The Memphis Redbirds Report – Week 15

This week's Triple-A Memphis Redbirds report from our on-site beat reporter, Brent Diederich. Second baseman Edgar Gonzalez has been a bright spot during an otherwise tough stretch.

Recap

 

Fresh off the All-Star break, the Redbirds opened up in Nashville for a four-game homestand.  The team received some decent pitching and hitting performances but could make the two coincide as they won only one game.  The Redbirds did come back Monday to defeat the Oklahoma Redhawks behind a strong performance by Blake Hawksworth as well as Jarret Hoffpauir.  Memphis is looking to get back on track after coming out of the All-Star break with the second worst record in all of Triple-A baseball.

 

Where Do They Stand?

 

Memphis now sits at 41-55, 17.5 games behind division leading Nashville, who is 58-37.  The Iowa Cubs are 52-43 and the Omaha Royals are 45-51.

 

Injury Update

 

OF John Rodriguez has been relegated to pinch hitting duties as his knee has flared up again, while Ryan Christianson has been placed on the DL.  Travis Hanson's back is acting up on him and was held out of three of the four games in Nashville.  RHP Kelvin Jimenez has been activated from the DL and will return to the Memphis bullpen.

 

Player Movement

 

SS Brendan Ryan had a short stay with the Redbirds only to be returned to the Cardinals on Sunday.

 

Who's Hot

 

IF Edgar Gonzalez has been ripping the cover off the ball with 12 hits in his last 31 at bats.  Gonzalez has only one RBI in that same span but has at times been placed in the leadoff spot with the arrival of Hoffpauir.  Gonzalez has been an on base machine for the Redbirds and scored the go-ahead run on Monday after doubling to help Memphis to a victory.

 

Fellow IF Jarrett Hoffpauir has been dynamite for a stagnant offense since coming up from Double-A Springfield.  Hoffpauir is 13 for his first 32 in Memphis with two home runs and nine RBI.  He has also shown the ability to turn the double play quickly and effectively playing either second base or shortstop.  Hoffpauir also had a big two-run homer to help the ‘Birds to victory Monday.

 

OF Rick Ankiel drove in Gonzalez on a base hit that Memphis would use to win on Monday night.  Ankiel has also kept up his tremendous pace with four of his last 12 hits being home runs.  Over his last ten games, he has 12 hits and 12 RBI as he has also shown increased patience at the plate.

 

RHP Brian Falkenborg has been a reliable closer all year and his numbers lately reflect just that.  Over his last six appearances, Falkenborg has recorded four saves and not allowed an earned run in six innings.  He now has 21 saves on the season and has struck out seven over those six innings.

 

 

Who's Not - First Half Review

 

UT Jolbert Cabrera is valuable because of his versatility in that he can fill it at many key positions, shortstop, second base or third base.  Unfortunately Cabrera is also a light hitter and over his last 20 at bats, he has only three hits.  Cabrera will see his appearances dwindle when Travis Hanson gets healthy again.

 

Memphis' lone All-Star Mark Worrell had a rough outing Sunday in Nashville as he allowed three straight hits in the 10th inning resulting in the game-winning run.  In that appearance, Worrell went an inning and two thirds and gave up five hits.  The bullpen has been steady for Memphis and Worrell has been fantastic, having only this recent slip-up.

 

What We Know

 

Youth was served for Memphis on Monday as Blake Hawksworth had a terrific six-inning start, yielding only a run on a solo homer.  He gave up only two hits although he did walk four and unfortunately did not get the win as reliever Hugo Castellanos came in and gave up a game-tying home run in the seventh.  Powering the offense was Hoffpauir and youngster Joe Mather. Both players had two-run home runs and showed their range in the field tracking down balls that many other players might not get to.  Mather has had trouble with runners in scoring position but has showed power and seems to be coming around on Triple-A pitching.

 

Hawksworth's performance was big for the ‘Birds as they need him to have a good second half.  Mike Parisi has been a workhorse for the rotation and has altered his mechanics to the point where he is producing more strikeouts.  Castellanos has also been good, albeit giving up the home run on Monday.  He has been particularly effective against left-handed hitters with his submarine delivery.  Pitching coach Dyar Miller has made him raise his release point on his curveball and it is adding velocity resulting in more strikeouts for Castellanos.  Miller has proved invaluable to the team with his knowledge and many of the pitchers have made small adjustments at his advice that have paid off big.

 

 

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