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Game Notes: Memphis Redbirds (69-70) at Iowa Cubs (74-65)

September 2, 2019 - Pacific Coast League (PCL) - Memphis Redbirds News Release

Memphis Redbirds (69-70) at Iowa Cubs (74-65)

Monday, September 2 - 12:08 p.m. (CT) - Principal Park (11,000) - Des Moines, Iowa

Game #140 - Road Game #70 (36-33)

RHP Chris Ellis (5-5, 6.87) vs RHP Adbert Alzolay (2-4, 4.41)

BY THE NUMBERS

57 Number of home runs hit by Adolis Garcia in his Redbirds career. His home run yesterday move into T-2nd in franchise history with John Gall. He now only trails Nick Stavinoha at 74 home runs for the Redbirds' all-time lead.

66 Number of different players to appear on the Redbirds roster this season after Brian O'Keefe joined the team yesterday. This equals the franchise record for most players to appear on the Redbirds roster in season, matching last year's club.

THE GAME

TODAY'S GAME: The Memphis Redbirds conclude their eight-game road trip to end the season in the fourth and final game against the Iowa Cubs in today's regular season finale. A win tonight for the Redbirds would not only ensure a split of the series, but it would give them a .500 record for the season, making it three-straight years the Redbirds have finished with a .500 record or better. It would be the longest such stretch since 2008-11 when they had four such seasons. The Redbirds were not able to clinch a winning record on the season with yesterday's 6-5 defeat. Adolis Garcia's lead-off home run in the second inning was his 32nd longball of the year, making him the first Redbird since Rick Ankiel to homer at least 32 times in a year. After allowing five runs in the first inning, Jake Woodford responded by retiring 13 consecutive batters, en route to finishing his outing with a season-high eight strikeouts. Today'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 40th appearance and seventh start for the Redbirds in today's series and regular season finale. In his last time out on Wednesday at New Orleans, Ellis earned the win in the start (5.0 IP, 6 H, 2 R/ER, 2 BB, 1 SO) in the Redbirds' 11-3 victory over the Baby Cakes. After being ejected in his previous start, Ellis responded by allowing two earned runs for the second time in his last five starts. Overall, he has allowed two earned runs or fewer in four of his last five. He has whiffed one batter or fewer in three of his five starts since joining the rotation. He has also worked at least 5.0 innings in three of his five starts this month as well. The Redbirds have won seven-straight games in games in which Ellis has pitched. As a starter this season, he has gone 2-1, 7.36 (18 ER/22.0 IP) in his six starts compared to 3-4, 6.67 (40 ER/54.0 IP) as a reliever in 33 appearances. 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 five appearances, one start against Iowa this season, going a combined 1-1, 7.36 (9 ER/11.0 IP) with seven strikeouts and two walks. He last faced the Cubs on August 17 at AutoZone Park, where he took no-decision in the start (6.0 IP, 8 H, 6 R/ER, 1 BB, 3 SO, 2 HR) in the Redbirds' 8-6 victory. After allowing five runs in the first inning, Ellis responded by tossing five-straight scoreless frames before allowing one run in the sixth. 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 Adbert Alzolay in today's series finale. The 24-year-old is slated to make 16th start for Iowa and his 20th appearance overall across all levels this season. With the I-Cubs, Alzolay has gone 2-4, 4.41 (32 ER/65.1 IP) in 15 starts at the Triple-A level. In his last time out on Wednesday at Oklahoma City, he took no-decision (4.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R/ER, 2 BB, 5 SO) in the Cubs' 7-4 victory over the Dodgers. Alzolay has only factored in a decision in one of his last seven starts at Iowa and he is in search of his first win at the Triple-A level since June 14. He has allowed two earned runs or fewer in five of his last six starts, but has only worked past the 4.0 inning mark once during that span. He has also allowed three hits or fewer in three of his last four starts as well. He last faced the Redbirds on August 18, where he suffered the loss (4.0 IP, 7 H, 4 R/ER, 1 BB, 4 SO, 3 HR) in the Cubs' 14-2 defeat at AutoZone Park. That remains the only time this season that he allowed three home runs in a start. Alzolay made his MLB debut on June 20 vs. New York-NL, where he earned the win in relief (4.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R/ER, 2 BB, 5 SO, 1 HR) for his first career MLB victory. His first start came on June 25 vs. Atlanta, where he took no-decision (4.2 IP, 1 H, 1 R/ER, 4 BB, 4 SO, 1 HR) in the Cubs' 3-2 defeat to the Braves. During his big-league stint, he went 1-1, 7.15 (9 ER/11.1 IP) in three games, two starts. He went 2-4, 4.76 (21 ER/39.2 IP) in eight starts at Iowa last season before being sidelined due to a lat injury. The Puerto Ordaz, Venezuela, native is in his seventh professional season, spending all of them with the Chicago-NL organization. He entered the season ranked as the No. 2 prospect in the organization according to Baseball America. He is currently ranked as the No. 5 prospect in the Cubs system according to MLB.com.

HISTORY WITH IOWA: Memphis has faced off against Iowa every year since 1998 and lead 174-143 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 103-55 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 71-88.

THE SEASON

ABOUT THE LAST ONE: The Memphis Redbirds put the go-ahead run on base in the ninth inning against the Iowa Cubs (Cubs) but could not complete the comeback in a 6-5 defeat Sunday in Des Moines, Iowa.

The Redbirds (69-70) entered the final frame trailing 6-3 and brought Ramon Urias as the tying run to the plate after back-to-back singles from Adolis Garcia and Max Schrock. Urias hustled down the line to beat a double play to put runners on the corners with one out and Jose Godoy followed with a double to score Garcia, but Urias was thrown out at the plate trying to score from first.

Jose Martinez drew a walk and Randy Arozarena then followed with a single to score Godoy, as he represented the go-ahead run at first. However, Alex Wilson was able to strike out Dylan Carlson swinging to end the game.

For the second time in three games this series, the Cubs (74-65) scored five times in the opening frame, as the first five batters all reached safely off starter Jake Woodford. After allowing a two-run double to Zack Short, Woodford went on to retire his next 13 batters faced before allowing a home run to P.J. Higgins in the sixth. Woodford fanned a season-high eight batters issued just two walks.

Garcia responded for the Redbirds by homering to lead off the second for his 32nd longball of the year. He became the first Redbird since Rick Ankiel in 2007 to homer at least 32 times in a season. He also joins Ankiel for T-4th for most home runs hit in a single season in franchise history.

John Nogowski also went deep for Memphis with a two-run shot in the sixth.

Connor Jones tossed 2.0 perfect frames in his 2019 Memphis debut. He whiffed one batter and needed just 23 pitches to get six outs.

REDBIRDS SOAR IN AUGUST: Saturday night's victory over the I-Cubs was the Redbirds 22nd win of the month, setting a new franchise record for the most wins in August. The 'Birds were a powerhouse at the plate and on the mound all month long as they became just the second team in club history to win 22 games in a month, joining the 2017 Redbirds, who won 22 games in July. This was also just the sixth time in franchise history that a team has posted 20 wins a month, with four of them happening in August. Offensively, the team led the Pacific Coast League in OBP (.393), slugging (.527) and OPS (.919) while ranking 2nd in home runs (54) and 3rd in average (.307). On the bump, the 'Birds led the PCL in ERA (3.25), hits (200), runs (96), earned runs (91) home runs allowed (22), WHIP (1.25) and average (.216), while ranking T-1st in saves (10).

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 31 of their last 42 games. The 31 wins are the most by any team in the Pacific Coast League and they are only team with more than 27 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 (3.78), hits (314), runs (160), earned runs (154), WHIP (1.31), and average (.231) and in home runs allowed (42), while ranking T-1st in saves (14) and in 3rd strikeouts (395). They have also posted four shutouts during that span, one of just two teams in the PCL to have more than three.

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 35 games, Sosa has posted a slash of .375/.401/.556/.957 and has hits in 29 of those contests. His average is the highest in Pacific Coast League over that time frame. He has five doubles, seven home runs and 28 RBI during that span, and has multi-hit performances in 16 games. He has also raised his batting average from .252 to .291.

NINE UP, NINE DOWN: On August 24 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. Prior to Reyes setting the record last season, the previous record of eight, which was set in 1910, stood for 107 years.

REDBIRDS SLUG WAY INTO RECORD BOOKS: Adolis Garcia's home run in the second inning of on August 23 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 on August 24 was the 85th at AutoZone Park, breaking the record. The Redbirds have already hit a franchise record 106 home runs on the road this season as well. Their six home runs Thursday at New Orleans brought their August total to 53, becoming the first team in franchise history to slug at least 50 home runs in a month.

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 yesterday was his 57th of his career, matching John Gall for 2nd. He also has 30 long balls on the season, becoming just the eighth Redbird to reach that mark. His RBI on yesterday brought him to 177 in his career, moving him past Allen Craig for sole possession of fourth. He also ranks T-3rd in triples (12), T-6th in strikeouts (285), 7th in runs (179), T-7th in hit by pitches (17) and 4th in extra-base hits (127). Garcia has also scored a franchise record 93 runs this season and is also the first player since Josh Phelps in 2008 to score at least 90 runs, drive in at least 90 runs in a season and slug at least 30 home runs in a season.

PONCE OWNS AUGUST: 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. On August 20 against Round Rock, he allowed just one run over 6.0 innings. In his five starts last month, Ponce de Leon went 4-0, 0.93 (3 ER/29.0 IP) and has fanned 39 batters compared to just 13 walks issued. In 16 starts with Memphis this season, he held opponents to a .203 average (62x2306), a figure that would lead the PCL if he qualified.


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