Game Notes: Memphis Redbirds (56-34) at Omaha Storm Chasers (40-48)
Memphis Redbirds (56-34) vs Omaha Storm Chasers (40-48)
Thursday, July 12 - 7:05 p.m. (CT) - Werner Park (9,023) - Papillion, Nebraska
Game #91 - Road Game #46 (29-16)
LHP Austin Gomber (5-3, 3.57 ERA) vs. RHP Zach Lovvorn (1-1, 4.76 ERA)
TODAY'S GAME: The Memphis Redbirds and Omaha Storm Chasers will kick off a four-game set tonight at 7:05 p.m. It is the last series the two teams will play against each other this season. They played a five-game series right before the All-Star break. In that series, Omaha won the first two games before Memphis closed out the series with three-straight wins. With a win tonight, the Redbirds will have won seven-consecutive road games for the first time this season. Today's game will be broadcast on www.memphisredbirds.com and on KTRS 550 AM in the St. Louis area with Steve Selby on the call.
ON THE HILL: Left-hander Austin Gomber will take the mound for the 'Birds tonight, making his first start since May 27 against Colorado Springs. Gomber spent the last month on St. Louis' roster, pitching out of the bullpen. In 15 appearances with the Cardinals, spanning 14.1 innings, Gomber was 0-0 with a 3.77 ERA. He allowed six runs on 11 hits in his appearances, walking eight and striking out 11 batters. Gomber's most recent appearance with Memphis came in relief on July 8 against Omaha. In that appearance, he took the win, pitching 3.0 innings and allowing one hit. It was the first relief appearance in his Minor League career. In nine starts and 10 appearances with the Redbirds this season, Gomber is 5-3 with a 3.57 ERA and 67 strikeouts.
The Storm Chasers will send right-hander Zach Lovvorn to the mound to battle Gomber. Lovvorn has made two starts with Omaha this season, both coming against Memphis. In his first start, he took the loss, allowing six earned runs on eight hits in 5.1 innings. In his last start against the 'Birds, coming on July 5, he took the win. In that game, he threw 6.0 scoreless innings, allowing just four hits and three walks.
HISTORY WITH OMAHA: Memphis and Omaha have played every year dating back to 1998 when Memphis joined the PCL. In the all-time series, the Redbirds own the winning record at 158-139. Memphis owns the all-time records both at home and on the road with 84-67 and 74-72 records, respectively. In 12 games against the Storm Chasers this season, Memphis owns an 8-4 record. They swept the first series 3-0 before splitting the second series 2-2, and winning the third one 3-2. So far this season, the 'Birds are out-hitting and out-pitching the Storm Chasers. Memphis has a .245 average compared to their .214 mark, and a 2.11 ERA compared to their 2.91 mark.
AROZARENA: Tues. night, hit two-run home run in the second inning, his 4th with Memphis; hit three over last road trip
BARON: Currently has a five-game hitting streak, his longest of year and longest since 6-game streak April 16-May 5, 2017
GARCIA: Fri. night, went 3-for-4 at the plate, hitting his 10th home run of the season; hitting .284 27-for-95 since June 1
KELLY: Is hitting .375 (15-for-40) over last 10 games; has hits in eight of those games and multiple in six of them
MEJIA: After driving in a run in Sunday's win, has 12 RBI in last 22 games after having just eight in his firs 46 games
MERCADO: Now has 22 steals this season, the second-most in the PCL and the fifth-most in a season in Redbirds history
RAVELO: Recently won Cardinals Minor League Player of the Month honors after hitting .449 (31-for-69) in 20 June games
SCHROCK: Finished the first-half of the season hitting .281 with 20 multi-hit games in his first Triple-A season
SOSA: Is hitting .268 (82-for-306) in 80 games between Double-A Springfield and Triple-A Memphis this season
TOVAR: Is hitting .348 (16-for-46) over last 13 games; recently snapped a season-long nine-game hitting streak
VOIT: Now has five home runs in last 13 games after having one through first 34 with Memphis; Hit for the cycle on June 30
WISDOM: Was recently named an All-Star for the first time in his career and participated in Triple-A Home Run Derby
BY THE NUMBERS
56 wins through 90 games is the second-best mark in franchise history, just behind the 2017 team's 57 wins through 90 games, and just ahead of the 2000 team's 55 wins
ABOUT THE LAST ONE: The Memphis Redbirds won last the final game before the All-Star Break 4-3 Sunday against Omaha.
Starter Dakota Hudson pitched just four innings in anticipation of his All-Star Game start. He allowed two runs on six hits and one walk in the outing, while striking out two batters.
The 'Birds started the scoring early, notching two runs in the first inning. Max Schrock singled to lead off before Rangel Ravelo doubled him home. Ravelo later scored on Alex Mejia's single.
The game was tied at 2-2 until the sixth inning. Luke Voit homered to lead off to give the 'Birds the lead. Oscar Mercado then doubled and scored on Randy Arozarena's single.
Austin Gomber earned the win in relief, pitching 3.0 innings, allowing one run and striking out four batters.
WELCOME BACK, AUSTIN: In the last game before the All-Star Break on Sunday, pitcher Austin Gomber made his first appearance with Memphis in over a month. Gomber was sent back to Memphis from St. Louis last week to get stretched out after appearing strictly in relief with the Cardinals. On Sunday, Gomber earned the win over Omaha, pitching 3.0 innings. He allowed three hits and one run in the outing, while striking out four batters. Gomber will return to the Memphis rotation tonight against the Storm Chasers. In three appearances against Omaha this season, Gomber is 2-0 with a 3.33 ERA in 16.2 innings. With the Redbirds this season, he is 5-3 with a 3.57 ERA and 67 strikeouts. The 67 strikeouts with Memphis are fourth-most on the team after Daniel Poncedeleon, Dakota Hudson, and Kevin Herget, all of whom have made more appearances. Between St. Louis and Memphis, Gomber is 5-3 with a 3.61 ERA in 25 appearances, spanning 72.1 innings. He has 77 strikeouts on the season, as well.
PRODUCTION FROM THE WHOLE ORDER: In Sunday's win, the Redbirds collected nine hits, seven of the nine batters recording at least one, and Rangel Ravelo and Oscar Mercado recording two apiece. Each of the Redbirds' runs were also driven in by four different batters. Rangel Ravelo doubled in the first to score Max Schrock, and then came around to score on Alex Mejia's single. Luke Voit led off the sixth inning with his sixth homer of the year to give Memphis a 3-2 lead. Later in the inning, Oscar Mercado doubled, and came around to score on Randy Arozarena's single, which provided the winning run. Mercado now leads the team with 26 multi-hit games this season, while Ravelo has 18, fourth-most on the team. Mejia now has 12 RBI in his last 22 games after having just eight in his first 46 contests this season. Voit now has five home runs in his last 13 games after having just one through his first 34 games with Memphis this season.
SPEED DEMONS: In the last game before the All-Star Break, the Redbirds stole three bases. Memphis now has 78 steals as a team this season after having just 84 all of last season. The 78 steals are second-most in the PCL, behind only Colorado Springs' 118. It is also the third-most steals in all of Triple-A. Buffalo of the International League has 81 as a team. The 'Birds have stolen at least one base in 47 of their 90 games this season, including 18 games with multiple steals, and eight games with three or more steals. They set a season-high with five steals as a team on April 14 against Iowa. Individually, Oscar Mercado leads the charge with 22 steals, second-most in the PCL and second-most in all of Triple-A. The 22 steals are tied for the fifth most steals in a season in Redbirds history. With two steals in Sunday's game, Randy Arozarena now has 11 steals on the season, including one game in which he swiped three bases. Wilfredo Tovar, who also had a three-steal game, Adolis Garcia, and Patrick Wisdom are third on the team with nine apiece. Max Schrock has seven, and Alex Mejia, who has stolen four bases in his last six games, now has six on the season. Of PCL teams that have stolen at least 60 bases this season, the Redbirds have been caught the fourth-fewest times (25). The Redbirds have been successful 75.7% of their stolen base attempts.
ALL GOOD THINGS MUST END: In Sunday afternoon's win, infielder and sometimes outfielder, Wilfredo Tovar went 0-for-4 at the plate, snapping his season-long nine-game hitting streak. Over the nine game stretch, Tovar was hitting .419 (13-for-31), scoring six runs and driving in two runners, while walking three times and striking out just twice. He had recorded multiple hits in four of those nine games. Tovar has been playing well since the middle of June after struggling through all of May and the first half of June. From May 1 to June 16, he appeared in 37 games, hitting just .223 (27-for-121). In 13 games since then, he is hitting .348 (16-for-46), while recording hits in 11 of the games, and multiple hits in five of them. He fell just one game short of becoming the fourth Memphis player to record a 10-game hitting streak this season. He would have joined Patrick Wisdom (16), Tyler O'Neill (10), and Yairo Munoz (10).
BARON FINDING SOME CONSISTENCY: After going 1-for-4 at the plate in Sunday's win, backup catcher Steven Baron now has a hit in each of his last five games, dating back to June 22. It is tied for his second-longest streak since April 16 to May 5 last season when he hit in six-straight games. Baron now has hits in eight of his last 10 games.
KELLY ON FIRE AT THE PLATE: After going 3-for-4 at the plate Saturday night and scoring a run, catcher Carson Kelly is now hitting .283 on the season with Memphis. Kelly has been particularly strong at the plate as of late. After going six-straight games without a hit from June 17-25, Kelly has appeared in 10 games and is hitting .375 (15-for-40) in that span. He has recorded hits in eight of those 10 games, and multiple hits in six of them. Since June 26, Kelly has scored six times, has hit two doubles and two home runs, while driving in seven runners. He has a .403 on-base percentage in that span, and a .575 slugging percentage.
BULLPEN SOLID, AGAIN: After tossing five innings of one-run ball on Sunday, the Memphis bullpen continued its recent dominance. Over the last 10 games, the Memphis bullpen has combined to throw 31.0 innings allowing just three earned runs. Before Friday night's ninth inning homer, the last earned run they allowed was on June 30 in the fifth inning of their game at Iowa. Since the fifth inning on June 30, they have allowed just 18 hits, and six walks, while striking out 37 batters. Dating back to June 28 against Colorado Springs, 11 Redbirds relievers have made at least one appearance out of the bullpen, combining to pitch 34.2 innings, allowing just 22 hits, six walks, six runs, three earned, all while striking out 41 batters. They hold a record of 2-1 with five saves in that span.
GREAT PITCHING ALL AROUND: After allowing just three runs Sunday, the Redbirds' pitching staff continued its season-long dominance on the mound. The entire pitching staff owns the best ERA in the league at 3.41, 0.51 points lower than the next closest team, Oklahoma City. The 'Birds staff has pitched the second-most innings this season at 792.2, while allowing the second-fewest hits at 740. They have also allowed the third-fewest walks with 276, and own the second-most strikeouts at 777 through 90 games, 8.6 per game. The pitching staff has also allowed just 350 total runs this season, the fewest in the league, and 14 fewer than Oklahoma City, the next closest team. Memphis, Oklahoma City, and Fresno are the only three teams in the league that have allowed fewer than 400 runs this season. The Redbirds have now allowed 300 earned runs, becoming the final team in the league to allow 300 earned runs. They have allowed 24 fewer runs than Oklahoma City, the next closest team.
HIGHLIGHTS FROM ALL-STAR WEEK: The Redbirds had three participants in the Triple-A All-Star Game this season. Pitchers Dakota Hudson and Daniel Poncedeleon, and infielder Patrick Wisdom were the participants. The game, which took place last night, saw the PCL win 12-7 over the International League. In the game, Hudson got the start and the win, throwing one inning, allowing one run on three hits, while striking out one batter. Poncedeleon pitched one inning in relief, striking out the side on 15 pitches, nine of which went for strikes. Wisdom came in as a pinch-hitter and then defensive replacement in the sixth inning. He went 0-for-2 at the plate with a strikeout. Wisdom also participated in the Triple-A Home Run Derby on Monday. Wisdom earned eight points in the first round, falling just short of advancing to the final round. None of the PCL competitors made it to the finals, however former Redbird Chad Huffman, now with Toledo, took home the title.
RACKING UP THE HONORS: Recently, pitcher Dakota Hudson and infielder/outfielder Rangel Ravelo were named the Cardinals Minor League Pitcher and Player of the month for June. In June, Hudson went 5-0 with a 1.06 ERA in five starts. He is now 12-2 on the year, with a 2.33 ERA. His 12 wins lead all of Minor League Baseball, while his ERA is second in the PCL. Ravelo was virtually unstoppable at the plate in June. In 20 games, he hit .449 (31-for-69) with three doubles, a triple, six home runs, 23 RBI, and 11 walks, while striking out just four times. He hit safely in 14 of his 20 games in the month, and recorded multiple hits in 11 of those contests. Earlier this season, pitcher Austin Gomber won Cardinals Minor League Pitcher of the Month for April after striking out 16 batters on April 23. Earlier this season, Gomber also won PCL Pitcher of the Week honors twice. Those honors came for the weeks of April 23-29 and May 21-27.
Three Memphis players were also named to the PCL All-Star roster. Hudson, fellow starter Daniel Poncedeleon, and slugger Patrick Wisdom were all named to the team. Hudson was named the starter for the Pacific Coast League, earning the win in one inning of work. Last week, Hudson and Memphis outfielder Randy Arozarena were named to the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game, and Patrick Wisdom was named a participant in the Triple-A Home Run Derby. Wisdom became the first Memphis player to ever participate in the event. For the Futures Game, Hudson will be a participant for the U.S. Team, while Arozarena will play for the World Team. It is the first time the Redbirds have had multiple participants in the game since 2016 when Carson Kelly and Alex Reyes participated. Memphis has now had at least one player selected to the game in three-consecutive years for the first time in franchise history. Pitcher Jack Flaherty was the team's representative last season.
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