The Memphis Redbirds’ (65-77) season come to an end Monday night after they split the final series at the Round Rock Express (71-72). The Redbirds showed improvement on offense (.264/.336/.400), led by David Washington and Breyvic Valera, but the pitching staff finished with a below-par 4.79 ERA. However, some of that was due to season-ending injuries (Marco Gonzales and Tim Cooney) and major league promotions (Alex Reyes and Luke Weaver).
Although it was disappointing to see the club end without a playoff appearance, there were several players that stepped up in the final four games.
Here is how the week unfolded:
Friday, September 2: Memphis (STL) 0 at Round Rock (TEX) 7
Memphis could not get anything going, scattering only three hits and plating no runners in the series opener at Round Rock, losing 7-0.
Jose Martinez, David Washington and Michael Ohlman had the lone hits. Efren Navarro went 0-for-4, ending his second 11-game hitting streak of the season.
Starter Kurt Heyer (2-5, 6.13) took his fifth loss with Memphis after allowing six earned on eight hits and issuing three walks in 4 2/3 innings. Relievers Pedro Echemendia, John Brebbia and Sam Tuivailala combined for one run on three hits in 3 1/3 innings.
Saturday, September 3: Memphis (STL) 2 at Round Rock (TEX) 4
Down 4-0 through seven innings, Memphis rallied with single runs in the eighth and ninth but fell short against Round Rock, 4-2.
Navarro (3-for-4) had three singles one day after snapping his second 11-game hit streak. Breyvic Valera (2-for-4) scored on Martinez’s (1-for-4) RBI double in the eighth, and added a walk. Washington (1-for-4) hit a solo shot, his 25th as a Redbird, in the ninth.
Starter Matt Pearce (0-2, 4.91) earned his second loss in as many starts for Memphis, giving up three earned on seven hits and walking two in six innings. Ryan Sherriff and Josh Lucas fanned three and allowed one earned on one hit in two innings of relief.
Sunday, September 4: Memphis (STL) 8 at Round Rock (TEX) 0 (6 innings)
After dropping the first two, Memphis responded with an 8-0 win in a six-inning game against Round Rock. The game was called after weather made field conditions unplayable.
Starter Deck McGuire (7-11, 4.70) picked up his seventh win with Memphis after tossing five scoreless innings, scattering two hits and striking out four. McGuire had not won as a Redbirds starter since June 17.
Memphis debutant Chris Rivera (1-for-3) hit a two-run home run in his second-career Triple-A at-bat. Nick Martini (3-for-4), Washington (3-for-4) and Patrick Wisdom (2-for-2) had multi-hit games, with Washington adding two RBI.
Monday, September 5: Memphis (STL) 7 at Round Rock (TEX) 6
Memphis finished the 2016 season with a wild 7-6 win against division rival Round Rock.
Valera (2-for-4) scored twice, swiped two bags, doubled and plated three. Anthony Garcia and Matt Williams each went 3-for-5. Navarro was 2-for-3.
Starter Jeremy Hefner worked 5 2/3 innings in a no-decision, completing his first full season since 2013 after missing much of 2014 and all of 2015 with two arm surgeries (he did, however, miss two months of this season with shoulder inflammation).
Reliever Pedro Echemendia (1-0, 2.37) received his first win of the season, Tuivailala picked up his second hold and Sherriff saved the win with a strikeout of slugger Joey Gallo in the ninth.
David Washington went on a hot streak at the end of the league campaign, going 6-for-16 with one HR and three RBI, and finished with a seven-game hit streak.
Breyvic Valera went 5-for-10 with one double, three RBI and three stolen bases in three games this week, and the infielder finished the season with a team-leading batting average (.341) and OBP (.417).
Efren Navarro was hitless September 2 at Round Rock but was 6-for-11 with one RBI and two walks over the final three games.
Nick Martini started the final four games of the season, going 5-for-16 with one RBI.
Deck McGuire picked up his first win since June 17, scattering two hits and fanning four in five scoreless innings, and gave up four earned in 23 1/3 innings while striking out 28 and walking four over his last four starts.
Michael Ohlman went hitless over his last two games and finished the week 1-for-7.
Bruce Caldwell opened his Triple-A account, going 2-for-5 with a triple and an RBI August 29 at Oklahoma City but ended the season 2-for-15 in five games.
Kurt Heyer’s five game losing streak continued after he allowed six earned on eight hits in 4 2/3 innings September 2 at Round Rock.
Matt Pearce picked up his second loss in as many starts, giving up three earned on seven hits in six innings September 3 at Round Rock.
With Double-A Springfield in the Texas-League playoffs and St. Louis preparing for a playoff push, the Redbirds had several players move from their ranks.
C Carson Kelly’s contract was selected and the player was called up to St. Louis on September 4, and OF Jose Martinez and RHP’s Mike Mayers and Sam Tuivailala were brought up two days later. Kelly (.292/.352/.381) and Martinez (.278/.336/.421), who both received their first promotions to St. Louis, were important offensive weapons for the Redbirds. Meanwhile, Mayers (4-8, 3.73) and Tuivailala (3-2, 5.21) had spent time on the Cardinals’ roster earlier.
Three hurlers and one infielder were assigned to the Texas-League affiliate in Springfield. RHP Matt Pearce (0-2, 4.91) started twice for Memphis, RHP’s Josh Lucas (0-0, 9.39) and Ronnie Shaban (0-0, 0.00) combined for 11 innings of relief and 2B Bruce Caldwell (.200/.273/.300) recorded a triple and two RBI in six games.
Here is a list of all of the transactions that occurred:
09/03/2016: C Chris Rivera assigned to Memphis Redbirds from Palm Beach Cardinals.
09/04/2016: St. Louis Cardinals select the contract of C Carson Kelly from Memphis Redbirds.
09/06/2016: LHP Justin Wright assigned to Memphis Redbirds from Springfield Cardinals.
09/06/2016: RHP Matt Pearce assigned to Springfield Cardinals from Memphis Redbirds.
09/06/2016: RHP Josh Lucas assigned to Springfield Cardinals from Memphis Redbirds.
09/06/2016: RHP Ronnie Shaban assigned to Springfield Caridnals from Memphis Redbirds.
09/06/2016: 2B Bruce Caldwell assigned to Springfield Cardinals from Memphis Redbirds.
09/06/2016: St. Louis Cardinals recall OF Jose Martinez from Memphis Redbirds.
09/06/2016: St. Louis Cardinals recall RHP Sam Tuivailala from Memphis Redbirds.
09/06/2016: St. Louis Cardinals recall RHP Mike Mayers from Memphis Redbirds.
TCN Top 50 Prospects
At the end of the 2016 PCL season, the number of The Cardinal Nation’s Top 50 Prospects on Memphis’ active roster has been reduced to four.
13. Marco Gonzales: Gonzales underwent Tommy John surgery prior to the start of 2016, ending his season.
17. Tim Cooney: Cooney underwent 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 prior to the diagnosis.
39. Corey Littrell: Littrell worked 1/3 inning of relief ball during the final four games of the season and fanned the lone batter he faced. The reliever finished the PCL season 1-4 with a 4.56 ERA and 49 strikeouts; however, his 29 walks led all Memphis relievers.
40. David Washington: Washington ended the 2016 season on a spectacular note, going 6-for-24 with one HR and three RBI in the final four games and 16-for-41 with two HR and nine RBI since August 25. With his home run September 3 at Round Rock, the outfielder/infielder recorded his 25th homer as a Redbird (tied for 11th in single season history) and his 30th home run in the Cardinals’ organization (tied for sixth in all of minor league baseball).
|Offense||Season Stat||PCL Rank|
|Pitching||Season Stat||PCL Rank|
|Round Rock Express||71-72||.497||12.5|
|New Orleans Zephyrs||69-70||.496||12.5|
|* clinched playoffs|
With the 2016 PCL regular season over and with the Memphis Redbirds (65-77) out of the Triple-A playoffs, the ball club has shipped their players to St. Louis or Springfield to help give the respective clubs ammunition for their playoff runs.
Over the next few weeks, The Cardinal Nation will give an in-depth recap of Memphis’ season campaign, followed by our Redbirds Position Player, Starting Pitcher and Reliever of the Year awards.
Follow Thomas Simpson on Twitter @jthomasSimpson.
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