Game Notes: Memphis Redbirds (39-27) at Albuquerque Isotopes (32-33)
Memphis Redbirds (39-27) At Albuquerque Isotopes (32-33)
Thursday, June 14 - 7:35 p.m. (CT) - Isotopes Park (11,124) - Albuquerque, New Mexico
Game #67 - Road Game #31 (18-12)
RHP Kevin Herget (3-5, 3.46 ERA) vs. RHP David Holman (2-1, 5.61 ERA)
TODAY'S GAME: The Memphis Redbirds and Albuquerque Isotopes will play game two of a three-game set tonight at 7:35 p.m. in Albuquerque. This will be the only time the two teams meet this season. Memphis won the opener 11-0 last night. In 2017, the two split the season series 2-2. Memphis is coming off a 3-1 series loss to the Reno Aces, while Albuquerque is coming off a 3-1 series loss to the Omaha Storm Chasers. Tonight's game is part of a seven-game road trip for the Redbirds that will see them square off with Albuquerque and El Paso. Today's game will be broadcast on memphisredbirds.com with Steve Selby on the call.
ON THE HILL: Right-hander Kevin Herget will take the mound for the Redbirds tonight. Herget will be making his 15th appearance for the 'Birds tonight, and his ninth-consecutive start. As a starter this season, Herget is 2-4 with a 3.65 ERA in 44.1 innings pitched, allowing 49 hits, 18 earned runs, and 12 walks, while striking out 44 batters. The righty is coming off his best start of the season. Last week against Reno, Herget tossed 7.0 shutout innings, allowing just five hits and a walk, while striking out 10 batters for the first time this season. Herget has pitched at least 5.0 innings in all but one of his starts, and has allowed three earned runs or fewer in six of his eight starts. This will be his first-career appearances against Albuquerque.
The Isotopes will send righty David Holman to the mound to face Herget. Holman has made 10 appearances for the Isotopes this season, including a spot-start his last time out. In that start, he gave up five earned runs in 2.1 innings of work against Omaha. On the season, he is 1-1 with a 5.61 ERA in 25.2 innings, allowing 26 hits, 16 earned runs, and nine walks, while striking out 10 batters.
HISTORY WITH ALBUQUERQUE: Memphis and Albuquerque have played every season dating back to 2003. In that span, Albuquerque has been affiliated with three different teams. First, the Miami Marlins, then the Los Angeles Dodgers, and since 2015, the Colorado Rockies. The Isotopes lead the all-time series 109-84 over Memphis, and hold the edge both at home (59-37) and on the road (50-47). Last season, the two teams met for four games in Memphis and split the series 2-2.
AROZARENA: Is just 11-for-56 (.196) in 20 games since being transferred back to Memphis from Springfield
BARON: In Monday's loss, drove in two runs in Memphis' six-run second; first multi-RBI game this season
GARCIA: In Monday's game, cut down a runner trying to go home for his league-leading 10th outfield assist
KELLY: Hitting .333 (7-for-21) in five games since being optioned from St. Louis; four extra-base hits and four RBI
MEJIA: Drove in game winning runs in last two of his last five; last Wednesday was his first multi-RBI game since April 10
MERCADO: Reached base safely in all five plate appearances Saturday night for the first time in his career; 2-for-2, 3 BB
O'NEILL: Hit two home runs last night for the fourth time this season; now has 18 homers between Memphis and St. Louis
RAVELO: Has now hit home runs in three-straight games for the first time in his 10-year career
SCHROCK: Hit .269 (25-for-93) in the month of May after hitting .323 (30-for-93) in April; only five multi-hit games in May
TOVAR: Has two multi-hit games in the last week after going 15 games without a multi-hit performance
URIAS: Saturday night, hit a pinch-hit two-run home run in the eighth inning to put Memphis within striking distance
WISDOM: Hitting .319 (45-for-141) since May 1; has gone hitless in just eight of 39 games since May 1
BY THE NUMBERS
4 multi-home run games for Tyler O'Neill this season. That is the most for a Redbirds' player since Allen Craig accomplished the feat in the 2009 season
ON THIS DATE
In 2017, the 'Birds set a season-high with six home runs in a 10-4 win over Colorado Springs. Luke Voit hit two homers, and went back-to-back with Paul DeJong in the third inning
ABOUT THE LAST ONE: The Memphis Redbirds scored early and often in last night's contest, defeating the Albuquerque Isotopes 11-0 in the series-opener.
Memphis hit five home runs, all solo shots, in the route, its most in a game this season. The Redbirds, who had not hit back-to-back home runs this season, accomplished the feat twice last night.
Tyler O'Neill went deep twice, his fourth game with two home runs this season. Rangel Ravelo hit a homer in his third-straight game, going back-to-back with Adolis Garcia in the second. Patrick Wisdom went back-to-back with O'Neill in the ninth to round off the scoring.
All eight Memphis position players notched a hit in the win, with Oscar Mercado, O'Neill, Ravelo, and Wilfredo Tovar collecting multiple hits. Every player, except Tovar and the pitcher's spot, collected at least one RBI on the night.
Dakota Hudson continued his season-long dominance, pitching 8.0 shutout innings to earn his eighth win of the season.
DOMINANT DAKOTA: Last night's starter Dakota Hudson was dominant once again, earning his eighth win of the season. After Hudson allowed a season-high four earned runs on May 31, taking his second loss of the season, he has been lights-out. Last night, the righty twirled 8.0 shutout innings, allowing four hits and four walks, while striking out six batters. Hudson has now pitched at least 8.0 innings allowing no earned runs three times this season. Hudson now leads all PCL pitchers with eight wins on the season, and is tied with Cole Irvin of Lehigh Valley in the International League, for the most wins in all of Triple-A baseball. Hudson now owns a 2.18 ERA, the best in the PCL. Hudson is also second in the league in innings pitched at 74.1, which also puts him fourth in all of Triple-A baseball. Since May 1, Hudson has been particularly dominant. Among qualified pitchers, Hudson's 1.16 ERA in seven starts since the beginning of May is the best mark in the PCL. In that time frame, he is 5-2 in 46.2 innings pitched, having allowed just six earned runs, while striking out 38 batters. He is also holding opponents to a .199 batting average in that span.
BLASTING OFF: After going five-consecutive games from June 3-8 without a home run, the 'Birds have done nothing but hit home runs. Last night, Memphis went deep five times, the most it had in a game this season. Tyler O'Neill went deep in the first and ninth innings. Rangel Ravelo and Adolis Garcia went back-to-back to lead off the second inning, and Patrick Wisdom followed O'Neill's second homer with a shot of his own, giving Memphis back-to-back bombs for the second time in the game. Since going homerless in five-straight, Memphis has now hit home runs in the last four games. They have hit 11 home runs in that span. Memphis had not hit back-to-back bombs at all this season before accomplishing the feat last night. O'Neill has now hit multiple home runs in four games this season.
ONE RUN OR A SHUTOUT: With last night's 11-0 win over the Albuquerque Isotopes, the Redbirds improved to 7-5 in shutout games this season. The seven shutout wins puts them narrowly ahead of New Orleans and Nashville for the most in the PCL. However, the 'Birds have also been shutout five times this season, putting them tied with Nashville and Omaha for the second-most shutout losses this year, behind Albuquerque's six such losses. In addition, Memphis is also a PCL-best 13-5 in one-run games this season. Memphis is now 10-7 in its last 17 games. Of those 10 wins, five have come in one-run fashion, while five have come in shutout fashion, including the last two. The seven shutout wins this season are tied with Lehigh Valley of the International League for second-most in all of Triple-A, behind only Indianapolis. The 13-5 record in one-run games is also the best mark in all of Triple-A. In last season's record-setting 91-win season, the Redbirds were just 5-2 in shutout games.
STRONG STARTERS: The Memphis starting rotation has been a force to be reckoned with this season, keeping games close. After last night's performance from Dakota Hudson, Memphis starters are now 33-15 with a 2.74 ERA through the first 66 games this season. Through the first 66 games, the starters have pitched 371.2 innings, allowing just 132 total runs, only 113 of which have been earned. In addition, they have walked only 131 batters (2.0/game), and have struck out 382 hitters (5.8/game). Five different Memphis starters have also tied or set their career-high strikeout marks. Daniel Poncedeleon struck out 12 (career-high) on April 14, Austin Gomber struck out 16 (career-high and tied franchise record) on April 23, Jack Flaherty struck out 13 (career-high) on May 9, Alex Reyes struck out 13 (tied career-high) on May 24, and Dakota Hudson set his career-high with nine strikeouts on May 26. Memphis starters have also tossed 34 quality starts, the most in the PCL. They had just 55 quality starts last year. Thanks to the dominance from the starting staff this year, Memphis owns the best team ERA in the league at 3.39 and the second-best in all of Triple-A, behind only Durham (3.32).
TWO HOMERS, AGAIN: In last night's 11-0 win over the Albuquerque Isotopes, Tyler O'Neill hit solo home runs in the first and ninth innings to give him 15 bombs with Memphis this season. O'Neill has also hit three homers with St. Louis, giving him 18 total. It was the fourth time O'Neill had gone deep twice in a game this season. His first inning shot proved to be the only run Memphis needed, as they shutout the opposition. His homer in the ninth was followed by a solo shot from Patrick Wisdom, marking the second time in the game the 'Birds had gone back-to-back. O'Neill has now hit the third-most home runs in the PCL, and the third-most in all of Triple-A. It was the first time O'Neill had hit a home run in a Memphis uniform since May 14 against Nashville.
RAVELO CAN'T BE STOPPED: With last night's home run in the second inning, Rangel Ravelo has hit a home run in three-straight games for the first time in his career. Monday, Ravelo hit a grand slam in the second inning to give Memphis a 6-0 lead, and in Sunday's 6-0 win, Ravelo hit a two-run shot in the first inning, as well. His grand slam in Monday's game was the first of his 10-year career. With four RBI on the day, Ravelo also fell just one RBI short of his career-high of five, which he accomplished on August 30, 2011 with the Kannapolis Intimidators. He has now recorded exactly four RBI in a game six times in his career. It was also the second time this season that Ravelo had homered in consecutive games. Before this season, he had only homered in consecutive games twice in his career, July 31 and August 4, 2014 while with the Birmingham Barons, and July 17 and 18, 2013 while with the Winston-Salem Dash. Almost halfway through this season, Ravelo has seven home runs, the third-best mark of his career. He hit eight home runs with Memphis last year, and with Nashville the year before. He hit a career-high 11 in 2014 with Birmingham.
MERCADO AND WISDOM STILL HOT: In last night's blowout win, Oscar Mercado (2-for-4) and Patrick Wisdom (1-for-4, BB), continued their recent hot-stretches at the plate. Mercado recorded a double, a triple, and a walk, while notching two runs and an RBI. Since snapping an eight-game hitting streak last month and going five games without a hit, Mercado has been on fire as of late. He now has a six-game hitting streak, and his fifth hitting streak of at least five games this season, the most for any Memphis player. Since the calendar flipped to June, Mercado has recorded a hit in 10 of 11 games, and is hitting .333 (14-for-42) with six doubles, a triple, three RBI, and eight walks, while striking out just six times. In the ninth inning last night, Patrick Wisdom launched his eighth homer of the year, and his first since May 26. Since May 1, Wisdom is hitting .319 (45-for-141) with nine doubles, a triple, five home runs, 20 RBI, and 15 walks. In his 39 games since May 1, he has recorded multiple hits in 13 of them, and has gone hitless in just eight games with an official at-bat.
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 584 batters through the first 66 games (8.8/game), which is only behind Fresno (621) for the best mark in the PCL this season. 'Birds batters are also towards the bottom of the league in total strikeouts by hitters. Memphis batters have struck out just 429 times through the first 66 games (6.5/game), not only the lowest mark in the PCL, but also all of Triple-A. Memphis is the only team in Triple-A that has struck out under 440 times this season.
WE LIKE WEDNESDAY: Coming into last night's ballgame, the Redbirds were a perfect 7-0 on Wednesday's this season, and they continued that streak winning 11-0 last night. The 7-0 record is by far their best mark on any day of the week, and since Stubby Clapp took over last season, Memphis is 17-4 on Wednesday.
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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