Memphis Redbirds Notebook: 2012 Week 11

The Cardinals Triple-A club endured an up and down 3-4 week as their homestand concluded. The Redbirds' relief corps is riding a hot streak.

Overview

The Memphis Redbirds' 3-4 record this week includes losing two of three games to cross-state rival Nashville Sounds (Milwaukee Brewers), splitting a Friday night double-header against the New Orleans Zephyrs (Miami Marlins), and scoring just one run over the final two games of the homestand, including Father's Day on Sunday.

Hitting with runners in scoring position continued to plague the Redbirds with a .204 overall average in 49 attempts, as their team batting average of .246 remained in the Pacific Coast League cellar eight points below Nashville. Their 4.69 overall team earned-run average in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League wasn't higher due to a stellar performance by the bullpen this week in which they gave up just two runs over 16 2/3 innings.

Memphis pulled its record above the lowly Tucson Padres, who sit at 22-48, but the Redbirds' own record at 25-46 puts them in last place of the American Northern Division standings, three games behind Nashville and an astounding 19 games behind the Omaha Storm Chasers (Kansas City Royals).

Game Summaries

Tuesday, June 12th: Memphis 2, Nashville 0
Memphis snapped its four-game losing streak with a shutdown performance from Nick Additon. The lefty went seven scoreless innings and yielded just four hits, walked none, and struck out an impressive 11 batters in his best outing of the year. Adam Reifer and Jess Todd finished out the final two innings in scoreless fashion.

Mark Hamilton reached base three times, all via the walk, and scored on a single from Pete Kozma, while Cedric Hunter scored the other run on a balk by Wily Peralta. Jamie Romak and Eugenio Velez each doubled.

Wednesday, June 13th: Nashville 5 at Memphis 4
Brandon Dickson wasn't quite able to finish with a quality start, as he surrendered a 483-foot bomb to right field that landed in the picnic pavilion off the bat of Jason Jaramillo. That shot increased Nashville's lead to 5-2 in the sixth inning. Dickson was riding steadily until then by locating his fastball that sat 88 mph in the early innings and hovered between 86-87 in his final two frames. The Alabama native finished with a line of six innings pitched, 11 hits, five runs, zero walks, and one strikeout, which increased his season earned-run average to 3.55.

The Redbirds mounted a comeback in the bottom of the ninth with consecutive singles from Aaron Bates, Zack Cox, Nick Derba, and a bases-loaded walk to Ryan Jackson that forced in a run. Lou Montanez proceeded to ground into a double play, which scored a run, but Jamie Romak popped out to Jordan Brown to end the comeback and the game. Pete Kozma had two singles and was the only Redbirds batter to record more than one hit, while Skip Schumaker singled in his first rehab appearance for Memphis.

Thursday, June 14th: Memphis 4, Nashville 2
Schumaker gave Memphis a boost in offense in his limited time back with the Redbirds. In his second rehab start, he doubled twice, drew two walks, stole a base, and scored two of the Redbirds' four runs. Eugenio Velez drove in one with a single in the fifth, as Jamie Romak followed up with a triple to plate the final two tallies, which was all the Redbirds would need this night.

John Gast nabbed his third win for Memphis with a quality start in which he struck out more batters (seven) than innings pitched (6.2), while yielding four hits and two walks. Chuckie Fick, Barret Browning, and Adam Reifer (second save) closed out the win with 2 1/3 shutout innings.

Friday, June 15th: New Orleans 5 at Memphis 2 (Game One)
Tyler Lyons made his Pacific Coast League debut and finished an abbreviated complete game by allowing five runs off seven total hits. Lyons struck out an impressive seven batters and walked none, though he gave up four extra-base hits, including a home run.

Mark Hamilton's double in the second was the only Redbirds hit until the sixth inning when Hamilton's single drove in a rehabbing Matt Carpenter and Eugenio Velez, who had singled and doubled, respectively.

Friday, June 15th: Memphis 10, New Orleans 3 (Game Two)
Hamilton ripped two home runs, Velez added his ninth round tripper of the year, and Zack Cox drilled his 16th double, as Memphis combined for 10 runs on 11 total hits to rip New Orleans and split the double-header. Hamilton and Cox had three hits apiece, while Ryan Jackson and Bryan Anderson were the only starting non-pitcher to not record a hit.

Brian Broderick shut out New Orleans until surrendering a double, two singles, and a triple in the fourth that led to three runs scored, which would be all the Zephyrs would get the rest of the night. John Gaub and Jess Todd finished out the win with a scoreless inning apiece.

Saturday, June 16th: New Orleans 7 at Memphis 0
In a game that was delayed two and a half hours due to an unexpected rain shower earlier that afternoon, Shelby Miller was slammed to the tune of seven runs (five earned) in only 4 2/3 innings, which only continued his struggles this season. This is Shelby's first start after the Cardinals ordered the Texas native a no-shake off policy in which he will have to throw whatever pitch the catcher throws down in signal.

Miller's earned-run average rose to an even 6.00, as he yielded his 15th total home run on the year in 14 starts and lost his sixth game. In better news, Clay Zavada, Nick Greenwood, and Chuckie Fick continued the bullpen's dominance this week by shutting down New Orleans in the final 4 1/3 innings.

The Redbirds offense was as bad as Shelby Miller's final line, as the team was nearly no-hit. Jamie Romak singled with two outs in the seventh inning and was the only hit across the board for the team through the end of the game.

Sunday, June 17th: New Orleans 6 at Memphis 1
Memphis finished up the home stand and followed up the one-hit night by only driving in one run off eight hits. Cedric Hunter's double was the team's only extra-base hit. Skip Schumaker finished his rehab assignment, while he and Matt Carpenter went a collective 0-for-7. Pete Kozma and Steven Hill managed two singles each and were the only Redbirds batters to record multiple hits.

Nick Additon put the team in an early two-run deficit in the second inning and finished the day by surrendering four runs (three earned) off six hits (home run), three walks, and six strikeouts. Barret Browning, Jess Todd, and John Gaub combined to throw three shutout innings before Adam Reifer put the game out of reach by allowing a two-run homer to Nick Green, which was the first runs a reliever has put up in a game during this report.

Monday, June 18th: Off

Who's Hot

Bullpen: It wasn't until Adam Reifer surrendered a two-run home run to Nick Green on the final game of the homestand on Sunday afternoon that the Redbirds bullpen allowed a run on the week. Redbirds' relief logged 16 2/3 innings and surrendered two runs.

Who's Not

Ryan Jackson: Though the shortstop has been the most consistent current Redbird, Jackson endured a slump this week that saw his batting average drop to .277. The shortstop finished 2-for-15 and went hitless in his last four games played, though he did walk six times during the stretch.

Shelby Miller: You don't want to hear that your top prospect has been ordered from the top not to shake off pitches from the catcher in an effort to get him to utilize his secondary pitches. Miller's first start after implementing the new order was less than spectacular, as he yielded seven runs (five earned) and saw his earned-run average rise to 6.00, but this can only help him going forward.

Hitting with runners in scoring position: This continued to be a problem for Memphis, as the team went a combined 10-for-49 with runners in scoring position. That .204 batting average coupled with their problems this season have been a major source of the Redbirds offensive inconsistencies this season.

Performance of Top Opposing Prospects (selected from Scout.com's Top 10 of each team)

June 12th: Milwaukee Brewers
1) Wily Peralta (RHP, 91-95 mph fastball four-seam fastball, throws two-seem fastball, above-average slider, inconsistent changeup, inconsistent command): 5.1 IP, four hits, two runs, six walks, six strikeouts

5) Logan Schafer (CF, line-drive, solid-average hitter, no power, solid range, average arm): 2-for-4, stolen base, strikeout

June 13th: Milwaukee Brewers
5) Schafer: 2-for-4, double, two RBI, strikeout

June 14th: Miami Marlins
None

June 15th: Miami Marlins (Game One)
3) Matt Dominguez (third base, great fielder, underperforming hitter with potential for average hitting and power): 1-for-3

June 15th: Miami Marlins (Game Two)
3) Dominguez: 0-for-3, strikeout

June 16th: Miami Marlins
3) Dominguez: 1-for-2, home run, three RBI

June 17th: Miami Marlins
3) Dominguez: 1-for-4, walk

The Cardinal Nation Top 40

1) Shelby Miller: See "Who's Not".

5) Zack Cox: The Kentucky native came back from the disabled list after a mild concussion sustained after being hit in the helmet by a fastball. Cox had an uneventful week, going 4-for-16, and will try to start over in the second half and prove his slow start is behind him.

11) Matt Carpenter: Carpenter will play briefly with the Redbirds in a rehab stint before going back to St. Louis.

13) Ryan Jackson: See "Who's Not".

19) Adam Reifer: The Californian gave up the only runs of the week out of the pen in his last appearance on Sunday but also pitched two scoreless innings prior to that and is tied with Chuckie Fick as having the most appearances out of the pen at 29. His 4.72 earned-run average this season is hardly screaming for a call-up to a struggling Cardinals bullpen.

20) Mark Hamilton: The left-handed hitter has largely struggled this season, with his batting average still below .200 at .199. Hamilton has already more than tripled his home run output from last season with seven in 101 fewer at-bats, but has been much less effective overall.

21) John Gast: The southpaw has struck out 15 batters over his last two starts in 12.2 innings, as his 3.82 earned-run average in six starts for Memphis has been a welcome addition.

25) Bryan Anderson: In what could turn out to be a lost year for Anderson at the plate, he recorded just one hit 13 at bats over four starts this past week. The Cardinals don't have another catching prospect knocking on the door to take his place, but it's unclear if Anderson has a future in the organization beyond this season.

32) Brandon Dickson: The right-hander endured his worst start of the season this week, but his 3.55 earned-run average this season has been a steady force in a pitching staff that has seen a number of additions and subtractions.

35) Pete Kozma: The second baseman had another uneventful week but drove in five runs in six of his hits over his 19 at bats.

40) Chuckie Fick: Making only two appearances this week, Fick completed 1 1/3 shutout innings and is tied with most appearances out of the pen with 29 with an earned-run average of 4.34 and a less than stellar 13 strikeouts in 29 innings.

Transactions

6/12: Released Mitch Canham. After recording only 48 at bats, Canham was released after making his last start way back on June 4th. Canham's role was hardly needed, as Nick Derba was placed in the back-up role and Steven Hill can catch on an emergency basis.

6/12: Activated Zack Cox from seven-day disabled list. After suffering a mild concussion after being hit in the head by a fastball, Cox returns to the lineup and will try to erase his inconsistent first two months.

6/13: Skip Schumaker assigned to Redbirds. Dealing with a right hamstring injury, Schumaker will make a brief appearance with the Redbirds before departing to help a slumping Cardinals offense.

6/14: Matt Carpenter assigned to Memphis. A day after adding Skip, the Redbirds received another rehabbing Cardinals player, as Carpenter comes back from a right oblique strain.

6/16: Activated Steven Hill from temporary inactive list. In Hill's first stint with the Redbirds, the utility man provided a .775 OPS and will help an inconsistent lineup filling in both at first base and the outfield.

6/16: Garrett Wittels sent down to Batavia Muckdogs. Wittels recorded two hits in four pinch-hit appearances and should play regularly for Batavia.

6/18: Maikel Cleto sent down from St. Louis Cardinals. Cleto rejoins the Redbirds after posting a 5.40 earned-run average in four outings with the Cardinals and was replaced by Skip Schumaker on the 25-man roster.

Upcoming

The Redbirds have embarked on an eight-game road stretch that started on Tuesday in Omaha against the first-place Storm Chasers before they head to New Orleans to take on the Zephyrs after a series in which they split four games. Memphis will play 28 more games before the All-Star Break, which will be held on July 11 in Buffalo, New York.



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