Luke Weaver (© Butch Dill / USA TODAY Sports Images)

Insider news from the St. Louis Cardinals’ Pacific Coast League affiliate in Memphis for the period of May 12-18.

Coming off their record 11-game win-streak, the first-place Memphis Redbirds went 4-3 last week. During the up and down period, Luke Weaver and Luke Voit remained as consistent as they have been all season.

As part of a 4-3 week, the 26-15 Memphis Redbirds outscored El Paso (SD) and Albuquerque (COL) 42-23 in the eight game homestand and 36-29 in the past seven days.

The starting pitching was hit or miss. Weaver, Marco Gonzales and Mike Mayers had quality starts. But Mayers had a rough time in his first outing of the week, and Arturo Reyes and Tyler Lyons struggled in their starts.

Memphis ranks seventh in the 16-team Pacific Coast League in runs scored. The staff ERA of 4.15 is fifth-lowest.

The Redbirds have been passed by two teams for the league lead in home runs, and they remain second in doubles and total bases. The team batting average has continued to rise, and it is now at .280 with a .352 OBP, which is fourth in the league.

May 12: El Paso 7 at Memphis 4

After gaining a 2-0 lead in the first two innings, Memphis gave up seven runs in the fourth and fifth to go down by five. Three El Paso doubles against Mike Mayers in the top of the fourth led to two runs. The visitors scored four more earned runs in the fifth and an error by Patrick Wisdom lead to another run.

Chris Ellis and Zach Phillips pitched 4 2/3 innings in relief and did not allow a run. Ellis went 1 2/3 with two strikeouts, a walk and a hit. Phillips added three frames with two strikeouts, a walk and two hits.

The Redbirds were helped by a misplayed fly ball to center of the bat of Luke Voit, which was ruled a double. Patrick Wisdom brought Rangel Ravelo home with a sacrifice fly to center.

Bader scored the Redbirds second inning run after a Harrison Bader walk and a singles by Carson Kelly and Wilfredo Tovar.

Memphis tried to rally in the bottom of the ninth, but they could only plate two runs. Ravelo doubled home Nick Martini, then Voit knocked Ravelo home with a single. But Wisdom grounded out to end the game.

May 13: El Paso 1 at Memphis 10

Luke Weaver continued his great season, collecting his third win by pitching seven innings, striking out nine batters and allowing just one run. Ryan Sherriff covered the remaining two innings without giving up a run.

Seven Memphis batters earned a hit at the plate, including Weaver, who also scored a run. Todd Cunningham had a four-hit game with two RBI and three runs scored.

Patrick Wisdom and Harrison Bader had two hits and knocked in two runs apiece. Nick Martini had a continued his hot streak with a single, double, two runs and an RBI.

May 14: El Paso 5 at Memphis 6

The Chihuahuas were up 1-0 heading into the seventh inning, then both teams started scoring. Memphis plated four runs in seventh and two in the eighth. El Paso scored three in the eighth and one in the ninth.  

Marco Gonzales had a quality start in his 2017 Memphis debut. The lefty went seven innings, and only allowed one hit, a home run. He sat six batters down and walked one.

In the seventh inning, Rangel Ravelo walked and Carson Kelly singled before Nick Martini doubled them in with two out. Luke Voit homered to bring in two more runs in the inning.

Josh Lucas gave up the lead in the top of the eighth, giving up three runs. He allowed three hits, including a home run, and a walk in the inning of work. But Lucas was credited with the win after the offense produced in the eighth.

With the game tied 4-4, Memphis came back to score two more runs. Rangel Ravelo and Carson Kelly reached base once again, and Chad Huffman brought them home with a single.

Mark Montgomery picked up the save but allowed a homer in the top of the ninth.

May 15: Albuquerque 4 at Memphis 6

Tyler Lyons was uneven in his rehab start, going 3 2/3 innings. The lefty gave up three runs on two homers, and four runs overall. Josh Zeid came in for early relief and pitched three one-run innings.

Ryan Sherriff and John Brebbia combined for 2 1/3 innings and did not allow a run or hit. Sherriff picked up the win, and Brabbia earned the save by striking out the side in the ninth.

Jhonny Peralta, another Cardinal on a rehab assignment, knocked in Luke Voit in the first inning to tie the game at 1-1. Memphis took a 4-2 lead in the third as back-to-back doubles by Peralta and Patrick Wisdom plated two, and a single by Alberto Rosario scored one.

After allowing the game to get tied at 4-4, the Redbirds gained the lead once again in the seventh to earn the win. Rosario doubled in Voit and Peralta with a hard-hit ball to left center for the win.

May 16: Albuquerque 6 at Memphis 3

Arturo Reyes received his first loss of the season after giving up five runs in five innings. The right-hander held the Isotopes scoreless through three innings but gave up three runs in the fourth and two in the fifth.

Chris Ellis pitched the sixth inning, and an unearned run scored following an error by Luke Voit. Trey Nielsen and Josh Lucas threw the final three scoreless innings, but the offense could not come back.

The Memphis bats struggled, only collecting six hits and scoring three runs. Jhonny Peralta, Chad Huffman and Paul DeJong had an RBI each. Huffman also went 2-for-2 with a walk and run scored.

May 17: Albuquerque 4 at Memphis 3

The Redbirds lost their second straight after their three-game winning streak. John Gant, who was optioned to Memphis by St. Louis after coming off the disabled list, pitched 3 1/3 innings and allowed one run in his Memphis debut.

Zach Phillips followed and yielded two runs in two innings, and Mark Montgomery gave up one run in 1 2/3 innings. Chris Ellis and Ryan Sherriff added a scoreless inning each.

Alberto Rosario singled home Paul DeJong and Chad Huffman in the fourth inning to take a 2-1 lead. After giving up three runs in the sixth, Memphis needed at least two runs in the ninth but could only manufacture one.

With the bases loaded and one out, Todd Cunningham walked. Nick Martini fouled out to the third baseman, and Rangel Ravelo grounded out to end the game.

May 18: Albuquerque 2 at Memphis 4

Mike Mayers started with seven scoreless innings but allowed two runs in the eighth. John Brebbia closed the door on the Isotopes for his third save of the season.

Rangel Ravelo and Chad Huffman went 3-for-4 with a run and RBI each. Patrick Wisdom and Carson Kelly went 2-for-4 with Wisdom knocking in a run and Kelly crossing the plate once.


Who’s hot

Luke Weaver — The No. 2 pitching and No. 3 prospect for the Cardinals is continuing his fantastic season so far. After spending most of April on the DL, Weaver is 3-0 in three starts.

Weaver has thrown 22 innings this season and has given up only one run, which gives him a stellar 0.41 ERA. The 23-year-old has 19 strikeouts to just one walk and is showing no signs of pain in his back.

Marco Gonzales — In his first 2017 start with the Redbirds, the 2013 first round pick threw seven innings, giving up one run. Gonzales did not receive the win, however, after Josh Lucas was charged with three runs in relief.

Gonzales struck out six to one walk, with the lone run coming via a homer. In his only other start of the season, at Palm Beach, he pitched six one-run innings.

John Brebbia — The former Yankees’ 30th round pick has been the most consistent bullpen pitcher all season. Brebbia has a 1.90 ERA and is 3-for-3 in save opportunities.

The right-hander has pitched in 13 games and has allowed five runs and 15 hits in 23 2/3 innings. His 25 Ks to four free passes places him among the top relievers in the PCL in strikeout to walk ratio.

Chris Ellis — After allowing at least one earned run in his first seven outings, he has been nearly perfect in his next three. Ellis began the season as a starter and had a 7.77 ERA through five starts.

His first two appearances from the bullpen did not go well either. The 24-year-old gave up two runs in 1 2/3 innings, but has settled in and done well since. In his last 3 2/3 innings, Ellis has given up just one hit and no runs with five strikeouts.

Luke Voit — Voit has become a regular on this hot list and shows no signs of slowing down. He had four two-hit games in a row during the week and is batting .353 with 27 RBI and eight home runs.

The first baseman leads the team in many offensive categories including hits, doubles, RBI and OBP. Voit is also fourth in the league in total bases and OBP, and is third in slugging percentage.

Rangel Ravelo — The first baseman and outfielder is currently working on a six-game hitting streak that features two three-hit games. During that stretch, he drove in three and scored five runs.

Since joining the team in late April, Ravelo is batting .333 with 10 runs and 10 RBI. So far, he has proven to be a solid pickup for the organization.


Who’s not

Josh Lucas — The tall reliever has been up and down all season. He began with 6 2/3 scoreless innings but gave up six earned runs in his next two outings.

Lucas was coming off four good outings in a row, but has been charged with six runs in his past four. His ERA is up to 5.49 and he has blown his last two save opportunities.

Arturo Reyes — After coming out of the bullpen in his first three appearances, Reyes has started his last five. In his first three starts, he went 17 innings and gave up two runs.

The right-hander’s last two starts have been less impressive. He went seven innings and gave up four on May 11 and went five innings allowing five runs on May 16. Because of those two starts, Reyes’ ERA went from 1.33 to 3.00.

Patrick Wisdom — After getting off to a hot start in April, the third baseman has been inconsistent. He has gone hitless for five games, and he also had a nine game hitting streak.

Wisdom is batting .277 after a two-hit game helped his otherwise poor week. The 25-year-old also has seven errors on the season, which is tied for second in the league and the most among third basemen.

Harrison Bader — Bader is 2-for-13 in his last four games with four strikeouts. His strikeout rate remains high, at about 25 percent. The top outfield prospect also has just 12 RBI in 38 games this season.

After he raised his batting average to .280 early in the week, it fell back to .267 during his four-game skid.


The Cardinal Nation Top 50 Prospects

#2 Luke Weaver — See “Who’s hot” above.

#4 Carson Kelly — During the Redbirds’ eight game home stand, the catcher had three multi-hit games and went 7-for-23 (.304). He scored three times in eight games but did not knock in a run.

In 27 games, Kelly is currently batting .317 with 14 runs, 15 RBI and 12 walks.

#5 Harrison Bader — See “Who’s not” above.

#11 Paul DeJong — The shortstop has been hovering around the .300 mark all season and sits at .299 at the moment. He is tied with Voit with eight homers and second behind the first baseman with 25 RBI.

DeJong is tied with Wisdom and others with seven errors, and his strikeout rate is about 25 percent, like Bader’s.

#16 Marco Gonzales — See “Who’s hot” above.

#22 John Gant — In his one appearance with Memphis, Gant started and lasted 3 1/3 innings while giving up one run.

#31 Daniel Poncedeleon — The right-hander is on the 7-day DL after suffering a serious head injury on May 9.

#38 Mike Mayers — After two starts in a row pitching six innings and not allowing a run, Mayers was charged with six runs in 4 1/3 innings during his first start of the week. The righty followed that up with a seven inning, two-run performance and earned a win.

Mayers has allowed at least seven hits in every outing other than the back-to-back starts in which he did not give up a run. He looks like a great pitcher at times, but when his stuff is not working, hitters can take advantage and put up runs in a hurry.

#40 Luke Voit — See “Who’s hot” above.

#41 Arturo Reyes — See “Who’s not” above.

#43 Rowan Wick — The reliever is on the 7-day DL.

#47 Breyvic Valera — After an 11-game hitting streak during which he went 17-for-40, the infielder is 2-for-13 in the last three games. But after a cold start to the season, he has brought his average up to .294.

Valera does not have a home run this season and has just four RBI, but he does have five triples. He has been caught stealing six times against just two stolen bases.

#50 Patrick Wisdom — See “Who’s not” above.



The Redbirds have the most wins in the league at 26-15, but they are third in winning percentage. They lead the division with the Nashville Sounds (OAK) (18-19) six games back. Round Rock Express (TEX) (16-25) is 10 back, and the New Orleans Baby Cakes (MIA) (14-26) are 11.5 games out.



5/11 — Marco Gonzales transferred from State College to Memphis.

5/14 — Jhonny Peralta injury rehab transfer from Palm Beach to Memphis.

5/14 — Rowan Wick placed on 7-day disabled list. Retroactive to May 12.

5/15 — Tyler Lyons injury rehab transfer from Peoria to Memphis.

5/15 — Trey Nielsen transferred from Springfield to Memphis.

5/17 — John Gant optioned to Memphis from St. Louis.


What’s next

After eight games at home, Memphis will head out on an eight game road trip next week. They will play the Fresno Grizzlies (HOU) Friday through Monday. Then the Redbirds will travel to Sacramento to play the River Cats (SF) Tuesday through Friday.

Follow Jon Morgan Bell on Twitter @NotTheLawyer.

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