St. Louis Cardinals: LOTS going on in Memphis worth catching

Nov 5, 2016; Surprise, AZ, USA; West catcher Carson Kelly of the St Louis Cardinals during the Arizona Fall League Fall Stars game at Surprise Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 5, 2016; Surprise, AZ, USA; West catcher Carson Kelly of the St Louis Cardinals during the Arizona Fall League Fall Stars game at Surprise Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

The St. Louis Cardinals’ AAA-affiliate, the Memphis Redbirds, are offering much at AutoZone Park this season. Let’s check on what’s been happening and what is coming.

As the St. Louis Cardinals came out of the gate from Spring Training with a limp and a lame offense, the Memphis Redbirds- the AAA team for the Cardinals- kicked their season in high gear from the onset. The Redbirds were showing incredible offenses in their first weeks of the season. That has cooled a little but the Redbirds still have much to offer.

To get our readers caught up on all things Memphis, let me take you on a journey. If you want to see more about the Memphis season start, jump over and read my earlier post on Memphis’ best start since 2001.

Since that article, the Redbirds have been up to much. One of the great things that came and went at AutoZone Park was the inclusion of “The Memphis 13” on Jackie Robinson night. In keeping with the Jackie Robinson theme of color barrier destruction, “The Memphis 13” were a group of schoolchildren who integrated the Memphis school system in 1961.

On Jackie Robinson night, the Memphis Redbirds welcomed members of “The Memphis 13” for a special Q&A with ticket holders. This event was well attended and further showed the Redbirds’ involvement with the Memphis community.

On April 15, Memphis suffered their third-straight loss which was one of their longest losing streaks of the season.

Despite great offense from Patrick Wisdom who went 3-for-4 on the night with an RBI, great offense from Tommy Pham who went 2-for-4 with an RBI, and great offense from Paul DeJong who hit his first minor league home run, the Redbirds dropped the contest against the Oklahoma City Dodgers (LA’s AAA team).

Easter wasn’t kind either. The Redbirds dropped their contest against the Dodgers again even though Daniel Poncedeleon showed another great outing for Memphis having gone 4.2 innings surrendering three hits, one earned run, and all while striking out five batters. This is a name to watch.

For fans, the Redbirds hosted a special helicopter candy drop after the game. The outcome of the game was not to be desired but the littering of AutoZone’s beautiful diamond with dropped candy made for a joyous romp for younger fans.

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After having dropped four games in a row, the Redbirds rebounded behind Tyler Lyons‘ third rehab start. Lyons lasted 4.2 innings, surrendered two runs on six hits, walked a batter, and struck out four. This was Lyons last start before he joined the big club. In the game Wisdom hit his sixth double of the Redbirds’ season. The St. Louis Cardinals should take note of Wisdom’s name.

The Redbirds then traveled to Colorado where Carson Kelly had his third multi-RBI game in the first game of the set. Joining the fun, Pham blasted his fourth home run on the young AAA season. These things were not enough though as the small birds dropped the first game against Colorado Springs.

A rain-out prevented game two and forced a day/night doubleheader to close the Colorado Springs series.

Memphis won game one of the doubleheader behind a score of 5-1 but then swapped scores with Colorado in the second contest on the day taking the loss behind a score of 5-1. Josh Zeid, a name we’ve covered here at RedbirdRants, picked up his first win for Memphis going six innings, allowing six hits and one run in the first game.

Offensively speaking, Todd Cunningham smashed his second home run of the season in game one and then Luke Voit, who Brendan has covered for us, went 2-for-3 with an RBI (the only run of the game for the Redbirds) in the second game loss.

The Redbirds traveled to Oklahoma City looking to avenge the losses they suffered to the Dodgers in their home park. The Birds kicked off the series in grand fashion showing an offense that plated six runs while keeping the Dodgers from scoring (all but one time).

The Redbirds offense was quieted for the entire game until the ninth inning when Wilfredo Tova, Harrison Bader, Pham, Chad Huffman, and Voit exploded with singles and doubles to plate the winning six. Prior to this inning, the Redbirds had not scored greater than three runs in an inning this season.

Oh, and Poncedeleon showed another strong outing in the first game in Oklahoma City going six complete innings and surrendering only three hits (one home run) with four strikeouts. Cough, Cough… The St. Louis Cardinals NEED to keep an eye on this guy.

Continuing to seek revenge, the Redbirds downed the Dodgers in game two behind a score of 4-3. Voit had a three-hit day further legitimizing his great start.

Former St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Justin Masterson spoiled the Redbirds’ bid for a sweep defeating the Memphis team in the third game of the series. Masterson put on a display and gave up only one hit in seven innings.

Fans would think they were watching the lame offense of the St. Louis Cardinals in the Redbirds’ two final games of the four-game series in Oklahoma City as the Birds were shutout in the finale to the series. Mike Mayers had a rough outing lasting only three innings but needing eighty pitches to close the three.

The Redbirds return home to AutoZone Park this week and have the following exciting events for the week. On Thursdays the Redbirds host all-you-can-eat nights. This week’s all-you-can-eat is hot wings. Friday will feature a green Memphis cap giveaway as sponsored by the local Irish pub Silky O’Sullivan’s. And the fun doesn’t end there.

On Saturday night, the Redbirds are turning back the clock to the 1990s with their theme night. The Memphis team will be visited by actor who portrayed Mr. Belding on TV’s “Saved by the Bell.” This promises to be a ridiculously fun night featuring outfits and music and TV from the 90s.

Sunday will wrap the short four-game homestand with the annual “Bark in the Park” game. Fans can attend the game with their furry four-legged friend. Watch for adorable photos to be tweeted by the official Redbirds Twitter account.

Next: Closing April

If you don’t come to Memphis to see some games then you are doing yourself a disservice. And if the St. Louis Cardinals don’t start paying attention to the names playing here then they too will be doing themselves a disservice.