This report covers the week from Thursday, September 1 through Monday, September 5, the end of the 2011 season.
Manager Chris Maloney's Memphis Redbirds opened the period with the final game of the four vs. Albuquerque (Dodgers), before the Redbirds concluded the regular season with four against Nashville (Brewers). All five contests were at AutoZone Park.
During this final period, the Redbirds strung together four consecutive home wins before being spanked in the season finale. Memphis posted a season-ending homestand record of 5-3.
The Redbirds' final record is 77-66 and they finished in second place in the American North Division. During the week, Memphis picked up 2.5 games against first-place Omaha and ended up 2.5 games back in the standings.
The four 2011 PCL division winners are Omaha (Kansas City-American North), Round Rock (Texas-American South), Reno (Arizona-Pacific North) and Sacramento (Oakland-Pacific South). Omaha and Round Rock face off in round one of the playoffs as will Reno and Sacramento.
Thursday, September 1: Memphis 6, Albuquerque 2
The Redbirds salvaged a split of the four-game series. Tyler Greene had two hits as Nick Stavinoha had a double and drove in two runs. Bryan Anderson and Pete Kozma each doubled. Nick Additon earned the win as he threw six scoreless innings striking out five. Victor Marte came on with two on and two out in the ninth to earn the save.
Friday, September 2: Memphis 7, Nashville 5
Memphis received back-to-back home runs in the fifth from Matt Carpenter (three-run shot) and Andrew Brown. Mike Blazek picked up his second win as a Redbird and his first at AutoZone Park, allowing four runs on four hits and five walks while striking out one over six innings. Rich Rundles added his first save of the season with a scoreless ninth.
Saturday, September 3: Memphis 4, Nashville 1
The Redbirds scored four in the seventh as Mark Hamilton doubled and Andrew Brown drove in two runs. Adam Ottavino earned the win as he allowed one run on six hits over seven innings. Victor Marte threw one scoreless inning, logging his Cardinals minor league-leading 31st save.
Sunday, September 4: Memphis 5, Nashville 2
Memphis scored four in the sixth inning for the win. Nick Stavinoha doubled twice and drove in three runs. Tyler Greene scored twice. Cory Rauschenberger started and threw three scoreless innings. Jess Todd earned the win as he threw 1 2/3 shutout frames.
Monday, September 5: Nashville 10 at Memphis 2
The Redbirds finished their season on a down note, scoring their only runs on errors by third baseman Mat Gamel. Starter Brian Broderick served up a pair of two-run homers, though he lasted seven innings. Reliever David Kopp allowed five in the ninth, three earned, to eliminate any hope of a late comeback.
On the Move
Brandon Dickson was officially promoted to St. Louis last Thursday. He was replaced by Mike Blazek, called up from Double-A Springfield.
Outfielder Shane Robinson was the second September promotion last Friday when he was re-added to St. Louis' 40-man roster.
The final three call-ups, who did not join St. Louis until the completion of Memphis' regular season, are catcher Tony Cruz, shortstop Tyler Greene and outfielder Adron Chambers. The latter was making his MLB debut. Among those passed over are third baseman Matt Carpenter, first baseman Mark Hamilton, shortstop Pete Kozma and outfielder Andrew Brown.
St. Louis infielder Nick Punto remained with the Redbirds on his rehab assignment through the entire final week of the season. The 33-year-old went 3-for-15 (.200), all singles, and also drew three walks. Punto committed two errors. He rejoined St. Louis with the last group.
On the Mend
Catcher Nick Derba was activated off the disabled list last Thursday. He had been out since August 16.
Shortstop Tyler Greene was named The Cardinal Nation Player of the Month for August. Details about his accomplishments last month can be read here.
|Stavinoha was recognized with a framed jersey|
In July, he set the team career home run record and also owns the franchise records for career games played, at-bats and hits. Unless Stavinoha is re-added to the 40-man roster, he will become a free agent after the season.
Victor Marte's 31 saves not only led the PCL, it also shattered the club's single-season record of 26 set by Gene Stechschulte in 2000.
Closer Victor Marte did not allow a run in his last ten outings and only four earned runs in 40 innings pitched since June 1.
Mark Hamilton went 6-for-14 (.429) with two doubles and seven walks this past week. The first baseman scored five times, but collected just one RBI.
In his final week with Memphis, catcher Tony Cruz went 4-for-10 (.400) including two doubles.
Outfielder Andrew Brown finished the season on a 3-for-21 (.143) skid. His OPS plummeted from 1.000 before the break to just .706 after.
Prior to his call up to St. Louis, Adron Chambers was just four for his last 21 (.190) during last week.
Reliever David Kopp, heading for the Arizona Fall League next month, may need a rest. The right-hander was spanked in his final two outings, yielding seven runs, five earned, in just one total inning of work. Kopp gave up eight hits and walked two more.
Pacific Coast League individual leaders
Matt Carpenter finished a fine season with a team-leading .300 batting average and an on-base percentage of .417 that was fourth-best in the PCL. Despite this, he scored just 61 runs, tied for 65th in the league! Carpenter primarily batted fifth (71 games) and sixth (40 starts), but was tried in the number two spot for just five games.
Stavinoha was very productive for the club in the second half. As noted above, Brown headed in the opposite direction.
(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
As was often the case this season, the offense dipped last week while the pitching generally held their ground. The staff took the ERA title though they lost their hold on fewest walks allowed during the final week. Clearly the pitching led the way for the 2011 Redbirds.
|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||132||T4th fewest||135||T3rd fewest|
After the long off-season, the Redbirds will open their 144-game 2012 season on the road at Oklahoma City on April 5. The home opener will be on Friday, April 13 against the same RedHawks club. The Redbirds' 13th season will include games at AutoZone Park on Mother's Day, Father's Day, Memorial Day and the Fourth of July. For those in the area, 2012 season tickets are already on sale.
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Brian Walton can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. 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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