Brian Walton's weekly report on the St. Louis Cardinals franchise in the Triple-A Pacific Coast League. Memphis went 4-3 to start the season, in second place in the PCL East American North race. Outfielder Jon Jay paced the offense in the early going.
This report covers the period from
Thursday, April 8 through Wednesday, April 14.
Manager Chris Maloney's defending Pacific Coast
League champions drew an eight-game, eight-day road trip for their first two
series of the season, beginning with a four-game set in Omaha against the Royals.
After losing the first contest, they took the next three.
Next came four more in Des Moines visiting the
Iowa Cubs starting on Monday. The Redbirds lost two of the first three games.
The final Iowa contest is Thursday afternoon as
for a split behind former I-Cub Rich Hill.
The Redbirds went 4-3 on the week
and for the season to-date. In American North Division, they reside in second
place, two games behind Nashville.
On opening night in Omaha, Tyler Norrick struggled with his
control in relief of Evan MacLane,
losing the lead and the 6-4 game. The
Redbirds offense got out ahead early, relying on the long ball on newcomer Kevin Howard's two-run shot in the
second and Jon Jay's solo blast in
Friday, or technically Saturday
morning, brought Memphis' first victory of the season in an
18-inning marathon. As fate would have it, Norrick was the eighth pitcher used
and tossed three scoreless frames in a 9-6 win over the Royals. In
total, the Memphis bullpen allowed just one run on eight
hits across 14 innings.
104 pitches and walking six over six innings, lefty Hill allowed just one run on three hits and
won his first start.
on the short end of the 6-4 score on Saturday. Jay
paced the offense, going 2-for-5 with a pair of doubles and driving in three
runs. Mark Shorey added three
singles and Amaury Cazana drove in a
run while going 2-for-4.
Sunday brought a matchup between
Adam Ottavino and former Cardinal Brad Thompson. The Redbirds hitters
came out in force, powering the club to an 11-3 win. All
nine Redbirds starters collected at least one hit and six had multiple hits. Daniel Descalso led the offensive
barrage with four hits, Jay scored three runs and Howard drove in three.
Oneli Perez picked up Memphis' first save of the
In the Iowa opener on Monday,
manager Ryne Sandberg's club won
their first game of the season, 6-2. Brandon Dickson allowed just one run in
five innings, but the Cubs got to the Memphis pen as Josh Kinney yielded the go-ahead runs
in the seventh. Tyler Henley
picked up a pair of hits and Howard drove in his seventh run in five games.
The Redbirds took game two of the
series by a 7-6 score Tuesday afternoon. Ruben Gotay led Memphis with three hits,
including a double and home run and three RBI. Cazana also contributed three
hits. Pete Parise made it
interesting, allowing four runs in the ninth before securing the final out.
Starter Evan MacLane yielded just one earned run in seven
had his second consecutive rough outing as the Redbirds lost in Des Moines by a
5-2 score Wednesday night. Tyler Greene
collected the only hit off rehabbing Cubs left-hander
a first inning solo home run. Jay Jackson
took over for the final five innings and was just as stingy, allowing just two
hits and one run, a Jay solo shot.
Redbirds have collected hits in all of their starts so far this year. Bryan Anderson had at least one hit in
all four of his starts before his promotion. Cazana has hits in all three of his
starts, Greene has hits in all five of his starts and Jay has at least one hit
in all seven games this season.
has yet to play a game without at least one error and leads the Pacific Coast
League with 10 errors on the year (tied with Las Vegas). The Redbirds open play Thursday
with a .967 fielding percentage. Much of the concern is with Tyler Greene, who
already has six errors and is coming off an erratic spring. The shortstop has
committed errors in four different games after leading Memphis with 19 errors in
baseman Donovan Solano is off to a
2-for-24 start (.083). Shane Robinson is batting just .167 in the early going. Lynn's eight walks (in 8
2/3 innings) ties him for the most in the PCL.
The Memphis bullpen has been roughed up by the Cubs in the first three games of their series. Redbirds relievers have allowed 10 runs on 14 hits and a 10.80 ERA. Iowa is hitting .368 (14-for-38) against the Memphis pen in the series.
Anderson was promoted to St. Louis on Wednesday when
reserve catcher Jason LaRue was
placed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained hamstring. Catcher Nick Derba was moved all the way up
from Palm Beach
to replace him.
Right-handed starting pitcher P.J. Walters has reported to the
Cardinals pitching rehab facility in Jupiter, Florida. A rough estimate for his return is
the end of April or start of May.
First baseman Mark Hamilton (thumb) and right-handed
starter Trey Hearne (shoulder) began
the season on the disabled list.
Pacific Coast League
It's early, but Jay
is tied for the league lead with 14 base hits on the young season and Henley is tied for third with 12 safeties. Jay's five
doubles leads the PCL, his ten runs scored is tied for #1 and his seven RBI is
tied for fifth. Henley's .414 batting average
Team stats and
The offense is second in the
league with 41 runs scored and fifth in average at .275. Their OPS of .753 is
seventh. 14 doubles put Memphis third in that category and their seven
home runs ties them for sixth.
Memphis' team ERA of 4.04 places them
ninth in the 16-team league. They are fourth in strikeouts with 57 but also tied
for fourth for the most free passes issued with 27.
The final game of the Iowa series is on
Thursday afternoon. The Redbirds then head to Memphis for their home opener on Friday against Oklahoma City, including
another PCL ring ceremony and post-game fireworks. Following that four-game set,
those same Iowa Cubs come to AutoZone Park. Memphis' first scheduled off day is not until
Wednesday the 28th.
Brian Walton can be reached via
email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also catch his Cardinals commentary daily at The Cardinal Nation blog.
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