Memphis Redbirds (50-55 overall, 2-5 this week)
During the last seven games at home, the Redbirds have struggled to put runs on the board, only scoring ten times. Jamie Romak's home run on Wednesday night marked the first for the Redbirds this week; the six-game stretch without a home run was the longest for the club this season. That stretch included three games (July 21-23) without an extra-base hit. Without run support and a few bad outings by the bullpen, the Redbirds managed only two wins in the home stand.
July 19 vs. Oklahoma City, Loss 1-4 (7 innings)
Thursday night's game was rained out and rescheduled as a doubleheader on Friday night. Two home runs were enough for the RedHawks to overcome the lone Redbirds tally. Starter Nick Additon yielded a two-run home run and Nick Greenwood served up another in the seventh to push the RedHawks' lead to three. The Redbirds could not string together a rally against starter Brad Peacock, who struck out ten Memphis hitters in his 6 2/3 frames pitched.
In the opening frame, Kolten Wong hit his eighth triple of the year into right field and tied Stubby Clapp's team single-season record. Wong scored on Chad Huffman's groundout for the only Redbirds run.
July 19 vs. Oklahoma City, Win 5-1 (7 innings)
Tyler Lyons earned the win in Saturday night's second game behind his team's five runs during his six frames pitched. In his fifth start back from St. Louis, Lyons' off-speed pitches led to a lot of off-balance RedHawks, with six ground outs and six strikeouts out of 26 faced.
A four-run first inning put Lyons in a comfortable spot. Ryan Jackson's lead-off single was followed by a pair of walks to load the bases. Adron Chambers reached base on an error by the shortstop to plate one runner. Greg Garcia's single added two more and Jermaine Curtis singled to push the lead to four.
The RedHawks responded with a run on Brandon Laird's RBI single in the third, but that was the only run scored against Lyons and Keith Butler, who pitched the seventh inning. Memphis answered within the third frame on Tommy Pham's double to score Jamie Romak.
July 20 vs. Oklahoma City, Loss 8-1
AutoZone Park was packed for Chris Carpenter's rehab start. In front of an announced crowd of 14,734, Carpenter was shelled, pitching 3 1/3 innings and yielding four runs. The first frame went smoothly after a double play negated a single, but two runs scored in both the second and third.
In the second, Carpenter allowed back-to-back singles and a walk to load the bases with two outs. RedHawks catcher Carlos Perez hit the third single to add two tallies, but was thrown out trying to stretch the play into a double. A lead-off triple in the third was followed by a walk. A groundout advanced both runners and tallied one more. A single sent the other runner home and pushed the lead to four at that point.
Carpenter got into trouble in the fourth and was pulled after 74 pitches with a runner on first and second. The 38-year-old former Cy Young Award winner has experienced numbness in his right hand and will not make another rehab start in the near future. Victor Marte escaped the jam with a double play and pitched through the next frame without allowing a hit.
The Redbirds loaded the bases in the bottom of the fifth with one out, but Romak's untimely groundout resulted in a double play. Jorge Rondon yielded four runs in the eighth, putting the game was well out of reach.
July 21 vs. Oklahoma City, Loss 3-2
Reliever Keith Butler's errant throw to first proved costly as an eighth inning sacrifice bunt was turned into the game-winning RBI. Boone Whiting started the game for the Redbirds and only yielded two runs. The 23-year-old right-hander allowed a solo home run in the fifth and another run scored on second baseman Garcia's error in the sixth.
Butler took over in the seventh with the score tied at two apiece and retired the side in order. A lead-off walk in the eighth and the RedHawks looked to bunt with left fielder Robbie Grossman at the plate. Butler fielded the bunt cleanly and threw the pitch over the head of Romak in a rushed effort to get the runner out, and the runner scored from first.
Mistakes were the key to the game as the RedHawks capitalized on three Redbirds errors. Memphis has not fared well in these close ball games, winning 15 out of 33 contests with a one-run margin after Sunday night's game.
July 22 vs. Round Rock, Loss 9-0
Scott McGregor allowed five runs, two earned, across 5 2/3 frames and absorbed his sixth loss in 11 Triple-A appearances. His two previous outings were winning quality starts, and this was another solid start until the 6-foot-2 right-hander allowed four runs in the sixth on Monday night.
Manny Ramirez played for the Express and drove three runs in four at-bats. His first at-bat was a RBI groundout to score a runner in the first. The longtime MLB star started the rally in the sixth with a groundball RBI single into right field.
A fielder's choice got Ramirez out at second but left runners at the corners with two outs. McGregor's wild pitch tallied a run, and the ensuing walk brought out manager Pop Warner. The next two hitters singled to push the lead to five and Marc Rzepczynski was called upon to get the final out of the frame.
Scrabble secured the final out and threw a scoreless seventh despite walking two. Rondon relieved him but yielded a solo shot to Jared Hoying. Marte was the next Memphis pitcher and struggled in the ninth. Immediately, he loaded the bases with a walk and two singles. Ramirez' single scored one, a fielder's choice added another and the fourth single allowed one more to touch home.
It was the sixth time this year Memphis has been held scoreless.
July 23 vs. Round Rock, Loss 5-2
Nick Greenwood got the nod for the Redbirds and yielded three runs in 5 2/3 frames. It was his first Triple-A start since the April 28 doubleheader in Nashville, and was his longest outing in Memphis this season. Two runs came in the second on a home run, Greenwood's third allowed in Triple-A and second in his last two appearances. The southpaw did not surrender a run again until a sacrifice fly in the fifth frame and left the game in the sixth inning with a runner on first.
Sam Freeman took over at that point and got the final out of the inning. In the seventh, a two-out double scored on a fielding error by Wong. Freeman struck out three batters to end the frame, but the lead had grown to two runs. Michael Blazek relieved Freeman and retired the side without a score despite giving out two free passes. Rondon was brought on in the ninth but yielded another run on a single. Of late, the reliever has struggled, allowing six runs in the last three appearances.
July 24 vs. Round Rock, Win 3-2
Memphis earned the win by capitalizing on two eighth-inning wild pitches by Express starter Scott Richmond, who earned the loss. On the day, the right-hander yielded all three Memphis runs, and was not stingy enough to beat Michael Wacha.
Last year's first round draft pick retired the first 15 hitters before allowing a long ball to Jim Adduci in the sixth. The next batter singled and those were the only two hits allowed by the right-hander all day. He finished the frame but then his day was done.
Prior to Wacha's allowed run, Chad Huffman's lead-off double in the fourth marked the Redbirds' first extra-base hit in three games. Chambers hit a sacrifice fly to score Huffman from third and the Redbirds scored first. Round Rock responded with the solo home run in the sixth off Wacha.
The Redbirds' answered back when Richmond served up a solo home run to Romak in the sixth for the Redbirds' first long ball since the All-Star break. Not to be outdone, Adduci homered again, this time on Butler, in the eighth to tie the game at two.
In the bottom of the frame, Wong reached on a fielder's choice with one out. He advanced to second on a wild pitch, then to third on a fielder's choice. On the 3-1 pitch to Romak, the pitch was low and spun off the catcher's leg and Wong crossed home plate to regain the lead. Butler got the next three outs, earned the win but was credited with a blown save.
Jermaine Curtis – The fifth round pick in the 2008 draft has hit safely in 10 of his last 15 with 12 hits in 50 at-bats, across a seven-game hit streak from July 8 through July 20. He has succeeded closer to the bottom of the lineup card, batting .307 (20-65) when hitting seventh or later.
Chad Huffman – Outfielder Huffman matched a franchise record with four walks drawn on July 20, and has increased his on-base percentage to .399 on the season. In his last ten games, the veteran has eight hits, seven walks, four runs scored and three RBI in 28 plate appearances. With runners in scoring position this season, Huffman has 24 hits in 65 tries with 32 RBI.
Tyler Lyons – The tall southpaw has pitched very well since being optioned from St. Louis. In five starts, the 25-year-old has thrown four quality starts for three wins. In 33 2/3 frames, Lyons has struck out 33 batters while allowing only six earned runs (1.60 ERA). The changeup has been fooling hitters and his fastball is consistently hitting between 90-93 MPH.
Infield gloves – In the last week, the Redbirds have committed eight errors, all from infielders. Wong and Garcia have split the errors, with Garcia, the seventh-round pick in the 2010 draft, committing four errors in the last six games.
Jorge Rondon – Throughout his first four July appearances, Rondon only allowed two runs, and both came on July 10. In his four appearances since, he has yielded six, all coming in the last week.
Ryan Jackson - The right-handed hitter has struggled to reach base in July, with 15 hits in 70 at-bats (.214). Over his last ten games, the infielder has only six hits in 39 tries with ten strikeouts, no RBI or extra-base hits.
Brock Peterson's move to St. Louis has temporarily allowed Romak to take over first base, giving Chambers, Huffman, Pham and Christian extended time in the outfield - especially with Oscar Taveras' rehab not going to plan. Catcher Audry Perez has seen some additional playing time with Rob Johnson still in St. Louis.
July 18: Outfielder Justin Christian activated from disabled list (hand injury)
July 19: Reliever Fernando Salas promoted to St. Louis
July 20: First Baseman Brock Peterson promoted to St. Louis
July 21: Infielder Luis Mateo promoted to Memphis from Springfield
July 22: Pitcher Chris Carpenter removed from Memphis roster (rehab)
Outfielder Justin Christian returned from disabled list after hurting his hand in the bench-clearing brawl on June 15 in Albuquerque. Outfielder Oscar Taveras aand catcher Geoff Klein remain on the disabled list along with pitcher Eric Fornataro, though the latter is on a rehab stint in the Gulf Coast League. Second baseman Kolten Wong hurt his groin, but only missed two games.
After finishing the Round Rock series in Memphis, the two teams play four more games at Round Rock. It will be the last games the two will play. July 25 is one of the last 13 home games for the Redbirds, with only 39 scheduled games left.
Of the remaining nine series matchups, two are against American Northern Division teams. The Redbirds have performed well against the division opponents, winning 23 of 48 games. But of the seven other series, four are against the American Southern Division with the Express, the RedHawks and the Zephyrs. That has been a difficult division to beat, with the Redbirds dropping 32 of 51 contests.
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