Memphis Redbirds Notebook: 2010 Week 6

Brian Walton's weekly report on the St. Louis Cardinals Triple-A Pacific Coast League affiliate. Memphis went 4-2 on the week, holding onto second place in the PCL American North. Closer Fernando Salas is our Player of the Week. Newcomer Jim Rapoport sparked the offense.



This report covers the seven-day period from Thursday, May 13 through Wednesday, May 19.


Manager Chris Maloney's defending Pacific Coast League club is back above .500 at 20-18 overall after a 4-2 week.


The Redbirds were defeated in the final two games of the Portland (San Diego) series after having taken the first two last week. They then swept Tacoma (Seattle) out of town by taking four straight victories.


In the American North Division, they are tied for second place, three games behind Nashville. The Redbirds picked up one game in the standings this week.


Day by Day


Thursday, 5/13: Portland came back on a three-run home run in the sixth to top Memphis 5-3 at AutoZone Park. Mark Hamilton's two-run shot tied the game in the fifth and Jim Rapoport's RBI single put the Redbirds on top briefly. Adam Ottavino took the loss, giving up four runs on six hits with seven strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings of work.


Friday, 5/14: Portland took a road series split in a 7-1 win over the Redbirds. After a nearly two-hour rain delay, the Beavers scored three runs in the first inning. Starter Brandon Dickson was pegged with the loss allowing four runs on seven hits, including three home runs in his five innings of work.  Mark Shorey blasted his second home run of the year into the right field seats in the fifth inning for Memphis' lone tally.


Saturday, 5/15: Memphis topped Tacoma 3-1. Evan MacLane was sharp in his third win of the year and second in a row, pitching into the ninth before departing. The lefty allowed only run on five hits with no walks and five strikeouts over 8 1/3 innings. Fernando Salas recorded the final two outs to notch his fourth save of the season. Jim Rapoport and Amaury Cazana each had two hits to lead the Redbirds.   


Sunday, 5/16: Memphis blanked Tacoma, 1-0. Cazana was the hero with his eighth-inning home run.  Salas made it stand up, pitching around a ninth-inning single for his fifth save of the year. Starter P.J. Walters tossed seven scoreless innings with eight strikeouts before departing. Rich Hill earned the win in relief, working a 1-2-3 eighth inning for his second victory of the season.


Monday, 5/17: Memphis rallied for a franchise-record 10 runs in the bottom of the eighth inning to beat Tacoma 13-9.  Allen Craig led off the inning with his first home run of the year and two batters later Bryan Anderson's two-run shot gave Memphis the lead. Tyler Greene added a two-run single and Craig drove in two more runs with a single. Mark Hamilton's three-run blast capped the historic rally. Craig finished the night with five RBI and three hits to lead Memphis. Josh Kinney earned the win with a scoreless inning of relief. Starter Lance Lynn gave up five runs on eight hits in his five innings of work.


Tuesday, 5/18: Memphis finished off a four-game home sweep of Tacoma with a 5-1 win. Adam Ottavino dominated through the first six innings allowing no hits and only one base runner on an error. However, the shutout bid ended in the seventh with two outs on a Tacoma home run. Memphis rallied for two runs in the bottom of the seventh to reclaim the lead on Bryan Anderson's two-run blast, his second long ball in two days, and added to the lead in the eighth thanks to a pair of Tacoma errors and three hits.


Wednesday, 5/19: The Redbirds enjoyed an off day.


Who's Hot


On Monday, right-hander P.J. Walters was named the Pacific Coast League Pitcher of the Week for the period of May 10-16. During that time, the 25-year-old went 1-0 in two starts covering 12 2/3 innings. He allowed just seven hits, and one walk, no runs and fanned 14 opposing hitters.


In his first ten Triple-A games since his promotion from Springfield, outfielder Jim Rapoport is batting .333 with a .409 on-base percentage.


Outfielder Allen Craig went 6-for-20 (.300) for the week with a home run and six RBI.


Closer Fernando Salas had four scoreless outings, collecting three saves this past week. In 3 1/3 innings, he fanned four and allowed just two baserunners.


Who's Not


Second baseman Daniel Descalso went 3-for-18 (.167) on the week with no runs batted in after coming into the period as the PCL leader with 29 RBI.


Infielder Ruben Gotay went 2-for-16 (.125) on the week with no RBI.


Infielder Kevin Howard is in the midst of a 1-for-11 (.091) slump.


Trey Hearne allowed two runs in just 1/3 inning on Monday. This season, runs have been scored against him in five of seven appearances. His ERA is 13.03.


After 38 games, no pitcher has no more than three wins on the season with Adam Ottavino and Evan MacLane leading the team with a trio of victories apiece. The two also lead the team in losses with three each, joined by Brandon Dickson.


On the Move


Shortstop Tyler Greene was optioned to Memphis from St. Louis on Monday due to the Cardinals' activation of infielder Felipe Lopez. Donovan Solano may move to the bench.


On the Mend


The Cardinals announced Wednesday that outfielder Shane Robinson will undergo season-ending shoulder surgery on Thursday, May 20 after suffering a dislocated left shoulder while sliding into second base in the Redbirds' May 8 game at Round Rock. 


On Monday, slumping outfielder Tyler Henley was placed on the seven-day disabled list retroactive to May 15 with an elbow injury. That opens up additional time for Amaury Cazana and Mark Shorey alongside regular starters Jim Rapoport and Allen Craig.


Left-handed pitcher Tyler Norrick and righty Pete Parise remain on the DL.


Pacific Coast League leaders


Daniel Descalso's 29 RBI on the season is tied for fourth-best in the circuit. He has played in every one of Memphis' 38 games this season, tied for sixth in that category in the PCL.


Ruben Gotay is second in the league in walks (25).


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


Fernando Sales is tied for seventh in the league in appearances with 16. He is tied for third with six saves.


Evan MacLane's 54 innings pitched are second, just one inning off the PCL lead.


Lance Lynn is sixth in walks issued at 22.


Team stats and rankings


This week, the offense dropped in average from .261 to .256 and from 9th to 13th in the league. They also fell from 11th to 12th in runs scored with 176. Their OPS has slid from .693 to .687 but moved up one rank to 14th in the 16-team league. 62 doubles put Memphis in 13th in that category and their 25 home runs is one place out of last in the PCL.


On pitching side, the Redbirds' team ERA of 4.11 hung close to last week's 4.16. They improved to 9th in the PCL from 10th last time. They are tied for sixth in strikeouts with 277, up slightly from seventh and have issued the fifth-fewest free passes with 114.


Up Next


After Wednesday's day off, the Redbirds make a California swing with four in Sacramento (Oakland) followed by four more in Fresno (San Francisco). Memphis returns home on Friday the 28th against Albuquerque.



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

Follow Brian on Twitter.


© 2010 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

The Cardinal Nation Top Stories