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Game Notes: Memphis Redbirds (23-16) vs Nashville Sounds (19-18)

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

Memphis Redbirds (23-16) vs Nashville Sounds (19-18)

Tuesday, May 15 - 11:05 a.m. (CT) - AutoZone Park (10,000) - Memphis, Tennessee

Game #40 - Home Game #20 (11-8)

LHP Austin Gomber (2-2, 4.25 ERA) vs. RHP Daniel Gossett (3-0, 1.93 ERA)

THE GAME

TODAY'S GAME: The Memphis Redbirds and Nashville Sounds will play the series finale of their four-game set today at 11:05 a.m. It is the second time the two teams have met in the last week. Memphis started their eight-game road trip at Nashville last week, and dropped three of four games in the series. Memphis took the series finale in that game 4-1. Yesterday, Memphis held on to an early lead to snap its four-game losing streak and win 2-1 over the Sounds. Today's game will be broadcast on memphisredbirds.com with Steve Selby on the call.

ON THE HILL: Left-hander Austin Gomber is set to take the mound for the Redbirds today. Since tying the franchise record with 16 strikeouts on April 23 at Iowa, Gomber has struggled to remain consistent, taking the loss in his last two starts. In his last start against Oklahoma City, he lasted five innings, allowing four home runs, and six total runs, while striking out eight batters. So far this season, Gomber is 2-2 with a 4.25 ERA in six starts. He has 44 strikeouts in that span, third-best in the PCL. He also owns the third-best strikeouts per nine innings pitched ratio at 11.00, barely behind teammate Jack Flaherty (11.65), who sits in second, and barely ahead of teammate Daniel Poncedeleon (10.90), who sits in fourth.

The Sounds are scheduled to send righty Daniel Gossett to the mound to battle with Gomber. In six appearances and four starts with the Sounds this season, Gossett is 3-0 with a 1.93 ERA. Gossett appeared in relief in one game against the Redbirds last week at Nashville. In that game, he earned the win, pitching 7.0 innings of one-run ball, while striking out nine batters.

HISTORY WITH NASHVILLE: Memphis and Nashville have played every season dating back to 1998. In that span, Memphis has always been affiliated with St. Louis, and Nashville has changed affiliations twice. For the first seven years of the rivalry, they were Pittsburgh's affiliate before becoming Milwaukee's, and now Oakland's. The two teams met just last week for the first time this season. Nashville won three of four games in that series.

BIRD BITES

BARON: Recorded second multi-hit game of the season Wednesday; also recorded first three-hit game since 6/27/17

GARCIA: Recorded his league-leading sixth outfield assist Saturday night, cutting down a runner trying to take third

MARTINEZ: Recorded a ground-rule double and scored in his season-debut with Memphis Saturday night

MEJIA: Notched three hits in Sunday's loss, his first game with three hits since August 27, 2017

MERCADO: Ten stolen bases are second in the PCL; stole nine through first 16 games, and has one in last 18 games

MUNOZ: Went hitless Friday, snapping 10-game hitting streak .385 (15-39); hit first-career grand slam Thursday

O'NEILL: Is 11-for-27 with eight runs scored, six home runs, and eight RBI against Nashville this season

RAVELO: Has hits in nine of last 13 appearances and in 18-of-28 games on the season

SCHROCK: Thursday night, ended 3rd 7-game hitting streak; has K'd in just 9.0 percent of career at-bats (114-1257)

TOVAR: Has seven multi-hit games in last 12 games with a hit, including going 3-for-4 with two RBI in Wednesday's win

VOIT: Eight of 19 total hits this season are doubles, and one is a home run, making 47 percent of his hits for extra bases

WISDOM: Has hit four homers this season, all at home; hit .222 (6-for-27) in seven games on road trip

BY THE NUMBERS

.667 winning percentage in one-run games since start of the 2017 season. Memphis is 36-18 in those games, and is only PCL team with over 30 one-run wins

THE SEASON

ABOUT THE LAST ONE: The Memphis Redbirds snapped their four-game skid yesterday, beating the Nashville Sounds 2-1.

Outfielder Tyler O'Neill did the heavy lifting for the 'Birds. He smacked two solo home runs to give Memphis the only offensive support they needed.

It was O'Neill's third two-home run game this season, and the second time he has homered in three-straight games. He now has 13 long balls on the year.

Memphis starter Dakota Hudson was solid in five innings of work. He allowed just one run on three hits and six walks, while striking out four to earn his fourth win of the season.

Edward Mujica, Ryan Sherriff, and Preston Guilmet combined to toss four shutout innings of relief, allowing a combined one hit, and striking out seven Sounds batters.

Mujica entered the game with the bases loaded in the sixth, and got out of the jam to preserve the lead. Sherriff struck out the side in the seventh, and Guilmet recorded his seventh save of the season.

O'NEILL ON FIRE: Slugging outfielder and Cardinals' No. 4 prospect, Tyler O'Neill blasted his 12th and 13th home runs of the season in yesterday's win. He also hit a home runs on Saturday and Sunday, giving him home runs in three-straight games for the second time this season. O'Neill has now gone deep twice in a game three times this season. With O'Neill's two solo shots yesterday, he now has 13 home runs through his first 27 games of the season. Last season, he didn't hit his 13th home run until his 81st game of the season. Six of his seven home runs since returning from St. Louis have come against the Sounds. He hit two out in the series at Nashville last week. In seven games against the Sounds this season, O'Neill is hitting .407 (11-for-27) with six home runs, one double, and eight RBI. Coming into today's game, O'Neill is second in the league with 13 homers, is second in slugging percentage at .752, and is first in home runs per at-bat ratio at 1/8.08 at-bats. Since being traded from Seattle last year, O'Neill has belted 25 home runs in 64 regular-season games with the 'Birds.

STRONG SHOWING FROM 'PEN: Before yesterday's win, the Memphis bullpen had posted a 12.35 ERA over the team's four-game skid. They had combined to allow 14 earned runs, 16 total runs, in 10.2 innings of work, surrendering the lead in three of four games over the losing streak. Yesterday, after Memphis starter Dakota Hudson loaded the bases with no outs in the sixth, the bullpen came on to close out the game. Edward Mujica was the first man out of the 'pen, striking out the first two batters he faced before getting the third batter to fly out and end the threat. Ryan Sherriff then came on and struck out the side in the 7th, and Preston Guilmet earned his seventh save of the season by pitching the final two frames. The three relief pitchers combined to throw four shutout innings, allowing just one hit, while striking out seven batters.

ONE IS JUST ENOUGH: Since the start of the 2017 season, the Memphis Redbirds are 36-18 in one-run games, by far the best mark in the PCL. After winning their seventh one-run game of the season yesterday, the Redbirds are now 7-3 in one-run games, tied for the third-most one-run wins in the league. This season, Colorado Springs (9-5) and Oklahoma City (8-6) are the only teams in the league with more one-run wins, while Nashville has the same record as Memphis in those games. Last season, the Redbirds went 29-15 in one-run games, a .659 winning percentage. Add in their 7-3 record this season in such games, they post a .667 winning percentage in one-run games, by far the highest mark in the PCL. Reno is the only team remotely close with a .591 (26-18) winning percentage.

PRESS ON, PRESTON: After spending the 2017 season in Japan trying to get his stuff back, reliever Preston Guilmet is turning heads out of the Memphis bullpen. The veteran righty has been manager Stubby Clapp's most reliable arm out of the 'pen. After converting the six-out save yesterday to help Memphis snap its four-game skid, the righty has now converted seven of eight saves this season. So far, he has made 13 appearances, spanning 19.1 innings, allowing just seven hits and three earned runs, all solo homers, while striking out 26 and holding batters to a .111 (7-for-63) average, giving him a 1.40 ERA this season. After his dominating performance yesterday, Guilmet is now tied for second in the PCL with seven saves, leads the league with 12 games finished, leads all relievers in batting average against (.111), is second in lowest walks per nine innings pitched ratio (0.93), and leads all relievers in fewest baserunners per nine innings pitched at a 4.66 mark.

KEEP THE BALL IN, AND HIT IT OUT: Through the first 39 games of the season, the Redbirds have hit 38 home runs, while the pitching staff has allowed just 33 home runs on the season. Only five PCL teams have hit more home runs than the Redbirds have this season. All five teams are west coast teams. Salt Lake leads the league with 66 home runs, while El Paso has hit 62, Las Vegas has 47, Albuquerque has 45, and Sacramento has 42. In addition, only six PCL teams have allowed fewer home runs than the Redbirds pitching staff has. Omaha has given up the fewest home runs in the league with 20, Nashville has allowed 21, Oklahoma City and Tacoma 23, Iowa 24, and Colorado Springs 30, while Round Rock has also allowed 33 homers. So far, Memphis has hit eight of its home runs against Nashville (six by O'Neill) and Iowa, while hitting seven against Oklahoma City, and 13 against Round Rock.

SOMETHING ABOUT NASHVILLE: So far this season, the Redbirds have struggled mightily against the Nashville Sounds. In seven games against the Sounds this season, Memphis is 2-5, and is hitting just .245 against them. They have hit eight homers against the Sounds, and are posting just a .266 on-base percentage, and a 4.50 ERA against them, by far their lowest and highest on-base and ERA marks against any opponents this season. Through 39 games this season, Memphis has faced five opponents and has an above .500 winning percentage against three of them, is notched at exactly .500 with Oklahoma City, but they have just a .286 winning percentage against Nashville. The only team the Redbirds have a lower batting average against is the Omaha Storm Chasers. However, despite their .238 batting average against Omaha, the 'Birds are posting a .306 on-base percentage, and the pitching staff has posted a 2.30 ERA, giving the 'Birds a 5-2 record against the Storm Chasers. The only Redbird who has had consistent success against the Sounds this season is Tyler O'Neill. In seven games against the Sounds this season, he is hitting .407 (11-for-27), with six home runs, and eight RBI.

STRONG STARTERS, SHAKY 'PEN: Through the first 39 games this season, Memphis owns the second-best ERA in the league at 3.50. The starters for Memphis this season are 18-9, with a 2.91 ERA, and 218 strikeouts in 213.2 innings. With its performance yesterday, the bullpen improved slightly, but still sits at 5-7 with a 4.50 ERA and 141 strikeouts in 126.0 innings, while blowing eight of 23 save chances.

BETTER SIDE OF THE STRIKEOUTS: Memphis is among the PCL leaders for strikeouts by the pitching staff, and is towards the bottom of the league in strikeouts by batters. The pitching staff has struck out 358 batters through the first 39 games (9.2/game), which is just behind Fresno (367) for the best mark in the PCL this season. 'Birds batters are also towards the bottom of the league in total strikeouts. After striking out a season-low two times yesterday, Memphis batters have struck out just 270 times through the first 39 games, the lowest mark in the league. Through the first 39 games of the season, three Memphis starters have also set their career-highs in strikeouts. Daniel Poncedeleon set a career-high with 12 strikeouts on April 14 against Iowa, Austin Gomber set his career-high and tied the franchise record on April 23 at Iowa with 16 strikeouts, and Jack Flaherty set his career-high with 13 strikeouts Wednesday at Oklahoma City. Sean Gilmartin also recorded his season-high for strikeouts Sunday, whiffing seven batters.

GILMARTIN'S TURNING IT AROUND: Memphis pitcher Sean Gilmartin got off to a rough start this season, but has turned it around since April 19. Through his first four appearances this season, Gilmartin was 0-1 with a 15.75 ERA in just 4.0 innings of work. Since making a spot-start in the second game of a doubleheader on April 19, Gilmartin has completely turned his season around. In his last seven appearances, four of them starts, Gilmartin is 2-0 with a 1.77 ERA and 15 strikeouts. In yesterday's start, Gilmartin allowed just one run over 5.2 innings of work. He also struck out a season-high seven batters, the most he has struck out since May 25 last year while pitching for Las Vegas. In four starts this season, Gilmartin is 1-0 with a 2.20 ERA in 16.1 innings of work with 11 strikeouts, compared to a 1-1 record with an ERA of 7.88 in seven relief appearances. His 1.77 ERA since April 19 is tied for the best in the PCL.

2017 PCL CHAMPIONSHIP SEASON

START THE SLOW CLAPP: In 2017, first-year skipper Stubby Clapp led the Redbirds to their best season in franchise history. The 'Birds soared to a 91-50 record in the 2017 regular season and added six more wins in the PCL playoffs to win 97 total games on the year. Clapp was named the 2017 PCL Manager of the Year for his efforts, and was also named the 2017 Baseball America Minor League Manager of the Year. Clapp became the first minor league manager in the history of the St. Louis organization to win the Baseball America award. Clapp also earned the organization's prestigious George Kissell award.

FOR THE RECORD:

- Memphis' 91 wins in 2017 were the 10th-most in 119 seasons of professional baseball in Memphis dating back to 1877, and the season's .645 winning percentage was fourth-best

- Memphis was one of four teams in MiLB in 2017 with 90+ wins (Trenton Thunder [AA], 92-48; West Michigan Whitecaps [A], 91-45; Chattanooga Lookouts [AA], 91-49; Memphis Redbirds [AAA], 91-50)

- Memphis went 41 games over .500 during the regular season, the most by a PCL club since Albuquerque was 56 games over at 94-38 in 1981

- The Redbirds won the PCL American Southern Division by 22.0 games, and since divisions were established in the PCL in 1963, only two other teams won their division by 20 or more games (1970 Spokane Indians, 26.0 games; 1981 Albuquerque Dukes, 25.0 games)

- Memphis ended the season with its best ERA in franchise history (3.77) (3.89, 1998 and 2003), matched its best fielding percentage (.984) (.984, 2014), and had its third-best batting average (.278) (.284, 1999; .279, 2004)


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