Memphis Redbirds Notebook: 2013 Week 19

The Triple-A Redbirds remain within striking distance of the division lead despite an overall losing record. Infielder Greg Garcia is among the club's hot players.

Memphis Redbirds (60-64 Overall, 3-3 This Week)

Memphis played a pair of doubleheaders this week, and experienced a rough and rainy road trip. The team is 1 ½ games behind Omaha with 20 games remaining on the schedule, 15 on the road.

This week, the team averaged 4.83 runs per game (4.4 per game average up to this point), despite playing three games shortened to seven innings. In every contest this week, the team that scored first won. For the season, when the Redbirds score first, they have a 44-26 record. When the opponent scores first, the Redbirds have lost 38 out of 54 contests.

August 8 at Reno, Loss 5-2 (suspended in first inning, completed August 9)

The Redbirds could not rally back from an Aces' five-run lead, and Scott McGregor was credited with the loss for surrendering all five runs on seven hits in his 5 2/3 frames pitched. Officials suspended the game after the Redbirds got one runner out in the first inning and play resumed the following night.

Reno had a big four-run third inning that lead to its win, but the first run was scored in the second. A lead-off double scored on a single by the Aces' catcher. In the next frame, a one-out single scored by Chris Owings' triple, and a single sent him home. With a runner on first, Matt Davidson doubled to center field to bring the runner around to score. McGregor intentionally walked the next hitter to load the bases, before a single and a sacrifice fly increased the lead to five.

Memphis did not respond until the eighth, when Chad Huffman scored from third on a groundout. Kolten Wong smacked his ninth home run of the year in the ninth inning to add one more.

August 9 at Reno, Loss 11-3 (seven innings)

Memphis lost game two of the Friday twin bill as well. Nick Greenwood yielded four runs in a spot start and Kevin Thomas made a forgettable Redbirds debut after surrendering five runs, three earned, in the fourth. Reno jumped out to an early lead by scoring three on Greenwood in the first. A lead-off walk scored on a double and that runner trotted the bases after Mike Jacobs smashed the first pitch he saw for a two-run home run.

The Redbirds responded in the second with two runs. Jermaine Curtis doubled and scored on Justin Christian's double. Christian scored from second on the following single. A one-run deficit was extended in the bottom of the inning when Reno singled and doubled to score one more. In the fourth, all nine batters saw a trip to the plate against Thomas, and a chance for a comeback was out the window.

August 10 at Reno, Win 8-7

Tyler Lyons made the start, and Memphis put up seven runs in the first three frames to back him up. In the first, Wong hit his second home run of the series with two runners on for a three-run lead. With the bases loaded in the second, Wong drew a walk to plate one runner and Brock Peterson singled to add two more. Huffman doubled to lead-off the third, and fellow outfielder Christian singled to drive him home.

Lyons faced some trouble in the fourth and allowed three runs. The first hitter doubled followed by a walk and a single to load the bases. A single, sacrifice fly and another single each scored a runner. The starting pitcher was pulled in the seventh after allowing a lead-off double and a strikeout for reliever Jorge Rondon. Rondon yielded a double to score Lyons' runner but got the next two hitters out.

Reno plated three more in the eighth on Rondon, but the Aces could not score on closer Fernando Salas. With one out in the bottom of the ninth, Salas had runners on the corners but escaped the jam with a strikeout and a fly ball out to collect the save.

August 11 at Reno, Win 6-4

The Redbirds scored first in Reno for the second straight game, and earned the club's second straight win. Huffman's solo home run in the second gave the away team the early lead. In the third frame, a bases-loaded walk drawn by Peterson pushed the lead to two.

Boone Whiting started Sunday night's game and yielded three runs in the fourth frame by allowing a two-run home run and a RBI double. After five frames, Whiting was pulled for Keith Butler, who had returned from St. Louis on Thursday. Butler got six straight outs with three strikeouts, and earned the win after a four-run eighth inning by the Memphis hitters.

Mike O'Neill started the rally with a one-out single. Curtis was then hit by a pitch which was followed by three straight singles that scored three runs. Greg Garcia singled to plate one more runner to push the lead to three. Deryk Hooker got three straight outs in the eighth, and Salas saved his second straight game by pitching through the ninth.

August 12 at Colorado Springs, Win 8-6 (seven innings)

The Monday game was postponed due to rain, and made up with a shortened doubleheader on Tuesday night. Memphis jumped out to an early five-run lead. Two singles and a walk loaded the bases as Jamie Romak stepped into the box. The Canadian-born utility player singled to score two runners, and Garcia hit his second home run of the year to plate three more.

Carlos Martinez started and got the first six hitters out. In the third, the Dominican prospect allowed four runs, which was more than he had allowed in any Triple-A start this season. A solo home run in the sixth, his second allowed this season, was the other run scored on Martinez. The 21-year-old's final line was six innings pitched, five runs allowed on five hits with one walk and three strikeouts.

In the batter's box, Martinez scored two runs to support himself and doubled in the top of the seventh. Salas saved his sixth straight game, despite allowing a run for the second straight night.

August 13 at Colorado Springs, Loss 2-0 (seven innings)

The Redbirds scattered their four hits across the first three innings, and a double play in the first and third frames prevented any runs from scoring. Sky Sox starter Collin McHugh shut out the Redbirds in his six innings pitched, and the visitors were held scoreless for the seventh time this season.

Greenwood started for the second time this week and allowed two runs on two solo home runs across five frames. Marte pitched the sixth and did not allow a run.

August 14 at Colorado Springs (postponed until Thursday August 15 due to rain)

Heating Up

Nick Additon – Five of his last ten starts have been quality starts. The lefty has allowed one run in his last two starts, and has maintained a 3.65 ERA over his last ten starts. In his four starts after the All-Star Break, Additon has posted a 3.21 ERA (six earned runs across 23 1/3 frames) with 21 strikeouts and only five free passes.

Greg Garcia – The seventh-round selection in the 2010 draft has a hit in 12 of last 19 games with 19 hits in 55 tries (.346). In 11 games in August, Garcia has ten hits, with two doubles and a home run with seven RBI. His highest month total for RBI was June, when in 25 games, the University of Hawaii alum had 10. With runners in scoring position, Garcia is batting .300 with 25 RBI in 70 at-bats.

Cooling Off

Finishing Out Games – The Redbirds have won 51 out of 58 games when leading after seven innings. The seven losses lead the PCL and Memphis leads the PCL in blown saves with 25 (next is Fresno with 20). When trailing after seven frames, the Redbirds have only won two contests in 48 tries. In extra-inning affairs, the team has lost seven of twelve.

Justin Christian – Christian has a hit in 11 of his last 14 games, but only has 13 hits in 51 at-bats for a .220 average. Since his return from the disabled list, the 33-year-old has played in 22 games, with 18 hits in 86 tries (.209).

Jamie Romak – Since the All-Star Break, Romak has 20 hits in his last 86 at-bats (.233). In his last ten games, the 28-year-old veteran only has one extra base hit (double), with three RBI in 34 at-bats, on only four hits.

Jorge Rondon – In six of his last ten appearances, Rondon has allowed at least one run. In those 14 frames, the right-hander has yielded 12 runs, seven earned with nine punch-outs.

Roster Updates

With Jermaine Curtis in St. Louis, Jamie Romak played two games at third base, and the utility man has returned to the fifth spot in the order with Brock Peterson returning from St. Louis.

Transactions

August 8: Pitcher Carlos Martinez called up to St. Louis from Memphis
August 8: First Baseman Brock Peterson optioned to Memphis from St. Louis
August 9: Reliever Kevin Thomas called up to Memphis from Springfield
August 10: Pitcher Michael Wacha called up to St. Louis from Memphis
August 10: Pitcher Carlos Martinez optioned to Memphis from St. Louis
August 12: Reliever Kevin Thomas sent back to Springfield from Memphis
August 13: Infielder Jermaine Curtis called up to St. Louis from Memphis
August 13: Reliever Michael Blazek optioned to Memphis from St. Louis

Injuries

Catcher Geoff Klein is still on the disabled list, since May 8. Reliever Ramon Delgado remains on the disabled list since June 5. Both outfielders Oscar Taveras and Tommy Pham are on the disabled list.

Looking Forward

20 games remain on the Redbirds schedule and they trail Omaha by 1 ½ games. There is a good opportunity to catch up with a five-game series in AutoZone Park against the Storm Chasers starting on Friday night. The Redbirds' opponents over the next 20 games have a collective .496 record.



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