Game Notes: Memphis Redbirds (2-1) vs Fresno Grizzlies (1-2)

September 15, 2018 - Pacific Coast League (PCL) - Memphis Redbirds News Release

Memphis Redbirds (2-1) vs Fresno Grizzlies (1-2)

Saturday, September 15 - 6:35 p.m. (CT) - AutoZone Park (10,000) - Memphis, Tennessee

PCL Championship Series Game #4 - Memphis Leads Series (2-1)

RHP Jake Woodford (0-0, 2.25 ERA) vs. RHP Cy Sneed (0-1, 4.26 ERA)

THE GAME

TODAY'S GAME: The Memphis Redbirds will continue to defend their 2017 PCL Championship in game four of the PCL Championship Series tonight against the Fresno Grizzlies. With a win tonight, Memphis would clinch their second-consecutive Pacific Coast League Championship. It would be the first time in franchise history they had won back-to-back, and they would be the first team since Omaha (2013-14) to accomplish the feat. 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: Right-hander Jake Woodford will take the mound in tonight's game four against Fresno. In his first appearance of the postseason, he piggy-backed Mike Mayers' rehab start and threw four innings of one-run ball. Memphis went on to win that game in 10 innings to clinch the series over Oklahoma City. Woodford made one start against Fresno this season, taking the no-decision. In that game, he threw four innings, allowing five earned runs on six hits. Memphis dropped that game 15-14. In the regular-season, Woodford went 5-5 with a 4.50 ERA in 12 starts.

The Grizzlies will send right-hander Cy Sneed to the mound to battle Woodford and the Redbirds. In his first appearance of the postseason, Sneed to the loss against El Paso. In that game, he threw 6.1 innings, allowing three runs on four hits, while striking out six. He battled Woodford and the Redbirds' in Fresno's 15-14 win last month. In that game, he lasted just 1.1 innings, allowing seven earned runs on four hits and three walks.

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.

BIRD BITES

AROZARENA: Is hitting .316 (6-for-19) in six playoff games so far; has scored three times, and driven in two

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 15 postseason games with Memphis in career; hitting .472 (17-for-36) in those games

KNIZNER: Last night, snapped three-game playoff hit streak; has hit safely in three of six games thus far

MEJIA: Hit a bases-loaded triple in Tues night's win, giving him one hit and three RBI; hitting .367 (11-for-30) 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: Tues. 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

8-2 all-time record for Memphis in potential clinching games in the playoffs, including 4-0 at AutoZone Park.

ON THIS DATE

In 2000, Cardinals' prospect Albert Pujols hit a walk-off home run to give Memphis their first Pacific Coast League Championship. Cardinals' current bullpen coach Bryan Eversgerd got the win on the mound, and Redbirds' manager Stubby Clapp played a crucial role in the game.

THE SEASON

ABOUT THE LAST ONE: The Memphis Redbirds won game three of the Pacific Coast League Championship Series 2-1 in walk-off fashion in 11 innings last night. With the win, Memphis now leads the series 2-1, and is just one win away from their second-consecutive PCL Championship.

With the game knotted at one run apiece in the bottom of the 11th, Memphis got to work. With one out, infielder Tommy Edman singled up the middle, and moved to third on a pick-off error on the Fresno pitcher. Fresno then intentionally walked Rangel Ravelo to put men on the corners.

Alex Mejia then came to the plate. For the first time in his two years as Memphis manager, Stubby Clapp put on the squeeze play. Mejia placed a bunt perfectly up the first base line, scoring Edman and giving Memphis the win.

Edman and Mejia led the way offensively, each collecting three hits, and each driving in a run. Edman has 15 hits this postseason and Mejia has 11 hits.

Chris Ellis got the start for Memphis, throwing 5.1 innings of one-run ball. Genesis Cabrera, Giovanny Gallegos, and Conner Greene combined to throw 5.2 innings of scoreless relief. Greene earned the win.

ANOTHER WALK-OFF: Last night, the Memphis Redbirds scored one run in the bottom of the 11th inning to walk-off on the Fresno Grizzlies. Alex Mejia perfectly placed a bunt up the first base line to score Tommy Edman and give Memphis the win. Edman singled with one out in the inning and moved to third on a two-base pick-off error. Rangel Ravelo was intentionally walked to put men on the corners when Stubby Clapp put on the squeeze play for Mejia. Memphis has now played three home games this postseason and has walked off in each of them. Last Friday, Memphis walked-off on Oklahoma City, scoring three runs in the bottom of the ninth to storm back and top the Dodgers 5-4 and take a 2-1 series lead. Memphis trailed 3-1 in game four against the Dodgers Sunday before scoring three runs again in the bottom of the 10th inning to seal both the win and the series. Memphis now has five walk-off wins this season, and three of them have come in the postseason. All five have happened since the month of August began, and two have been against Fresno.

HIT MACHINE: In last night's walk-off win over Fresno, infielder Tommy Edman continued to rake for Memphis. He went 3-for-4 in the game, starting the 11th inning rally with a single up the middle. Edman now has at least one hit in each of Memphis' seven playoff games. In Tuesday's opener, the switch-hitter absolutely raked 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. 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. Last 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 seven playoff games thus far, Edman is hitting .536 (15-for-28) for the 'Birds. He has scored six times and walked twice 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 six playoff games with Memphis. Including his seven playoff games, the switch-hitting infielder is hitting .383 (36-for-94) in 24 games.

MEJIA HAS THE CLUTCH FACTOR: With one out and men on the corners in the 11th inning of last night's game, designated hitter Alex Mejia came to the plate. Stubby Clapp put on the squeeze play, and Mejia executed it perfectly. His bunt went right up the first base line and was fielded by the pitcher, who had no play at the plate. The bunt brought in Tommy Edman from third and gave Memphis their third-straight walk-off win at AutoZone Park. Memphis needs just one more win to clinch their second-consecutive PCL Championship. Mejia has dominated at the plate during this season's playoffs. He has appeared in all seven games for Memphis and has hit safely in all but two of them. He is hitting a staggering .367 (11-for-30). He has driven in nine runs this postseason. Mejia and Edman have combined for 26 of Memphis' 67 hits this season.

ELLIS JUST WHAT THEY NEEDED: Last night, right-hander Chris Ellis got the start for Memphis. After the bullpen was forced to pitch the final 6.1 innings Wednesday night in Fresno, Memphis needed a strong performance from their starter. Ellis delivered for the 'Birds. Though the bullpen still ended up pitching 5.2 innings because of extra-innings, Ellis' performance was crucial. He threw 5.1 innings, allowing just one run on three hits and three walks, while striking out five batters. The lone run came on a solo home run in the sixth inning. In his two postseason starts for Memphis, Ellis has combined to throw 10.1 innings, allowing four earned runs on seven hits and six walks, while striking out 12 batters. He has a 3.56 ERA in the playoffs so far.

BULLPEN PLAYS THE HERO, AGAIN: In last night's thrilling, 11-inning walk-off victory, the Memphis bullpen continued their postseason dominance. Starter Chris Ellis threw 5.1 strong innings, allowing just one run, but the game remained knotted at one run apiece until the 11th. Left-hander Genesis Cabrera came into the game immediately following Ellis. He was lights-out, allowing just one hit and two walks, while striking out one in 2.2 innings of work. Right-hander Giovanny Gallegos then threw two, strong shutout innings, walking one. Conner Greene then threw the 11th inning. The right-hander was dominant, throwing a scoreless inning and earning the win for Memphis.

'PEN PICKING UP THE SLACK: Despite a strong performance from last night's starter, the Memphis bullpen was still forced to throw 5.2 innings due to the game going to extra-innings. They were lights-out, allowing just one hit and four walks in the scoreless outing. Wednesday night, Memphis starter Tyler Lyons was pulled after allowing six earned runs in just 1.2 innings of work. The bullpen combined to pitch the rest of the game, allowing four earned runs in 6.1 innings of work. It continued a trend that Memphis has encountered frequently in seven playoff games so far. In the seven games Memphis has played up to this point, the starting rotation in a combined 1-2. Both losses have been charged to Tyler Lyons. In seven games, the starters have combined to throw just 27.2 innings, allowing 18 earned runs on 24 hits and 13 walks, while striking out just 27 batters, giving them an ERA of 5.96. The Memphis bullpen, meanwhile, has picked up the slack. The 'pen is a combined 4-0, combining to throw 32.1 innings, allowing 11 earned runs on 26 hits and 13 walks, while striking out 30 batters, giving them a 3.08 ERA.

DOUBLE PLAYS GALORE: Last night, both Memphis and Fresno played outstanding defense throughout most of the game. Memphis turned four double plays in the game, and Fresno turned three double plays. Memphis' previous high for double plays in a playoff game was three, which they set in 2009. The previous high an opponent had had against Memphis was two double plays, which was set three times in 2000, and once last season.

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 2-1 this season, giving them a combined record of 11-7 in this round. The 'Birds are a combined 4-1 in the opening game of this series after Tuesday night's win.

SHARING THE FUN: Including the postseason, Memphis now has five walk-off wins this season. All five of the walk-off hits have come from different players, and all of them have come since the month of August started. Alex Mejia's bunt single scored Tommy Edman from third last night to give Memphis the win in 11 innings. 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.

BACK-TO-BACK FOR CLAPP: Last week, Redbirds manager Stubby Clapp was named the Pacific Coast League Manager of the Year for the second consecutive season. Last season, he led the Redbirds to a franchise-record 91-50 in his first season at the helm of the 'Birds. They won the PCL Championship, winning 97 total games between the regular-season and playoffs. He became the first manager in Memphis history to win the award last season. This season, Memphis finished this season at 83-57. After winning last Sat. night, the Redbirds clinched their second-consecutive division title for the first time since 2009-2010. Clapp is just the third PCL manager on record to win the award in consecutive seasons, joining Dan Rohn of Tacoma (2004, 2005) and Jim Lefebvre of Phoenix (1985, 1986). With the ninth win of the season this year, he became the fastest manager in both Memphis history, and the 116-year history of the PCL to reach 100 wins. He is 174-107 in two seasons with Memphis, a .619 winning percentage, best in franchise history. He also sits fifth in wins among Redbirds' managers.

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