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Game Notes: Memphis Musica (59-66) vs Round Rock Chupacabras (75-49)

August 19, 2019 - Pacific Coast League (PCL) - Memphis Redbirds News Release

Memphis Música (59-66) vs Round Rock Chupacabras (75-49)

Monday, August 19 - 6:35 p.m. (CT) - AutoZone Park (10,000) - Memphis, Tennessee

Game #126 - Home Game #64 (27-36)

LHP Genesis Cabrera (4-5, 6.59) vs LHP Framber Valdez (4-2, 2.91)

BY THE NUMBERS

.371 The Redbirds batting average during their four-game series against the Cubs. The offense averaged nearly 14 hits per game and slugged nine home runs.

7 Hits by Dylan Carlson in his first four games at the Triple-A level. The Cardinals No. 2 prospect has at least two hits in three-straight games and he blasted his first Redbird home run in yesterday's contest.

THE GAME

TONIGHT'S GAME: The Memphis Redbirds continue their 11-game homestand with the first of four games against the Round Rock Express. Both teams will take on their "Copa de la Diversión" identities, playing as the Memphis Música and Round Rock Chupacabras. Completed a four-game sweep of the first place Iowa Cubs yesterday in a 14-2 rout. After falling behind 2-0 after a half-inning of play, Dylan Carlson launched his first career Triple-A home run to get the 'Birds on the board. Harrison Bader and Edmundo Sosa went back-to-back in the second inning and Bader homered again in the fifth for his second two-home run game this season. John Nogowski's three-run blast in the sixth was the team's fifth home run of the game, matching a season high. With 165 home runs this season, the Redbirds are nine home runs away from matching the franchise record, set in 2004. Tonight's game will be broadcast live on www.memphisredbirds.com with Steve Selby on the call.

ABOUT COPA DE LA DIVERSION: "Copa de la Diversión," or "Fun Cup," is a season-long event series specifically designed to embrace the culture and values that resonate most with participating teams' local U.S. Hispanic/Latinx communities. In 2019, Minor League Baseball had 72 teams participate this year, up from 33 teams in 2018, which was the first year of the Copa de la Diversión.

ON THE HILL: Left-hander Genesis Cabrera is scheduled to take the mound tonight and make his 19th appearance and 17th start with Memphis and his 24th appearance overall across levels in 2019. Cabrera last took the mound on Tuesday at Fresno, taking no-decision (5.0 IP, 8 H, 7 R/ER, 2 BB, 5 SO, 1 HR) in the Redbirds' 8-7 defeat to the Grizzlies. He has allowed five earned runs or more in four of his last six starts and he has allowed at least one home run in seven-straight. The seven earned runs allowed matches a season-high, set on May 10 vs. Iowa. Cabrera has also allowed a home run in 14 of 18 appearances overall. His run of fanning at least seven batters in three-straight was snapped, but he has struck out at least five batters in four-straight, bringing his season total to 89, which ranks 2nd among all Redbirds pitchers this season. He has allowed two walks or fewer in five-straight. Cabrera allowed a season-high eight hits for the fifth time this season, raising his average against to .291 (100x344). He has allowed three earned runs or fewer in seven of his last 11 starts with the Redbirds. Cabrera will be making his third start against Round Rock this season. He has gone a combined 0-1, 12.86 (10 ER/7.0 IP) in his two starts against the Express this season, whiffing five batters and issuing four walks. In his last start against the Express on July 15 at Dell Diamond, he took no-decision (3.0 IP, 6 H, 6 R/ER, 2 BB, 2 SO, 1 HR) in the Redbirds' 8-6 victory. During his second Major League stint of the season from June 13-23, he made three relief appearances, allowing two runs on two hits in 3.1 total innings. In his return to Memphis on June 9 at Reno, Cabrera earned the win (5.0 IP, 6 H, 1 R/ER, 3 BB, 8 SO) in the Redbirds' 7-4 victory over the Aces. It was his third consecutive start of allowing two earned runs or fewer. During his first career Major League stint from May 29 - June 4, Cabrera went 0-2, 6.48 (6 ER/8.1 IP) in two starts. He made his MLB debut on May 29 at Philadelphia, suffering the loss (3.2 IP, 5 H, 5 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 5 SO, 1 HR)in the Cardinals' 11-4 defeat to the Phillies. The Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, native is in his sixth professional season and second with the St. Louis organization. Cabrera entered this season ranked as the No. 6 prospect in the Cardinals system by Baseball America. He spent the bulk of last season at Double-A Montgomery, going 7-6, 4.12 (52 ER/113.2 IP). He was named a Southern League All-Star and ranked 3rd in the league with a .218 batting average.

The Chupacabras are scheduled to start right-hander Framber Valdez in tonight's series opener. The 25-year-old is slated to make seventh start and tenth appearance overall for Round Rock this season. As a starter, Valdez has gone 4-2, 3.00 (11 ER/33.0 IP) compared to 0-0, 2.25 (1 ER/4.0 IP) as a reliever at the Triple-A level this season. In his last time out on August 12 at Albuquerque, he earned his third-straight win (6.2 IP, 6 H, 4 R/ER, 1 BB, 13 SO, 2 HR) in the Express' 11-6 win over the Isotopes. The 13 strikeouts set a career-high and it was the second time this season that he has hit double-digit strikeouts. Over his last three starts, Valdez has gone 3-0, 2.75 (6 ER/19.2 IP) whiffing 32 batters and issuing just four walks. He has held opponents to just a .211 (15x71) average and has made quality starts in two of those three outings. He was faced the Redbirds twice in relief this season, allowing one run over 3.0 innings, and converting a save opportunity on April 12. He has spent the bulk of this season pitching at the Major League level, going 3-6, 5.58 (31 ER/50.0 IP) in 20 games, five starts for the Houston Astros. The Palenque, Dominican Republic, native is in his fifth professional season and he has spent them all within the Houston organization. He entered 2019 ranked as the No. 7 prospect in the Astros system by Baseball America.

HISTORY WITH ROUND ROCK: The two clubs have met every year since 2005, with the Redbirds taking a slight 124-109 edge overall. The 'Birds also hold a 63-51 advantage at AutoZone Park and have gone 11-6 in downtown Memphis the past two seasons. The Redbirds and Express finished all-square at 8-8 in 2018, which was only the second time in 14 seasons that the two teams had split the season series. Memphis has not lost a season series to Round Rock since 2015.

On the road at Dell Diamond, the Redbirds have a slim 61-58 advantage, but have gone 11-4 at this facility the past two seasons. The Redbirds and Express finished all-square at 8-8 in 2018, which was only the second time in 14 seasons that the two teams had split the season series. Memphis has not lost a season series to Round Rock since 2015.

After eight years as the Rangers Triple-A affiliate, the Express are the Astros top affiliate for the first time since 2010. The Express spent their first six years in the Pacific Coast League as the Astros Triple-A team, where the Redbirds went 55-38 from 2005-10, including 12-4 in each of the last two seasons before the Express switched affiliations.

THE SEASON

ABOUT THE LAST ONE: The Memphis Redbirds crushed five home runs and the first-place Iowa Cubs (Cubs) in the series finale Sunday afternoon at AutoZone Park, 14-2.

With the four-game sweep of the division-leading Cubs, Memphis is within 7.0 games of first place with 15 games to play in the regular season. The Redbirds and Cubs still play four more times this season, which is final series of the season in Des Moines.

The Redbirds (59-66) have now won eight of their last nine games and 21 of their last 28 overall.

Memphis' five home runs in the game matched a season high, with Dylan Carlson hitting his first at the Triple-A level, Harrison Bader and Edmundo Sosa going back-to-back in the third inning, Bader going deep again leading off the fifth, and John Nogowski launching a three-run homer in the sixth.

The Redbirds had eight extra-base hits in the game, with Carlson tripling and Max Schrock adding two doubles in addition to the five home runs. Memphis drew 11 walks in the game.

Bader and Sosa both moved their hitting streaks to eight-straight games. Sosa has a hit in 21 of his last 22 games overall.

Austin Warner allowed two first-inning runs, but he shut down the Cubs (66-59) after that and finished with five strikeouts in 5.0 innings to earn the win. Jesus Cruz, Zac Rosscup, and Mike Mayers finished the last 4.0 innings in scoreless fashion.

KINGS OF THE HILL: After falling to a season-low 21 games under .500 following their 11-8 defeat at Round Rock on July 17, the Redbirds have won 21 of their last 28 games and are now seven games under .500, their lowest mark since May 28. The 21 wins are the most by any team in the Pacific Coast League and they are the only team with more than 20 wins during that span. Their turnaround has been backed by stellar pitching, as the Redbirds pitching staff leads the PCL in several different categories. They lead the league in ERA (4.14), hits (217), runs (116), earned runs (114) home runs allowed (30), strikeouts (274), WHIP (1.34) and average (.237), while ranking 2nd in saves (9). They have also posted three shutouts during that span, one of just three teams in the PCL to have more than one.

SOSA CONTINUES SURGE: Following his return from a brief three-game stint with the St. Louis Cardinals on July 21, Edmundo Sosa has been dominant at the plate for the Redbirds and has played a large part in their late-season turnaround. In his last 22 games, Sosa has posted a slash of .396/.416/.604/1.020 and has hits in 21 of those contests. His average ranks 5th in Pacific Coast League over that time frame. He has four doubles, five home runs and 22 RBI during that span, and has multi-hit performances in 10 games. He has also raised his batting average from .252 to .285.

PONCE DE LEON DOMINANT AGAIN: After setting the pace with 4.0 no-hit innings on August 4 in Memphis' 2-0 win over El Paso and a dominant 7.0 two-hit innings on August 9 at Sacramento, Daniel Ponce de Leon dazzled again Thursday night by twirling 7.0 scoreless frames against the Cubs, allowing just two hits and whiffing nine batters. In his last four starts with the Redbirds dating back to June 6 at Tacoma, Ponce de Leon has allowed just five hits in his last 21.0 innings with the Redbirds and has whiffed 30 batters during that span. Through 14 starts with Memphis this season, he has held opponents to a .200 average (53x265), a figure that would lead the Pacific Coast League if he qualified.

ROSTER MOVES: The following roster moves were made prior to Thursday night's game: Kramer Robertson was transferred to Springfield and Dylan Carlson was transferred from Springfield.

During his first career stint at the Triple-A level, Robertson posted a slash of .235/.344/.374/.719 over 66 games. He launched five home runs and drove in 24. He drew 27 walks, which ranked seventh on the Redbirds this season.

Carlson is slated to make his Triple-A debut with his first appearance for the Redbirds. The Cardinals No.2 prospect slashed .281/.364/.518/.882 in 108 games with Double-A Springfield. At time of his promotion to Memphis, he led the Texas League with 21 home runs. Carlson also ranked 1st in TL in SLG (.518), runs (81) and XBH (51), 2nd in OPS (.882), 4th in OBP (.364), 6th in hits (117), T-6th in 2B (24), T-6th in 3B (6), 7th in RBI (59) and T-8th in SB (18).

PONCE DE LEON NAMED PITCHER OF THE WEEK: Memphis Redbirds starting pitcher Daniel Ponce de Leon has been named the Pacific Coast League Pitcher of the Week for August 5-11, the league announced on August 12.

Ponce de Leon earned the honor after throwing seven scoreless frames and allowing just two hits on Friday's 15-0 Memphis win over the Sacramento River Cats (Giants) in Sacramento. He struck out a season-high 11 batters, which was also the most strikeouts by a Redbirds pitcher this season, and issued no walks.

In his last three starts with Memphis, Ponce de Leon has allowed just three hits and no runs over 14.0 innings of work, whiffing 21 batters compared to issuing six walks.

In 13 starts for the Redbirds this season, Ponce de Leon is 5-4 with a 3.26 ERA with 66 strikeouts in 66.1 innings. He has held opponents to just a .211 average against. If he qualified, Ponce de Leon would have the lowest ERA and lowest average against among PCL league leaders.

REDBIRDS RAKE ON THE ROAD: Not only did the Memphis Redbirds match a season-high by launching five home runs August 10 at Fresno, but they also broke the franchise record for most home runs hit on the road in a single season. Adolis Garcia's solo blast in the sixth inning was the team's 91st home run hit on the road this season, breaking the record of 90 set by the 2004 Redbirds.

CLIMBING THE LEADERBOARDS: As Adolis Garcia continues his power surge at the plate, he has entered and climbed into the Top-10 in several batting categories on the Redbirds all-time lists. His home run Saturday night was his 51st in his Redbirds career, matching Patrick Wisdom for T-4th in franchise history. His two RBI on Saturday also moved him into T-8th with Pete Kozma at 164. He also ranks T-3rd in triples (12), 7th in strikeouts (275), T-7th in hit by pitches (17) and 6th in extra-base hits (119).


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