The Memphis Redbirds Report – Week 13

This week's Triple-A Memphis Redbirds report from our on-site beat reporter, Brent Diederich. Reliever Mark Worrell will be the club's only Pacific Coast All-Star Game participant after Rick Ankiel bowed out.



It wasn't a pretty week for Memphis. Their seven-game homestand turned ugly when the Redbirds couldn't catch a break and ended up losing every game.  The Redbirds did manage to get a win on the following road trip as starter Randy Keisler played the role of stopper.  Unfortunately that was the only victory of the week for Memphis as they finished the week at 1-6.  While Keisler has pitched tremendously as of late, Memphis reliever Mark Worrell was the team's lone Pacific Coast League All-Star, though centerfielder Rick Ankiel declined to play in the game after being voted in by the fans. 


Where Do They Stand?


Memphis sits at 35-50, 16 games back of division leading Nashville, the owners of a 50-33 record.  Iowa is 46-37 while Omaha is 40-45.


Injury Update


INF Rico Washington was placed on the disabled list last week and it has become known this week that his knee will need surgery that could cause him to miss the remainder of the season.  UT Jolbert Cabrera has returned from an early season appendectomy and will see significant playing time in Washington's absence.


Player Movement


RHP Andy Cavazos has returned to the team after a short stint with the Cardinals.  Cavazos was a crucial cog in the Redbird bullpen and will return to his role as a setup man.


Who's Hot


Let's start with the All-Star Mark Worrell.  Worrell has delivered a solid season, posting a 3.50 ERA in 28 games.  Those 28 appearances have spanned 36 innings, in which Worrell has compiled 36 strikeouts to only 17 walks.  He's also allowed only 27 hits this year while appearing whenever needed, be it the sixth inning or the eighth. Worrell has been a stalwart for the Memphis pitching staff.


RHP Hugo Castellanos has not allowed an earned run dating back to June 7th.  In the six appearances and 10.1 innings since, he has given up only three hits while striking out seven.  Castellanos, Worrell and the recently returning Cavazos give the Redbirds a strong setup crew for closer Brian Falkenborg.


Since returning from the DL, INF Travis Hanson has found himself and has been hitting very well.  In his last ten games, he has averaged .313 with two home runs and four RBI.  Hanson has been working with hitting coach Rick Eckstein and it looks like he may have turned the corner.


Who's Not


OF Nick Stavinoha has been hitting in the four spot of the lineup as of late but his production has tailed off.  Stavinoha has only two RBI over his last ten games while batting .243.  Stavinoha also has no extra base hits and has not drawn a walk over that same span.


The month of June has not been kind to RHP Chris Lambert.  Lambert compiled an 8.62 ERA for the month giving up 15 earned runs in 15.1 innings.  He's walked six while striking out 13 as well as allowing 23 hits.


Another player who has had trouble since the middle of June is C Ryan Christianson.  Christianson has only five hits in his last 27 at bats although two of those hits were home runs. 


What We Know


The Redbirds have hit another rough patch and this time the problem is a lack of offense.  The team has had consistent power production from Ankiel but the other middle of the order hitters have been anything but consistent.  Stavinoha and Tagg Bozied have struggled to be consistent threats while Joe Mather is still adjusting to Triple-A pitching.  2B Edgar Gonzalez has been clutch at times and has hovered around .300 for most of the season while moving all around the order, but he has not been given a consistent chance to prove he can drive in runs. 


The team's starting pitching has continued their ebb and flow though they have all pitched better as of late.  Randy Keisler has been the most effective recently but Mike Parisi and Mike Smith have also contributed, eating up innings and keeping the team in games.  Blake Hawksworth will again find his groove but the team needs to manufacture some runs to take pressure off the starters.   



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