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Game Notes: Memphis Redbirds (63-67) vs Omaha Storm Chasers (55-74)

August 24, 2019 - Pacific Coast League (PCL) - Memphis Redbirds News Release

Memphis Redbirds (63-67) vs Omaha Storm Chasers (55-74)

Saturday, August 24 - 6:35 p.m. (CT) - AutoZone Park (10,000) - Memphis, Tennessee

Game #131 - Home Game #69 (31-37)

LHP Genesis Cabrera (4-6, 6.36) vs LHP Brian Flynn (4-2, 3.44)

BY THE NUMBERS

36 Number of baserunners left stranded by the Redbirds pitching staff over the last three games. They have also held opponents to batting just 3-for-29 with runners in scoring position (.103) during that span.

84 Number of home runs hit by the Redbirds at AutoZone Park this season. Their four home runs last night matched the franchise record for most homers hit at home in a single season, joining the 2002 and 2004 squads.

THE GAME

TONIGHT'S GAME: The Memphis Redbirds continue their 11-game homestand in the second of three games against the Omaha Storm Chasers in the final home series this season. The Redbirds were 9-1 victors in last night's series opener and have won four-straight games for the fourth time this month. Andrew Knizner had his first two-home run game of the season and had his first four-hit performance of the season as well. Knizner's first home run of the contest was the Redbirds' 175th of the season, breaking the franchise record of 174 set in 2004. The Redbirds overall have homered nine times in their last two games. Tonight's game will be broadcast live on www.memphisredbirds.com with Steve Selby on the call.

ON THE HILL: Left-hander Genesis Cabrera is scheduled to take the mound tonight and make his 20th appearance and 18th start with Memphis and his 25th appearance overall across levels in 2019. Cabrera last took the mound on Monday vs. Round Rock in the series opener, suffering the loss (6.0 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 5 SO, 1 HR, 1 HBP) in the Redbirds' 5-3 defeat to the Express. Cabrera made his first quality start since August 3 and it was the fewest earned runs allowed in a start since allowing one on May 25 at Nashville. He has allowed at least one home run in eight-straight and at least six hits in three-straight, raising his average against to .290 from .285 during that span. Cabrera has also allowed a home run in 15 of 19 appearances overall. His run of fanning at least seven batters in three-straight was snapped in his start on August 13, but he has struck out at least five batters in five-straight, bringing his season total to 94, which ranks 2nd among all Redbirds pitchers this season. He has allowed three earned runs or fewer in eight of his last 12 starts with the Redbirds. Cabrera will be making his first start against Omaha this season and his second appearance overall. He last faced the Storm Chasers on April 6 at AutoZone Park, where he took no-decision in relief (2.1 IP, 4 H, 3 R/ER, 2 BB, 2 SO, 1 HBP) during the Redbirds' 5-3 defeat. During his second Major League stint of the season from June 13-23, he made three relief appearances, allowing two runs on two hits in 3.1 total innings. In his return to Memphis on June 9 at Reno, Cabrera earned the win (5.0 IP, 6 H, 1 R/ER, 3 BB, 8 SO) in the Redbirds' 7-4 victory over the Aces. It was his third consecutive start of allowing two earned runs or fewer. During his first career Major League stint from May 29 - June 4, Cabrera went 0-2, 6.48 (6 ER/8.1 IP) in two starts. He made his MLB debut on May 29 at Philadelphia, suffering the loss (3.2 IP, 5 H, 5 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 5 SO, 1 HR)in the Cardinals' 11-4 defeat to the Phillies. The Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, native is in his sixth professional season and second with the St. Louis organization. Cabrera entered this season ranked as the No. 6 prospect in the Cardinals system by Baseball America. He spent the bulk of last season at Double-A Montgomery, going 7-6, 4.12 (52 ER/113.2 IP). He was named a Southern League All-Star and ranked 3rd in the league with a .218 batting average.

The Storm Chasers are scheduled to start left-hander Brian Flynn in tonight's contest. The 29-year-old is scheduled to make his fourth start for Omaha and his 21st appearance overall across all levels this season. Over his nine games and three starts at the Triple-A level this season, Flynn has gone 4-2, 3.44 (13 ER/34.0 IP) and is yielding an opponent's average of .219 (28x128). In his last time out on Monday at New Orleans, he earned the win in the start (5.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R/ER, 1 BB, 7 SO) during the Storm Chasers' 6-1 victory over the Baby Cakes. During his second stint with the Storm Chasers this season dating back to August 8, Flynn has made two relief appearances and one start, going a combined 2-0, 3.18 (4 ER/11.1 IP) to go along with 17 strikeouts and two walks. Flynn has faced the Redbirds once this season, making one relief appearance on April 24 at Werner Park. He suffered the loss (2.0 IP, 0 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 0 SO) in the Storm Chasers' 7-5 defeat. The Wichita State University product has gone 2-2, 5.22 (17 ER/29.1 IP) in 11 games, one start at the Major League level this season for the Kansas City Royals. The Tulsa, Okla., native is in his ninth professional season and his fifth within the Kansas City organization. He has also spent time at various levels within the Detroit and Miami organizations.

HISTORY WITH OMAHA: The Redbirds have winning records in each of the past four seasons here at AutoZone Park, going a combined 22-10 at this facility during that span. The 'Birds have winning records in downtown Memphis in 11 of 21 seasons at home against the Storm Chasers, with their last year losing the series in the Bluff City coming in 2013. Memphis holds a 170-145 edge overall, and an 87-70 margin at home. The Redbirds have not had a losing record overall against the Storm Chasers since 2011, when they went 6-9. Omaha has played host to the Kansas City Triple-A affiliate since 1969.

The two teams have squared off one time in the postseason, in the 2014 Pacific Coast League American Conference Finals. The Storm Chasers won the series 3-1, splitting the first two games at Werner Park and winning both games played at AutoZone Park to capture the series victory. Following PCL expansion in 1998, the teams have combined to win seven PCL titles (Memphis 4, Omaha 3) making them two of the most successful clubs of the modern PCL era.

THE SEASON

ABOUT THE LAST ONE: Austin Warner threw 7.0 shutout innings and Andrew Knizner went 4-for-4 with two home runs to help the Memphis Redbirds to a fourth-straight win Friday night at AutoZone Park, 9-1, in the first game of the series with the Omaha Storm Chasers (Royals).

The Redbirds (63-67) have won 12 of their last 14 games and are 16-5 in the month of August. Coupled with an Iowa Cubs loss tonight, Memphis is within 6.0 games of the division-leading Cubs with 10 games left in the regular season. The Redbirds finish the season with four games at Iowa over Labor Day Weekend.

Knizner's two-homer game accounted for two of Memphis' four long balls on the night, and the 2019 Redbirds now have the franchise's single-season home run record for a team. Adolis Garcia hit a two-run shot in the second inning for the Redbirds' 174th homer of the season, tying the 2004 team, and Knizner's first round-tripper of the game in the fourth inning set the new mark.

Warner dazzled in 7.0 innings of work, allowing just five singles and striking out six. He retired the final five Storm Chasers he faced and seven of the last eight. Jesus Cruz followed with a scoreless eighth inning, and Mike Mayers allowed the lone Omaha run in the ninth.

Along with Knizner's night, Randy Arozarena had a three-run home run in the eighth inning, and Ramon Urias and Max Schrock each went 2-for-4 with a run and an RBI.

Arozarena has reached base in his last 40 starts with the Redbirds.

REDBIRDS SLUG WAY INTO RECORD BOOKS: Adolis Garcia's home run in the second inning of last night's game against the Storm Chasers was the Redbirds 174th long ball of the season, matching the franchise record set by the 2004 team. Andrew Knizner made history two innings later by launching the team's 175th home run of the season. Randy Arozarena's home run in the eighth was the 84th home run hit at AutoZone Park this season, matching the franchise record set by the 2002 squad and later matched by the '04 team. The Redbirds have already hit a franchise record 93 home runs on the road this season as well.

ROSTER MOVES: The following roster moves were made prior to Thursday night's game: Dominic Leone was recalled by St. Louis and Junior Fernandez was optioned by St. Louis.

Leone returns to the Cardinals for his fourth stint at the Major League level this season. During his second stint with the Redbirds this season, he went 1-0, 0.73 (1 ER/12.1 IP) in 10 games, fanning 23 batters and issuing just two walks. He held opponents to just a .159 (7x44) average. Following his appearance on Tuesday, Leone had held opponents scoreless in his last 8.0 innings pitched (7 G).

Fernandez returns to the Redbirds following his first career stint at the MLB level. The Cardinals No. 10 prospect (MLB.com) went 0-0, 3.60 (2 ER/5.0 IP) in five games, whiffing seven and walking three. He made his debut on August 11 vs. Pittsburgh, where he allowed two runs on two hits in 0.2 innings of work. Over his next four outings, Fernandez did not allow a run over 4.1 innings and allowed just two hits in 19 batters faced during that span.

DYLAN HITS DINGERS: Through his first-nine career games at the Triple-A level, Dylan Carlson has continued his torrid form with Double-A Springfield, posting a slash of .514/.564/.914/1.478 to go along with three home runs and seven RBI. He has at least two hits in seven-straight starts and has three-hit performances in three of his last four starts. He has homered in three of his last six games. Through his first nine games at the Triple-A level, Carlson ranks 1st in the in the Pacific Coast League in average (.514) and OBP (.564) T-2nd in hits (18), 4th in OPS (1.478) and T-5th in SLG (.914). At the time of his promotion to Memphis, Carlson 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).

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 25 of their last 33 games and are now four games under .500, their lowest mark since May 26. The 25 wins are the most by any team in the Pacific Coast League and they are one of only two teams with more than 22 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 (3.91), hits (257), runs (131), earned runs (127), WHIP (1.36), and average (.237) and T-1st in home runs allowed (34), while ranking T-2nd in saves (11). They have also posted three shutouts during that span, one of just two teams in the PCL to have more than two.

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 26 games, Sosa has posted a slash of .370/.400/.546/.946 and has hits in 23 of those contests. His average ranks 7th 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 12 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 on August 15 by twirling 7.0 scoreless frames against the Cubs, allowing just two hits and whiffing nine batters. In Tuesday night's start against Round Rock, he allowed just one run over 6.0 innings. In his last five starts with the Redbirds dating back to June 6 at Tacoma, Ponce de Leon has allowed just 10 hits in his last 27.0 innings with the Redbirds and has whiffed 35 batters during that span. Through 15 starts with Memphis this season, he has held opponents to a .202 average (58x287), 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.


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