Memphis Redbirds Notebook: 2014 Week 4

The Pacific Coast League Redbirds bounced back from a four-game losing skid and head out on the road.

The Memphis Redbirds struggled to find offense in the midst of a four-game losing streak, but still managed to pull out a 3-4 record for the week. Memphis wrapped up its road series at Round Rock (TEX) by dropping the final two games, then lost its first two at home against Colorado Springs (COL) before closing out the week with two consecutive victories.

The Redbirds saw their record fall to 13-14. Memphis sits in third place in the American Southern division of the Pacific Coast League, a game and a half ahead of the last-place New Orleans Zephyrs.

April 25: Memphis at Round Rock, Memphis wins 8-0

In a dominating effort both offensively and defensively, the Redbirds easily cruised to an 8-0 victory to tie the series at a game apiece.

Memphis kicked off the scoring in the second with a Greg Garcia RBI double to score Joey Butler and Scott Moore. The Redbirds added one more in the fourth; then in the sixth, Pete Kozma blasted his second home run of the season to left field to plate Moore and make the lead 5-0. Memphis went on to score the rest of its runs on RBI singles.

The Redbirds totaled 15 hits on the evening and every batter recorded a hit; but for all of the offensive fireworks, the pitching was equally impressive. Round Rock finished with only three hits for the game. Right-hander Angel Castro gave up two of those hits in his five innings pitched. In relief, Jorge Rondon allowed one hit in two innings. Keith Butler and David Aardsma each tossed one perfect inning.

April 26: Memphis at Round Rock, Round Rock wins 2-0

Memphis had just five hits in what was a dramatic turnaround from the 15-hit outing in the two teams' previous matchup. As a result, the Redbirds fell 2-0 in a pitchers duel.

Rangers prospect Nick Tepesch tossed a complete game in the shutout, striking out six and walking no batters. For the Redbirds, Tim Cooney took his first loss of the season. It was a solid outing for Cooney, who struck out eight in seven innings and allowed two earned runs, but Memphis struggled to get runners in scoring position with no Redbird making it to third base. The Redbirds did manage to get two runners on base in both the eighth and ninth innings but were unable to convert on the opportunities.

April 27: Memphis at Round Rock, Round Rock wins 6-2

Oscar Taveras hit his fourth home run of the season, but it was not enough as the Redbirds were only able to score two runs in a losing effort to close the series at Round Rock.

Memphis was first on the scoreboard when Scott Moore brought home Stephen Piscotty on a line drive to right field in the top of the fourth, but Redbirds starter Zach Petrick gave up four runs in the bottom of the inning to give the Express a lead they would not surrender.

Taveras hit twice in his four trips to the plate. Piscotty and Moore both recorded doubles. Petrick received his first loss for Memphis, walking five and allowing four earned runs in five innings pitched. It was a tough day for Redbirds reliever Jose Almarante, who gave up two earned runs and walked two in just one inning.

April 28: Colorado Springs at Memphis, Colorado Springs wins 7-4

It was yet another rough outing for Memphis starter Scott McGregor, who gave up seven earned runs and 11 hits and saw his record drop to 0-4 as the Redbirds fell 7-4.

The Sky Sox scored six of their runs in the opening two innings, putting Memphis in a 6-0 hole. The Redbirds fought back with three runs in the bottom of the third via a Kolten Wong RBI and an Oscar Taveras two-run shot to right field, but ultimately Memphis did not have enough offense to recover from its early pitching struggles.

Taveras carried the torch for the Redbirds at the plate, hitting a homer and a double while bringing notching two RBI and scoring twice. Catcher Audry Perez also hit twice in his three at bats.

April 29: Colorado Springs at Memphis, Colorado Springs wins 7-1

Memphis had trouble scoring once again, and as a result saw its losing streak extend to four games with a 7-1 loss to Colorado Springs.

Both teams scored in the first inning, with the Sky Sox taking a lead on Ryan Wheeler's third homer of the season and Oscar Taveras answering for the Redbirds with a line drive single to center field that scored Shane Robinson. It was all Colorado Springs from there, however, as the Sky Sox took a 3-1 lead in the third via a Jason Pridie two-run shot. Colorado Springs added three more runs in the sixth and another in the seventh to cap off the victory.

Boone Whiting took the loss for Memphis. The right-hander pitched five innings, giving up five earned runs on five hits. The Redbirds managed only five hits on the day, with two of them coming off the bat of second baseman Kolten Wong.

April 30: Colorado Springs at Memphis, Memphis wins 5-3

The Redbirds finally put an end to their four-game slide, defeating the Sky Sox 5-3 in the third game of the series.

It was a sluggish start for both sides until the fourth inning when Oscar Taveras chopped a ground ball over first base to score Shane Robinson, who had just stolen second. Colorado Springs tied things up in top of the fifth with a solo homer to left field. Memphis then retook the lead in the bottom of the inning when Kolten Wong singled to bring home Pete Kozma.

That 2-1 score remained until the seventh inning when the Sky Sox tied things up once more with an RBI double. The Redbirds took control for good in the bottom of the inning when they loaded the bases with no outs. Joey Butler entered the game as a pinch-hitter and singled on a line drive to right field to score both Easley and Kozma and advance Scruggs to third base. The first baseman finished out the Redbirds scoring by coming home on a Wong fly out.

The Sky Sox rallied in the top of the ninth when Taveras missed a dive at a line drive that resulted in a Colorado Springs RBI triple, but the ‘Birds held on for the victory.

Pete Kozma was responsible for two of Memphis' seven hits on the day. Angel Castro received a no-decision after allowing two earned runs and four hits in 6 1/3 innings on the mound.

May 1: Colorado Springs at Memphis, Memphis wins 7-5

The Redbirds rallied in the eighth inning to come from behind and win their second straight game against Colorado Springs.

The Redbirds led 3-1 entering the fifth, but when things fell apart for starting pitcher Tim Cooney. A Drew Garcia two-run homer to left field kicked off the top of the inning for the Sky Sox. Ben Paulsen stepped to the plate with two outs, but delivered an RBI single to give Colorado Springs the lead, then Michael McKenry doubled to bring home the Sky Sox first baseman and wrap up the Colorado Springs scoring run.

In the bottom of the inning, a Pete Kozma sac-fly to left field scored Stephen Piscotty to bring the Redbirds within a run, but Memphis was unable to even things up until the eighth. That's when catcher Audry Perez rifled a solo home run over the left field wall. Joey Butler gave Memphis the lead and the win with a line drive single that scored both Jermaine Curtis and Kolten Wong.

Wong, Piscotty and Curtis each finished with two hits for the Redbirds, and Oscar Taveras hit once in five at bats to extend his league-best hitting streak to 15 games. Cooney struggled on the rubber for Memphis, allowing five earned runs, two homers and 11 hits in five innings pitched.

Who's Hot

Kolten Wong: In the four games Wong has played in Memphis since being sent down from St. Louis, the second baseman has been a force at the plate. He's batting .353 and has hit in all four games. Wong has also logged two RBI and scored three times since arriving in Memphis.

Oscar Taveras: No player in the Pacific Coast League has a bat hotter than Taveras. The left-handed outfielder is riding a 15-game hitting streak, as well as a five-game RBI streak. Taveras has upped his season batting average to .316 and is hitting .359 over his last 10 games.

Audry Perez: Perez is on a five-game hitting streak and has recorded multiple hits in three of those contests. The Memphis catcher is batting .375 on the season with two home runs and seven RBI in 12 games played.

Who's Not

Scott McGregor: McGregor made only one start this week, but it was perhaps the worst in what has already been a rough season for the former University of Memphis pitcher. In 5 2/3 innings against Colorado Springs on April 28 McGregor gave up 11 hits and seven earned runs in a losing effort. On the season McGregor is 0-4 with an ERA of 7.04.

Boone Whiting: Whiting has made six starts this season but is still winless on the mound. The right-hander is 0-3 on the season and things seem to be getting worse before they get better. Whiting received losses in his last two starts, allowing five earned runs in five innings or less in each.

Scott Moore: Moore is hitless in his last three contests and holds a batting average of just .182 over his last 10 games. The third baseman has only six hits and two RBI in his last 33 at bats. Jermaine Curtis has been seeing more playing time as a result.

Middle of the Pack

In both hitting and pitching, Memphis ranks just a bit below the middle of the pack in the Pacific Coast League. The Redbirds' batting average of .266 slots them 10th in the 16-team league. They fare slightly better in on-base percentage, ranking eighth at .339. At the rubber, Memphis is 10th with an ERA of 4.28. Memphis has given up a league-high 28 home runs to opposing batters.

Transactions

April 28 — St. Louis Cardinals recall outfielder Randal Grichuk from Memphis
April 28 — St. Louis Cardinals recall Greg Garcia from Memphis
April 28 — St. Louis Cardinals option outfielder Shane Robinson to Memphis
April 28 — St. Louis Cardinals option second Kolten Wong to Memphis

Up Next

The Redbirds will be on the road all week long. They head to Colorado for four more games against the Sky Sox, and then travel to Oklahoma City (HOU) for a four-game series that finishes up on Thursday night.



Follow Austin Reynolds on Twitter @ReynoldsRant.

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