Memphis Redbirds Notebook: 2012 Week 14

The Cardinals Pacific Coast League club lost four of five at home and have Triple-A's worst overall record coming into the break.

Overview

Coming off three straight weeks of three wins and four losses, the Memphis Redbirds' offense started off the week strong in their first three games with 13 hits in 35 opportunities with runners in scoring position, as they belted nine extra-base hits and scored 20 total runs. However, they won just one of those games, as their pitching surrendered 17 runs in the final game against Oklahoma City (Houston Astros) and the first game of a five-game set at home against the Nashville Sounds (Milwaukee Brewers). Memphis posted just one hit in 20 opportunities in the final three games against Nashville and were shut out in two of those three games on the way to three losses in that span.

Memphis' record of 1-5 this week dropped their overall win and loss total to 32-59, six games behind the Iowa Cubs and 24 behind the Omaha Storm Chasers (Kansas City Royals). Their winning percentage of .352 is officially the worst in all of Triple-A baseball, as they embark on the All-Star break.

Game Summaries

Tuesday, July 3rd: Oklahoma City 11, Memphis 10 (10 innings)
The Redhawks took the final game, their third in a row, of a four-game set in Oklahoma City with an extra-inning thriller. Memphis pounded out 19 hits and drove home 10 runs to continue their offensive hot streak. Leading the charge was Adron Chambers, who collected four singles, walked once, and drove in two runs. Zack Cox continued his summer resurgence with three singles, as Lou Montanez added three of his own. Mark Hamilton belted his 12th home run, a three-run shot in the fifth that saw five runners cross the plate. Trailing by a run in the ninth, Ryan Jackson doubled to put himself in scoring position as Adron Chambers drove him home to tie the game. Chambers again delivered in the 10th inning with another single to put the ‘Birds on top by one, but the Redhawks answered back in the bottom half after Eduardo Sanchez coughed up a two-run bomb to Fernando Martinez to end the game.

Redbirds' pitching wasn't able to counter their team's offense charge with Scott Gorgen on the mound, though he contributed offensively with a double. The California native put the team in a 7-3 hole and exited after the fourth in which all seven runs he surrendered were earned, combined with five walks, seven hits, and five strikeouts. After the Redbirds took an 8-7 lead in the fifth, Jess Todd yielded a two-run homer to Mike Hessman with two outs in the sixth inning.

Wednesday, July 4th: Nashville 6 at Memphis 4
Independence Day presented post-game fireworks, but those were the only fireworks Memphis was able to muster all night. When your starting pitcher logs your best batting line of the night, you know things aren't good. Brandon Dickson collected a single and double, the only multi-hit game of the night for Memphis. Though Mark Hamilton added a double, the team walked just once, added four more singles, and struck out eight times.

Dickson gave up all six runs (four earned) in his 5.2 innings of work. Five of the eight hits he surrendered went for extra-bases (four doubles, one homer), as he finished with one walk and three strikeouts. Sam Freeman, John Gaub, and Adam Reifer each pitched a shutout inning to finish the game.

Thursday, July 5th: Memphis 6, Nashville 1
Jumping out to a 5-1 lead through the third inning, the Redbirds scored more than enough in that span to give John Gast needed support. The southpaw churned out his most dominant start in a ‘Birds uniform with seven strikeouts through six innings, as he gave up one earned run on a solo-homer in the second inning. Gast recorded five of the first six outs via the strikeout with a fastball that set 86-89 mph in the first couple innings and then climbed to 89-91 by the time the sixth rolled around, as well as a changeup that kept hitters off balance.

Zack Cox lined three hits on the night, including his sixth home run, which was belted to right-center field. Ryan Jackson and Adron Chambers both doubled, the latter adding two walks from the leadoff spot. Bryan Anderson started behind the plate and collected two hits.

Friday, July 6th: Nashville 2 at Memphis 0
Though Mark Hamilton and Eugenio Velez both went 2-for-4 hitting back-to-back in the order, Memphis plated no runs in an effort that included no extra-base hits. The Redbirds were only able to muster two other hits and finished 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position.

Tyler Lyons completed seven very solid innings for his best effort in the Pacific Coast League. The Oklahoma State alum set down eight batters via strikeout compared to one walk, as he surrendered two runs (both solo-shots) over his dominant outing. Chuckie Fick and Eduardo Sanchez both struck out one batter in a shutout inning apiece.

Saturday, July 7th: Nashville 5 at Memphis 2
Going 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position, Memphis wasn't able to match the five Nashville runs that crossed the plate. That guaranteed the Sounds a series win with one game to go to finish out the five-game series before the All-Star Break. Zack Cox singled in the fourth to drive in a run, but the Redbirds did not score again until the ninth inning when Pete Kozma grounded out to plate Eugenio Velez after he reached third on a triple. Mark Hamilton (one double), Eugenio Velez, and Nick Derba (one double) all went 2-for-4.

Shelby Miller's control issues continued in an effort that lasted only 2.1 innings and 68 pitches. The Texas native walked four batters and gave up three hits (one double), all leading to three runs. Miller struck out four batters with a fastball that sat in the 90-93 range and an inconsistent curveball.

Sunday, July 8th: Nashville 2 at Memphis 0
The Sounds completed a shutout for the second time in three nights, as the Redbirds were limited to one walk and four hits, three of which came off Adron Chambers' bat in the leadoff spot. Chambers tripled with one out in the ninth inning, but Ryan Jackson and Mark Hamilton failed to drive him home.

Scott Gorgen scattered seven hits and walked none in 4.1 innings, which led to two runs scored. Nick Greenwood, Jess Todd, Sam Freeman, and Eduardo Sanchez all came together to shut out Nashville through the final 4.2 innings.

Who's Hot

Adron Chambers: The speedy centerfielder provided a spark in the leadoff spot, as he went 9-for-22 with four walks. Chambers has been a welcome addition back to the Redbirds lineup and currently boasts a .397 on-base percentage there this year.

Nick Greenwood: Little has been said about the lefty this season, but Greenwood has yielded just two runs through 19.1 innings pitched in June and early-July. He's limiting left-handed batters to a .207 batting average and could see time in St. Louis this season.

Who's Not

Ryan Jackson: Though the Florida native posted a very solid .834 OPS in the month of June, Jackson is just 3-for-27 in eight starts through July.

Steven Hill: Finding time behind the plate now that Bryan Anderson was temporarily promoted, Hill hasn't done much with it, collecting just one hit in 19 at bats this week. He's struggling to maintain any offensive consistency with a batting average of .233 and OPS of .683.

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

July 3rd: Houston Astros
None

July 4th: Milwaukee Brewers
6) Tyler Thornburg (RHP, 89-92 mph fastball, plus changeup, inconsistent curve with chance to be solid, unorthodox throwing motion leads to inconsistent command, durability questions): six innings pitched, five hits, two runs, six strikeouts

July 5th, 6th, 8th: Milwaukee Brewers
None

July 7th: Milwaukee Brewers
1) Wily Peralta (RHP, 91-95 mph fastball, throws both four-seam and two-seam, good slider, inconsistent changeup, improved his control but still inconsistent): 5.2 innings pitched, six hits, one earned run, one walk, six strikeouts

The Cardinal Nation Top 40

1) Shelby Miller: Struggling for an extended period for the first time in his young professional career, Miller's lone start this week lasted just 2.1 innings. The Texas native's earned-run average bumped up to 6.17 as he made his 17th start this year and continued his learning curve with Triple-A hitting.

5) Zack Cox: The third baseman collected hits in four of the six starts he received this week and has improved his batting line this season to a much more respectable .258/.300/.408. Cox has seen a big resurgence at the plate since around the beginning of June.

7) Eduardo Sanchez: Making three appearances out of the pen this week, the right hander surrendered two runs in 2.1 innings, though he walked none in his last two appearances spanning two innings. Sanchez continues to battle control problems and will have to harness it to regain a spot back in St. Louis.

9) Matt Adams: The first baseman sat out this week dealing with a right elbow injury, though he's expected back soon after the break.

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

17) Adron Chambers: See "Who's Hot".

19) Adam Reifer: The California native gave up one unearned run over three innings this week and dropped his season earned-run average to 4.46. His strikeout-to-inning ratio of 26:42.1 leaves much to be desired for a reliever, but he's walked only 12 batters in that span.

20) Mark Hamilton: Going 8-for-25, Hamilton put up a relatively solid week, though he struck out nine times in that span. Hamilton has 12 home runs compared to two last season over 80 fewer at bats, but the outfielder's OPS has dropped from .911 to .794.

21) John Gast: Throwing a solid start this week, the southpaw lowered his earned-run average to 5.31 in 10 starts. Six of his 10 games have been quality starts.

25) Bryan Anderson: Despite struggling with a .210 batting average, Anderson was promoted to St. Louis following Yadier Molina's placement on the bereavement list.

32) Brandon Dickson: The Alabaman didn't put up his best performance this week, but his 3.58 earned-run average in Memphis is by far the best of any current Redbirds starter. As such, he was selected to participate in the Triple-A All-Star Game, replacing Barret Browning, who remains with St. Louis.

34) Sam Freeman: Receiving time in St. Louis this season gave Freeman much valuable experience, but he still has to overcome control issues. The southpaw struck out one batter over four innings this week and walked two but yielded no runs.

35) Pete Kozma: Not much has changed this season for Kozma, as he continues to struggle with a .642 OPS. It remains to be seen what his role will be with the organization once Wong is ready to be promoted from Springfield.

40) Chuckie Fick: Dropping his earned-run average below 4.00 to 3.99 with three shutout innings this week, Fick remains one of the most trusted relievers for manager Pop Warner in the Redbirds bullpen.

Transactions

7/3: Placed Matt Adams on 7-day disabled list. Suffering an injury to his right elbow, Adams was initially listed as day-to-day. With the All-Star break right around the corner, Adams will receive extended rest and should be ready to continue his dominant season post All-Star break.

7/4: Jose Garcia (second base) assigned to Memphis Redbirds from Springfield Cardinals. Garcia will take Adams' spot on the roster until he returns. The second baseman will make his first appearance for the Redbirds since 2011 after he posted a .638 OPS (on-base percentage plus slugging percentage) in 217 at bats for Springfield.

7/6: Bryan Anderson promoted to St. Louis Cardinals. Anderson was promoted as the Cardinals back-up catcher once Yadier Molina was placed on the bereavement list. Molina should be back to start the second half on Friday, with Anderson returned to the Redbirds.

Upcoming

The Triple-A All-Star Game will be held in Albany, New York on Wednesday, July 11 with Brandon Dickson representing the Redbirds on the PCL roster. On Thursday, Memphis will begin the second half of the season in Round Rock to face the Express (Houston Astros) in a four-game series. The Redbirds will then end their road trip in Albuquerque for another four-game series against the Isotopes (Los Angeles Dodgers).



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