Game Notes: Memphis Redbirds (57-66) vs Iowa Cubs (66-57)
Memphis Redbirds (57-66) vs Iowa Cubs (66-57)
Saturday, August 17 - 6:35 p.m. (CT) - AutoZone Park (10,000) - Memphis, Tennessee
Game #124 - Home Game #62 (25-36)
RHP Chris Ellis (4-5, 7.04) vs RHP Matt Swarmer (8-10, 5.88)
BY THE NUMBERS
.213 Through 14 games in August, the Redbirds pitching staff has held opponents to a .213 average (95x446), the lowest mark in the Pacific Coast League this month. This number is nearly 30 points lower than 2nd-place El Paso (.242).
0 Number of extra-base hits allowed by the Redbirds after two games in this series against the Cubs. The staff has allowed just seven singles over 18.0 innings of work.
TONIGHT'S GAME: The Memphis Redbirds continue their 11-game homestand in the third of four games against the Iowa Cubs. The Redbirds won last night's contest 8-2 for their sixth win in their last seven games. The 'Birds pitching staff held the Cubs to just four hits on the night and have allowed no extra-base hits in their last two games. Jake Woodford turned in his team-high 11th quality start of the season by blanking the Cubs over 6.0 innings, allowing one hit and matching a season-high with seven strikeouts. Andrew Knizner launched his eighth home run of the year in the fifth to start a four-run frame. Harrison Bader doubled twice and Dylan Carlson had his first two-hit game at the Triple-A level. Tonight's game will be broadcast live on www.memphisredbirds.com with Steve Selby on the call.
ON THE HILL: Right-hander Chris Ellis is scheduled to take the mound in tonight's game and make his 37th appearance and fourth start for the Redbirds in tonight's game. In his last time out in on Sunday at Fresno, Ellis earned the win in the start (5.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R/ER, 2 BB, 9 SO) in the Redbirds' 5-3 victory over the Grizzlies. It was his first win as a starter since Aug. 29, 2018 at Round Rock and it was also his longest outing of the season. The nine strikeouts set a season-high and it was the most batters he had whiffed in a start since fanning eight on Aug. 23, 2018 at New Orleans. Ellis has now allowed two earned runs or fewer in last two starts since joining the Redbirds rotation. He made 14 starts for the 'Birds last season and went 4-4, 4.16 (33 ER/7.1 IP) in 14 starts. Ellis has made four relief appearances against Iowa this season, going a combined 1-1, 5.40 (3 ER/5.0 IP) with four strikeouts and one walk. He last faced the Cubs on July 7 at Principal Park, where he tossed 1.0 innings in relief, allowing one run on two hits in the Redbirds' 8-5 defeat. Ellis' last start against the Cubs came on July 2, 2018 at Principal Park, where he earned the win (5.0 IP, 6 H, 3 R/ER, 2 BB, 4 SO, 1 HR) in the Redbirds' 7-3 triumph. He made his Major League debut this season on March 31 with the Kansas City Royals vs. the Chicago White Sox at Kauffman Stadium, tossing a scoreless ninth inning. He was later returned to the Cardinals via the Rule 5 process on April 9 after being designated for assignment by the Royals on April 3. The Birmingham, Ala., native is in his sixth professional season and his third within the St. Louis organization. He has also spent time in the Los Angeles-AL, Atlanta and Kansas City organizations.
The Cubs are scheduled to start right-hander Matt Swarmer in tonight's contest. The 25-year-old is slated to make his 23rd start and 24th appearance overall for Iowa this season. In his last time out on Sunday vs. Salt Lake, he earned his third-straight win (6.1 IP, 5 H, 2 R/ER, 2 BB, 8 SO) in the Cubs' 5-2 victory over the Bees. It was his second quality start in his last three and his eighth overall this season. He has allowed three earned runs or fewer in three-straight but has allowed at least seven hits in two of his last three starts. Swarmer has also not allowed a home run in back-to-back starts for the first time since May, this after yielding 10 long balls in his previous four starts. In two games, one start against Memphis this season, Swarmer has gone a combined 1-0, 3.27 (4 ER/11.0 IP) and has whiffed seven batters and issued no walks. He last faced the Redbirds on July 5 at Principal Park, tossing 5.0 innings in relief, allowing just one run on four hits in the Cubs' 9-8 victory. He last started against the Redbirds on May 10 at this facility, where he earned the win (6.0 IP, 5 H, 3 R/ER, 0 BB, 3 SO) in the Cubs' 7-4 victory. The Mohnton, Penn., native is in his fourth professional season and has spent them all within the Chicago-NL organization. Last season at Advanced-A Myrtle Beach, he was named a Carolina League Mid-Season All-Star after going 5-2, 2.28 (13 ER/51.1 IP) in nine starts for the Pelicans.
HISTORY WITH IOWA: Memphis has faced off against Iowa every year since 1998 and lead 171-141 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 101-55 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: Jake Woodford surrendered only one hit in 6.0 shutout innings, and Harrison Bader had two doubles while Andrew Knizner hit a three-run home run in an 8-2 win for the Memphis Redbirds over the Iowa Cubs (Cubs) Friday night at AutoZone Park.
Woodford allowed a leadoff single in the top of the fifth inning, but he was promptly erased on a double play. The right-hander finished with seven strikeouts and four walks and earned his eighth win of the season.
Coupled with Daniel Ponce de Leon's start last night, Memphis (57-66) starting pitchers have allowed only three singles in 13.0 innings over the two games against Iowa (66-57) so far this series. Woodford and Ponce de Leon combined to strike out 16 Cubs.
With his two doubles, Bader has now hit in seven-straight games and has at least one knock in 11-of-14 games played in Memphis. Justin Williams, Dylan Carlson, and Jose Martinez also had two-hit games for the Redbirds.
Knizner turned a 2-0 Memphis lead into a 5-0 advantage with a three-run shot into the Memphis bullpen in the bottom of the fifth inning, and every Redbirds position player starter had a hit by the midway point of the game.
After Woodford, Seth Elledge tossed 2.0 innings of relief and Jesus Cruz pitched the ninth.
The Redbirds have now won six of their last seven games.
KINGS OF THE HILL: After falling to a season-low 21 games under .500 following their 11-8 defeat at Round Rock on July 17, the Redbirds have won 19 of their last 26 games and are now nine games under .500, their lowest mark since May 30. Their turnaround has been backed by stellar pitching, as the Redbirds pitching staff leads the Pacific Coast League in several different categories during that span. They lead the PCL in ERA (4.15), hits (202), runs (108), home runs allowed (27), strikeouts (258), WHIP (1.35) and average (.238), while ranking 2nd in earned runs (106) and saves (9). They have also posted three shutouts during that span, one of just two teams in the PCL to have more than one.
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 and a dominant 7.0 two-hit innings on August 9 at Sacramento, Daniel Ponce de Leon dazzled again Thursday night by twirling 7.0 scoreless frames against the Cubs, allowing just two hits and whiffing nine batters. In his last four starts with the Redbirds dating back to June 6 at Tacoma, Ponce de Leon has allowed just five hits in his last 21.0 innings with the Redbirds and has whiffed 30 batters during that span. Through 14 starts with Memphis this season, he has held opponents to a .200 average (53x265), a figure that would lead the Pacific Coast League if he qualified.
ROSTER MOVES: The following roster moves were made prior to Thursday night'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 on August 10 at Fresno, 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 (273), T-7th in hit by pitches (17) and 7th in extra-base hits (118).
'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.
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