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Game Notes: Memphis Redbirds (64-67) vs Omaha Storm Chasers (55-75)

August 25, 2019 - Pacific Coast League (PCL) - Memphis Redbirds News Release

Memphis Redbirds (64-67) vs Omaha Storm Chasers (55-75)

Sunday, August 25 - 2:05 p.m. (CT) - AutoZone Park (10,000) - Memphis, Tennessee

Game #132 - Home Game #70 (32-37)

RHP Daniel Ponce de Leon (4-6, 6.36) vs LHP Jake Kalish (7-7, 5.23)

BY THE NUMBERS

15 Number of consecutive batters retired by Genesis Cabrera to end his start. Cabrera also retired nine-straight batters via strikeouts, matching the Pacific Coast League record, which was held by former Redbird Alex Reyes.

13 Number of wins at AutoZone Park in August in 15 games by the Redbirds. The 'Birds won 13 home games in May, June and July combined over 43 games.

THE GAME

TODAY'S GAME: The Memphis Redbirds conclude their 11-game homestand in the third and final game against the Omaha Storm Chasers in the final home series this season. The Redbirds clinched at least a series win with last night's 4-0 victory. Genesis Cabrera was dominant on the mound for the 'Birds, allowing no runs on just one hit while fanning a season-high 12 batters. At one point during his outing, Cabrera retired nine-straight batters via strikeout, equaling a Pacific Coast League record. Edmundo Sosa's home run in the first was more than enough offense for the Redbirds, who have held the Storm Chasers to just one run during this series. Today'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 series finale and make his 16th start with the Redbirds and his 26th appearance overall this season across all levels. Ponce de Leon's last start came on Tuesday vs. Round Rock, where he earned the win (6.0 IP, 5 H, 1 R/ER, 4 BB, 5 SO) in the Redbirds' 5-3 victory over the Express. Ponce de Leon has now won each of his last three starts and 13 of his last 19 decisions overall at the Triple-A level, dating back to May 30, 2018. In his last five starts with the Redbirds spanning 27.0 innings, Ponce de Leon has allowed just 10 hits in 88 at-bats (.114) and he has whiffed 34 batters compared to just 13 walks issued. He has fanned at least eight batters in two of his last 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 Omaha this season. He last faced the Storm Chasers on April 7 here at AutoZone Park, where he earned the win (5.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R/ER, 1 BB, 2 SO) in the Redbirds' 3-2 victory. 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 Storm Chasers are scheduled to start left-hander Jake Kalish in today's series finale. The 28-year-old is scheduled to make his ninth start for Omaha and his 26th appearance overall across all levels this season. Over his 22 games and eight starts at the Triple-A level this season, Kalish has gone 7-7, 5.23 (62 ER/106.2 IP) and is yielding an opponent's average of .281 (119x423). In his last time out on Wednesday at New Orleans, he earned took no-decision in the start (7.0 IP, 4 H, 4 R/ER, 0 BB, 3 SO, 3 HR, 1 HBP) during the Storm Chasers' 7-5 victory over the Baby Cakes. Kalish has worked at least 7.0 innings in two of his last three starts and has allowed four earned runs or fewer in each of those outings. He has also allowed at least two home runs in three-straight starts. As a starter, Kalish has gone 1-3, 5.63 (29 ER/46.1 IP) compared to 6-4, 4.92 (33 ER/60.1 IP) as a reliever. He has faced the Redbirds once this season, making one relief appearance on April 25 at Werner Park. He suffered the loss (2.1 IP, 3 H, 4 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 2 SO) in the Storm Chasers' 6-4 defeat. The Red Bank, N.J., native is in his seventh professional season and he has spent all of them within the Kansas City organization.

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 171-145 edge overall, and an 88-70 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: Genesis Cabrera turned in a masterful pitching performance to set the tone for a 4-0 Memphis Redbirds win over the Omaha Storm Chasers (Royals) Saturday night at AutoZone Park.

The Redbirds (64-67) have won five-straight games and 13 of their last 15 overall. Memphis has clinched a series win over the Storm Chasers (55-75) and has now won nine of its last 10 series.

Memphis has also outscored its opponents 27-3 in its last three games.

Cabrera tied a Pacific Coast League record with nine-straight strikeouts at one point from the middle of the third inning through the start of the sixth inning, and he finished with 12 strikeouts and one hit allowed in 7.0 innings. He ended his outing retiring the final 15 Storm Chasers he faced.

The PCL record for consecutive strikeouts by a pitcher was eight from when Vean Gregg did it in 1910 until 2018, when Redbird Alex Reyes bettered him by striking out nine-in-a-row against Oklahoma City on May 24, 2018. Cabrera then matched Reyes' feat this evening to match the league record in its 117 seasons of play.

The Redbirds opened the scoring right from the start, as Edmundo Sosa hit a two-run home run in the bottom of the first inning. Justin Williams singled and scored on a Ramon Urias sacrifice fly in the third, and he homered in the fifth for the fourth Redbird run of the game.

Injury-rehabbing Tyler O'Neill was on base three times with two walks and a single, and Rangel Ravelo was on base four times after drawing three walks and singling in the eighth.

Dylan Carlson singled in the second inning and walked in the fifth, and he now has a hit in all nine of his starts as a Redbird.

After Cabrera concluded his outing, Kodi Whitley worked the final two innings in scoreless fashion.

NINE UP, NINE DOWN: In last night's game against Omaha, Genesis Cabrera became just the second pitcher in Pacific Coast League history to strikeout nine-straight batters in a game. From the last two outs of the third inning to the first out in the sixth, Cabrera punched-out nine in a row, six swinging and three looking to equal Alex Reyes' record, set last year on May 23 vs. Oklahoma City. The two Redbird pitchers are the only players in PCL history to have fanned nine consecutive batters.

REDBIRDS SLUG WAY INTO RECORD BOOKS: Adolis Garcia's home run in the second inning of Friday 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. Edmundo Sosa's home run in the first inning of last night's contest was the 85th at this facility, breaking the record. 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-10 career games at the Triple-A level, Dylan Carlson has continued his torrid form with Double-A Springfield, posting a slash of .487/.545/.846/1.392 to go along with three home runs and seven RBI. He has at least two hits in seven of his last eight starts and has three-hit performances in three of his last five starts. He has homered in three of his last seven games. Through his first 10 games at the Triple-A level, Carlson ranks T-1st in the in the Pacific Coast League in hits (19), 2nd in average (.487), 3rd in OBP (.545), 4th in OPS (1.391) and in SLG (.846). 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 26 of their last 34 games and are now three games under .500, their lowest mark since May 25. The 26 wins are the most by any team in the Pacific Coast League and they are one of only two teams with more than 23 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 (3.79), hits (259), runs (131), earned runs (127), strikeouts (330), WHIP (1.33), and average (.232) and in home runs allowed (34), while ranking 3rd in saves (11). They have also posted four 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 27 games, Sosa has posted a slash of .381/.408/.575/.983 and has hits in 24 of those contests. His average ranks 5th in Pacific Coast League over that time frame. He has four doubles, six home runs and 24 RBI during that span, and has multi-hit performances in 13 games. He has also raised his batting average from .252 to .287.

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.


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