The Memphis Redbirds Report: 08/19/08

The St. Louis Cardinals' Triple-A club went 5-2 on the week, but still lost two games in the standings to the rival Cubs. Sound familiar?

Recap

 

This report covers the seven-day period from Tuesday, August 12 through Monday, August 18.

 

Memphis continued their solid play, going 5-2 with one rainout to improve to 69-60 on the season. However, they disappointingly lost two games worth of ground in the American North Division last week as first-place Iowa has won seven in a row. The Redbirds are eight games out of first with 14 to go.

 

Round Rock arrived in town on Tuesday and took a loss in game one of the four-game set, 7-4. The Redbirds broke their five-game losing skid in the process. Though Blake Hawksworth allowed ten baserunners in five innings, only two of them scored, giving the struggling starter a much-needed win. Nick Stavinoha and Jarrett Hoffpauir each had three hits. Stavi doubled and homered, driving in three, while the second baseman had a two-base hit and plated two.

 

The Redbirds made it two in a row on Wednesday as Jess Todd picked up his first Triple-A win in a 2-1 pitcher's duel. Todd fanned six Express hitters and yielded a solo home run in 6.2 innings. Jason Motte earned his fifth save. Hoffpauir and Mark Johnson had key back-to-back two-out RBI doubles in the second inning.

 

On Thursday, the Redbirds were shut out by the visiting Express, 3-0. Josh Phelps' pair of doubles were 2/3 of the Memphis hit production as the Redbirds managed just three hits for the second consecutive evening. P.J. Walters fanned nine in six innings, but was charged with all three runs and the loss.

 

Memphis and Round Rock were rained out of the final game of the four-game series Friday night at AutoZone Park. The game will not be made up.

 

Albuquerque was the next destination for the Redbirds. Saturday brought an exciting 8-7 Memphis win in 12 innings. It was more exciting than it needed to be as Kelvin Jimenez and Motte let a four-run lead evaporate in the bottom of the ninth. David Freese plated the winning run on his second double of the game. He also slammed a three-run home run earlier. Mitchell Boggs got a no-decision after yielding three runs over seven innings.

 

Sunday's doubleheader began with the completion of the June 20 suspended game. The Redbirds doubled up the Isotopes, 12-6. John Wasdin went four shutout innings for the win. Four players went deep, including Brendan Ryan, Freese, Josh Phelps and Wasdin.

 

The regularly-scheduled seven-inning game did not go nearly as well. Clayton Mortensen handed over a 2-1 lead to Motte going into the final frame but Motte took his fourth blown save and third loss as Albuquerque stormed back for a 4-2 win. Solo home runs by Ryan and Freese accounted for the Memphis tallies.

 

They lost an early lead and it took ten innings to get it back, but Memphis prevailed over Albuquerque 6-5 on Monday. Freese's 24th home run of the year was the game-winner. Rico Washington celebrated his return after being away from the team for three days with a double and three two-out RBI. Stavinoha also doubled and plated two. Jimenez allowed two baserunners in the bottom of the tenth, but ultimately secured his 12th save of the season.

 

Who's Hot

 

Third baseman David Freese has gone deep four games in a row, though officially one was the resumption of an earlier suspended game. His .305 batting average is second on the club to Stavinoha.

 

Clayton Mortensen has yielded just two runs in his last 9.1 innings on the mound.

 

Reliever Ron Flores has not been scored upon this month, with a current run of eight shutout outings.

 

Who's Not

 

In his last ten games, catcher Bryan Anderson is just 3-for-26 (.115) at the dish and his Memphis average has dipped to .285 as a result.

 

After a modest run, second baseman Jarrett Hoffpauir is seven for his last 30, .233. Bad timing, since Brendan Ryan is taking away at bats.

 

Speaking of, Ryan is hitting no better, 6-for-29 (.207), since being sent down from St. Louis.

 

Jason Motte has been tagged for four runs in his last two outings of 1.2 innings total.

 

Who's on the Move

 

Rico Washington was placed on the Temporarily Inactive List for three days, but returned on Monday.

 

Shane Robinson was activated from the disabled list.

 

Colby Rasmus continues his Florida rehab.

 

John Jay is out of action with a sore shoulder, which took him to St. Louis for examination.

 

PCL

 

Their team batting average of .273 is eighth in the 16-team league. The offense is ninth in home runs and 11th in both strikeouts and runs scored.

 

The mound staff slipped to fourth in the PCL in ERA at 4.39 but still lead the circuit in strikeouts. They are eighth in walks issued.

 

Individually, Josh Phelps is third in the PCL with 29 home runs, while David Freese is tied for ninth with 24. Phelps' 93 RBIs is sixth-most and his .561 SLG mark is tenth. Nick Stavinoha's .336 average ranks fourth.

 

Mitchell Boggs' 3.79 ERA ranks second among league qualifiers. With 110 strikeouts, P.J. Walters is in seventh place. John Wasdin has nine wins, tied with a group for ninth-most in the PCL. With 12 saves, Kelvin Jimenez is in eighth place and though he seems set in St. Louis now, Chris Perez' 11 saves places him among a group in ninth.

 

Up Next

 

No days off the rest of the way. The Redbirds finish the final game of the marathon five-game series at Albuquerque on Tuesday. They make the long trip to Omaha for five more that will carry them through Sunday. The Iowa Cubs then arrive at AutoZone Park for four starting Monday the 25th. The Cardinals hope those games will enable them to reach the top. The regular season then concludes as Oklahoma comes into town for a four-game set.

 

 

Brian Walton can be reached via email at brwalton@earthlink.net.

 

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