Luke Voit (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

Insider news from the St. Louis Cardinals’ Pacific Coast League affiliate in Memphis for the period of April 21-27.

The St. Louis Cardinals’ Triple-A affiliate had their second straight week below .500 and fell from the top of the division. Luke Voit continues his solid hitting.

The Memphis Redbirds are now under .500 (10-11) after a 3-4 week. Six of their seven games came on the road with an off day Wednesday to travel back to Memphis.

Memphis started the week last Friday with a double header at Colorado Springs (MIL) after their Thursday matchup was rained out. The Redbirds then traveled to Oklahoma City (LAD) for a four game series before making their way back home.

After a rough Week 2, the Redbirds started off 3-1 but then lost three straight to end the week. In three of the four loses, the offense stalled as they failed to produce more than a single run.

After showing off their power in Week 1, leading all of the MiLB in home runs, the Redbirds fell to a tie for fourth in the category. But they remain at the top of the Pacific Coast League in doubles.

Despite ranking in the top five in extra base hits, Memphis is 14th of 16 teams in runs scored. A large part of the lack of scoring are the 170 strikeouts, which is fifth in the PCL, and the 15 attempts caught stealing, which leads the league.

Memphis also ranks dead last in batting average at .242. They are two points behind three teams at .246. The Redbirds rank 14th in the PCL in on base percentage.

The Redbirds are in the middle of the pack at ninth with a 4.67 team ERA and 70 walks, but the pitchers have given up the second-most homers to opposing teams, 24. They rank fourth in strikeouts.

Overall, the pitching staff had a much better week than last, but there is still a lot of room for improvement.

April 21: Memphis 5 at Col. Springs 1 (Game 1)

Josh Zeid threw a six inning gem, allowing just one run with four strikeouts. His best outing with Memphis earned him his first win of the season.

A third inning homer by Todd Cunningham gave the Redbirds the 2-1 lead that they would not relinquish. Chad Huffman doubled and scored a run on a Tommy Pham single in the fifth. Memphis took advantage of two errors by the Sky Sox to score two more runs in the seven inning game (double headers are seven innings each).

Sam Tuivailala shut the door with a perfect seventh inning to maintain his perfect ERA.

April 21: Memphis 1 at Col. Springs 5 (Game 2)

In a bullpen game, spot starter John Brebbia allowed two earned runs on six hits in three innings. Kevin Herget then yielded three earned runs in two frames. Zach Phillips was the only Memphis pitcher not to allow a run, but it was too late.

The lineup produced seven hits, including four doubles but failed to convert all but one into scores. The Redbirds’ only run came in the fifth inning when Pham doubled and Luke Voit drove him in with two outs.

April 22: Memphis 6 at Okla. City 1

Once again, Daniel Poncedeleon delivered an impressive performance. But the right-hander did not receive the win because Memphis did not score until the ninth inning.

The No. 32 prospect in The Cardinal Nation’s rankings went six innings, giving up one run. Three other pitchers threw one inning each. Ryan Sherriff, who picked up the win, and Rowan Wick followed Josh Lucas. The three did not give up a hit and struck out four batters.

Tommy Pham and Harrison Bader had three hits apiece. Pham and Huffman had two RBI each and Voit and Wilfredo Tovar both drove in one.

April 23: Memphis 4 at Okla. City 3

Starter Arturo Reyes went four innings, giving up one run on four hits. Mark Montgomery and Zach Phillips were charged with one run each. Phillips threw two innings and received the win. Tuivailala had another perfect outing, this time for a two-inning save.

Two Memphis had three-hit outings as Breyvic Valera and Luke Voit went 3-for-4. Valera scored twice and Voit plated two. Pham and Cunningham contributed an RBI each to push Memphis over the top for the win.

April 24: Memphis 0 at Okla. City 3

The Memphis lineup failed to produce for Chris Ellis, who went 6 2/3 innings with two earned runs and eight strikeouts. Ryan Sherriff pitched the final 1 1/3 innings and did not allow a run.

The Redbirds’ bats were two-hit by Justin Masterson and Steve Geltz, who allowed one hit each.

April 26: Memphis 0 at Okla. City 6

The Redbirds were shut out for the second straight game and only collected four hits, all singles.

Starter Mike Mayers allowed four earned runs in three innings. Herget followed and gave up two unearned runs before Brebbia and Lucas finished the final three innings without giving up a hit.

Jair Jurrjens, who has started 128 big league games, shut down the Memphis hitters, throwing six scoreless innings on four hits.

Memphis’ four hits came from four different players, including reliever Herget.

April 27: Memphis 7 vs. Round Rock 9

The Redbirds’ hitters picked it up upon their return home Thursday night, but the pitching and defense failed to protect the 3-0 lead. Zeid, in his second start of the week, threw 5 2/3 innings and allowed four earned runs.

Zach Phillips and Ran Sherriff pitched a combined 2 1/3 scoreless innings and the offense stretched the lead to 7-4 in the bottom of the eighth. But Rowan Wick allowed five earned runs in the top of the ninth to flip the outcome.

The lineup had their best outing of the week with three homers, three doubles and seven runs on 12 hits. Patrick Wisdom and Valera had three hits each. Wisdom hit a home run and plated two. Bader and Paul DeJong also hit bombs in the loss.

Who’s hot

http://www.scout.com/player/179967-luke-voit?s=321

Luke Voit — The former 22nd round draft pick has turned his play around after appearing on the “Who’s not” list last week. Voit had six RBI and hit safely in six of the seven games.

Going 10-for-28, Voit raised his average to .338, first on the team by 38 points. The first baseman had three straight multi-hit games and two doubles this week but has not hit a homer since April 11.

http://www.scout.com/player/145217-sam-tuivailala?s=321

Sam Tuivailala — Once again, the 24-year-old did not give up a run on the week. The right-handed reliever pitched three innings in two appearances allowing no hits and walking just one batter.

Tuivailala has pitched 6 1/3 total innings this season without allowing a run and is 1-for-1 in save opportunities.

http://www.scout.com/player/99686-zach-phillips?s=321

Zach Phillips — Following Tuivailala’s lead, Phillips did not allow a run during his three outings this week. The lefty reliever gave up four hits in 3 1/3 innings.

The 30-year-old has thrown 11 2/3 innings this season and has only been charged with two earned runs, both in one outing, to maintain a 1.54 ERA.

http://www.scout.com/player/180084-daniel-poncedeleon?s=321

Daniel Poncedeleon — Three starts in three weeks and Poncedeleon continues to prove himself at the Triple-A level. After being called up from Springfield on April 10, the righty has thrown 16 innings and allowed just three earned runs — one in each game.

This week, against OKC, the 25-year-old pitched six innings and gave up one run with four strikeouts to lower his ERA to 1.69. He is holding opponents to a .167 batting average and continues to impress with each start.

http://www.scout.com/player/158032-ryan-sherriff?s=321

Ryan Sherriff — The California native came out of the bullpen three times during the week to pitch 3 1/3 innings. He did not allow a run or walk a batter.

The lefty had a strong Week 1, but gave up six runs in 1 2/3 innings during an outing in Week 2. Sherriff has bounced back nicely to lower his ERA from 10.50 to 6.75.

Who’s not

Paul DeJong — The Cardinals’ No. 11 prospect has seen his batting average fall from .313 to .275. He did earn a hit in four of his six games this week, but he went 1-for-4 three times and 0-for-3 twice.

DeJong’s strikeout woes have continued, with multiple Ks in three games for a 29.2 percent rate on the season. His 21 total is just five behind the PCL leader and is second on the team behind Wisdom.

Patrick Wisdom — After a strong start over the first two weeks, the 25-year-old out of Saint Mary’s went hitless in six straight games as his average fell from .326 to .231. The third baseman ended the week strong with a 3-for-4 night to raise the average back up to .261.

The team leader in strikeouts has been punched out in 12 straight contests and 19 out of his 20 games this season for a 31.6% rate.

Carson Kelly — The heir to Yadier Molina caught four games this week and went 2-for-14. His batting average dropped to .227 from .259.

The positive side of his performance is the one strikeout in 14 at bats. Kelly is putting the ball in play, now he needs to find the gaps.

Mike Mayers — The starter’s struggles have continued as he has allowed at least three earned runs in each start. Mayers’ start this week was his shortest of the season as he gave up four earned runs in three innings.

The former Ole Miss Rebel has allowed a homer in each start, including two each in his most recent two outings. And opponents are taking advantage by hitting .395 against him this season.

Rowan Wick — The ninth round draft pick started the week off with a solid outing against OKC. But he blew a save opportunity against Round Rock by giving up five earned runs in the top of the ninth, which led to the loss.

The right-hander’s ERA jumped from 1.93 to 6.10 after the poor outing.

The Cardinal Nation Top 50 Prospects

#2 Luke Weaver — The right-hander should be activated in the next week, per St. Louis general manager John Mozeliak via MLB.com.

#4 Carson Kelly — see “Who’s not” above.

#6 Harrison Bader — The center fielder had an up and down week with two multi-hit games and three hitless games. His best performance of the week was Thursday, when he had two hits including a homer, walk, two runs and two RBI.

Bader’s week was an improvement on his slow start to the season as he raised his average from .229 to .266.

#13 Paul DeJong — see “Who’s not” above.

#25 John Gant – The right-hander remains on the disabled list, still not back from his spring groin injury.

#27 Marco Gonzales – The left-hander should be ready to be activated shortly after Weaver, giving the Redbirds two additional starters.

#32 Daniel Poncedeleon — see “Who’s hot” above.

#34 Mike Mayers — see “Who’s not” above.

#37 Sam Tuivailala — see “Who’s hot” above.

#38 Rowan Wick — see “Who’s not” above.

#44 Luke Voit — see “Who’s hot” above.

#45 Breyvic Valera — The 25-year-old Venezuelan had another lackluster week, going 6-for-24, but he did have two three-hit games. Valera picked up his second double of the season and struck out just once, but overall, is batting just .230.

Standings

Memphis fell from the top of the American Southern Division and is one game behind the Round Rock Express (TEX). The Express lead the way at 11-10 followed by the Redbirds (10-11), the Nashville Sounds (OAK) (7-11) and the New Orleans Baby Cakes (MIA) (8-13).

Team Transactions

4/27 — Sam Tuivailala recalled by the St. Louis Cardinals as the 26th pitcher for their Thursday double-header.

4/24 — St. Louis Cardinals sent LF Anthony Garcia outright to Memphis Redbirds. The 25-year-old went unclaimed off waivers and remains with the team, but without his 40-man roster spot.

What’s Next

Memphis will finish up the five-game home series against Round Rock Friday through Monday before going an eight-game road trip to play the Omaha Storm Chasers (KC) and the Iowa Cubs (CHC).

Follow Jon Morgan Bell on Twitter @NotTheLawyer.

© 2017 The Cardinal Nation, thecardinalnation.com and scout.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


The Cardinal Nation Top Stories