The Memphis Redbirds Report – Week 20

This week's Triple-A Memphis Redbirds report from our on-site beat reporter, Brent Diederich. Right-handed starter Blake Hawksworth fanned 15 in ten innings pitched.



A tough season continues for the Memphis Redbirds as they once again suffered a losing week.  Memphis managed to go only 2-5 in the midst of their longest road trip of the year.  The Redbirds are over halfway through a 13-game road trip before they head home for the final homestand of the year. 


With the season winding down, many players are positioning themselves for promotions or just auditioning for another chance next year.  This week's games featured three that were determined in the final two innings and a terrific start by RHP Mike Parisi.


Where Do They Stand?


Memphis now sits at 51-79, 28.5 games behind division leading Nashville, who is 79-50.  The Iowa Cubs are 72-58 and the Omaha Royals are 65-64.


Injury Update


RHP Chris Lambert has been activated from the disabled list.  C Brian Esposito was placed on the DL with an arm injury.


Player Movement


RHP Matt Ginter has been released while the Redbirds claimed INF Brian Barden off waivers from the Arizona Diamondbacks.  The Cardinals also signed LHP Mike Venafro to a minor league contract and he was placed in Memphis. INF Miguel Cairo was signed after being released by the New York Yankees and is expected to arrive Wednesday.


Who's Hot


RHP Mike Parisi opened up the road trip with one of his best performances of the year.  He went seven innings, allowed six hits and struck out four batters to earn his seventh win of the year.  Possibly the most impressive stat was that Parisi did not walk a batter in the game. 


Parisi's rotation mate Blake Hawksworth has also had a strong week.  In Hawksworth's two starts, he went five innings each, but combined for 15 strikeouts, with seven and eight, respectively.  He also allowed only three earned runs as well as walking just three.  Hawksworth has not proven to be much of a power pitcher who puts up strikeout numbers but it's nice to see the youngster put together back to back starts in which he's fanned a high number of batters.


Dating back to the 24th of July, RHP Mark Worrell has allowed only one earned run.  This span of ten games and 15.2 innings has seen Worrell earn a save and win as well as only walking four batters while striking out 18.  Worrell has been the type of guy that can come in during a crucial situation or eat up two innings at a time when needed.  The lone All-Star on the team, Worrell has quietly done his job and done it well all season long, and his ERA of 2.40 shows it.


Who's Not


OF Nick Stavinoha had a strong start to the season but the second half has been nothing but disappointment for him.  Stavinoha is only batting .183 over his last ten games while managing only three extra base hits and striking out 10 times in 43 at bats.  Stavinoha's once promising power has slipped significantly since early in the season and he has tried several different stances to try and regain his stroke but to no avail as of yet.


C Brian Esposito's meager .183 batting average has been an eyesore all year.  But before being placed on the DL, Esposito had only managed three hits in his last 29 at bats while not driving in a run or scoring one.  The catching position has been a black hole offensively for the Redbirds all season long and it doesn't appear Esposito or any other catcher will turn it around any time soon.


What We Know


The Redbird pitching staff has been up and down all year but the bullpen in particular has become a strong point.  With the season winding down, the performances of Worrell (2.40 ERA), Hugo Castellanos (2.78) and Andy Cavazos (3.32) have been huge.  Those three along with closer turned setup man Brian Falkenborg and young fireballing closer Chris Perez gives the Memphis bullpen literal relief. 


Worrell and Cavazos have been the go-to guys for manager Chris Maloney in crucial situations and more often than not those two have come through.  Castellanos has filled several different roles, as has Falkenborg, and they continue to get hitters out and position themselves for key roles.  Perez is a work in progress but has a lot of talent and you can bet Cardinal management has a close eye on this area of the Memphis club.


Recent pick-up Brian Barden is a PCL veteran who doesn't have a ton of upside but plays his position well.  Barden has been placed in the lineup almost every day since he's been acquired and will look to give the offense a boost.  The real story here though is the fact that the Cardinal organization may be giving up on INF Travis Hanson. 


Barden plays third base, as does Hanson, and may be an option should the team part with Hanson in the off-season.  Hanson was once a highly thought of prospect in the organization but his play the past couple years in Memphis have been underwhelming.  His glove is above average but his bat has shown to be extremely poor and not showing too many signs of progress.



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