The Memphis Redbirds Report – Week 18

This week's Triple-A Memphis Redbirds report from our on-site beat reporter, Brent Diederich. First baseman Tagg Bozied has a .439 average and 14 RBI in his last ten games.



2,000 miles and a couple of time zones away, the Memphis Redbirds played baseball on the West Coast.  Unfortunately the results were not unlike they have been for most of the year as the Redbirds went 1-6 this week.  Memphis didn't have it easy though, facing a talented Tacoma squad that featured top prospects Jeremy Reed, Jeff Clement and Ryan Feierabend as well as a Portland team that featured former major leaguers Shea Hillenbrand and Terrmel Sledge. 


Where Do They Stand?


Memphis now sits at 47-70, 22.5 games behind division leading Nashville, who is 69-46.  The Iowa Cubs are 64-53 and the Omaha Royals are 58-59.


Injury Update


LHP Chris Narveson was once again placed on the Disabled List with a knee injury as was RHP Chris Lambert.  The Redbirds suffered another big loss when they placed INF Edgar Gonzalez on the DL with a shoulder injury.


Player Movement


RHP Brian Falkenborg has found his way back to Memphis yet again after a short stint with St. Louis.  OF Skip Schumaker is another familiar face that will be a welcome addition once again to the Memphis squad.  The Redbirds have also added highly regarded prospect RHP Chris Perez to close out games.


Who's Hot


INF Tagg Bozied is on fire, plain and simple.  Over his last 10 games, Tagg has six homers and 14 RBI to accompany his .439 average.  Bozied came up big in Memphis' only win this week as he homered twice and drove in a career high eight runs.  He had a two run shot as well as a grand slam in the 16-13 victory.  He now has 21 home runs and 64 RBI on the season.


At one time, OF Joe Mather saw his average slipping under .200 but he has since regained form and has it up to .255.  Mather is batting .378 over his last ten games and scored seven runs while collecting a pair of RBI as well as a pair of stolen bases.  Mather also has a home run in the ten-game span to display his versatility. 


Young fireballer RHP Chris Perez has not seen a lot of action, pitching only two games and two total innings, but he did earn his first save in Triple-A this week.  Perez has struck out three batters in those two innings and will become the full time closer as he is groomed for St. Louis. 


Who's Not


RHP Blake Hawksworth has had a season to forget between a 3-11 record, a 5.42 ERA and the fact that he hasn't won a home game this year - and it got worse this week.  Hawksworth was pulled after only an inning and a third on Wednesday after he gave up eight runs on seven hits.  On Monday, Hawksworth allowed four first inning runs en route to another loss.


RHP Andy Cavazos has had a tough week.  Despite being solid all season, Cavazos took a loss twice this week, on Friday night and Sunday, while trying to earn a hold.  Cavazos was hurt by the long ball, much like earlier this season.  Although he has only given up five homers this year, he only allowed three all of last year.


What We Know


The team has once again failed to put together a good batting and pitching performance in one game.  The efforts of Bozied, Rick Ankiel and others have gone to waste while Randy Keisler and Mike Smith have also had good performances wasted.  It's been a struggle all year long for Memphis and Manager Chris Maloney and company will continue to search for the right formula. 


While we know that Ankiel is a future big leaguer and players like Mather and Jarrett Hoffpauir have possible futures in the bigs, I'd like to take a moment to talk about Tagg Bozied.  Bozied was a guy that was signed as a six year free agent and was once highly thought of as a prospect.  That ended in 2004 when he was injured in a bizarre home plate celebration.  Bozied apparently ruptured his patella tendon while celebrating after a game winning home run.  He has fully recovered and is hitting well with the Redbirds and putting up some numbers that could get him noticed as a future big league bench player.   Bozied has obvious power and a good eye as well as a knack for getting big hits.  He is solid in the field with very few lapses although he won't be described as "well above average".  He's also a professional person, a good teammate and a candid locker room guy who is well liked around the organization.  He's struggled some this season but has always worked very hard and has certainly become the type of player everyone wants to root for.



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