstein was dropped from the 40-man roster and went unclaimed via waivers last month.

Starter Maikel Cleto has allowed just one earned run in his two August starts (0.82 ERA). However, the right-hander has issued nine walks during those 11 innings of work.

Third baseman Matt Carpenter's current hitting streak has grown to 16 games and counting. During that time, he is 27-for-63 (.429) while collecting 11 RBI and scoring 10 runs.

First baseman Mark Hamilton has been on fire since being activated from the disabled list on August 4. Hamilton is currently riding a seven-game hitting streak, going 14-for-30 (.467) with 12 runs scored and seven RBI.

Tyler Greene made his way home 10 times in his last five games and 12 on the just-completed road trip. On Tuesday, the shortstop became only the second Redbird this season to be plated four times in a game. Adron Chambers was the first to achieve this June 1 against Albuquerque.

Who's Not

Despite a four-hit game on Monday, PCL All-Star Andrew Brown is still hitting just .222 in August with 12 strikeouts in 27 at-bats. He is coming off a .207 July.

Seeing regular action at second base isn't helping Pete Kozma at the dish. He finished July with a .190 average and began August 7-for-36 (.194), though he has plated nine runs in 10 games this month.

The loss of Lance Lynn and P.J. Walters is really being felt as neither Blaine Boyer nor Brian Broderick are picking up the slack while Adam Ottavino's puzzling slide continues.

After three PCL starts, Boyer's ERA stands at 15.55. League batters are teeing off against him at a .472 clip and he is averaging three baserunners allowed per inning. The experiment to make the veteran reliever a starter is obviously not working.

Broderick took two of the Redbirds' three losses this past week, allowing 12 earned runs in just 9 1/3 innings. On the season, the right-hander isn't missing many bats. PCL batters are hitting a collective .352 against him and he has fanned just 24 in 60 innings.

Further, Ottavino continues to struggle. Over his last four starts and 12 2/3 innings, the right-hander has allowed a whopping 25 earned runs for a 17.76 ERA.

Pacific Coast League individual leaders

In addition to his hitting streak noted above, Matt Carpenter's continued ability to take a walk is one of the offensive bright spots over the long haul. No Redbird is in the top 25 in the league in batting average, though Carpenter is creeping up at .307.

Offense # PCL rank
BA no one in top 20
OBP Carpenter 0.432 4th
SLG no one in top 20
OPS no one in top 20
Steals Chambers 17 T-18th
Doubles no one in top 20
HR Stavinoha 22 T-11th
RBI Stavinoha 86 T-7th
Walks Carpenter 72 1st
Pitching # PCL rank
ERA Dickson 4.11 6th
Strikeouts Ottavino 106 5th
Dickson 98 T-9th
Saves Marte 21 2nd
Wins Lynn 7 T-17th
Walks Ottavino 56 6th
HR allow Dickson 19 T-9th

(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

Despite the period improvement, a season's worth of offensive troubles cannot be erased in a single week.

It is not surprising given the starters' struggles noted above that Memphis' team ERA continues to slide. Because of earlier successes, it remains the best ERA in the league over the entire year.

Offense Prev week PCL rank Season PCL rank
YTD # of 16 # of 16
BA 0.264 15th 0.270 15th
Runs 525 15th 591 15th
OPS 0.753 15th 0.763 15th
Doubles 182 15th 199 15th
HR 101 T14th 107 13th
Steals 51 15th 62 14th
Pitching Prev week PCL rank Season PCL rank
YTD # of 16 # of 16
ERA 4.07 1st 4.17 1st
Ks 797 6th 840 6th
Walks 376 Fewest 408 T-fewest
HR allow 104 2nd fewest 111 2nd fewest
Saves 26 T6th fewest 26 5th fewest

Up Next

After the day off on Thursday, the Redbirds return home for four with Tucson (Padres) and four more against Las Vegas (Toronto) that will take them through a week from Friday.

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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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