Depleted Sky Sox fall to Memphis

May 2, 2014 Updated: May 2, 2014 at 11:14 pm
photo - Sky Sox pitcher Christian Friedrich in action against Las Vegas Sunday, April 21, 2013 at Security Service Field. Photo by Mark Reis, The Gazette
Sky Sox pitcher Christian Friedrich in action against Las Vegas Sunday, April 21, 2013 at Security Service Field. Photo by Mark Reis, The Gazette 

The function the Sky Sox serve has left them vulnerable to these kinds of nights.

After Dan Wheeler on Friday became the fifth Colorado Springs player summoned by the Rockies in a season that isn't yet a month old the undermanned Sky Sox were handled 9-3 by Memphis.

The game, which featured postgame fireworks and 71-degree temperatures at first pitch, drew a sellout crowd of 8,785 - the most in franchise history for a May game.

The results weren't what the masses would have preferred, but they weren't altogether surprising as the Sky Sox dropped the seventh game in their last nine.

While the Rockies keep strip mining their Triple-A resources, the St. Louis Cardinals are incubating talent on the Redbirds roster.

Three of the organization's top four prospects - Kolten Wong, Oscar Taveras and Stephen Piscotty - were in the top four spots in the batting order.

The No. 2 hitter, Shane Robinson, was the in major leagues last week.

"You know what, I love the individuals, too," Memphis manager Ron "Pop" Warner said. "Not only are they talented, but there are just really good character guys, stand-up people. I like coming to the yard every day and communicating with them and being their manager."

Memphis showed off its top-to-bottom weapons, getting doubles from five players, RBIs from six and seven of its players scored runs.

Sky Sox starter Christian Friedrich kept the score close through five, but couldn't catch a break in the sixth.

A leadoff single from Robinson ricocheted off his glove. A double from Pete Kozma was perfectly placed down the line but not particularly well struck.

Another single to the pitcher on a swinging bunt from Jermaine Curtis led to a Friedrich error and a run and the Redbirds went on to a five-run frame.

Friedrich finished with a line of six innings pitched, eight hits, seven earned runs, three strikeouts, three walks.

"We feel fortunate," Warner said. "He was throwing the ball well. It seemed like when that ball hit off of his glove that fortunes changed and we got some big hits and got a big inning."

This is part of the deal for the Sky Sox, who have sent Wheeler, Chad Bettis, Corey Dickerson, Chris Martin and Josh Rutledge to the major leagues.

Middle-of-the-order bat Matt McBride has also been lost to a broken foot.

It's not that the cupboard is completely bare.

Right fielder Kyle Parker, a powerful prospect, drove in a pair of runs Friday and made a running catch in the corner.

But who knows, Parker could be the next to go.

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