Game Notes: Memphis Redbirds (55-66) vs Iowa Cubs (66-55)
Memphis Redbirds (55-66) vs Iowa Cubs (66-55)
Thursday, August 15 - 7:05 p.m. (CT) - AutoZone Park (10,000) - Memphis, Tennessee
Game #122 - Home Game #60 (23-36)
RHP Daniel Ponce de Leon (5-4, 3.26) vs RHP Chih-Wei Hu (0-0, 0.00)
BY THE NUMBERS
.405 Edmundo Sosa's batting average over his last 18 games (30x74). He has at least one hit in 17 of those contests, including three doubles and four home runs. He also has 19 RBI during that span.
7 Number of walk-off defeats suffered by the Redbirds this season. It is the most such losses by the Redbirds since the 2015 team had 10 last at-bat losses.
TONIGHT'S GAME: The Memphis Redbirds begin an 11-game homestand with a four-set against the Iowa Cubs starting tonight. The two teams will play each other eight times over the final 19 games of the season. The Redbirds had their four-game winning streak snapped in Tuesday's 8-7 walk-off defeat to the Fresno Grizzlies. It was the Redbirds seventh such defeat this season. The Redbirds scored 15 of their 30 runs during their four-game series with the Grizzlies with two outs. Tonight's game will be broadcast live on www.memphisredbirds.com with Steve Selby on the call.
ON THE HILL: Right-hander Daniel Ponce de Leon is scheduled to take the mound in today's game and make his 14th start with the Redbirds and his 24th appearance overall this season. Ponce de Leon's last start came on Friday at Sacramento, where he earned the win (7.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R/ER, 0 BB, 11 SO) in the Redbirds' 15-0 shut-out victory over the River Cats. It was his first win with the Redbirds since May 22 at Nashville. In his last starts with the Redbirds spanning 14.0 innings, Ponce de Leon has allowed just three hits in 43 at-bats (.070) and he has whiffed 21 batters compared to just six walks issued. His 11 strikeouts against the River Cats set a season-high with the Redbirds and it was the most strikeouts by a Redbirds pitcher this season. That start led him to be named Pacific Coast League Pitcher of the Week for August 5-11. He became the third Redbirds pitcher this season to earn that honor. Prior to his start on August 2 vs. El Paso, Ponce de Leon completed his third Major League stint of the season. During his time with the Cardinals, Ponce de Leon went 1-1, 5.26 (15 ER/25.2 IP) during t from June 24 - August 1, he fanned 28 batters and issued 13 walks in seven games, four starts and yielded an opponent's average of .245 (23x94). On July 4 at Seattle, he earned his first career MLB win, tossing 2.2 scoreless frames in relief while allowing no hits and whiffing three batters. Tonight will be his first start against Iowa since July 1, 2018. In that contest, he earned the win (5.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 4 BB, 8 SO) in the Redbirds' 6-1 victory over the Cubs at Principal Park. Over his last three starts with Memphis, he has lowered his ERA to 3.26, which would rank 1st in the Pacific Coast League if he qualified. He is also yielding an opponent's average of .211 (51x242) at the Triple-A level, which would also rank 1st in the PCL if he qualified. With the win against Sacramento, Ponce de Leon has won 11 of his last 17 decisions at the Triple-A level, dating back to May 30, 2018. The Anaheim, Calif., native was ranked as the No. 15 prospect in the Cardinals system by MLB.com prior to making his second and third stints at the big-league level.
The Cubs are scheduled to start right-hander Chih-Wei Hu in tonight's series opener. The 25-year-old has gone 0-0, 0.00 (0 ER/3.0 IP) in one relief appearance for the Cubs this season. In his last time out on August 8 vs. Las Vegas in his Chicago-NL organizational debut, Hu tossed 3.0 scoreless frames in relief in the Cubs' 4-3 victory over the Aviators. He allowed one hit and fanned one batter in his appearance, but he issued a season-high five walks. Hu began the season at Triple-A Columbus where he went 1-4, 7.95 (43 ER/48.2 IP) in 15 games, seven starts for the Clippers. He was then transferred to Double-A Akron, where he went 0-1, 3.00 (3 ER/9.0 IP) in three, games two starts. He was signed by the Cubs on a minor league contract on August 6 and later assigned to Triple-A Iowa on August 8. Hu is facing the Redbirds for the first time since getting the starting nod in the 2018 Triple-A National Championship Game while with Durham. He was credited with the loss (1.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R/ER, 0 BB, 0 SO) in the Redbirds' 14-4 victory over the Bulls. The Tiachung, Taiwan, native is in his seventh professional season and his first with the Chicago-NL organization. Hu has also spent time at various levels within the Minnesota, Tampa Bay and Cleveland organizations.
HISTORY WITH IOWA: Memphis has faced off against Iowa every year since 1998 and lead 169-141 in the all-time series. In those 21 seasons, the Redbirds have a winning record against the Cubs in 11 seasons and have a losing record in just one season (2015) since 2013. The Redbirds posted their best record against the Cubs last season, going 14-2 overall, 6-2 at AutoZone Park and a whopping 8-0 on the road at Principal Park in Des Moines, Iowa.
Memphis has winning records in downtown Memphis in 17 seasons and has lost two home games each year to the Cubs since 2016. They have not had a losing record at home to the Cubs since 2012. Overall, they lead the series in the Bluff City with a 99-55 advantage.
At Principal Park, the Redbirds have winning records in each of the last two seasons and in three of the last five overall. They also only have winning records in five of 21 seasons in Des Moines, with this two-year stretch being the most successful in team history. They trail in the series there 70-86.
ABOUT THE LAST ONE: Edmundo Sosa tied the game at 7 with a two-run single with two outs in the bottom of the eighth inning, but the Memphis Redbirds were walked off in the bottom of the ninth inning as the Fresno Grizzlies (Nationals) took the series finale Tuesday night in Fresno, Calif., 8-7.
Despite the loss, Memphis (55-66) has won four of its last five games and 10-of-14 overall. The Redbirds have won six of their last seven series.
Sosa finished the game 3-for-5 with a run along with the two RBI, and he has hits in 17 of his last 18 games. John Nogowski was on base five times with a 2-for-2 showing and three walks, and he also drove in two runs. Adolis Garcia was 1-for-4 with a triple and a walk, and he also had an outfield assist at the plate.
The Redbirds scored first to start the game off, but Fresno (55-66) plated three runs in the bottom of the first inning to take a 3-1 lead. Memphis opened a 4-3 lead with three runs in the top of the third, with Nogowski singling home a run and Garcia tripling home a pair.
The Grizzlies then scored a pair of runs in both the fourth and fifth innings, and their 7-4 lead held up to a Memphis run in the seventh on another Nogowski RBI. With two outs in the bottom of the eighth inning, Sosa tied the game with a two-run single to left field that scored Max Schrock and Jose Martinez.
Nogowski walked to lead off the ninth inning, but the Redbirds could not push anything across. A walk and a hit by pitch preceded a Raudy Read double, and the Grizzlies avoided the four-game sweep with a walk-off win.
Genesis Cabrera allowed seven runs on eight hits in 5.0 innings for the Redbirds, and he struck out five. Jesus Cruz, Zac Rosscup, and Dominic Leone fired 3.0 scoreless innings for Memphis, before Chasen Shreve absorbed the loss.
ROSTER MOVES: The following roster moves were made prior to tonight's game: Kramer Robertson was transferred to Springfield and Dylan Carlson was transferred from Springfield.
During his first career stint at the Triple-A level, Robertson posted a slash of .235/.344/.374/.719 over 66 games. He launched five home runs and drove in 24. He drew 27 walks, which ranked seventh on the Redbirds this season.
Carlson is slated to make his Triple-A debut with his first appearance for the Redbirds. The Cardinals No.2 prospect slashed .281/.364/.518/.882 in 108 games with Double-A Springfield. At time of his promotion to Memphis, he led the Texas League with 21 home runs. Carlson also ranked 1st in TL in SLG (.518), runs (81) and XBH (51), 2nd in OPS (.882), 4th in OBP (.364), 6th in hits (117), T-6th in 2B (24), T-6th in 3B (6), 7th in RBI (59) and T-8th in SB (18).
PONCE DE LEON NAMED PITCHER OF THE WEEK: Memphis Redbirds starting pitcher Daniel Ponce de Leon has been named the Pacific Coast League Pitcher of the Week for August 5-11, the league announced Monday.
Ponce de Leon earned the honor after throwing seven scoreless frames and allowing just two hits on Friday's 15-0 Memphis win over the Sacramento River Cats (Giants) in Sacramento. He struck out a season-high 11 batters, which was also the most strikeouts by a Redbirds pitcher this season, and issued no walks.
In his last three starts with Memphis, Ponce de Leon has allowed just three hits and no runs over 14.0 innings of work, whiffing 21 batters compared to issuing six walks.
In 13 starts for the Redbirds this season, Ponce de Leon is 5-4 with a 3.26 ERA with 66 strikeouts in 66.1 innings. He has held opponents to just a .211 average against. If he qualified, Ponce de Leon would have the lowest ERA and lowest average against among PCL league leaders.
REDBIRDS RAKE ON THE ROAD: Not only did the Memphis Redbirds match a season-high by launching five home runs in Saturday night's game, but they also broke the franchise record for most home runs hit on the road in a single season. Adolis Garcia's solo blast in the sixth inning was the team's 91st home run hit on the road this season, breaking the record of 90 set by the 2004 Redbirds.
CLIMBING THE LEADERBOARDS: As Adolis Garcia continues his power surge at the plate, he has entered and climbed into the Top-10 in several batting categories on the Redbirds all-time lists. His home run Saturday was his 50th in his Redbirds career and he is now just one shy of matching Patrick Wisdom or T-4th in franchise history. He ranks 9th with 162 RBI, two shy of matching Pete Kozma for T-8th. He also ranks T-3rd in triples (12), 7th in strikeouts (272), T-7th in hit by pitches (17) and 7th in extra-base hits (118).
PONCE DE LEON DOMINANT AGAIN: After setting the pace with 4.0 no-hit innings on August 4 in Memphis' 2-0 win over El Paso, Daniel Ponce de Leon dazzled again on the mound Friday, holding the Sacramento River Cats to just two hits in 7.0 innings of work, fanning 11 batters and issuing no walks. In his last three starts with the Redbirds dating back to June 6 at Tacoma, Ponce de Leon has allowed just three hits in his last 14.0 innings with the Redbirds and has whiffed 21 batters during that span. Through 13 starts with Memphis this season, he has held opponents to a .211 average (51x242), a figure that would lead the Pacific Coast League if he qualified.
'BIRDS SILENCE BATS: Memphis Redbird pitchers held the El Paso Chihuahuas, one of the most potent offenses in the Pacific Coast League, to just one hit on August 4 in a 2-0 shut-out win. Daniel Ponce de Leon began the game with four hitless frames and fanned eight. Seth Elledge followed and allowed a single to the second batter he faced to end the no-hit bid, but he, Chasen Shreve and Junior Fernandez retired 13 of the next 14 batters to end the game. It was the 12th one-hitter in franchise history and first since Ponce de Leon's solo effort on July 15, 2018 at Omaha.
RANDY REPEATS: After slashing .374/.456/.607/1.063 in 28 games between Double-A Springfield and Triple-A Memphis in June en route to being named Cardinals Minor League Player of the Month, Randy Arozarena won the award for the second-straight month after posting a slash of .378/.455/.592/1.047 in 26 games in July. Arozarena became the third Redbird in franchise history to hit for the cycle on July 26 at Oklahoma City and accomplished that feat in his first four at-bats and had 12 total multi-hit games in July. He has also reached base safely in his last 37 starts and has 15 multi-hit games during that span.
PULLING AN ALL-NIGHTER: On August 1, the Redbirds' game against the Albuquerque Isotopes lasted four hours and seven minutes, making it the longest game of the season for the Redbirds. It also became the second-longest nine-inning game in franchise history, falling just two minutes short of matching the record of 4:09, set on June 15, 2013 against the Isotopes at Isotopes Park. It was also the first four-hour game the Redbirds have played in since June 11, 2017 vs. Nashville in a 12-inning affair.
AROZARENA HITS FOR THE CYCLE: On June 26 at Oklahoma City, Randy Arozarena became the third Redbird in franchise history to hit for the cycle. He opened up the game with a bunt single, doubled in the third, homered in the fourth and completed the cycle with a triple in the fifth. After an 18-year gap between the first two cycles in franchise history (Mark Little, June 23, 2000; Luke Voit, June 30, 2018), the Redbirds have now had a player hit for the cycle in consecutive years. Arozarena's four-hit game that night was his third such game for the Redbirds this season, which leads the team.
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