Memphis Redbirds Notebook: 2010 Week 5

Brian Walton's weekly report on the St. Louis Cardinals Triple-A Pacific Coast League affiliate. Memphis went 4-3 on the week, reclaiming second place in the PCL American North. P.J. Walters is our Player of the Week. Mark Hamilton led the offense.

Recap

 

This report covers the seven-day period from Thursday, May 6 through Wednesday, May 12.

 

Manager Chris Maloney's defending Pacific Coast League club is back to .500 at 16-16 overall after a 4-3 week.

 

The Redbirds were defeated in the final game of the Albuquerque (Dodgers) home series after having won the first three last week. They lost the two middle games of the four-game set at Round Rock (Houston) before returning home to win the first two of the Portland (San Diego) series Tuesday and Wednesday nights.

 

In the American North Division, they are in second place, four games behind Nashville. The Redbirds picked up one place in the standings this week despite the size of Nashville's lead remaining the same.

 

Day by Day

 

Thursday, 5/6: Albuquerque avoided a series sweep with a come-from-behind 3-2 win in 10 innings over Memphis. The Redbirds held a 2-1 lead into the eighth inning until a Ruben Gotay error cost a run. Bryan Anderson had a two-run home run and two hits. Rich Rundles took the loss, giving up one run on two hits in the 10th. P.J. Walters fanned nine and allowed one run on two hits over six innings in his 2010 debut.

 

Friday, 5/7: The Redbirds won 6-1 on the road over Round Rock. Lance Lynn pitched seven scoreless innings, allowing only six hits and striking out eight.

 

Saturday, 5/8: Despite 11 hits on the evening, the Redbirds dropped the game by a 5-4 score at Round Rock. Adam Ottavino took a no-decision as he pitched 5 2/3 innings giving up three runs on seven hits. Memphis scored three in the top of the eighth to take its first lead of the game 4-3, but in the bottom half of the inning, Josh Kinney allowed two hits as two runs scored.  Kinney took the loss and his third blown save of the season. Mark Hamilton was 2-for-4 with a double and two RBI.  

 

Sunday, 5/9: Memphis dropped their second straight game to Round Rock with the Express scoring a 6-3 victory. In his Triple-A debut, Jim Rapoport drove in a run on a groundout and Ruben Gotay's drove in two. Starter Brandon Dickson took the loss allowing four runs on five hits with five strikeouts in six innings of work.

 

Monday, 5/10: Memphis cruised to a 12-4 win at Round Rock.  Daniel Descalso led the way offensively, as he went 3-for-5 at the plate with a double and four RBI. Ruben Gotay was 2-for-4 including a double, two RBIs and scored three times. Evan MacLane got the win as he threw six innings, allowing four runs (three earned) on eight hits.

 

Tuesday, 5/11: The Redbirds collected their first shutout of the season and their second straight in a 9-0 home defeat of Portland. P.J. Walters earned the win with 5 2/3 scoreless innings.  Mark Shorey led the way offensively as he was 2-for-4 at the plate with a three-run home run, a double and 4 RBI. Memphis' four, five and six hitters (Mark Hamilton, Bryan Anderson and Shorey) were a combined 6-for-11 with three doubles and seven RBIs.

 

Wednesday, 5/12: The Redbirds won their third straight by a 7-1 score over Portland, holding the Beavers without a hit over the final six innings. Lance Lynn allowed just one earned run over six innings of work. Bryan Anderson, Amaury Cazana and Daniel Descalso all drove in two runs with Mark Hamilton collecting three hits.

 

Who's Hot

 

On Tuesday, P.J. Walters earned his first win in his second start of the season. In two outings, he has allowed just one run in 11 2/3 innings. The right-hander has 15 strikeouts and just two walks.  

 

Reliever Oneli Perez (2.95 ERA) has not allowed a run in his last six outings back to April 24. He has a 19:4 strikeout to walk ratio in 21 1/3 innings this season.

 

After a rough start this year, Lance Lynn has allowed just six runs in his last 30 innings for a 1.80 ERA. He is at 3.26 on the season.

 

First baseman Mark Hamilton is 13-for-24 (.542) and has a seven-game hitting streak. His .364 average is tops among active Redbirds.

 

Outfielder Mark Shorey is 6-for-16 (.375) with three doubles, a home run and four RBI over his last four games.

 

Infielder Ruben Gotay has a nine-game hitting streak, during which he is 15-for-35 (.429).

 

Who's Not

 

Outfielder Allen Craig has hit safely in seven of his ten games since being optioned by St. Louis but is batting .257 and has just two extra base hits, doubles, and two walks for an OPS of .630. He has no home runs and two RBI in his first 35 Memphis at-bats.

 

Outfielder Tyler Henley is lost, having started just one game since May 4 and is batting .038 (1-for-26) in his last ten games.  

 

Infielder Donovan Solano is 3-for-20 (.150) over his last four games and .155 on the season. He still has just one extra-base hit in 97 at-bats in 2010.

 

Outfielder Amaury Cazana is just 3-for-22 (.136) in his last seven games, but has four RBI in the last three.

 

After 32 games, no pitcher still has no more than two wins on the season with six different hurlers leading the team with two victories apiece.

 

On the Move

 

Outfielder Jim Rapoport was promoted from Double-A Springfield on Sunday. For the Double-A Cardinals, the former Stanford product was hitting .321, third-highest in the Texas League, with two home runs and 12 RBI in 25 games. He is 5-for-18 (.278) in his first four Triple-A games.

 

On the Mend

 

On Sunday, right-handed hitting outfielder Shane Robinson was placed on Memphis' seven-day disabled list due to a shoulder injury. The 25-year-old, on the Cardinals 40-man roster, had been one of the Redbirds' hottest hitters with five hits and two RBI in his last three games before landing on the DL.

 

Left-handed pitcher Tyler Norrick remains on the disabled list.

 

Pacific Coast League leaders

 

Daniel Descalso has 29 RBI on the season, tied for second-best in the circuit, just one off the lead.

 

Ruben Gotay is third in walks (22).

 

Despite having been in St. Louis for almost two weeks, Jon Jay's seven stolen bases are still good for a tie for sixth in the PCL.

 

Reliever Matt Scherer is tied for fourth in the league in appearances with 14.

 

Lance Lynn is tied for fifth in walks issued at 21.

 

Team stats and rankings

 

This week, the offense improved in average from .251 to .261 and from 12th to 9th in the league. They also moved up from 11th to eighth in runs scored with 150. Their OPS has improved from .671 to .693 but still ranks 15th in the 16-team league. 60 doubles put Memphis in a tie for seventh in that category and their 18 home runs is only one out of a tie for the fewest in the PCL.

 

On pitching side, the Redbirds' team ERA of 4.16 has shown great improvement for the second time in two weeks (down from 4.97 to 4.58 to 4.16). They improved to 10th from 14th in the PCL two weeks ago. They are seventh in strikeouts with 229, up from ninth and have issued the tenth-most free passes with 106.

 

Up Next

 

After completing the final two games of the home series against Portland (San Diego) Thursday and Friday, Tacoma (Seattle) comes to AutoZone Park for four.  The Redbirds are off next Wednesday as they travel to Sacramento (Oakland), their PCL championship round opponent last September.

 

 

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

Follow Brian on Twitter.

 

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