Memphis Redbirds Notebook: 2014 Week 9

Like their Major League parent, the Triple-A Redbirds have been playing .500 ball on the season. Pacific Coast League Pitcher of the Week Tim Cooney is on a roll.

The Memphis Redbirds wrapped up the week with a 3-3 record after winning their last two games of the week to get their overall record up to 30-30.

Despite the .500 mark on the week, the Redbirds dropped a spot to third place in their division. A strong week by New Orleans (MIA) saw the Zephyrs take a one game lead over Memphis. The Redbirds are 1.5 games behind the Nashville Sounds (MIL), which lead the division.

May 30 Game 1: Iowa at Memphis, Iowa wins 6-4

Yet again Memphis and Iowa (CHC) were delayed due to rain, but when play finally began, Iowa took the first game of the doubleheader 6-4.

Ryan Kalish got Iowa on the board in the first inning with a lead-off homer, but the Redbirds fought back with RBI doubles from Scott Moore and Stephen Piscotty in the bottom of the inning to give Memphis a 2-1 advantage.

Iowa added a run in both the third and fourth, then two more in the fifth to take the lead back 5-2. Moore smashed a two-run shot to right field to bring the Redbirds within a run, but Memphis was unable to score again and the Cubs walked away with the victory.

The Redbirds had 11 hits including five doubles, but were unable to turn the offense into runs. Zach Petrick took the loss after allowing three earned runs and four hits in four innings pitched.

May 30 Game 2: Iowa at Memphis, Postponed

With the first game starting late due to rain, the backend of the doubleheader was rescheduled for the July 25-27 series between the two teams in Des Moines.

May 31: Memphis at Oklahoma City, Oklahoma City wins 8-6

Memphis kicked off the offensive showcase with four runs in the second inning, but gave the early lead away en route to an 8-6 loss in the series-opener at Oklahoma City (HOU).

The Redbirds held a 5-0 edge in the third inning, but the RedHawks scored the next six runs to give Oklahoma City a 6-5 lead in the fourth inning. Pete Kozma tied things up in the sixth with a line drive to right field that brought home Audry Perez, but Jonathan Singleton's 14th home run of the season put two runs on the board in the bottom of the inning and capped off the scoring in the contest.

For the second game in a row, the Redbirds out-hit their opponent, but were unable to come away with a win. Memphis had 13 hits to Oklahoma City's 11. Pete Kozma led Memphis at the plate with three hits in four at bats.

June 1: Memphis at Oklahoma City, Memphis wins 2-1

Memphis' offense put together a 10-hit effort and a quartet of Redbirds pitchers combined to give up only one hit, but still Memphis had to escape by the narrow score of 2-1.

The Redbirds had no problem getting runners on base, but struggled to bring them home. Memphis finished the game batting 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position.

Reliever Nick Greenwood got the spot start for Memphis and earned his third win of the season after striking out five and allowing one hit and one unearned run. Dean Kiekhefer, Eric Fornataro and David Aardsma finished out the game for the Redbirds, as they combined to throw four hitless innings.

Tommy Pham and Mike O'Neill both had multi-hit games. Pham went 3-for-4 while O'Neill had two hits in five at bats.

June 2: Memphis at Oklahoma City, Oklahoma City wins 8-1

Memphis was blanked until the top of the ninth inning when a Jermaine Curtis RBI single finally got the ‘Birds on the board, and as a result Oklahoma City came out on top in the third game of the series.

Angel Castro's struggles spotted the RedHawks an early lead as two home runs in the first inning put Oklahoma City up 4-0. Castro gave up seven earned runs and nine hits in six innings pitched.

It was a relatively quiet game for Memphis offensively, with the team totaling six hits. Luis Mateo and Shane Robinson each hit twice in the loss.

June 3: Memphis at Oklahoma City, Memphis wins 6-3

In what is starting to become a trend, the Redbirds got an excellent outing from pitcher Tim Cooney on their way to a 6-3 victory in the final game of the series at Oklahoma City.

Cooney went 6 2/3 innings, allowing one earned run and six hits while grabbing his sixth win of the season.

Memphis took an early 4-0 advantage in the third inning that remained until the bottom of the seventh, when the RedHawks notched two runs on a solo shot from Max Stessi and a wild pitch that scored Ronald Torreyes. But the lead was never in serious danger, with Jermaine Curtis driving in two runs for the Redbirds in the following inning.

A variety of Redbirds contributed to the offense, with eight batters combining for nine hits, including six doubles and two triples. But again, they had trouble putting them together.

June 4: Off day

June 5: Nashville at Memphis, Memphis wins 7-4

Nashville recovered from an early 3-0 deficit, but it was the Redbirds that came away with the victory to bring their record back to .500 at 30-30.

Memphis promptly responded to the Sounds' three runs in the top of the fifth with three of its own in the bottom of the inning by way of an RBI single from Scott Moore and a Stephen Piscotty line drive that brought home a pair of Redbirds.

Hector Gomez crushed his second homer of the evening in the seventh to pull Nashville within two, but the Sounds failed to produce another run on their way to the loss.

Shane Robinson led Memphis with two hits and three runs scored in three at bats, while Stephen Piscotty added two hits and two RBI. Zach Petrick won his third game of the season after striking out four and allowing three earned runs and four hits in 5 1/3 innings.

Who's Hot

Mike O'Neill: The outfielder has only nine at bats at the Triple-A level since being promoted from Springfield, but is off to a quick start with four hits, including a double and a triple.

Tim Cooney: Cooney had a complete game one-hitter against Iowa on May 29, earning the nod as the Pacific Coast League Pitcher of the Week. He followed with another solid performance in his June 3 start at Oklahoma City when he gave up only one earned run in 6 2/3 innings on his way to a win.

Jermaine Curtis: Curtis is starting to become one of the more consistent hitters in Memphis' lineup. The right-handed hitting infielder is batting .296 in his last 10 games with two doubles and eight RBI.

Who's Not

Stephen Piscotty: Piscotty was one of the more dominant hitters for Memphis early in the season, but has since begun to trail off. Over his last 10 games the outfielder's batting average is just .222.

Xavier Scruggs: Scruggs cannot seem to get anything going in the batters box as of late. The first baseman is batting a dreadful .176 in his last 10 games and has only one hit in his last 11 at bats.

Jorge Rondon: Rondon appeared in two games this week and gave up an earned run in each of them despite not pitching more than 1 1/3 inning in either contest.

Extra Base Hits

Memphis' batting average of .274 ranks ninth in the 16-team Pacific Coast League, but the Redbirds are hitting them harder than the teams around the league. In slugging percentage, Memphis jumps up to sixth in the league at .428.

Home Sweet Home

The Redbirds have not been a game over .500 since the first few days of the season, but have a great opportunity to get there with the team playing its next 11 games in the comfort of AutoZone Park. The Redbirds are 15-13 in Memphis so far this season.

Transactions

May 30 — St. Louis Cardinals recalled OF Randal Grichuk from Memphis Redbirds
May 30 — St. Louis Cardinals optioned OF Shane Robinson to Memphis Redbirds
May 31 — St. Louis Cardinals recalled OF Oscar Taveras from Memphis Redbirds
May 31 — OF Mike O'Neill assigned to Memphis Redbirds from Springfield Cardinals
June 2 — LHP John Gast assigned to Palm Beach Cardinals from Memphis Redbirds
June 5 — LHP John Gast assigned to Memphis Redbirds from Palm Beach Cardinals

Up Next

The Redbirds' win over Nashville kicked off a 12-game homestand for Memphis. The Redbirds will finish up the series with the Sounds Sunday, then play four games against Tacoma followed by four more next weekend against Reno.



Follow Austin Reynolds on Twitter @ReynoldsRant.

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