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Game Notes: Memphis Redbirds (27-38) vs Salt Lake Bees (29-34)

June 12, 2019 - Pacific Coast League (PCL) - Memphis Redbirds News Release

Memphis Redbirds (27-38) vs Salt Lake Bees (29-34)

Wednesday, June 12 - 6:35 p.m. (CT) - AutoZone Park (10,000) - Memphis, Tennessee

Game #66 - Home Game #30 (10-19)

LHP Evan Kruczynski (1-1, 6.00) vs RHP JC Ramirez (0-1, 6.23)

BY THE NUMBERS

.563 Edmundo Sosa's batting average in the four-game series against Reno. He had at least two hits in each contest and finished just a single shy of the cycle on Friday. He raised his batting average from .247 to .280 during the road trip.

3.13 Jake Woodford's ERA. That ranks 3rd in the Pacific Coast League and he has allowed two earned runs or fewer in nine of his 13 starts this season.

3 Runs driven in by Drew Robinson last night, setting a season-high. He also homered twice in the series against Reno.

THE GAME

TONIGHT'S GAME: The Memphis Redbirds open up a seven-game homestand tonight with a three-game set against the Salt Lake Bees. The Redbirds split their four-game set at Reno with last night's 6-4 defeat. Edmundo Sosa was the lone Redbird to have multiple hits last night, going 2-for-4 with a double and a walk. Sosa posted a multi-hit game in each game of the series against the Aces and enters today riding a five-game hitting streak. The Redbirds were 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position and left six men on base. The defense also committed two errors and committed six total in the series, matching a series-high for the season. Tonight's game will be broadcast live on www.memphisredbirds.com with Steve Selby on the call.

ON THE HILL: Left-hander Evan Kruczynski is scheduled to take the mound in tonight's contest and make his fifth Triple-A start and his 13th start overall in the 2019 season across all levels. In his last time out on Friday at Reno, Kruczynski earned his first career Triple-A win (5.0 IP, 6 H, 2 R/ER, 3 BB, 6 SO) in the Redbirds' 10-4 victory over the Aces. His six strikeouts matched a season-high with the Redbirds, as did his three walks. It was his first start at the Triple-A level with allowing two or fewer earned runs. Kruczynski started the year at Double-A Springfield where he went 2-3, 6.64 (29 ER/39.1 IP) in eight starts for the Cardinals. In his last three starts in Springfield, however, Kruczynski allowed two earned runs of fewer in each of those starts. The 24-year-old's last Double-A outing was on May 13 vs. Arkansas, where he earned the victory (7.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R/ER, 3 BB, 9 SO, 1 HR) in the Cardinals' 4-1 victory over the Travelers. It marked his second straight quality start and his second consecutive win, while also setting season-highs in innings pitched and strikeouts. Tonight will be his first time facing Reno in his career. The Franklin, Wisc., native split time between Double-A Springfield and Advanced-A Palm Beach in 2018, combining to go 7-6, 3.50 (45 ER/115.2 IP) in 21 G/GS. Kruczynski is in his third professional season and has spent them all with the St. Louis organization.

The Bees are slated to start right-hander JC Ramirez in tonight's contest. The 30-year-old is scheduled to make his second start at the Triple-A level and his third overall during his current rehab assignment. Prior to his first rehab start on May 30 with Advanced-A Inland Empire, Ramirez had not appeared in a game since April 7, 2018. In his last time out on Wednesday vs. San Antonio, he suffered the loss (4.1 IP, 3 H, 3 R/ER, 3 BB, 2 SO, 1 HR) in the Bees' 9-0 defeat to the Missions. That was the first time since April 20, 2016 that Ramirez had pitched at the Triple-A level and was the most innings he has pitched since tossing 4.2 on April 2, 2018. Ramirez made just two starts in 2018 with the Los Angeles Angels, where he went 0-2, 9.45 (7 ER/6.2 IP) in just two starts. He was diagnosed with a torn UCL following his start on April 7 and would later undergo Tommy John surgery. He missed the last six weeks of 2017 season with a partially torn UCL, but did not undergo the procedure. In his Major League career, Ramirez has gone 15-19, 4.72 (147 ER/280.1 IP) in 137 games, 26 starts. The Managua, Honduras, native is in his 14th professional season and his fourth with the Los Angeles-AL organizations. He has also spent time in the Seattle, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Arizona and Cincinnati systems at various levels.

HISTORY WITH SALT LAKE: The Redbirds have faced off against the Salt Lake Bees every year since 1998 following the Pacific Coast League expansion. The Bees have been Los Angeles-AL's Triple-A affiliate the entirety of that span. The Redbirds lead in the all-time series 57-42, leading at AutoZone Park by a 27-21 margin and leading at Smith's Ballpark 30-21. The Redbirds have winning records in each of the last two seasons against the Bees and have not had a losing record against them since 2012. The Redbirds are 6-2 in their last eight games here at this facility.

The two clubs have met one time in the playoffs, in the 2000 PCL Championship. The Redbirds won the series 3-1 over the Buzz, famously ending the series in Game 4 on a walk-off home run by Albert Pujols in the 13th inning.

THE SEASON

ABOUT THE LAST ONE: The Memphis Redbirds (27-38) led early, fell behind, and battled back, but ultimately lost in the series finale at the Reno Aces (Diamondbacks), 6-4, Monday night in Reno, Nev.

Memphis went 4-3 on its seven-game road trip to Tacoma and Reno.

The game began in solid fashion, as Edmundo Sosa singled to start the game and Drew Robinson followed with a two-run home run. The blast was Robinson's sixth of the season.

But the Aces (28-36) came right back and scored three runs in the bottom of the first and two more in the bottom of the second to take a 5-2 lead after two frames.

The Redbirds began to chip away in the top of the fifth, scoring a run on a Rangel Ravelo RBI groundout and another run in the top of the seventh on a Robinson sacrifice fly.

With the score 5-4, the Aces plated an insurance run in the bottom of the seventh off Chris Ellis, which proved to be enough to seal the victory.

Memphis brought the tying run to the plate in the top of the ninth after a Kramer Robertson single with one out, but a popout and a flyout ended the game.

Jake Woodford started for the Redbirds and gave up five runs, but just two earned, on five hits in 4.0 innings. He struck out three and walked four. Tommy Layne and Jesus Cruz came after Woodford and tossed 2.0 shutout innings, and Dominic Leone finished the game after Ellis allowed the seventh-inning run.

Robinson's three RBI led the Memphis offense. Sosa was 2-for-4 with a double, a walk and two runs, and Robertson also crossed the plate. Evan Mendoza added a pinch-hit double.

The Redbirds were 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position.

RENO SERIES WRAP: The Memphis Redbirds split their four-game set with the Reno Aces to close out their seven-game road swing. The Redbirds have not won a series against the Aces since 2009 and have tied in five of their nine series on the road this season. They end their road trip with a 4-3 record.

The Redbirds scored 24 runs in the four games, including a 10-run outburst in the series opener. The offense slugged a total of six homers and collected 16 extra-base hits overall. Against Reno pitching, Memphis slugged their way to a .272 average (40x147) and had 12 players pick up multi-hit performances.

Edmundo Sosa came just a single shy of hitting for the cycle in the series opener, after posting the same performance on Thursday at Reno, and recorded at least two-hits in each game of the series. His 15 total multi-hit games lead the current Redbirds roster. John Nogowski and Rangel Ravelo each had four-hit games in the series opener, matching Lane Thomas' season-high. Ravelo finished the series going 7-for-14 (.500) with a double and five RBI. Drew Robinson drove in a season-high three runs in last night's series finale and homered for the sixth time this season. Prior to being placed on the 7-Day Injured list today, Robinson had hit safely in five straight games. Adolis Garcia drove in three more runs in the series, bringing his season total to a team-high 45. That figure also ranks 12th in the Pacific Coast League.

The 'Birds starting staff went 2-2, 4.00 (8 ER/18.0 IP) fanning 27 batters while issuing 13 walks. The starters allowed just a single home run in the series and the Redbird pitching staff as a whole allowed just two in the four games. While no starter posted a quality start, Evan Kruczynski and Genesis Cabrera each posted outings of at least 5.0 innings and two earned runs allowed or fewer. Cabrera and Alex Reyes each fanned at least eight batters in their starts, with Reyes becoming the first Redbird starter this season to post 10 strikeouts. The Memphis bullpen went 0-0, 2.81 (5 ER/16.0 IP) with 22 strikeouts. After lasting just 0.2 innings in his start on June 5 at Tacoma, Anthony Shew made an appearance out of the bullpen on Sunday, tossing 2.2 innings and allowing two runs on three hits. In Saturday's contest, Chris Ellis and Chasen Shreve each fanned four batters in 2.0 innings of work, as Redbird pitching fanned a season-high 18 in the contest.

ROSTER MOVES: Prior to tonight's game, Andrew Knizner and Hunter Cervenka return to the Redbirds after brief stints away from the team and Randy Arozarena was transferred from Springfield, in line to make his 2019 Memphis debut. Jose Godoy was transferred back to Springfield and Drew Robinson was placed on the 7-Day Injured List.

In his first Major League stint, Knizner went 0-for-7 in two starts, but was 1-for-1 in CS/SB ATT during that span. Knizner is slashing .286/.355/.450/.805 in 37 games with Memphis this season.

Cervenka missed 18 games while on the IL with the Redbirds going 4-14. He leads Redbird relievers with a 2.21 ERA out of the bullpen.

Randy Arozarena, the co-MVP of the Pacific Coast League playoffs last season, makes his return to Memphis after beginning the season on the IL followed by a 28-game stint at Double-A Springfield where he slashed .309/.422/.515/.938.

CABRERA RETURNS: In his first start with Memphis since May 21, Genesis Cabrera continued right where he left off Sunday at Reno, allowing just one run on six hits while fanning eight batters. Cabrera has allowed two earned runs or fewer in three straight starts and in five of eight starts overall. In his last three outings, the 22-year-old has brought his ERA down to season-low 5.84. He has whiffed 18 batters and issued just five walks in that span.

EDMAN GETS THE CALL: Prior to Saturday's contest, infielder Tommy Edman had his contract purchased by the St. Louis Cardinals and would later make his Major League debut that night in the Cardinals' game against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field, striking out in a pinch-hit appearance. Edman leads the Redbirds in batting average, OPS, hits, triples and stolen bases, and ranks second in runs and doubles. He also ranks third in home runs and RBI.

REYES HITS DOUBLE DIGITS: For the first time in 2019 and the 14th time in his career, Alex Reyes struck out at least 10 batters in a start with his 10 strikeout performance on Saturday. He has three such games with Memphis. In his last 11 starts overall, Reyes has fanned 10+ four times, including a stretch of three straight at various levels from May 14-24, 2018 while on rehab assignment. Last night, he became the first Redbirds pitcher to record at least 10 punch outs since Kevin Herget struck out 11 on July 19, 2018 vs. Iowa.

BATS BREAKING OUT: In Friday's game at Reno, the Redbird offense had at least 10 hits in a contest for the third time through four games of their seven-game road trip. Prior to Tuesday's game at Tacoma where the Redbirds collected 13 hits, the offense had gone 12 consecutive games without reaching the 10-hit mark. During the seven-game road swing, the Redbirds batted .306 (78x255) and hit 11 home runs. John Nogowski and Rangel Ravelo have each picked up their first four-hit game of the season during this span as well, matching a team-high this year.

RAVELO STAYS HOT: After hitting a career-low .173 (13x75) in the month of April at the Triple-A level, Rangel Ravelo stayed hot all of May, going 38-for-99 (.384) in 28 games. Ravelo had five three-hit games last month and already has one in June, compared to just one in 21 games in April. In Friday's contest at Reno, he had his first four-hit game since June 24, 2018 vs. New Orleans. He had his 19-game hitting streak snapped May 25. He had homered four times during that span. He came just one game shy of matching the franchise record is 20 games, set by Adam Kennedy from June 28 - Aug. 12, 1999. Despite having his hitting streak ended, Ravelo has still hit safely in 29 of his last 36 games with an official at-bat. The 27-year-old has raised his batting average to .310 on the season and is getting on base at a .391 clip.

MAY RECAP: The Redbirds finished May with a 10-21 record, going 4-12 at AutoZone Park and 6-9 on the road. This is the just the second time since 2017, that the Redbirds have posted a losing record in a month, the last being August 2018. It is also the second time during that span that the 'Birds have had losing records at home or away. The 35 home runs slugged by the Redbirds ranks T-2nd for home runs in May, falling just three home runs shy of matching the 1999 franchise record of 38 homers in May.


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