The Memphis Redbirds Report: 08/05/08

The St. Louis Cardinals Triple-A club is still playing .500 ball since the break, but the offense, including John Jay, David Freese and especially Josh Phelps, is hot.



This report covers the seven-day period from Tuesday, July 29 through Monday, August 4. Memphis continued with their recent pattern, winning three and losing four. The Redbirds had a three-game win streak, but are now on the three-game losing skid. The club has been inconsistent since the All-Star break but has still remained around the ten games over .500 mark.


The week began with the finale of the four-game home series against Tacoma on Tuesday night. The Rainiers scored early and often, taking a 12-3 win and earning a series split. P.J. Walters was charged with seven runs, taking his Triple-A ERA over five. Matt Clement pitched two innings in what would be his final appearance in the organization. Josh Phelps provided all the offense with three solo home runs.


Heading to the West Coast, the Redbirds visited Fresno on Wednesday through Saturday. In game one, rehabbing Brian Barton had three hits and Phelps drove in three as Memphis defeated the Grizzlies, 6-1. Mitchell Boggs went six innings, allowing the one run on three hits. In the ninth after Mark Worrell loaded the bases, Chris Perez came in to fan two consecutive batters for his tenth save.


On Thursday, Jon Jay, batting in the number three spot, was on base four times (two singles and two walks) and scored twice while Barton, Phelps and David Freese all went deep in a 6-4 Memphis victory. Perez picked up a four-out save, again not allowing any baserunners and fanning two.


Friday meant a third straight road win as the Redbirds came back with two in the ninth to top the Grizzlies, 5-4. Jay tripled to drive in the tying run and scored the winner on an error. In the bottom of the ninth, Jason Motte allowed a lead-off walk, but fanned the side for the save, his fourth.


Fresno avoided a sweep by taking game four on Saturday by a 10-9 score. In the process they almost blew an 8-0 lead after two innings, amassed at the expense of Blake Hawksworth, who saw his season ERA grow over 7.50. D'Angelo Jimenez was on base four times with a double, home run and two walks. He drove in three and added a stolen base for good measure.


Next stop was Sacramento, where the Redbirds had their third consecutive one-run game and their second loss, 3-2. Walters was fantastic, allowing just one hit and fanning ten in 7.1 innings on Sunday. Just back from St. Louis, Kelvin Jimenez was as bad as Walters was good, yielding all three runs in the ninth, as the winner scored on a two-out walk-off single. Cody Haerther had three hits, including a double and drove in one.


The week ended much like it began, with an 11-3 loss bookending the 12-3 defeat last Tuesday. The Redbirds and Boggs were on the wrong end of a 3-0 score to the River Cats after Monday night's first inning and down 6-2 after four. Boggs hadn't allowed more than three runs in any of his last seven starts prior to then. Randy Flores was slapped around in 1.1 innings of garbage-time duty, allowing two runs on four hits, including a home run and also issued a walk. Phelps tripled, homered (his 26th), driving in all three Memphis runs.


Who's Hot


Phelps was named the Cardinals Minor League Player of the Month of July by both the Cardinals organization and The Birdhouse.  It was well-deserved as the 30-year-old amassed 14 home runs with 36 RBI. His line was an eye-popping .337/.426/.846 (BA/OBP/SLG). That is Pujols territory, folks! Phelps followed it up with the PCL Player of the Week award for the period ending August 3.


Beginning with the Tacoma series and continuing through Fresno, third baseman David Freese hit in all eight games, going 16-for-35 (.457) with three home runs and ten RBI. His batting average on the season is up to .299.


Jon Jay is hitting .333 since joining Memphis, having four multi-hit games in his first seven in the uniform. He is batting third in the order and playing centerfield, since Colby Rasmus remains on the disabled list.


Motte was both the Cards' Pitcher of the Month and The Birdhouse's Reliever of the Month for July. The 26-year-old pitched in 13 games, where he was 1-0 with an 0.57 ERA. Motte did not allow a run in 12 of his 13 July appearances. The fireballer struck out 27 of the 59 batters he faced, while allowing just eight hits and three walks and held opponents to a .148 average for the month.


In his eight appearances since being returned from St. Louis, Chris Perez posted goose eggs in seven of them. He hasn't allowed a hit his last four times out, three of which were saves. However, he yielded five runs in one inning in the other contest the week before last.


Who's Not


Second baseman Jarrett Hoffpauir's struggles at the plate continue as he went 3-for-24 (.125) on the week. D'Angelo Jimenez sightings seem more frequent these days.


Good news and bad for new lead-off man, shortstop Tyler Greene. While he has hit in six of seven Triple-A games, his batting average is just .226, as he put up a number of "1-for's".


Catcher Bryan Anderson is just 1-for-18 (.056) in his most recent stretch of play. Somebody tell him to relax; the trade deadline just passed!


Who's on the Move


Starter-turned-reliever Matt Clement was released on Sunday.


Righty reliever Kelvin Jimenez was returned to Memphis, while lefty Jaime Garcia was called up to St. Louis last Friday.


Left-handed reliever Randy Flores was optioned to Memphis by the Cardinals last Wednesday as Chris Carpenter was activated in St. Louis.


Outfielder Shane Robinson was placed on the disabled list on Wednesday the 30th, retroactive to the 25th. Along with recent DL arrivals Robinson and Colby Rasmus, pitchers Cliff Politte, Joe Rogers and Mike Sillman are all long-time residents there.


Pacific Coast League


With a record of 63-53, the Redbirds are five games behind the Iowa Cubs for first place in the American Northern Division. Memphis has the fifth-best record in the entire PCL, behind the four division leaders.


Their team batting average of .275 is eighth in the 16-team league. The offense is eighth in home runs and strikeouts and just tenth in runs scored.


The club's success on the season has been powered by a mound staff ranked second in the PCL in ERA at 4.37 and leading the circuit in strikeouts. They are eighth in walks issued.


Individually, Josh Phelps is third in the PCL with 26 home runs, while his 84 RBIs are tied for seventh-most. Though now with St. Louis, Nick Stavinoha's .343 average still ranks fifth.


John Wasdin's 4.04 ERA ranks eighth among league qualifiers. With 96 strikeouts, P.J. Walters just cracked the top ten. The two of them along with Mike Parisi have eight wins each, tied with a group for ninth-most in the PCL. With 11 saves each, Chris Perez and Kelvin Jimenez are among a group tied for seventh place.


Up Next


The Redbirds finish the final two games of the four-game series at Sacramento on Tuesday and Wednesday. After a travel day to return home, Memphis welcomes New Orleans for four over the weekend and into Monday. Next in is Round Rock for four more home games.



Note: Brian Walton pinch-hit here for Bart Pohlman, who is on another assignment this week, but he will return next time.


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