Game Notes: Memphis Redbirds (59-67) vs Round Rock Express (76-49)
Memphis Redbirds (59-67) vs Round Rock Express (76-49)
Monday, August 19 - 6:35 p.m. (CT) - AutoZone Park (10,000) - Memphis, Tennessee
Game #126 - Home Game #64 (27-36)
RHP Daniel Ponce de Leon (6-4, 2.95) vs RHP Jose Urquidy (4-2, 5.16)
BY THE NUMBERS
37 Number of consecutive starts that Randy Arozarena has reached base safely. During this span, Arozarena is batting .397 (60x151) and has scored 33 runs.
10 Hits by Dylan Carlson in his first five games at the Triple-A level. The Cardinals No. 2 prospect has at least two hits in four-straight games and he blasted his first Redbird home run in Sunday's contest.
TONIGHT'S GAME: The Memphis Redbirds continue their 11-game homestand in the second of four games against the Round Rock Express. The Redbirds had their four-game winning streak snapped in last night's series opener, 5-4. Genesis Cabrera turned in his fifth quality start of the season, but the offense was held to their lowest run total since August 8. Harrison Bader launched a two-run shot in the sixth for his fourth home run in his last four games. Dylan Carlson had his first three-hit game of his Triple-A career and he has hit safely in all five games with the Redbirds this season. 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 tonight's game and make his 15th start with the Redbirds and his 25th appearance overall this season. Ponce de Leon's last start came on Thursday's series opener vs. Iowa, where he earned the win (7.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R/ER, 2 BB, 9 SO) in the Redbirds' 5-0 shut-out victory over the Cubs. Ponce de Leon has now won each of his last two starts and 12 of his 18 decisions overall at the Triple-A level, dating back to May 30, 2018. In his last four starts with the Redbirds spanning 21.0 innings, Ponce de Leon has allowed just five hits in 66 at-bats (.076) and he has whiffed 30 batters compared to just eight walks issued. He has fanned at least eight batters in each of his three starts. His 11 strikeouts against the Sacramento River Cats on August 9 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 second start against Round Rock this season. He last faced the Express on April 12 at Dell Diamond, where he took no-decision (5.2 IP, 7 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 3 SO) in the Redbirds' 4-2 defeat. Over his last three starts with Memphis, he has lowered his ERA to 2.95, which would rank 1st in the Pacific Coast League if he qualified. He is also yielding an opponent's average of .200 (53x265) at the Triple-A level, which would also rank 1st in the PCL if he qualified. 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 Express are scheduled to start right-hander Jose Urquidy in tonight's contest. The 24-year-old is scheduled to make his 11th start and 12th appearance for Round Rock and his 24th appearance overall this season across all levels this season. Urquidy has gone 4-2, 5.16 (34 ER/59.1 IP) in his 11 outings for the Express and is allowing a .248 opponent's average (58x234). In his last time out on Tuesday at Albuquerque, Urquidy earned the win in his start (6.0 IP, 5 H, 1 R/ER, 1 BB, 9 SO, 1 HR) in the Express' 4-2 victory over the Isotopes. It was the eighth time with Round Rock this season that Urquidy has fanned at least seven batting in an outing. It was also his first quality start since July 26 while pitching for the Astros. He has made quality starts in four of his last six starts with the Express. In five starts at the Major League level this season, he has gone 1-1, 5.87 (15 ER/23.0 IP) and has fanned 24 batters compared to just four walks issued. Urquidy made his MLB debut on July 2 at Colorado, taking no-decision (3.2 IP, 6 H, 2 R/ER, 1 BB, 4 SO) in the Astros' 9-8 victory over the Rockies. He began the season at Double-A Corpus Christi where he went 2-2, 4.09 (15 ER/33.0 IP) in seven games, six starts. Tonight will be his second start against Memphis this season. He last faced the Redbirds on July 15 at Dell Diamond, where he suffered the loss (5.0 IP, 7 H, 8R/ER, 1 BB, 5 SO, 4 HR) in the Express' 8-6 defeat. Urquidy is in his fifth professional season and he has spent them all within the Houston organization.
HISTORY WITH ROUND ROCK: The two clubs have met every year since 2005, with the Redbirds taking a slight 124-110 edge overall. The 'Birds also hold a 63-52 advantage at AutoZone Park and have gone 11-6 in downtown Memphis the past two seasons. The Redbirds and Express finished all-square at 8-8 in 2018, which was only the second time in 14 seasons that the two teams had split the season series. Memphis has not lost a season series to Round Rock since 2015.
On the road at Dell Diamond, the Redbirds have a slim 61-58 advantage, but have gone 11-4 at this facility the past two seasons. The Redbirds and Express finished all-square at 8-8 in 2018, which was only the second time in 14 seasons that the two teams had split the season series. Memphis has not lost a season series to Round Rock since 2015.
After eight years as the Rangers Triple-A affiliate, the Express are the Astros top affiliate for the first time since 2010. The Express spent their first six years in the Pacific Coast League as the Astros Triple-A team, where the Redbirds went 55-38 from 2005-10, including 12-4 in each of the last two seasons before the Express switched affiliations.
ABOUT THE LAST ONE: The Memphis Redbirds had the tying run on second base with one out in the bottom of the ninth inning Monday night at AutoZone Park, but he was thrown out at the plate trying to score on a base hit before a pop-out ended the game with the first-place Round Rock Express (Astros) on top, 5-4.
Ramon Urias and Max Schrock had back-to-back singles with one out in the bottom of the ninth, and Dylan Carlson followed with a single to right field but Urias was erased at the plate trying to score from second. Harrison Bader popped out to end the ballgame.
Carlson was 3-for-4 with a walk and two runs scored in the game, and he has a hit in all five games he has played in Memphis with multiple hits in each of the last four. Bader homered in the bottom of the sixth inning to put the Redbirds on the board, which was his seventh in the last nine games. He is now on a nine-game hitting streak.
Genesis Cabrera allowed single runs in the first, third, and fifth innings and finished with two earned runs in 6.0 innings. He walked three and struck out five. Seth Elledge allowed two runs in 2.0 innings of relief, and Chasen Shreve struck out two in the top of the ninth to set up the comeback.
Bader and Justin Williams had outfield assists in the game for the Redbirds, who have won eight of their last 10 games.
Chas McCormick was 2-for-4 with three runs scored and two RBI for the Express (76-49).
ROSTER MOVES: The following roster moves were made prior to tonight's game: Harrison Bader was recalled by St. Louis and Randy Arozarena was optioned by St. Louis.
In his 16-game stint with the Redbirds, Bader slashed .317/.427/.698/1.125 and blasted seven home runs while drving in 15. His home run last night was the third time in his last four games that he had gone yard and it extended his hitting streak to nine games. He is one of just three Redbirds players this season to have multiple two-home run games.
Arozarena returns from his first Major League stint of his career. He made his MLB debut on August 14 at Kansas City and went 2-for-4 with an RBI in that contest. The 24-year-old is the two-time reigning Cardinals Minor League Player of the Month, posting an impressive slash line of .368/.442/.562/1.004 in 52 games for the Redbirds this season.
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 21 of their last 28 games and are now seven games under .500, their lowest mark since May 28. The 21 wins are the most by any team in the Pacific Coast League and they are the only team with more than 20 wins during that span. Their turnaround has been backed by stellar pitching, as the Redbirds pitching staff leads the PCL in several different categories. They lead the league in ERA (4.14), hits (226), runs (121), earned runs (118) home runs allowed (31), strikeouts (283), WHIP (1.34) and average (.239), while ranking T-2nd in saves (9). They have also posted three shutouts during that span, one of just three teams in the PCL to have more than one.
SOSA CONTINUES SURGE: Following his return from a brief three-game stint with the St. Louis Cardinals on July 21, Edmundo Sosa has been dominant at the plate for the Redbirds and has played a large part in their late-season turnaround. In his last 23 games, Sosa has posted a slash of .383/.410/.585/.995 and has hits in 21 of those contests. His average ranks T-5th in Pacific Coast League over that time frame. He has four doubles, five home runs and 22 RBI during that span, and has multi-hit performances in 10 games. He has also raised his batting average from .252 to .283.
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.
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 on August 12.
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 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 night was his 51st in his Redbirds career, matching Patrick Wisdom for T-4th in franchise history. His two RBI on Saturday also moved him into T-8th with Pete Kozma at 164. He also ranks T-3rd in triples (12), 7th in strikeouts (275), T-7th in hit by pitches (17) and 6th in extra-base hits (119).
'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.
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