The Memphis Redbirds Report – Week 19

This week's Triple-A Memphis Redbirds report from our on-site beat reporter, Brent Diederich. Second baseman Jarrett Hoffpauir has a .425 average over his last ten games.



It's August and the Redbirds have taken on another foe; the heat.  With temperatures blazing triple digits on most thermometers, the team has tried to keep up and get hot, but unfortunately it hasn't quite panned out.  It was an interesting week as Jarret Hoffpauir had a ten game hit streak end on Monday and Blake Hawksworth once again was robbed of a win in Memphis, a place where he has not gotten a win yet this year.  The Redbirds only managed to go 2-4 for the week, although they did get a big win on Elvis Night on Saturday.


Where Do They Stand?


Memphis now sits at 49-74, 24.5 games behind division leading Nashville, who is 73-49.  The Iowa Cubs are 69-54 and the Omaha Royals are 62-61.


Injury Update


Two infielders, Edgar Gonzalez and Travis Hanson, have been activated from the disabled list this week.  Gonzalez's shoulder is still sore so he has been the designated hitter while Hanson has looked 100 percent since coming back.


Player Movement


OF Rick Ankiel has been promoted to St. Louis, and if you didn't know that already…well you've been in a cave.  INF Brendan Ryan has also been recalled and contributed nicely.


Who's Hot


INF Jarrett Hoffpauir has a bright future and his star is beginning to shine in Memphis.  The new number three hitter in the order is batting a robust .331 on the season and has a .425 average over his last ten games.  Hoffpauir has struck out only twice in his last 40 at bats while collecting 17 hits, a home run and seven RBI.  Hoffpauir has also become a mainstay at second base with his quick feet and ability to turn the double play


OF Skip Schumaker's numbers lately have been pedestrian but he's certainly come big in clutch spots this week.  Over his last ten games in Memphis, Schumaker eight RBI, none of which was bigger than the three he got on Saturday night.  On Elvis Night Saturday, Schumaker capped a four run rally in the seventh inning with a two-out, three run double.  Skip's big hit stirred the crowd of over 15,000 into a frenzy and gave the Redbirds their only win of the homestand.


RHP Mike Smith has again been on a roll, going at least seven innings in each of his last four starts.  All four of those starts have been quality starts as he has not allowed more than three earned runs in any outing.  Smith has not received the necessary run support though and is 2-2 to show for his efforts.


Who's Not


LHP Troy Cate has not had a good August.  In his six appearances out of the bullpen, he allowed runs four times.  In his toughest outing on Wednesday, he yielded six earned runs in an inning.  Cate has also not struck out a batter in his last four starts.


INF Mike Ferris has had some trouble adjusting to Triple-A pitching so far.  Ferris has not been a dangerous hitter at any level yet this year but he has particularly struggled here.  Ferris only has five hits in his last 25 at bats and has only accumulated two RBI.


What We Know


Injuries and call-ups have ravaged this team of prospects and their better players.  The younger guys from Springfield have stepped in and done an admirable job.  Jarrett Hoffpauir has shown what kind of hitter he is and can become and Manager Chris Maloney has rewarded him with the number three spot in the order.  Hoffpauir and OF Joe Mather are the new top prospects on the team.  Hoffpauir has shown he's a solid hitter while also being slick in the field.  Mather has had his ups and downs but has a great speed-power combo.  He's struggled in the field and with his eye at the plate but both look to be future MLB contributors.


It's amazing how Blake Hawksworth has been unable to win a single game at home this year.  Hawksworth has not been particularly effective for most of this season but nevertheless going an entire season without a home win is unheard of.  Hawksworth has not missed his starts and has had some terrific performances but just can't seem to get a break.  The situation may remind some Cardinal fans of what Anthony Reyes went through early this year when he couldn't get a win either.  The effect on a young pitcher's psyche can be devastating.  Hawksworth is an intelligent player and has good composure but it has to be wearing on him.



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