Game Notes: Memphis Redbirds (1-0) at Fresno Grizzlies (0-1)
Memphis Redbirds (1-0) At Fresno Grizzlies (0-1)
Wednesday, September 12 - 9:05 p.m. (CT) - Chukchansi Park (12,500) - Fresno, California
PCL Championship Series Game #2 - Memphis Leads Series (1-0)
LHP Tyler Lyons (0-1, 6.75 ERA) vs. RHP Trent Thornton (1-0, 1.80 ERA)
TODAY'S GAME: The Memphis Redbirds will continue to defend their 2017 PCL Championship in game two of the PCL Championship Series tonight against the Fresno Grizzlies. Memphis won its opening series of the playoffs over Oklahoma City 3-1, while Fresno won its series with El Paso 3-2. It is the second time in franchise history that Memphis has advanced to the PCL Championship Series in consecutive seasons. The Redbirds finished the regular-season with a record of 83-57, slightly off their record-setting 91-50 2017 campaign. In last season's opening round of the playoffs, Memphis defeated the Colorado Springs Sky Sox (Brewers) in the series 3-2. Memphis then went on to defeat the El Paso Chihuahuas (Padres) 3-2 before falling in the Triple-A Championship Game to the Durham Bulls. Today's game will be broadcast on www.memphisredbirds.com with Steve Selby on the call.
ON THE HILL: Left-hander Tyler Lyons will take the mound for the Redbirds in game two tonight against the Grizzlies. In his first postseason start for the Redbirds against Oklahoma City, Lyons took the loss in game two of a doubleheader. The lefty threw four innings, allowing three earned runs on four hits. He allowed two home runs in the game, a solo shot and two-run shot. He appeared in seven regular-season games for the Redbirds, starting three of them. As a starter, he was 0-1 with a 4.22 ERA in 10.2 innings of work. As a reliever, he was 1-0 with a save and a 0.82 ERA in 11.0 innings of work. Overall, he was 1-1 with a 2.49 ERA and 21 strikeouts in 21.2 innings of work.
The Grizzlies will send right-hander Trent Thornton to the mound to battle Lyons and the Redbirds. In his first playoff appearance, Thornton earned the win over El Paso. He threw five innings in that game, allowing just one run on seven hits and two walks, while striking out nine batters. He made one start in the regular-season against Memphis, earning the win. He threw seven innings of two-run ball in that game. Thornton finished the regular-season with a record of 9-8 with a 4.42 ERA.
THIS SEASON AGAINST FRESNO: Memphis and Fresno squared off in four games this season, with Fresno taking the series win 3-1. The lone series against Fresno was a slugfest on both ends. The two teams combined for 67 runs and 13 home runs in just four games. Fresno out-hit the 'Birds and out-pitched them. The Grizzlies hit .301 off Memphis pitching, while Memphis hit just .248 off Fresno pitching. The Redbirds' pitchers struggled to a 9.49 ERA in the four games, while Fresno pitching posted a 6.25 mark. Fresno out-scored Memphis 41-to-26 in the series.
AROZARENA: Went 2-for-2 at the plate in game one Thursday night, hitting a go-ahead two-run single in the sixth inning
BARON: In game two against OKC Thursday night, went 1-for-3 with an RBI single, but the comeback fell just short
EDMAN: Has now played in 13 postseason games with Memphis in career; hitting .448 (13-for-29) in those games
KNIZNER: Went 1-for-2 with a double and a walk on Sunday; his pinch-runner scored game-tying run in seventh
MEJIA: Hit a bases-loaded triple in last night's win, giving him one hit and three RBI; hitting .400 (8-for-20) in playoffs
RAVELO: Went 2-for-3 in Friday night's comeback, walk-off win; drove in first of three Memphis runs in ninth
SCHROCK: Friday night, went 3-for-5 at the plate, driving in the game-winning run in the ninth inning
SOSA: Came into game as a pinch-runner in the ninth inning Friday night, scoring the game-tying run
THOMAS: Went 2-for-3 with two walks in Friday night's win; drove in game-tying run with single in the ninth inning
TOVAR: Last night, went 3-for-4 at the plate, driving in two runs and scoring once to help lead Memphis to victory
URIAS: Sunday afternoon, moved tying runner to third base on a sacrifice bunt in the seventh inning; run later scored
WILLIAMS: Drove in all three runs Memphis scored from 8/19-8/22 on a solo home run and two-run home run
YOUNG: Will join Memphis for his Triple-A debut; hit .289 between Palm Beach and Springfield with 21 home runs
BY THE NUMBERS
9 of Memphis' 52 hits in five postseason games so far have gone for extra-bases, just 17.3 percent of their hits. They have hit seven doubles, one triple, and one home run.
BY THE NUMBERS
4-1 record for Memphis in the opening game of the Pacific Coast League Championship Series after last night's win; won the first game in 2000, 2009, 2017, 2018, and lost in 2010.
ABOUT THE LAST ONE: The Memphis Redbirds scored early and often in the first game of the Pacific Coast League Championship Series last night to earn the win over Fresno.
Infielder Tommy Edman led the charge at the plate for Memphis. The switch-hitter fell just a triple short of the cycle in the game, and finished going 4-for-5 with three RBI and two runs scored. He hit the first home run of the postseason for Memphis with a blast to lead off the game.
Wilfredo Tovar also had a big night at the plate for the Redbirds, going 3-for-4 with two RBI in the contest. Alex Mejia hit a bases-clearing triple in the eighth inning, as well. All but two Memphis starters recorded a hit in the game, and all nine of them reached base safely.
Memphis starter Kevin Herget was solid for the 'Birds. The righty threw 5.2 innings, allowing four earned runs on four hits and three walks, while striking out six batters.
Tommy Layne and Seth Elledge, in his Triple-A debut, threw the final 3.1 innings. They did not allow a run, and allowed five hits and two walks, while striking out two batters.
HIT MACHINE: In last night's series-opening win over Fresno, infielder Tommy Edman continued to rake at the plate for Memphis. He went 4-for-5, falling just a triple short of the cycle. He led off the game with a home run, providing the first home run of the postseason for Memphis. His dominance last night continued his hot-hitting in the playoffs. On Sunday, he tied the game in the bottom of the seventh inning with a sacrifice fly, sending the contest to extra-innings. He doubled in the 10th inning to move the lead runner to third. After the lead runner scored on a wild pitch, and he moved to third, Edman scored on Alex Mejia's single to tie the game. On Friday night, he also went 2-for-4 scoring two runs and walking once in the game. He started the Memphis comeback, leading off the ninth inning with a single, and scoring on Rangel Ravelo's hit. In five playoff games thus far, Edman is hitting .524 (11-for-21) for the 'Birds. He has scored five times and walked once so far. Edman spent most of the final month of the season on the Memphis roster. He appeared in 17 games, hitting .318 (21-for-66) with a triple, home run, five RBI, 13 runs scored, and three stolen bases. He hit safely in 13 of his 17 regular-season games, and has hit safely in all five playoff games with Memphis. Including his five playoff games, the switch-hitting infielder is hitting .368 (32-for-87) in 22 games.
TOVAR STILL AT IT: Last night, infielder Wilfredo Tovar went 3-for-4 at the plate, driving in two runs and scoring once in Memphis' 10-4 win over Fresno. In Memphis' series against Oklahoma City, Tovar hit .222 (4-for-18), recording a hit in each of the four games in the series. After returning from the Disabled List on August 14, Tovar had appeared in 17 regular-season games, and had hit safely in 14 of those contests. In that stretch, he hit .364 (23-for-63), scoring eight times, hitting four doubles, one triple, one home run, and driving in nine runs. With his recent dominance at the dish, Tovar finished the regular-season hitting .297 (107-for-360) in 108 games with Memphis. The 107 hits are his most in a season since having 112 with Triple-A Rochester of the International League in 2016. Tovar struggled at the plate in May and early June before flipping the switch. On June 21, he went 0-for-4 at the plate, falling to a .259 batting average. Including the playoffs, in 52 games since June 21, he is hitting .339 (64-for-189).
MEJIA'S ON FIRE: In last night's series opening win over Fresno, Alex Mejia had just one hit, but it was a big one. He hit a bases-clearing triple in the eighth inning, giving Memphis three additional insurance runs. Mejia has been on fire at the dish since the playoffs began last week. In the four-game series win over Oklahoma City, Mejia combined to hit .467 (7-for-15), scoring three times and driving in five runs. He provided key clutch-hits in Memphis' comeback wins Friday night and Sunday afternoon. In Sunday's series-clinching win, he drove in the game-tying run with a single in the bottom of the 10th and scored the game-winning run a couple batters later. On Friday, he went 2-for-5 at the plate with an RBI and a run scored in the comeback win. He put the tying run in scoring position Friday night with a single to left field. On Thursday, he appeared in both games of the Memphis doubleheader. In game one, Mejia came in as a pinch-hitter and stayed in the game to play right field. Mejia did not record a hit in the contest, going 0-for-2, but he drove in the go-ahead, and eventual game-winning, run in the seventh inning on a fielder's choice. In the nightcap, Mejia got the start in right field. He went 2-for-3 at the plate, driving in two runs, hitting a double, and scoring once. He drove in one run on a single in the fourth inning, and one on his double in the sixth inning. In five playoff games this season, Mejia is hitting a scorching .400 (8-for-20) with three runs scored, and eight RBI.
HERGET PROVIDES STEADYING FORCE: Last night, Memphis starting pitcher Kevin Herget threw 5.2 innings, giving it his all en route to the win over Fresno. After the Memphis bullpen threw nine of the 10 innings in Sunday's game, Herget's long outing was much needed. The righty allowed four earned runs on four hits and three walks, while striking out six batters. Including his opening game of the playoffs last week, Herget is 1-0 with a 4.41 ERA in two starts thus far. He has allowed five earned runs on five hits and six walks, while striking out 12 batters so far. Including his two starts in last year's playoffs, Herget is now 1-1 in four playoff starts with a 2.33 ERA. He has allowed just eight total runs, only six of which have been earned in 23.2 innings of work. He has walked nine batters and struck out 30 total batters. He is the first Memphis starter in the playoffs to earn a win. Memphis' three previous wins were all credited to relief pitchers.
SNAPPING THE HOMERLESS STRETCH: Last night, infielder Tommy Edman led off the game with a home run. It was not only his first home run of the postseason, but also the first home run for Memphis this postseason. Before last night's game, the Redbirds had collected 40 total hits in four games, and 34 were singles. The other six hits were all doubles. Last night, Edman hit a double and a home run, while Alex Mejia hit a triple. The 'Birds collected 12 total hits in the game. Of their 52 total postseason hits, just nine have been for extra-bases. Edman's home run last night snapped a long homerless drought for the 'Birds. They had gone four-consecutive games without a home run, their second-longest stretch of the season. They went five-straight without a home run in early June. Memphis has had to look to unlikely sources for home runs recently. Of the 142 home runs Memphis hit in the regular-season, 91 are either at a different level or in a different organization.
RAVELO PICTURE OF CONSISTENCY: On August 15, infielder Rangel Ravelo left the Redbirds' game against New Orleans after being hit in the face with a pitch. He spent more than a week on the Disabled List before returning to the lineup on August 25. At the time of his injury, Ravelo was riding a 16-game hitting streak, tied for the longest such streak of his career. Ravelo went 0-for-8 in his first two games back with the 'Birds. However, in the last eight regular-season games, he found his way back to consistency. Last Saturday night, he went 3-for-4 at the plate, scoring once, walking once, and driving in two runs. Before Saturday night, he had recorded one hit in each of the previous five games, and had recorded at least one RBI in three of those five games. Thursday night, Ravelo drove in two of the three Memphis runs via a single and a sacrifice fly. The other run scored on a Lane Thomas solo home run. Including last night's 1-for-4 performance, Ravelo is now 17-for-49 (.347) in the last 13 games with nine RBI, and six walks. He has hit safely in all 13 of those games. He finished the regular-season leading current Memphis players with a .308 (107-for-347) batting average, and .392 on-base percentage.
EATING UP THE INNINGS: Last night, manager Stubby Clapp called upon left-handed reliever Tommy Layne once again. In the outing, Layne threw 2.1 innings, allowing four hits and one walk, while allowing one inherited runner to score. It was his fourth appearance in five playoff games so far for Memphis. He has been nothing short of phenomenal for the 'Birds. In his four appearances, he is 0-0 with a 0.00 ERA in 5.1 innings of work. He has allowed four hits and two walks, while striking out two batters. Since joining Memphis in late June, Layne has been one of the best weapons from the Memphis bullpen. In 27 regular-season appearances, Layne was 2-1 with three saves in three chances. He threw a combined 26.2 innings, and boasted an ERA of 1.35. He allowed earned runs in just one of his 27 appearances. Opponents hit just .206 (21-for-102) off him in the regular-season. Including the playoffs, Layne boasts a 2-1 record with three saves and an ERA of 1.13 in 32.0 innings of work.
PCL CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES HISTORY: After advancing to the Pacific Coast League Championship Series with Sunday's walk-off win, the Memphis Redbirds are looking to win consecutive PCL Championships for the first time in franchise history. Last season, Memphis beat El Paso three games to two to win its third PCL Championship in history. They also won PCL Titles in 2000 and 2009. This season marks just the second time in franchise history that Memphis made the playoffs in consecutive seasons, the other being 2009-2010. Memphis advanced to the PCL Championship round in 2010, but fell to Tacoma. Memphis has now made it to this round of the playoffs in five of the six seasons they have played in the postseason. Memphis went 3-1 in this round in 2000, 3-0 in 2009, 0-3 in 2010, 3-2 in 2017, and now 1-0 this season, giving them a combined record of 10-6 in this round. The 'Birds are a combined 4-1 in the opening game of this series after last night's win.
SHARING THE FUN: Including the postseason, Memphis now has four walk-off wins this season. All four of the walk-off hits have come from different players, and all of them have come since the month of August started. In early August, Rangel Ravelo hit a walk-off single to propel Memphis over the Fresno Grizzlies in the 10th inning. On August 25, Wilfredo Tovar hit a run-scoring single in the bottom of the ninth, and another run scored on an error to give Memphis a walk-off win over the Nashville Sounds, and clinch the division. Friday night, Max Schrock hit the walk-off single for the 'Birds, giving them a 2-1 series lead over the Oklahoma City Dodgers, and Sunday, pitcher Giovanny Gallegos hit the walk-off single to send Memphis to the next round.
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