Memphis Redbirds Report – Week Nine - FREE!

A free peek into this week's Triple-A Memphis Redbirds report from our on-site beat reporter, Brent Diederich. Hugo Castellanos has been an unheralded contributor in an important relief role and John Rodriguez' bat heats up big time.




This week saw Memphis get some key players back in their lineup while simultaneously losing a couple key cogs to the parent club.  John Rodriguez had a monster week, hitting four home runs over a three game span while utility man Mike McCoy found a home and caught fire.  Blake Hawksworth's string of impressive starts ended and Troy Cate left for St. Louis only to return.  All in all, it was a tough week for the Redbirds as they played a couple of quality teams and went 2-5. 


Where Do They Stand?


The Redbirds are still in the basement, now with a record of 27-32.  They are 7.5 games back from PCL North leading Iowa, who is 33-23.  Nashville is 32-26 and Omaha is 30-27.


Injury Update


3B Travis Hanson suffered back spasms after stepping awkwardly on first base trying to leg out a ground ball and has been sent to the Disabled List.  In his place OF John Rodriguez was activated.


Player Movement


SS Brendan Ryan was called up to the big league squad for the first time and LHP Troy Cate was sent down after performing well in his brief stint.  It's been said here before that Ryan is a capable defender with good range and a solid glove and high baseball IQ.  He's also a hustler who takes extra bases when given the chance but has also been known to get himself in trouble by being too aggressive. 


Who's Hot


For some, the weekend is time to relax, but not for John Rodriguez.  He homered in Friday and Saturday nights' ballgames and then twice on Sunday afternoon.  At one point he had hit a home run in three consecutive at bats, going deep on his last at bat Saturday night and then in his first two Sunday.  Prior to Monday's game he had five hits in 11 at bats, including four home runs and six runs scored to accompany his six RBI.  JRod has said he's hungry and is ready to be up in St.Louis and he's certainly making a case for himself right now.


With the call-up of Brendan Ryan, someone has to man the hole between second and third and that man has been Mike McCoy.  Since joining the team from Springfield, McCoy has played more of a utility role for the Redbirds, appearing in the outfield as well as around the infield.  Since Ryan's departure, McCoy has been rock solid at shortstop, playing every game and hitting .500.  In his last 18 at bats, he has nine hits, scored six runs and he hit a big three run home run on Sunday to give Memphis a lead for good. He then added another home run on Monday night as well as a two run double.  It is obvious McCoy will not stay at this pace, but for the time being he seems to be a scrappy, solid number two hitter.


With 14 hits in his last 37 at bats, OF Nick Stavinoha has quietly put together a good ten game stretch.  In that span, Stavinoha has a home run with six RBI while splitting outfield time with Skip Schumaker, Rodriguez and Rick Ankiel.  Speaking of Ankiel, he has also put together a solid week with three home runs in 36 at bats, as well as seven RBI and five runs including a walk off home run Friday night.


The midseason addition of RHP Hugo Castellanos has proved to be extremely valuable for the Memphis bullpen.  Castellanos has gone five innings over a span of his last two games, earning a win and not allowing a run while striking out two and giving up only two hits.  Castellanos now sports a 2.45 ERA over 18 and a third innings, in which he has struck out 13 while walking only four.


Who's Not


C Ryan Christianson has only one hit in his last 12 at bats and his average now sits at .224.  Christianson has been splitting time with C Matt Pagnozzi as of late.  Also struggling is 1B Tagg Bozied since being activated from the DL.  Bozied is only four of his last 24, with no home runs and two RBI.  Bozied is still at .277 on the season with seven homers and 32 RBI.


A couple of key hitters in the Memphis lineup have struggled as of late.  OF Skip Schumaker is hitting only .194 over his last ten games although he does have two home runs and five RBI.  2B Edgar Gonzalez has been the most consistent Redbird all season but he has hit a bit of a slump.  In his last 37 at bats, Gonzalez has only six hits, but has managed four RBI.  Gonzalez did have a big two run single in Sunday's win, it came in the six-hit, six-run seventh inning, the highest output in an inning for Memphis this season.


Randy Keisler entered Monday's start having given up nine runs and 19 hits in his last 13 and a third innings.  It didn't get any better for Keisler against the Las Vegas 51s on Monday as he went only four innings, giving up seven runs on nine hits including two home runs.


What We Know


The Memphis starting pitching has again hit a rocky spot in their up-and-down season.  Randy Keisler and Mike Smith have struggled to keep up with youngster Hawksworth while Mike Parisi has been solid if unspectacular after hitting his own rough patch.  New addition and former Cardinal Anthony Reyes had a terrific first start in Memphis, going seven innings, allowing only three hits and an earned run.  Unfortunately for Reyes, he took the loss as he got no offensive support.  It's not known whether Reyes used the off-season to break mirrors and walk under ladders but for some reason he has not been able to get a whole lot of run support wherever he has pitched.


Rick Ankiel showed off his spectacular arm this week in a couple of games.  First, earlier in the week he ran down a ball in left center, planted his foot and turned around without taking a step and hurled a ball to first base, throwing behind a runner who barely beat the throw.  Ankiel's throw drew oohs and ahhs from the crowd at the accuracy and strength he showed.  Then on Monday, he tried to run down a line drive down the right field line but it ricocheted off the wall and shot behind him and it looked as if the speedy Matt Kemp would score easily from first.  Instead Ankiel picked the ball on the warning track and hurled a frozen rope to the plate where Kemp just slid under the tag of Pagnozzi.  Ankiel's raw gifts are coming out the more he plays and as soon as they are harnessed, he will become a very solid player. 




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