A flurry of transactions surrounded the week due to injuries at St. Louis, as the Redbirds broke their nine-game losing streak by taking the last game at home against the Colorado Springs Sky Sox (Colorado Rockies) on Tuesday to finish out an eight-game home stand that nearly went winless.
Memphis then traveled to Las Vegas to play the 51s (Toronto Blue Jays) and took the first two games of the series with a hitting display that saw 17 runs cross the plate. However, the offense didn't last after the Redbirds' two best hitters in Matt Adams and Adron Chambers were called up due to a rash of injuries on the Cardinals. The Redbirds scored just five runs in the final two games at Las Vegas and three runs in the first game of a four-game set at Tucson against the Padres that broke the three-game winning streak and started another losing-streak at three games to end the week.
Memphis turned 12 double plays on the week and forced only four errors, which had become a major problem the past two weeks. The bullpen also turned out an earned-run average just south of 2.50 through 18.1 innings all week and was a fresh of breath air through the three victories. The Redbirds increased their team batting average by four points to .246 and OPS (on-base plus slugging percentage) to .667, but those numbers still rank as worst in the Pacific Coast League. Their team earned-run average also decreased four points to 4.35, which ranks sixth in the league.
In a week that the Redbirds won their first three but went 3-3 on the week, they remain a half game back of the Nashville Sounds to sit at the bottom of the American Northern standings. They will finish out a four-game series at Tucson against the Padres to see who comes out the victor of the battle out of the cellar, while the Redbirds overall record sits at 16-28.
Tuesday, May 15th: Memphis 6, Colorado Springs 0
The Redbirds broke a nine-game losing streak with a strong performance by Shelby Miller. The Texan matched his season high with six shut out innings, as he gave up three hits, two walks, and struck out five. All of the offense was scored in the fifth inning with a big crooked number due in part to Matt Adams' seventh home run, a three-run bomb to right field. Ryan Jackson added two singles in the game (scored on the home run), and Pete Kozma drilled his second double on the year.
Thursday, May 17th: Memphis 8 at Las Vegas 1
Nick Additon continued the winning streak with a solid performance after yielding just one run in seven innings. The lefty gave up only two extra-base hits (two doubles), which has been a problem for him this year, five more singles, one walk, hit a batter, and struck out five. Nick Greenwood and Adam Reifer finished out the game with a shutout inning each.
Redemption was the theme of the night as Pete Kozma, Zack Cox, and Bryan Anderson, three batters who have struggled mightily this season, roped two doubles each and drove in four of the Redbirds eight runs. Ryan Jackson doubled and tripled in the second spot in the order, and Matt Adams had two singles in the spot behind him. Eugenio Velez had the only homer of the night, a solo-shot to lead off the game.
Friday, May 18th: Memphis 9 at Las Vegas 6
Redbirds batters rained hits all over Las Vegas for the second straight night, as they one-upped their 14 hits the day before at 15 on the night. Zack Cox had two doubles for the second straight game, while Jamie Romak (first game as a Redbird), Cedric Hunter (solo homer), and Ryan Jackson had two hits apiece. Matt Adams was the king of the night after drilling his eighth and ninth home runs of the year and his ninth double. Adams finished 4-for-5 on the night with five RBI.
The pitching didn't fare so well for the first time this week, as Brian Broderick surrendered six runs off an astounding four homers, eight total hits, and one walk in five innings. Barret Browning, Maikel Cleto, and Chuckie Fick closed out the game with three shutout innings.
Saturday, May 19th: Las Vegas 5, Memphis 3
A three-game winning streak was all the Redbirds could manage after Sam Freeman was drilled for a two-run home run off the bat of catcher Travis d'Arnaud, the first time a Redbirds reliever had given up a run this week. John Gast made his Redbirds debut by pitching a quality start in six innings. The lefty gave up nine hits (one homer), walked none, and struck out four, which led to three runs crossing the plate.
Matt Adams doubled for the tenth time this season before being pulled from the game in what will be his last game as a Redbird for awhile, and perhaps ever. Cedric Hunter had the only other extra-base hit with a double, and Jamie Romak went 2-for-4.
Sunday, May 20th: Las Vegas 5, Memphis 2
Joe Kelly allowed four runs to score in five innings off nine hits (two doubles), three walks, and four strikeouts. Kelly took the loss, which was his fifth of the year, despite having a 3.58 earned-run average. Maikel Cleto threw two perfect innings out of the pen and struck out four batters.
Bryan Anderson was the only Redbirds batter to record more than one hit with two singles in four at-bats, while Steven Hill blasted his third home run of the year, and Ryan Jackson smacked his 10th double.
Monday, May 21st: Tucson 9, Memphis 3
Shelby Miller was slammed for the most runs he's given up all year, though three of the seven runs he surrendered were unearned due to Ryan Jackson's 10th error. The Texan lasted just 3.2 innings and was drilled for six extra-base hits (four homers), three walks, and a hit batter. Jess Todd was able to hold Tucson at bay with three strikeouts in 2.1 scoreless innings, and Clay Zavada pitched a shutout inning for his first appearance for the Birds before Adam Reifer yielded two runs in his inning of work.
Steven Hill blasted his fourth home run of the year, and Jamie Romak doubled in the eighth to score Ryan Jackson, but the team was only able to put four runners in scoring position and failed to get a hit each time.
Matt Adams: The first baseman went 8-for-16 in his last four games played for the Redbirds before being promoted to St. Louis to replace Lance Berkman. Three of hits were home runs and two others were doubles. The Redbirds will sorely miss his bat in the lineup.
Ryan Jackson: The Miami native hit .458 through the week and increased his batting average to .307. Jackson has been an excellent hitter in the second spot of the order, and while he's forced 10 errors on the year, his range and arm have been fine.
Zack Cox: Woo Pig Sooie!!!! Cox finally had a week worth mentioning after going 7-for-21 and drilling two doubles in consecutive nights. The former first-round pick also struck out just twice.
The bullpen: The bullpen turned out an earned-run average just south of 2.50 through 18.1 innings all week.
Eugenio Velez: This is the second straight week for Velez to make this section and he is really struggling after a very hot start to the season. Velez posted just one hit in 20 at-bats this week. He also struck out six times.
Mark Hamilton: Hamilton one-upped Velez and posted just one hit 24 at-bats. The outfielder/first baseman has struggled after coming off the disabled list this season, hitting just .161 with one walk and 17 strikeouts in 16 games played.
Performance of Top Opposing Prospects (selected from Scout.com's Top 10 of each team)
May 15th, Colorado Rockies
May 16th, Toronto Blue Jays
1) Travis d'Arnaud (catcher, plus power, solid average hitter, good defense, plus arm strength): 2-for-4, double
3) Anthony Gose (centerfield, plus speed, defense, and arm strength, high strikeout total, average power, good walk rate but mediocre batting average): 1-for-3, double, strikeout
7) Adeiny Hechavarria (shortstop, good average, rarely walks, good speed and defense): 2-for-3, RBI
May 17th, Toronto Blue Jays
1) d'Arnaud: 3-for-3, two home runs, two RBI, one walk
3) Gose: 2-for-5, double, triple, strikeout
7) Hechavarria: 2-for-3, home run, two RBI, one walk
May 18th, Toronto Blue Jays
1) d'Arnaud: 1-for-4, home run, two RBI, strikeout
3) Gose: 2-for-4
7) Hechavarria: 1-for-3
May 19th, Toronto Blue Jays
1) d'Arnaud: 2-for-4, double, RBI
3) Gose: 1-for-3, double, strikeout
7) Hechavarria: 2-for-4, RBI, strikeout
May 20th, San Diego Padres
3) Jedd Gyorko (third base, hits for a good batting average, average power, average defense): 2-for-5, double, home run, two RBI
9) Yasmani Grandal (catcher, average defense, switch-hitter, hits for solid batting average, average power): 3-for-4, two doubles, two RBI
The Cardinal Nation Top 40
1. Shelby Miller: Miller followed up one great start with his worst of this season and continued his inconsistency. The Texan dropped his earned-run average to 4.30 but has given up seven home runs through nine starts, walked 20 batters in 44 innings, and allowed opponents to hit .307 off him. His batting average of balls in play will surely go down from .376, but not until he fights the extra-base bug that plagued him in his last start.
5. Zack Cox: See Who's Hot.
9. Matt Adams: See Who's Hot.
13. Ryan Jackson: See Who's Hot.
14. Maikel Cleto: Cleto struck out five batters over three scoreless innings this week. In his last 10 appearances, he has a 1.29 earned-run average with a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 18:4.
17. Adron Chambers: Chambers played just one game before flying off to St. Louis to replace Jon Jay. The leadoff hitter leaves Memphis with the team's highest on-base percentage at .377 and will be missed nearly as much as Adams.
18. Joe Kelly: The groundball specialist lost his fifth game of the year and saw his earned-run average climb to 3.58, which is still fairly solid. However, Kelly has battled inconsistencies all through this month and has lost his last four games.
19. Adam Reifer: The right-hander was one of the only relievers to surrender a run this week, giving up two runs in two innings of work.
20. Mark Hamilton: See Who's Not.
21: John Gast: The lefty made his Redbirds and Pacific Coast League debut this week and turned out a quality start. Gast yielded three runs over six innings and gave up nine hits, zero walks, and four strikeouts.
25: Bryan Anderson: Anderson went 6-for-20 on the week but still maintains the worst OPS in the Pacific Coast League at .489.
32: Brandon Dickson: Brandon Dickson was called up to St. Louis to fill in the bullpen and didn't make a start this week.
34: Sam Freeman: The Houston native pitched a scoreless inning in his Memphis debut but then surrendered two runs, including a home run in his next outing.
35: Pete Kozma: The former first-round pick went 5-for-20 in an uneventful week. His batting line stands at .229/.280/.350.
40: Chuckie Fick: The Californian still holds the most appearances out of the pen, 20, and threw two scoreless innings this week.
5/15: Shane Robinson promoted to St. Louis Cardinals. Robinson's stint in Memphis didn't last long, just one game, as the Cardinals needed him once Jon Jay hit the disabled list.
5/15: Redbirds release left-handed pitcher R.J. Swindle. The 28-year old posted a 4.76 earned-run average in 11.1 innings and 13 appearances for the Redbirds this season. Swindle was generally ineffective against left-handed batters to the tune of a .261 batting average.
5/16: Clay Zavada assigned to Memphis. The Cardinals signed the left-hander to replace Swindle in the bullpen. The 30th-round draft pick will try to make an impression on the Cardinals, as they carry only one left-handed reliever on the big club.
5/17: Traded for first-baseman Jamie Romak from the Kansas City Royals. Though he hit just .147 with the Omaha Storm Chasers this season, Romak will see time all around the infield and outfield.
5/18: Brandon Dickson called up to St. Louis Cardinals. Dickson has been one of the best Redbirds starters and gets another chance at the major leagues, this time to replace Kyle McClellan in the Cardinals bullpen.
5/18: Adron Chambers promoted to St. Louis Cardinals. Chambers has been the second most productive hitter in Memphis and a solid leadoff man. The speedy centerfielder takes Allen Craig's spot on the roster.
5/18: John Gast assigned to Memphis Redbirds. In a corresponding move to replace Dickson in the rotation, Gast made his Pacific Coast League debut after posting great numbers in Springfield. The lefty brings his 1.93 earned-run average and strikeout-to-walk ratio of 41:13 in 51.1 innings from Springfield.
5/20: Matt Adams promoted to St. Louis Cardinals. Adams will make his much anticipated major league debut after being the undisputed Redbirds MVP so far this season.
5/21: Lou Montanez signed as free agent and assigned to Memphis Redbirds. The 30-year old outfielder hit just .136 in 17 games with the Philadelphia Phillies Triple-A affiliate before being released.
The Redbirds will try to break their three-game losing streak and will have a pretty good shot playing the team with the worst record in the Pacific Coast league in the Tucson Padres, though the Redbirds stand just a game back. Memphis will finish three games of the four-game set in Tucson before heading back home to Tennessee for an eight-game home stand that will start with the Iowa Cubs.
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