Memphis Redbirds Notebook: 2010 Week 7

Brian Walton's weekly report on the St. Louis Cardinals Triple-A Pacific Coast League affiliate. Memphis went 5-2 on the week, and are one game out of first place in the PCL American North.



This report covers the seven-day period from Thursday, May 20 through Wednesday, May 26.


Manager Chris Maloney's defending Pacific Coast League champion club is playing excellent baseball, now at 25-20 overall after a 5-2 week. The Redbirds are 9-2 over their last 11 games and 16-7 in May.


The Redbirds defeated Sacramento (Oakland) in the third three games of their road series before losing game four. They came right back and took the first two at Fresno (Giants) before losing Wednesday night.


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


Day by Day


Thursday, 5/20: The Redbirds won their fifth in a row, plating 12 in the first four innings and cruising to a 13-0 win to take the series opener at Sacramento. Jim Rapoport led the way by going 4-for-6 with a double. Ruben Gotay was 3-for-5 and Craig was 2-for-5. They combined for four RBI. Mark Shorey was 2-for-5, including a three-run home run. Starter Brandon Dickson gave up two runs and three hits in the first inning and then settled down to allow only two hits in his following 5 2/3 innings.


Friday, 5/21: The Redbirds took a 9-2 win at Sacramento. After going hitless through four, Memphis scored eight times with two out in the fifth.  Ruben Gotay was 2-for-3 with a double and two runs scored. Allen Craig was 1-for-5 with a double and two RBIs and Bryan Anderson was 1-for-5 with two RBI. Starter Evan MacLane was removed in the fourth after getting hit by a line drive in the previous inning. Josh Kinney, Oneli Perez and Fernando Salas combined for four hitless innings of relief.


Saturday, 5/22: Memphis skunked Sacramento, 9-0. Lance Lynn tossed eight scoreless innings, allowing only three hits and struck out nine. Tyler Greene was 4-for-5 with a double and two runs scored. Allen Craig and Bryan Anderson were each 2-for-4 with the latter knocking a solo shot. Ruben Gotay and Kevin Howard each went deep in the ninth as part of a six-run inning.  


Sunday, 5/23: Former Cardinal Clayton Mortensen, sent to Oakland in the Matt Holliday trade, picked up the win over his ex-teammates as Sacramento closed the series with a 14-3 win. Reliever Pete Parise, just off the disabled list, yielded a pinch-hit grand slam in the seventh that finished off the Redbirds. Outfielder Mark Shorey pitched the final inning in the series-ender. Memphis pitchers issued 10 walks and allowed 16 hits.


Monday, 5/24: The Redbirds won 8-1 at Fresno (Giants) as they scored all eight in the first two innings and cruised the rest of the game. Mark Hamilton led the way as he was 3-for-3 with a three-run home run in the second, his fourth of the season. Allen Craig was 2-for-5 with a two-run shot in the first. Ruben Gotay was 2-for-3 and drew three walks. Amaury Cazana was 2-for-5 with two RBI. Adam Ottavino earned the win as he went five innings, giving up one run on three hits.


Tuesday, 5/25: Memphis broke open a 1-1 tie with a three-run seventh at Fresno to win 4-1. Tyler Greene hit a two-run triple and Allen Craig added a sacrifice fly. Greene was 3-for-5 with two RBI and Craig was 1-for-4 with two RBI. Brandon Dickson pitched seven strong innings giving up only one run on five hits, striking out four. Josh Kinney and Fernando Salas combined to throw two scoreless innings of relief.


Wednesday, 5/26: The Grizzlies plated three in the sixth to erase a 3-1 Redbirds lead as Evan MacLane took the loss. Tyler Greene had two hits and Amaury Cazana drove in two as Fresno took the 5-3 victory.


Who's Hot


When the team is playing this well, there are plenty of highlights.


Tyler Greene is batting .375 (15-for-40) in May.


Allen Craig's eight-game hitting streak was snapped on Wednesday. He had at least one RBI in six of eight games during the streak, driving in 16 runs with 15 hits.


Ruben Gotay's hitting streak is now at six games, during which he has ten hits.


Daniel Descalso has scored 11 runs over his last ten games.


Closer Fernando Salas has not allowed a run in his last 10 1/3 innings of work.


Bryan Anderson has thrown out eight out of 18 potential base stealers (44%) this season. His counterpart, Matt Pagnozzi, is 7-for-22 (32%).


The Redbirds tied a team record set in 2006 when they turned five double plays in Wednesday's contest. The final twin killing ended the game.


Who's Not


After starting the year with four stolen bases without getting caught, Tyler Greene has been nabbed three straight times attempting to steal. He was caught stealing just three times all of last season while swiping 31 bases for the Redbirds.


Mark Shorey is batting .212 over his last ten games but has two home runs and four RBI.


On the Move


Right-hander Oneli Perez was pressed into the rotation, taking the spot of P.J. Walters, who was promoted to St. Louis on Saturday to replace injured starter Brad Penny.


The Cardinals acquired right-handed reliever Andrew A. Brown from the Washington Nationals. The 29-year-old made his MLB debut with Cleveland in 2006. The 6-foot-6, 230-pound Brown also appeared in the majors for the Oakland A's in 2007-08.


On the Mend


The Redbirds placed right-hander Trey Hearne on the disabled list on Monday, retroactive to May 20. The nature of the injury was not disclosed.

On Saturday, reliever Pete Parise was activated off the disabled list. Formerly the team's closer, the 25-year-old will slip into a set-up role for closer Fernando Salas. Parise had been placed on the Redbirds' DL on April 26 retroactive to April 22 due to shoulder soreness.


Left-handed pitcher Tyler Norrick, outfielder Tyler Henley and outfielder Shane Robinson (out for the season) remain on the DL.


Pacific Coast League leaders


Daniel Descalso's 33 RBI on the season is tied for sixth-best in the circuit. Before taking Wednesday off, he had played in every one of Memphis' first 44 games this season. He was the last Redbird to have appeared in every game.


Ruben Gotay is fifth in the league in walks (28).


Fernando Salas is tied for fifth in the league in appearances with 16. He is third with seven saves.


Evan MacLane's 63 innings pitched ties him for the PCL lead.


Lance Lynn is tied for ninth in walks issued at 24.


Team stats and rankings


It is clear the offense powered the strong week. In two categories, doubles and runs, the Redbirds have barely escaped the second division of the PCL for the first time in weeks. On pitching side, there was small improvement this period as well.


Offense Last week PCL rank This week PCL rank
YTD # of 16 # of 16
BA 0.256 13th 0.263 11th
Runs 176 12th 225 8th
OPS 0.687 14th 0.711 14th
Doubles 62 13th 78 8th
HR 25 15th 32 T13th


Pitching Last week PCL rank This week PCL rank
YTD # of 16 # of 16
ERA 4.11 9th 4.06 8th
Ks 277 T6th 316 7th
Walks 114 5th fewest 141 T4th fewest


(red/yellow/green denotes week-to-week change)


Up Next


After Thursday's final game of the Fresno series, Memphis returns home on Friday for four against Albuquerque (Dodgers). They then pack their bags again, heading to Oklahoma City (Texas) and Albuquerque for four games each.



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

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