ST. LOUIS -- With less than two weeks remaining in their regular season, the Cardinals' Triple-A Memphis affiliate continues to make a strong push toward a division title and playoff berth.
With a win on Monday, Memphis has reeled off nine straight victories, matching the longest winning streak in franchise history (set in 2000) as well as equaling the longest in the Pacific Coast League this year. The Redbirds, now a season-high 13 games over .500, hold a one-game advantage over Nashville in their division.
"It was definitely fun down there playing," said Greg Garcia, a key member of that Memphis club until his callup on Tuesday. "Going into the All-Star break, I felt like we were playing a lot of real good baseball and we were winning a lot of close games. … We started winning those games and we started gaining confidence. This last two or three weeks, it just seems like we've expected to win. Someone was going to get a big hit."
On Monday, it was catcher Ed Easley, who drove in a season-high five and had his second three-hit game of the season. The team is batting .309 this month and has seven players with batting averages north of .300. Each of the last three weeks, someone from the club has been the recipient of a PCL weekly award.
However, if the club succeeds in winning the division, the look of the club in the PCL playoffs could change somewhat dramatically. The Cardinals have already talked about bringing a large group of players up to St. Louis when rosters expand in September, and those players will be coming off that Memphis team. A postseason berth will not alter those plans.
"I think everybody is pretty clear in our system what the priorities are, and the priority is winning here," manager Mike Matheny said. "If we have need, we go get players who can come and help us. They do a great job of adapting in our system to fill holes. We just push forward with the best that we have."
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less