St. Louis Cardinals: Memphis Check-in (5/11)
After promising to provide regular updates, I have let you down, my readers, by having failed to write about the Memphis Redbirds- the AAA-affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals- through two series! Please don’t judge so that we can check in on the Redbirds!
The St. Louis Cardinals’ minor league team, the Memphis Redbirds, a team that was sitting at .500-baseball, has tackled two series with much promise all while the Cardinals were swept by Washington and lost two of three to Pittsburgh.
Omaha Storm Chasers @ Memphis
Working forward in time, the Memphis Redbirds dropped the first game of their series with the AAA-affiliate of the Kansas City Royals. This was the fifth game in a row that Memphis finished with a loss. Things were not looking too great for the baby birds.
In the first game loss (on May 2), Memphis had bright spots in the offensive performance of Carlos Peguero and Jonathan Rodriquez who each went 2-for-5 and Charlie Tilson managed a double to extend his hitting streak to nine games. While the nine-game hitting streak is impressive, having to celebrate 2-for-5 hitters shines the light on the struggles encountered in this five-game slide.
J. C. Sulbaran was tagged for three runs in the third inning thanks to a three-run home run. From the pen- one of Memphis’ strengths- the likes of Heath Wyatt, Juan Gonzales, and Sam Tuivailala worked scoreless seventh, eighth, and ninth innings.
An offensive rally in the ninth was only good enough to bring the Redbirds within one run. The final score of game one was 4-3 in favor of the Storm Chasers.
Game two came on May third and provided the Redbirds the chance to break their losing streak and that is just what they did. In the game, Memphis lead through eight innings by the score of 6-3 but the lead was surrendered by Gonzales and Tuivailala suffering by walks and hits awarded.
With the game tied in the ninth, the Redbirds loaded the bases. With two outs and extra innings in the wings, Peguero was hit by a pitch to plate the go-ahead, winning run. Final score: 7-6.
The third game of the four-game set provided another win for Memphis. This game, on May four, introduced more than just another win– Tommy Pham started his rehab assignment with Memphis. Pham, rehabbing from yet another injury, went 1-for-2 with a two-RBI single and a stolen base.
Memphis scored three runs early in the contest in the second inning and three more in the fourth inning. In addition to these six runs, the Redbirds were patient at the plate to the tune of eight walks.
Offensive highlights included Mike Ohlman going 2-for-2 with a double, two RBI and two runs scored. Patrick Wisdom went 2-for-3 with two doubles and two runs scored. Matt Williams tallied his first triple of the season as one of his two hits.
On the mound, Arturo Reyes picked up his first win of the season behind 5.1 innings of work. Of the five runners the bullpen inherited in this outing, only one was allowed to score.
All the good aside, Tilson lost his hitting streak by going 0-for-4. The Redbirds won the game with the impressive score of 8-6.
The fourth game of the series against the league-leading Storm Chasers presented Memphis with the ability to take the series win. Unfortunately, this was not the case as Memphis fell to Omaha in the final game even after Memphis had jumped to a fast 2-0 lead but ultimately fell by the score of 5-3 in favor of the visitors.
Deck McGuire, who has yet to really find his way this season, took the loss after presenting three strong innings but falling prey to oppositional hits. In the first three innings, McGuire sent ten of the first eleven batters back into the dugout but couldn’t hold this magic.
In the series, the Redbirds split the outcomes two games apiece.
Memphis @ Nashville
Traveling across the state, the Redbirds visited the AAA-affiliate of the Athletics, the Nashville Sounds. The first game on May 7 did not greet the Redbirds with hospitality. In this game, Memphis was held to only three hits across eight innings and fell by the score of 2-1.
Of statistical interest, this one-run game is one of eighteen on the season in which the Redbirds have participated in the only twenty-six games this season.
Pham was credited with Memphis’ only RBI with a single scoring the Redbirds run in the third inning.
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Game two was much like game one and had Memphis falling in a one-run deficit game. The final score of game two was 3-2 in favor of Nashville. Of interest in this game was David Washington‘s first home run of the season as one of the two runs Memphis scored.
Game three, on the other hand, displayed Memphis’ offense in the 5-0 win. Arturo Reyes picked up his second win of the season and Alberto Rosario posted an impressive 3-for-4 all while collecting his third RBI of the season.
In his effort to continue a positive and progressive rehab, Pham singled in game three and helped account for the offensive onslaught.
Memphis flew from Nashville to Omaha to face the PCL-leading team after taking 2-of-4 from the Storm Chasers in Memphis. At the conclusion of these two series, Memphis went 3-for-7 and find themselves hovering around the .500-baseball line.
Are the baby birds doing any better than their major league squad? Not really. I wish I could tell you that there are players here who can leap in and contribute if needed, and while this is true, I cannot say with total assuredness that any of these players- as they are playing now- are any better than who is with St. Louis.
Next: Leake Takes a Step Forward
All is not lost, however, as the Redbirds are showing elements that excite. Stay tuned as I plan to bring you two special articles examining Tommy Pham’s rehab and Greg Garcia‘s inappropriate placement with Memphis.