Memphis Redbirds Notebook: 2010 Week 4

Brian Walton's weekly report on the St. Louis Cardinals Triple-A Pacific Coast League affiliate. Memphis went 2-3 on the week, remaining third place in the PCL American North. Daniel Descalso leads the offense.



This report covers the seven-day period from Thursday, April 29 through Wednesday, May 5.


Manager Chris Maloney's defending Pacific Coast League champions had a week of three distinct periods. Memphis, 12-13 overall, went 2-3 on the week.


The Redbirds were defeated in the first two games of the week by Nashville (Brewers), lost the next two to postponements because of the flooding in Nashville, only to return home to win three straight over Albuquerque (Dodgers). The Redbirds' Saturday and Sunday games were postponed until mid-June.


In the American North Division, they remain in third place, four games behind Nashville, having picked up one game in the standings this week.


Day by Day


Thursday, 4/29: Memphis dropped into last place with a 4-2 defeat at the hands of Nashville. Evan MacLane went seven innings allowing four runs on six hits with five strikeouts and took the loss. Josh Kinney struck out one in a scoreless inning of relief. Shane Robinson went 2-for-3 with a double and an RBI. Mark Hamilton was 1-for-4 in his first game of the season.


Friday, 4/30: Memphis lost its second game in as many days in Nashville, 7-4. Lance Lynn took with the loss after allowing four runs (one earned) on six hits in five innings. Shane Robinson led the Redbirds offense, going 2-for-3 with his first home run of the season and two RBI.


Saturday, 5/1: The first of two postponed games was rescheduled for Tuesday, June 15 in Nashville as part of a doubleheader.


Sunday, 5/2: This postponed game will be played as part of a Thursday, June 17 doubleheader, also in Nashville.


Monday, 5/3: Finally able to take the field again, the Redbirds defeated Albuquerque 3-1 at AutoZone Park. Adam Ottavino pitched six innings, giving up only one run on two hits while earning the win. Oneli Perez tossed two innings of scoreless relief and Fernando Salas earned the save, his second of the season. Shane Robinson hit his second home run of the season, a two-run jack in the third inning to put the Redbirds up 2-1. Kevin Howard was 2-for-2 with a double and a walk.


Tuesday, 5/4: The Redbirds won their second straight over Albuquerque by a 3-2 score. Brandon Dickson tossed seven innings while giving up two runs on four hits. He also went 2-for-3 at the plate with a double and an RBI. Allen Craig was 2-for-4 with a double and Ruben Gotay went 2-for-3 with a run scored and an RBI. Josh Kinney and Fernando Salas each pitched an inning of scoreless relief, with Salas earning the save.


Wednesday, 5/5: The Redbirds won their third straight over the visiting Isotopes, this one by a 5-4 score. Josh Kinney blew his second save of the season by giving up a run in the eighth, but was awarded the win when Memphis got the run back in the bottom of the inning on a Ruben Gotay RBI single. Oneli Perez collected the save.


Who's Hot


Though since promoted to St. Louis, outfielder Jon Jay was named both the Cardinals organization and The Cardinal Nation Player of the Month award for April. The 25-year-old batted .372 (25-for-68), hit eight doubles, two home runs, drove in 11, went 7-for-7 in stolen bases and ended his 16-game hitting streak in his final game with the club.


It is only three games, but after going the entire first month by allowing three or more runs in every game, Redbirds pitching tightened up against Albuquerque, yielding just three runs in total in Games 1 and 2 and four in Game 3.


Fernando Salas worked scoreless innings on Monday and Tuesday to seal victories. His save total of three leads the club. He has a 10:3 strikeout to walk ratio in 10 1/3 innings, but carries a 6.10 ERA.


Amaury Cazana lives to swing the bat. He finally drew his first two walks of the season on Wednesday and is second among active Redbirds with a .300 average.  


Daniel Descalso has reached base in 21 of his 25 games this year. He is batting .299 on the season with a .366 on-base percentage.


Who's Not


Mark Hamilton has hits in three of his five games since being activated from the disabled list on April 29, but is batting just .158 overall.


Tyler Henley is colder than cold, just 1 for his last 24 (.042).


Donovan Solano is still just batting .145 on the season but had his first extra base hit of 2010 on Tuesday, a two-base hit.


Speaking of that, Matt Pagnozzi is batting only .208, but he also collected his first extra base hit of the season on Wednesday, a double.


The members of the rotation have only six wins on the season among them, same as the relievers. No pitcher has no more than two wins with four different hurlers leading the team with two wins apiece.


On the Move


Right-handed pitcher P.J. Walters was activated from the Memphis' temporary inactive list on Tuesday, where he has spent the last month while working into playing shape at the St. Louis Cardinals facility in Jupiter, Florida. The 25-year-old will start for the Redbirds when they take on Albuquerque at home on Thursday afternoon.


The Redbirds returned catcher Nick Derba to Single-A Palm Beach last Thursday. The 24-year-old appeared in three games in his Triple-A debut, going 0-for-4 in his lone start. Once Jason LaRue was ready to come off the disabled list in St. Louis, that bumped Bryan Anderson back down to Memphis and Derba back to Palm Beach, from where he was promoted on April 14.


With the return of Hamilton, Ruben Gotay has started five of the last six games at third base. Tyler Greene's promotion to St. Louis means Donovan Solano slid over from third to shortstop.


On the Mend


Corresponding to Walters' activation on Tuesday, Tyler Norrick was placed on Memphis' disabled list, retroactive to April 30. The 26-year-old left-hander has not pitched since April 25 at Oklahoma City when he allowed three runs on two hits. Overall, he has yielded ten runs in ten innings for a tidy, but unsightly 9.00 ERA. His strikeout to walk ratio was an equally symmetric 11:11.


The Redbirds activated first baseman Mark Hamilton from the disabled list last Thursday. The left-handed hitter was out with a thumb injury and had not played this year.


Pacific Coast League leaders


Descalso has 22 RBI on the season, tied for fourth-best in the circuit.


Gotay remains tied for third in walks (17).


Jay's seven stolen bases are still good for a tie for fifth in the PCL. His .347 average is seventh.


Reliever Matt Scherer is tied for seventh in the league in appearances with 11.


Rich Hill (16) and Lance Lynn (17) are tied for fifth and third, respectively, in walks issued.


Fernando Salas' three saves ties him for tenth in the PCL.


Team stats and rankings


The offense slid further in most categories during this past week. They did stay 12th in average at .251,  but dropped down to 11th from sixth in runs scored with 107. Their OPS has fallen to .671, 15th in the 16-team league. 45 doubles put Memphis in eighth in that category and their 15 home runs tie them for 14th.


On pitching side, the Redbirds' team ERA of 4.58 is way better than the 4.97 mark at the end of last week. They improved to 11th from 14th in the PCL. They are ninth in strikeouts with 174 and also have issued the ninth-most free passes with 88.


Up Next


After completing Game 4 against Albuquerque Thursday afternoon, the Redbirds head back on the road, invading Round Rock (Astros) for four games starting Friday. They return home on Tuesday for an eight-game homestand with Portland (Red Sox) and Tacoma (Seattle) coming to AutoZone Park.



Brian Walton can be reached via email at Also catch his Cardinals commentary daily at The Cardinal Nation blog.

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