David Washington (Scott Rovak / USA TODAY Sports Images)

This week’s news from the St. Louis Cardinals’ Triple-A affiliate in Memphis and a look ahead to next

St. Louis’ Triple-A ball club is four games away from finishing last in the 2016 Pacific Coast League American Southern Division. David Washington was on fire, going 10-for-25 with one HR and six RBI.

The Memphis Redbirds (63-75) went 1-5 during Week 21 of the 2016 PCL season and will finish a second straight year without a playoff berth. With four games remaining in the season, focus will be on player development and preparing for St. Louis’ playoff run.

Here is how the week unfolded:

 

Friday, August 26: Nashville (OAK) 5 at Memphis (STL) 3

Memphis took an early 2-0 lead after one inning, but Nashville responded with four in the top of the fourth on the way to a 5-3 home loss for the Redbirds.

Breyvic Valera (2-for-4) was the only multi-hit player for Memphis and added a run scored. Matt Adams (1-for-3) doubled in his first at bat and scored a run. Efren Navarro (1-for-4), Jose Martinez (1-for-4) and David Washington (1-for-4) each recorded an RBI.

Starter Mike Mayers (4-7, 3.55) picked up his seventh loss of the season, fanning seven, giving up five earned on five hits in five innings and issuing three walks. Reliever Ronnie Shaban came on with two out in the eighth for his Triple-A debut, striking out one and scattering one hit in 1 1/3 scoreless innings.

 

Saturday, August 27: Nashville (OAK) 2 at Memphis (STL) 1

With the score tied 1-1 through five innings, Memphis allowed the game-winning run in the top of the sixth to lose a tight one to Nashville, 2-1.

Birthday boy Patrick Wisdom (2-for-4) hit a solo shot in the fifth for the Redbirds’ lone run and added a double. Navarro (2-for-4) extended his hitting streak to seven games. Martinez (1-for-4), Washington (1-for-4) and Matt Williams (1-for-3) rounded out the rest of Memphis’ hits.

Starter Kurt Heyer (2-4, 5.75) was solid through five innings, scattering seven hits and giving up two earned. The bullpen, however, combined for four shutout innings from Ryan Sherriff, John Brebbia and Dean Kiekhefer.

 

Sunday, August 28: Nashville (OAK) 14 at Memphis (STL) 4

Memphis struggled mightily in game four, allowing 14 earned runs on 15 hits, in a 14-4 loss to Nashville.

Dean Anna went 2-for-4 and swiped a bag, his fourth of the season. Mike Ohlman (1-for-3) hit a solo homer in the seventh and recorded two RBI. Martinez (1-for-4) and Navarro (1-for-4) added one RBI apiece.

Starter Matt Pearce (0-1, 5.40) allowed six runs (three earned) on five hits in five innings in his Triple-A debut. Relievers Thomas Lee and Corey Littrell combined for eight runs (seven earned) on seven hits in 2 1/3 innings.

 

Monday, August 29: Memphis (STL) 11 at Oklahoma City (LAD) 4

Memphis ended a three-game losing streak with an 11-4 win over the PCL American Northern Division champion Oklahoma City Dodgers.

Washington (4-for-5) led all Memphis batters, hitting two doubles, scoring three runs and plating three. Carson Kelly (2-for-4) and Matt Williams (2-for-4) notched three RBI as well. Bruce Caldwell (2-for-5), in his Triple-A debut, scored a run and drove in one.

Starter Deck McGuire missed out on a win for the 11th-straight start, but fanned a season-high 11 batters in 6 1/3 innings while giving up three runs (two earned) on five hits. Reliever Sherriff (7-1, 2.80) earned the win after retiring both batters faced.

 

Tuesday, August 30: Memphis (STL) 4 at Oklahoma City (LAD) 5

Memphis rallied to tie on two separate occasions but gave up the winning run in the bottom of the ninth for their 23rd one-run defeat of the season, 5-4.

Washington (2-for-3) hit a two-run home run in the sixth, his 24th of the season with the Redbirds and 29th including his time at Springfield. Navarro (1-for-5) extended his hit streak to 10 games (his second 10-plus-game streak with Memphis). Nick Martini (2-for-4) had a multi hit game.

Starter Jeremy Hefner struck out five but gave up four runs (three earned) on six hits and walked three in 5 2/3 innings. Reliever Brebbia (2-3, 6.44) picked up his third loss of the season after allowing one earned on three hits in 2/3 of an inning.

 

Wednesday, August 31: Memphis (STL) at Oklahoma City (LAD) cancelled due to weather

 

Thursday, September 1: Memphis (STL) 3 at Oklahoma City (LAD) 5

In the final game of the series, Memphis gave up too many runs too early to rally in a 5-3 loss at Oklahoma City.

Kelly (2-for-4) and Martini (2-for-4) both had multi hit games, with Kelly adding an RBI. Wisdom (1-for-4) doubled and drove in one. Martinez hit a solo shot in the ninth as a pinch hitter, and Navarro (1-for-4) extended his hit streak to 11 games.

Starter Mike Mayers (4-8, 3.73) gave up four earned runs on eight hits in 5 2/3 innings to take his eighth loss with Memphis. Relievers Shaban and Littrell combined for one walk and no hits in 1 1/3 scoreless innings before Thomas Lee allowed one earned on three hits in one inning.

 

Who’s Hot

http://www.scout.com/player/133110-david-washington?s=321

David Washington was 10-for-25 (.400) with one HR and six RBI and leads Memphis in HR (24) and the St. Louis’ organization (29).

Efren Navarro went 8-for-24 (.333) with one double and three RBI during the week and is currently on an 11-game hit streak.

http://www.scout.com/player/142180-michael-ohlman?s=321

Michael Ohlman, who only appeared in three games during Week 21, went 4-for-10 with one HR, one double, one triple and two RBI, and has gone hitless only three times since being called back from Springfield in July.

Although he went hitless his first three games, Nick Martini had three consecutive two-hit games and finished 6-for-18 with one double and three walks.

http://www.scout.com/player/144289-deck-mcguire?s=321

Despite not having a win in his last three starts, Deck McGuire has struck out 24, walked four and allowed four earned on 12 hits in 18.1 innings (1.99 ERA).

Ryan Sherriff struck out one, scattered two hits over 1 2/3 scoreless innings and picked up his seventh win of the season. The reliever hasn’t given up an earned run since August 21 at Iowa.

http://www.scout.com/player/170024-ronnie-shaban?s=321

In his first week in Memphis, Ronnie Shaban fanned two and gave up four hits in three scoreless innings.

 

Who’s Not

Mike Mayers picked up two losses this week, combining for nine earned runs on 13 hits, eight strikeouts and seven walks in 10 2/3 innings.

Thomas Lee yielded four earned runs on five hits in 2 2/3 innings over two games this week.

Matt Pearce allowed six runs (three earned) on five hits in five innings and picked up a loss in his Triple-A debut.

 

Fall Ballers

Among St. Louis’ six players invited to the Arizona Fall League are Memphis relievers Ryan Sherriff and Corey Littrell and catcher Carson Kelly. Also selected was former Redbirds outfielder Harrison Bader.

 

Transactions

RHP Miguel Socolovich received a call from St. Louis to swap places with RHP Sam Tuivailala. Socolovich is 2-6 with five saves and a 3.14 ERA in 51 1/3 innings at Memphis, and was T1st in the PCL in holds (13) and third among PCL relievers in WHIP (1.12).

RHP Ronnie Shaban was assigned to Memphis from Springfield to give the Redbirds some help in the bullpen. The right-hander fanned 40, walked 16 and posts a 3.11 ERA in 55 innings at Double-A.

With RHP Mike Leake on the 15-day disabled list, LHP Dean Kiekhefer was promoted to the majors for support. Kiekhefer is 6-1 with a 2.08 ERA in 34 2/3 innings, and has limited left-handed batters in Triple-A to a .192 batting average this season.

The Redbirds also switched OF Harrison Bader with 2B Bruce Caldwell from Double-A Springfield. Bader couldn’t find the same success in Memphis that he did in Springfield (.231/.298/.354 in Memphis; .282/.348/.478 in Springfield). 

Here is a list of all of the transactions that occurred:

08/26/2016: St. Louis Cardinals recall RHP Miguel Socolovich from Memphis Redbirds.

08/26/2016: St. Louis Cardinals option RHP Sam Tuivailala to Memphis Redbirds.

08/26/2016: RHP Ronnie Shaban assigned to Memphis Redbirds from Springfield Cardinals.

08/27/2016: RHP Matt Pearce assigned to Memphis Redbirds from Springfield Cardinals.  

08/27/2016: OF Harrison Bader assigned to Springfield Cardinals from Memphis Redbirds.

08/29/2016: St. Louis Cardinals recall LHP Dean Kiekhefer from Memphis Redbirds.

08/29/2016: 2B Bruce Caldwell assigned to Memphis Redbirds from Springfield Cardinals.

08/29/2016: RHP Josh Lucas assigned to Memphis Redbirds from Springfield Cardinals.

08/29/2016: IF Dean Anna placed on Memphis' seven-day disabled list.

TCN Top 50 Prospects

The number of The Cardinal Nation’s Top 50 Prospects on Memphis’ active roster has been reduced to seven as the season comes to an end.

9. Carson Kelly: Kelly, who splits time at catcher with Michael Ohlman, appeared in four games this week, going 4-for-16 with two doubles and four RBI. While more known for his plate awareness and arm rather than his power-hitting, the catcher has been very productive for the Redbirds (.292/.352/.381) and has surpassed his doubles total in Springfield in half the number of games (10).

13. Marco Gonzales: Gonzales underwent Tommy John surgery prior to the start of 2016, ending his season.

17. Tim Cooney: Cooney had season-ending shoulder surgery to repair a Bennett lesion (calcium build-up in the shoulder). The lefty had been sidelined since Spring Training with discomfort in his shoulder.

25. Sam Tuivailala: Tuivailala returned to Triple-A Memphis from St. Louis August 26. The reliever pitched one game during the week, fanning three and giving up one hit in one inning. The right-hander is atop all Memphis relievers in SO (69) and saves (17), but his ERA (5.32) has been high compared to other reliable options out of the bullpen.

26. Mike Mayers: Mayers started two games this week, combining for nine earned runs on 13 hits, eight strikeouts and seven walks and two losses in 10 2/3 innings. While the starter’s ERA (3.78) and is the best among Memphis’ starters in 2016, he has lost four out of his last five starts.

34. Matt Pearce: Pearce was called up from Double-A Springfield August 27 and made his Triple-A debut August 28 vs. Nashville. The right-hander picked up his first loss in Triple-A, allowing six runs (three earned) on five hits in five innings.

39. Corey Littrell: Littrell pitched 1 2/3 relief innings over two games this week, combining for three walks and five runs (four earned) on five hits. While the reliever is one of Memphis’ most used (51 IP), the lefty has issued at least one walk over his past seven games to add to his Memphis reliever-leading 27 free passes.

40. David Washington: Washington, who entered Week 21 with a .237/.335/516 line, was on fire at the plate (10-for-25 with one HR and six RBI), including a 4-for-5, two double and three RBI performance August 29 at Oklahoma City. With his HR this week, the outfielder/infielder extended his team lead to 24 and his system lead to 29.

 

Memphis Stats

Offense Season Stat PCL Rank
BA .264 10th 
Runs 624 13th 
HR 105 T11th
Stolen Bases 86 10th  
RBI 589 13th  
Strikeouts/Walks 1004/479 6th/5th 
     
Pitching Season Stat PCL Rank
W-L 63-75 13th 
ERA 4.79 10th 
Strikeouts/Walks 1024/469 9th/10th 
Saves 32 T9th 
WHIP 1.46 10th  
Hits Allowed 1250 9th 

Memphis Standings

Team W-L PCT GB
*Nashville Sounds 83-57 .593 -
Round Rock Express 69-70 .496 13.5
New Orleans Zephyrs 67-70 .489 14.5
Memphis Redbirds 63-75 .457 19.0
* clinched playoffs      

What’s Next

After going 1-5 during Week 21 of the 2016 PCL season, the Redbirds (63-75) head to the Round Rock Express (69-70) for their final series of the season.

Memphis, in fourth place in the American Southern Division, is unable to reach the Triple-A playoffs, so will use these last four games as motivation for next season. Round Rock, in second place in the division (13.5 GB), is a tough opponent, but the Redbirds have played very well against the Express (7-5 this season).

After Mike Mayers’ start Thursday night, Kurt Heyer returns to the mound Friday night at Round Rock, followed by Matt Pearce, Deck McGuire and Jeremy Hefner.

 

Follow Thomas Simpson on Twitter @jthomasSimpson.

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