Luke Voit (Memphis Redbirds)

Insider news from the St. Louis Cardinals’ Pacific Coast League affiliate in Memphis for the period of June 9-15.

The Memphis Redbirds pitching staff was not as dominant as last week, but the bats picked up the slack and powered the club to their second straight 4-2 week. Luke Voit led the way with four home runs and 11 RBI.

This past week, the Memphis Redbirds went 2-1 against both Nashville (OAK) and Colorado Springs (MIL) at home. They started off the Nashville set with a 2-1 win, but allowed six and nine runs in the next two games. They were outscored 15-16 by the Sounds but won the three-game series with two, one-run wins.

The Redbirds took the final game of the Nashville series and the first two against Colorado Springs to go on a three-game win-streak. During the three contests, they scored 27 runs and allowed 17.

In the three games against the Sky Sox, they outscored their opponent 19-14. The Redbirds scored seven and 10 in consecutive games to start the series. They lost the final game 2-6. In total, Memphis outscored their opponents 34-30 on the week.  

 

June 9: Nashville 1 at Memphis 2 (10 innings)

Mike Mayers delivered his third straight solid start. After allowing one run each in his previous two starts, this time he tossed six scoreless innings. Six batters hit safely, Mayers walked just one and struck out six.

Harrison Bader hit his ninth homer of the year in the second inning to put Memphis up 1-0, but the offense was held scoreless for the next seven innings.

In the top of the eighth, Ryan Sherriff gave up a run for the first time since May 9, to tie the game. After scoreless eighth and ninth innings, Randal Grichuk’s bases-loaded walk-off single in the 10th gave Memphis the win.

June 10: Nashville 6 at Memphis 3

Carson Kelly’s double knocked home two runs in the first inning, but Memphis’ struggled with only three hits in the game. Luke Voit smashed his ninth bomb of the year in the fourth to retake the lead 3-1, but Nashville went on to score four more runs.

John Gant allowed three earned runs in five innings. He gave up six hits including two homers, but struck out seven without issuing a walk. Kevin Herget threw two perfect innings, and Mark Montgomery went 1 1/3, but in what would be his final appearance as a Cardinal, Zach Phillips was touched for three runs in 2/3 of an inning.

The four Redbirds pitchers combined for 13 strikeouts but allowed six earned runs on eight hits and three walks.

June 11: Nashville 9 at Memphis 10 (12 innings)

In their second extra innings game in three days, the Redbirds enjoyed another walk-off hit. Starter Luke Weaver was off his game, allowing three runs in 2 1/3 innings before leaving with an undisclosed injury.

Trey Nielsen threw 2 2/3 innings of shutout ball, but Miguel Socolovich allowed five runs, four earned, in two innings. Ryan Sherriff, Josh Lucas and Sam Tuivailala combined for four innings and did not give up a run. Kevin Herget allowed one in an inning of work but received the win.

Luke Voit singled in a run in the first, but the Redbirds fell behind by two runs after three innings. Then Alberto Rosario and Rangel Ravelo doubled in three runs in the fourth to regain the lead, 4-3.

Nashville scored five times in the sixth and seventh innings to go back ahead 8-4. But Memphis stormed back again with three runs in the seventh and one in the ninth to send the game into extra innings.

Voit hit a three-run homer to left center, and Harrison Bader doubled home Todd Cunningham to prolong the game.

The Sounds scored one run in the top of the 12th, but the resilient Redbirds plated two for the win. Alberto Rosario brought in a run on a sacrifice fly to right, and Breyvic Valera singled home the winner.

June 12: Off day

June 13: Colorado Springs 4 at Memphis 7

Starter Josh Zeid lasted six innings and allowed four runs, three unearned. He walked two and struck out three. Mark Montgomery and Ryan Sherriff pitched a combined four perfect innings with Sherriff receiving the save.

Patrick Wisdom smashed a two-run homer in the fourth to bring the Redbirds within one. But Colorado Springs extended the lead after Luke Voit threw a ball into center field after a pick off by Zeid that should have been an easy out.

After the fifth inning, the Memphis relievers did not allow a hit or issue a walk, and the offense scored five more runs to take control.

Memphis scored one in the bottom of the sixth on three straight singles and a sacrifice fly by Mark Montgomery. They added two in the seventh on a Paul DeJong bomb. A single by Voit plated the final two runs in the eighth.

June 14: Colorado Springs 4 at Memphis 10

Six long balls led to all of Memphis’ 10 runs and their third consecutive win. Luke Voit led the way bringing home four runs on two homers. Harrison Bader and Patrick Wisdom each had two-run blasts. Randal Grichuk and Paul DeJong smashed solo shots.

Jack Flaherty received the win by throwing six innings and whiffing 10 batters. He allowed three earned runs on four hits and a walk. Trey Nielsen pitched two innings out of the bullpen and allowed one unearned run. Josh Lucas threw the final inning without allowing a baserunner.

June 15: Colorado Springs 6 at Memphis 2

Three unearned runs and only five hits hurt Memphis in the four-run loss. Mike Mayers pitched well, but two errors led to only one of his four runs yielded being earned. He struck out six in five innings and walked two.

Kevin Herget and Miguel Socolovich combined for three innings of relief. They each allowed an earned run on a hit and two walks. Ryan Sherriff added a perfect ninth with two strikeouts.

Offensively, Memphis struggled with only five hits, two walks and 10 strikeouts. Patrick Wisdom continued hitting well with a 3-for-3 night with both RBI, but his 11th error contributed to the unearned tallies.

 

Who’s hot

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

Luke Voit — The first baseman is back on track and hitting well. He is batting .342 with 14 RBI and four homers in his last 10 games. Voit has a five game hit-streak, scoring six runs in those five games.

Patrick Wisdom — Wisdom has been struggling but turned things around this week. He hit .333 with a four game hit-streak.  The third baseman had two-run homers in consecutive games and knocked in two more runs the next night.

Harrison Bader — The outfielder hit .320 this week with three multi-hit games, four RBI and five runs. While hitting well, Bader did not draw any walks and struck out eight times in six games, over 32 percent of his plate appearances.

http://www.scout.com/player/135121-mike-mayers?s=321

Mike Mayers — After going five innings and allowing just one earned run, Mayers has gone four straight starts allowing one run or less. In that span, the right-hander has pitched 24 innings and has surrendered just three earned runs. He has 29 strikeouts to seven walks in those games.

Josh Lucas — Over his last seven appearances, the reliever has gone 9 1/3 innings without allowing a run. In that stretch, Lucas has allowed just five hits and three walks to 13 strikeouts. He has lowered his ERA from 5.55 to 4.01 as a result.

Ryan Sherriff — After allowing a run for the first time since May 9, the lefty bounced back with three solid outings. Sherriff pitched three perfect innings with five strikeouts and zero walks. Since early May, his ERA has fallen from 6.14 to 3.26.

http://www.scout.com/player/179302-jack-flaherty?s=321

Jack Flaherty — The 21-year-old had another quality start this week by going six innings and allowing three runs. But Flaherty impressed with just one walk and 10 strikeouts. In his two other starts with the Redbirds, he went a combined 12 innings, giving up two runs on seven hits and three walks.

 

Who’s not

Nick Martini — Batting .250 in his last 10 games and .083 this week, Martini’s production has fallen off. He did not knock in a run this week, but did find a way to score twice. The one positive from Martini’s offense is the six walks he drew that led to two runs.

Carson Kelly — After receiving the Cardinals’ May Player of the Month honors, Kelly has struggled. He is hitting .161 in his last 10 games and is 1-for-11 with 2 RBI on the week. Like Martini, he has drawn six walks which led to one run. Kelly has been putting the ball in play with just one strikeout this week, but he has not been able to find gaps.

Breyvic Valera — The infielder had just two hits and an RBI this week on a 2-for-15 performance. Valera did not draw any walks and did not score. His season batting average is down to .259 after he hit .341 in 73 games last season with Memphis.

Miguel Socolovich — In his last two appearances, he has allowed four earned runs in two innings and one run and two walks in an inning. Since coming to Memphis, the reliever has been charged with seven earned runs in six innings of work. He issued two walks to three strikeouts.

 

The Cardinal Nation Top 50 Prospects

#2 Luke Weaver — See “Injuries” below

#4 Carson Kelly — See “who’s not” above.

#5 Harrison Bader — See “who’s hot” above.

#6 Jack Flaherty — See “who’s hot” above.

#11 Paul DeJong — DeJong was sent back and forth between St. Louis and Memphis. But he hit a homer in both games with Memphis this week. The infielder went 3-for-7 in the two contests, bringing in three runs and scoring four.

#16 Marco Gonzales — The lefty was called up to St. Louis for a double-header start and allowed five runs in 3 1/3 innings. Gonzales did not pitch for Memphis this week but is scheduled to make his turn on Sunday at Round Rock.

#22 John Gant — In his start this week, Gant lasted five innings and gave up three earned runs. He struck out seven and did not walk a batter, but allowed two homers.

#29 Sam Tuivailala — He pitched two perfect innings in his one appearance this week. The reliever was then called up to St. Louis June 13.

#31 Daniel Poncedeleon — While the right-hander has been released from the hospital, the length of his rehab – non-baseball and then baseball - is unclear.

#38 Mike Mayers — See “who’s hot” above.

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

#41 Arturo Reyes — The right-handed starter went on the DL on May 23 with an undisclosed injury.

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

#47 Breyvic Valera — See “who’s not” above.

#50 Patrick Wisdom — See “who’s hot” above.

 

Standings

The Redbirds (40-26) have added two games to their lead over Nashville (OAK) (33-31) in the division. Their edge is now up to six games on the Sounds and nine games on the Round Rock Express (TEX) (31-35). New Orleans (MIA) brings up the bottom of the division at 23-41, 16 games back.

Memphis has the second best record in the Pacific Coast League. The Reno Aces (ARI) lead the way at 41-25, only a game ahead of the Redbirds.

 

Transactions

6/11 — Sean Gilmartin acquired off waivers from the Mets and optioned from St. Louis to Memphis.

6/12 — Zach Phillips released.

6/13 — Sam Tuivailala recalled from Memphis to St. Louis.

6/13 — Marco Gonzales recalled as 26th man for DH to St. Louis.

6/13 — Paul DeJong Optioned from St. Louis to Memphis.

6/13 — Josh Zeid reinstated off the temporarily inactive list.

6/14 — Bruce Caldwell transferred from Memphis to Springfield.

6/14 — Marco Gonzales returned from St. Louis to Memphis.

6/15 — Paul DeJong recalled from Memphis to St. Louis.

6/15 — Alex Mejia transferred from Springfield to Memphis.

 

Injuries

Luke Weaver was removed from the June 11 game with an injury. The top prospect right-hander has not been placed on the disabled list but also does not appear among the club’s starting pitchers through at least Monday, June 19.

http://www.scout.com/player/179139-luke-weaver?s=321

New acquisition Sean Gilmartin is taking Weaver’s next turn on Saturday, with the current rotation consisting of six starters in this sequence – Flaherty, Mayers, Gant, Gilmartin, Gonzales and Zeid.

Update: Per the Post-Dispatch, it is a recurrence of lower back stiffness, a problem that put Weaver on the DL for four weeks - from April 7 until May 2.

 

What’s next

Memphis will finish the series with Colorado Springs Friday. Then they will travel to Round Rock (TEX) for a four-game set from June 17-20. The Redbirds will finish the road trip with four games at Omaha (KC) June 22-25.

 

Follow Jon Morgan Bell on Twitter @NotTheLawyer.

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