Memphis Redbirds Notebook: 2012 Week 12

The Cardinals Triple-A club welcomed a number of offensive leaders but won just three of seven for the second consecutive week.

Overview

The Memphis Redbirds were greeted this period with the return of Matt Adams and Adron Chambers to the lineup. Coming off a 3-4 record last week, the Redbirds continued that trend with three wins and four losses this time, too. Though Memphis hit .323 with runners in scoring position, Redbirds pitchers yielded 6.3 runs per start compared to 4.7 last week. The team split a four-game road set at Omaha and then lost two of three in New Orleans.

As of Tuesday afternoon, the Redbirds remain in the cellar of the American Northern Division, three games behind the Nashville Sounds (Milwaukee Brewers) and 21 games behind the first-place Omaha Storm Chasers (Kansas City Royals).

Game Summaries

Tuesday, June 19th: Omaha 3, Memphis 2
Zack Cox let loose and tried to put his poor start to the season behind him, as the third baseman belted his fourth round tripper. Cox drove in the other run with a double in the ninth to score Eugenio Velez, who was at second base with a double of his own, but Pete Kozma lined out to end the game. While Ryan Jackson and Velez also had two hits apiece along with Cox, the Redbirds failed to hit with runners in scoring position in four other opportunities.

Brandon Dickson went six innings for a quality start, but he also walked four batters and surrendered three doubles (four total hits) to allow the only three runs Omaha needed to take the victory.

Wednesday, June 20th: Memphis 13 at Omaha 9
Every Redbirds starter rapped out a hit in this offensive rout, while Jon Jay provided the spark in the leadoff spot with the two toughest hits of a cycle (home run, triple) and a walk. Mark Hamilton added a homer of his own with two walks, while the rest of the offense racked up five more free passes. Nick Derba smoked two doubles with a 3-for-5 night for his best game with Memphis.

John Gast suffered his worst start with the ‘Birds by surrendering six runs but was actually one out away from a quality start. The southpaw allowed a three-run homer to David Lough in the sixth inning before retiring the next batter. Jess Todd was the only pitcher to come out unscathed with a scoreless inning.

Thursday, June 21st: Memphis 6 at Omaha 4 (11 innings)
Extra innings were needed for Memphis to take the third game of the four-game set with a chance at winning the series the next day. A four-run seventh inning plated all the runs the Redbirds would see through nine innings, which came from back-to-back doubles off Pete Kozma and Zack Cox's bats and an RBI single by Lou Montanez. Lou Montanez brought home the winning runs with another single in the 11th inning. Kozma, Cox, and Montanez combined to go 6-for-13 in the sixth through eighth spots in the order.

Like Gast the previous day, Tyler Lyons came within one out of a quality start but was taken out after allowing four of his final five batters in the sixth to reach base. Adam Reifer relieved Lyons and retired his only batter to bring Lyons' final line on the night to 5.2 innings pitched, seven hits, three runs, two walks, and three strikeouts. Reifer, Barret Browning, Jess Todd, and Maikel Cleto all combined to shut down Omaha through 5.1 innings. Cleto notched his second win in Memphis this season with two strikeouts in two innings.

Friday, June 22nd: Omaha 11, Memphis 3
Memphis was unable to take a series win from the first place Storm Chasers, as Brian Broderick put them into an early 10-2 hole through the third, his final inning. Nick Greenwood was able to limit more damage by tossing three shutout innings, but the Redbirds offense wasn't able to erase the deficit. Shelby Miller was originally supposed to start the game but was skipped "for rest and resetting".

Though Memphis was able to muster 12 total hits, only three runners crossed the plate and none after the fourth inning. Bryan Anderson delivered three hits (one double), while Steven Hill and Pete Kozma had two-hit nights. Hamilton managed their only other extra-base hit with a double.

Saturday, June 23rd: New Orleans 4, Memphis 2
With a lineup that was meant to be all season, the Redbirds recorded 11 hits but managed to plate just two of them after hitting 1-for-14 with runners in scoring position. Adron Chambers was welcomed back into the lineup with two walks in the leadoff spot, as well as Matt Adams, who went hitless in four trips to the plate. Ryan Jackson and Mark Hamilton both accounted for three hits each, as Eugenio Velez (two doubles) and Zack Cox had two apiece.

Scott Gorgen made his Pacific Coast League debut after being promoted from Springfield and it was a good one. The California native surrendered just three hits and one run through six innings, while adding four strikeouts compared to one walk. Gorgen's start was deserving of a win, but Barret Browning coughed up a three-run shot to Matt Dominguez to take the loss.

Sunday, June 24th: Memphis 11 at New Orleans 2
Matt Adams was already trying to make the Cardinals regret sending him down by having a monster day at the plate. The first baseman blasted his 10th and 11th homers and drilled a double in five plate appearances. His three runs batted in would have been enough to take the win, but Bryan Anderson drove in three more with his second home run among his three total hits, and Steven Hill added a solo-shot in the second. Adron Chambers was the only position player not in on the fun, as the leadoff hitter failed to record a hit in six tries.

Making his second start this week, Brandon Dickson tossed a gem. The right-hander threw seven innings of one-run ball, while walking none, and though he gave up eight hits, only one went for extra bases.

Monday, June 25th: New Orleans 11, Memphis 3
Memphis didn't manage a base runner until the fourth inning when four straight batters reached to start the inning, led off by a double from Lou Montanez. Montanez and Ryan Jackson ended up crossing the plate. They were then held without a runner until the seventh inning when Pete Kozma hit his sixth home run on a ball to left field to account for the only other run scored on the night.

John Gast didn't do the offense any favors after he endured his worst start for Memphis after allowing eight runs to cross the plate in an effort that fell one batter short of five complete innings. Two of the 10 hits that Gast surrendered went for extra bases.

Who's Hot

Ryan Jackson: The shortstop went 10-for-31 on the week and walked twice. Jackson's .323 average over that time period increased his overall batting average to .281. He is currently riding a seven-game hitting streak.

Steven Hill: Providing a spark for the Redbirds offense, the Texas native had a .348 batting average through six starts. June 24th was his best outing on the week when he doubled and belted his fifth home run. His .784 OPS ranks third on the team.

Zack Cox: The former Razorback finally showed signs of breaking through his cold start, as he hit safely in all but one game this week. The third baseman had nine total hits including two doubles, a home run, and three walks. Cox will need to put a string of these weeks together to improve his overall batting line of .237/.289/.374, but it's nice to see signs of improvement.

Hitting with runners in scoring position: After posting a .204 batting average with runners in scoring position last time, Redbirds batters shattered that total by hitting .323 in those situations this week. Memphis scored 40 runs in these seven games, which averages out to 5.7 per game.

Who's Not

John Gast: The southpaw had his worst stretch this week after coughing up 14 earned runs over two starts that spanned 10.2 innings. Though solid through last week, these two outings skyrocketed his earned-run average in Memphis to 5.67.

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

June 19th: Kansas City Royals
1) Wil Myers (outfield, good power, hits for solid average, very good patience, good speed, plus-plus arm): 0-for-1, three walks

June 20th: Kansas City Royals
1) Myers: 1-for-3, RBI, two walks, two strikeouts

June 21st: Kansas City Royals
1) Myers: 0-for-5, two strikeouts

June 22nd: Kansas City Royals
1) Myers: 1-for-3, walk, RBI

3) Jake Odorizzi (RHP, low-90s sinking fastball, average curveball, slider, and changeup, average-to-slightly-above-average command, mid-rotation starter): six innings pitched, 10 hits, three earned runs, two walks, four strikeouts

June 23rd: Miami Marlins
3) Matt Dominguez (third base, great fielder, underperforming hitter with potential for average hitting and power): 1-for-3, home run, three RBI

June 24th: Miami Marlins
3) Dominguez: 1-for-4, RBI

June 25th: Miami Marlins
3) Dominguez: 0-for-4, strikeout

The Cardinal Nation Top 40

1) Shelby Miller: The Texas native was skipped this week to rest and reset with a new "no-shake off" rule. Miller's earned run average stands at an even 6.00 in 14 starts with 73 strikeouts in 66 innings.

5) Zack Cox: See "Who's Hot".

9) Matt Adams: The first baseman was sent down from the Cardinals when Matt Carpenter was taken off the disabled list and went 4-for-13 in three starts with two home runs and a double on June 24th.

13) Ryan Jackson: See "Who's Hot".

14) Maikel Cleto: The fireballer surrendered one run in three appearances this week. His performance over four innings dropped his earned-run average to 4.20, as his control has vastly improved over last year to the tune of 44 strikeouts to 10 walks in 35 innings between St. Louis and Memphis.

17) Adron Chambers: Returning as the leadoff hitter, Chambers went hitless in two starts this week spanning eight at bats. His .366 on-base percentage will be a much needed addition back in the leadoff spot.

19) Adam Reifer: The former 11th-round pick was scored upon in one of his three appearances out of the pen, which brought his season earned-run average to 4.82 in 32 appearances.

20) Mark Hamilton: Hitting safely in six out of the seven games started this past week, Hamilton's only multi-hit game came on Saturday with a three-hit effort. The outfielder has more than quadrupled his home run output from last season in over 100 fewer at bats, but is hitting just .215.

21) John Gast: See "Who's Not".

25) Bryan Anderson: The California native had three-hit nights in back-to-back starts but started only four games. Anderson's .203 batting average is by far the worst of his professional career. The next lowest was in 2009 when he hit .245 with the Redbirds in 53 games.

32) Brandon Dickson: Throwing two quality starts this week, Dickson's outing on Sunday was one of his best this season. Though Dickson has a 3.42 earned-run average in 13 starts with Memphis, his record stands at just 3-7.

35) Pete Kozma: The Oklahoma native had a fairly solid week with three two-hit games and also belted his sixth home run of the season. Kozma has improved in June with a line of .278/.327/.378 this month.

40) Chuckie Fick: The right-hander leads the team in appearances with 33 and made three this week while yielding one run in three innings. Though his 4.18 earned-run average and strikeout-to-walk ratio of 14:10 is unspectacular, he's been one of the more consistent pitchers out of the pen.

Transactions

6/19: Released LHP Clay Zavada. The lefty struggled through nine appearances with a 12.60 earned-run average and strikeout-to-walk ratio of 5:6. Zavada held lefties to a .100 average but was destroyed by right-handed pitching.

6/20: Nick Additon placed on 7-day disabled list. The southpaw was placed on the disabled list with shoulder discomfort, and it's unclear when he'll return.

6/20: Scott Gorgen promoted from Springfield Cardinals. The former fourth-round draft pick made his Pacific Coast League debut a year after a lost 2011 season with Tommy John surgery. After posting a 4.19 earned-run average and 56 strikeouts through 61 innings at Springfield, the California native will try to stick in the Redbirds rotation.

6/22: Matt Adams optioned to Memphis. The first baseman had a slash line of .244/.286/.384 in 86 at bats with the Cardinals and will return to Memphis to start full time at first base after Matt Carpenter finished his rehab assignment.

6/22: Adron Chambers optioned to Memphis. The speedy centerfielder's spot was no longer needed on St. Louis' 25-man roster with the addition of Jon Jay off the disabled list, and Chambers will be welcomed back in the leadoff spot.

6/23: Released 1B Aaron Bates. The first baseman struggled through 55 at bats with a .164 batting average and will look to catch on elsewhere.

6/23: 1B Jamie Romak assigned to Springfield Cardinals. No longer needed at first base with the addition of Matt Adams, Romak will spend time at first base for the Double-A Cardinals.

Upcoming

The Redbirds wrapped up their four-game set with New Orleans early Tuesday before heading home to Memphis to catch a short three-game home stand with the Albuquerque Isotopes (Los Angeles Dodgers). Memphis will then head to Oklahoma City to take on the Redhawks (Houston Astros) before coming back home for an Independence Day home stand.



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