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Game Notes: Memphis Redbirds (76-49) vs Round Rock Express (56-69)

August 19, 2018 - Pacific Coast League (PCL) - Memphis Redbirds News Release

Memphis Redbirds (76-49) vs Round Rock Express (56-69)

Sunday, August 19 - 2:05 p.m. (CT) - AutoZone Park (10,000) - Memphis, Tennessee

Game #126 - Home Game #66 (37-28)

LHP Austin Warner (1-0, 2.78 ERA) vs. RHP Austin Bibens-Dirkx (2-4, 5.24 ERA)

THE GAME

TODAY'S GAME: The Memphis Redbirds and Round Rock Express will play the finale and rubber match of a three-game set today at 2:05 p.m. in Memphis. It is the third of four series the two teams will play against one another this season, and the last they will play at AutoZone Park. The fourth and final series will take place in two weeks in Round Rock. The Redbirds are coming off a 1-3 series loss to New Orleans, while Round Rock is coming off a 2-2 series split with the Nashville Sounds. Memphis has finished playing teams from other divisions, and will play the last 15 games against the three opponents from their own division. Yesterday, Max Schrock was activated from the Disabled List, while Rangel Ravelo was placed on the Disabled List. John Brebbia also joined the team on Major League Rehab. Today's game will be broadcast on www.memphisredbirds.com and on WLMT CW30 with Steve Selby on the call.

ON THE HILL: Left-hander Austin Warner will take the mound for the Redbirds in today's finale. This will be Warner's fifth start with the team since going up from Double-A Springfield. In his first four starts, the lefty is 1-0 with a 2.78 ERA. He has thrown a total of 22.2 innings, allowing 10 runs, seven earned, on 28 hits and five walks, while striking out 18 batters. In his last start against New Orleans, he took the no-decision, throwing six innings, allowing six hits and three runs, while striking out five batters. All three runs came via solo home runs. At AutoZone Park, he is 1-0 with a 2.77 ERA in 13.0 innings, allowing four earned runs on 14 hits.

The Express will send right-hander Austin Bibens-Dirkx to the mound to battle Warner and the Redbirds. In 14 games, 12 starts, this season, Bibens-Dirkx is 2-4 with a 5.24 ERA in 67.0 innings of work. He has faced the Redbirds twice this season, both of them being starts. Against Memphis, he is 0-2 with a 5.35 ERA. He has pitched a total of 10.1 innings against Memphis, allowing six earned runs on six hits and two walks, while striking out seven batters.

HISTORY WITH ROUND ROCK: Memphis and Round Rock have played every season dating back to 2005 when Round Rock joined the PCL. In that span, Round Rock was initially affiliated with the Astros before becoming the Rangers' affiliate in 2011. This will be the first meeting between the two since the last week of April. In 12 games against one another this season, Memphis narrowly leads the series at 7-5. The 'Birds won the opening series 4-1 before dropping the second one 2-3. So far, Memphis is outperforming Round Rock both at the plate and on the mound. Memphis is hitting .288 compared to their .256, and posting a 3.32 ERA compared to their 4.81 mark.

BIRD BITES

AROZARENA: Has hit safely in four of last six after having just two hits in his first 10 games back with Memphis

BARON: Has hit safely in 14 of his last 17 games since June; had a season-long eight-game hitting streak in that stretch

EDMAN: Hit first career Triple-A home run in Wed. night's loss; has career-high seven HR between Memphis and Springfield

GARCIA: Last night, went 2-for-4 at the plate, snapping a five-game hitless streak with the Redbirds; had double and RBI

KELLY: Went 2-for-2 reaching base all five times Wed. night due to BB&2HBP; hitting .318 (42-for-132) over last 36 games

MEJIA: Had one RBI last night; now has 24 RBI in last 51 games after having only eight RBI in first 42 games this year

RAVELO: Currently riding 16-game hitting streak, hitting .407 (24-for-59) in that stretch; went on DL yesterday

SCHROCK: Went 2-for-5 with a double and an RBI last night in his first game back after spending 10 games on DL

SOSA: Wed. night, snapped three-game hitless streak, hitting a game-tying two-run double in the third inning

THOMAS: Thursday night, hit three-run home run in third inning to put Memphis ahead for good; they won 3-2

TOVAR: Is hitting .323 (43-for-133) over last 37 games; recently snapped a season-long nine-game hitting streak

URIAS: Had recorded at least one hit in seven of eight games since rejoining Memphis, including three multi-hit games

WILLIAMS: Has hits in nine of 12 starts since joining the Redbirds; drove in two runs in last night's win over Round Rock

BY THE NUMBERS

7-5 against Round Rock this season. Only divisional team Memphis has a winning record against this season. Memphis is 21-7 against the Express since the beginning of 2017

THE SEASON

ABOUT THE LAST ONE: The Memphis Redbirds dropped last night's game 4-2 to the Round Rock Express.

Memphis starter Kevin Herget was solid through six innings of work. He loaded the bases with one out in the seventh before being pulled in favor of the bullpen. Two of the inherited runners came in to score.

He finished with a final line of 6.1 innings, six hits, three earned runs, and one walk, while striking out three batters. He is now 8-10 on the season.

Tommy Layne, Edward Mujica, John Brebbia, and Dominic Leone pitched the final 2.2 innings. They allowed two inherited runners to score, as well as allowing one additional run on four hits, while striking out three.

The Redbirds out-hit the Express 12 to 10, but couldn't bring runners in. They went just 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position.

Max Schrock and Adolis Garcia drove in the two Memphis runs. Those two, as well as Tommy Edman recorded multi-hit games.

HERGET TAKES THE L DESPITE SOLID GAME: Last night, Memphis starter Kevin Herget took the hard-fought loss for the Redbirds. He pitched 6.1 innings, allowing three runs on six hits and one walk, while striking out three. Herget had allowed just one run through six innings before loading the bases with one out in the seventh. He was pulled in favor of the bullpen, and the Memphis relievers allowed two inherited runners to score before getting out of the jam. Herget finished with a final line of 6.1 innings pitched, allowing three earned runs on six hits and one walk, while striking out three batters. Herget is having a solid season, despite his lopsided win-loss record. Herget is 8-10 with a 4.49 ERA this season after being moved into a starting role at the end of April. With the entire Opening Day pitching rotation being promoted to St. Louis, Herget is now the most-experienced Triple-A pitcher the 'Birds have in the starting rotation. Herget leads all Memphis pitchers with 20 starts, 128.1 innings pitched and 111 strikeouts. All three of those marks, as well as his wins and losses marks, are career-highs. This is Herget's first season as a consistent starter.

EDMAN STILL HITTING: Since joining the Redbirds last week, infielder Tommy Edman has been on fire at the plate. Last night, he went 2-for-5, scoring both Memphis runs. Wednesday night, he went 2-for-5 at the plate, hitting a game-tying two-run home run in the second inning. It was his first career home run at the Triple-A level, and his seventh overall this season. In his first game last Saturday, he went 2-for-4, scoring once, hitting a sacrifice fly, and driving in two in the win. He went hitless in Memphis' two-hit shutout loss on Sunday, but has hit safely in each of his last six games. In his first seven games with the 'Birds, Edman is hitting .400 (12-for-30). He has hits in seven of eight games, and multiple hits in five of those games. Additionally, he has five RBI in his first eight, and has multiple RBI in two of those games. In the playoffs with Memphis last season, the utility infielder appeared in nine games, hitting .222 (2-for-9), and did not make an error. With Springfield this season, he was hitting .298 (128-for-429) in 104 games. His seven home runs between Memphis and Springfield this season are already a career-high. He hit four in his first season in 2016, and hit five across three levels last season.

HE'S BACK: In last night's loss, outfielder Adolis Garcia went 2-for-4 at the plate, hitting a double and driving in a run. The slugging outfielder had been hitless in his first four games back with Memphis since making his Major League debut. In his last game with Memphis before the call-up, Garcia went hitless, snapping a 14-game hitting streak, the second-best mark on the team this season. Dating back to that game on August 5, Garcia had been 0-for his last-21 with the Redbirds. In his brief stint with the Cardinals, Garcia recorded his first big league hit, getting that task out of the way. Garcia, who earned PCL and Cardinals Minor League Player of the Month honors for July is now hitting .259 (96-for-371) with 21 home runs and 69 RBI in 103 games with the Redbirds this season.

WELCOME BACK, MAX: In last night's loss, infielder Max Schrock came back to the Memphis lineup after a 10-game stint on the Disabled List. He served as the DH, providing a spark to the top half of the lineup, going 2-for-5 with a double and an RBI in his return to action. Last night was his first multi-hit game since recording three hits on July 24 at Salt Lake. The two-hit performance was a solid sign for Schrock who had been struggling for consistency at the plate before going on the Disabled List. He recorded back-to-back multi-hit games on July 1 and 2 and then had a 16-game drought where he had one or zero hits until July 24. Schrock got off to a hot-start this season, his first at the Triple-A level. He hit .296 (55-for-286) in the first two months of the season before hitting a deep slump. He has hit just .228 (42-for-184) over the last two plus months.

CONSISTENCY IS KEY: Since rejoining Memphis for his third stint of the season, utility infielder Ramon Urias has been solid at the plate. In his first eight games back with the 'Birds, Urias has hit safely in seven of them, and recorded multiple hits in three of them. In 36 games with Memphis this season, Urias is hitting .262 (27-for-103). Since rejoining the team almost two weeks ago, he has raised his batting average by 41 points from .221 to .262.

STRUGGLES WITH THE DIVISION: Despite having the best record in all of Triple-A Baseball at 76-49, Memphis has struggled against its own division. The 'Birds are 2-6 against Nashville, 6-7 against New Orleans, and 7-5 against Round Rock. Memphis has 15 games remaining this season. They will play three more against New Orleans, four more against Round Rock, and eight more against Nashville. Nashville is the closest to the 'Birds, sitting 11 games behind Memphis. While the 'Birds batters hold similar lines against divisional and non-divisional opponents, the biggest difference is pitching. Memphis is hitting .274 (859-for-3136) against opponents in other divisions, and are hitting a slightly lower .267 (293-for-1099) against the division. However, Memphis pitchers are posting a 3.92 ERA (126ER, 289.0IP) against the division, while posting a 3.42 ERA (308ER, 811.2IP) against everyone else.

ON-BASE MACHINE: Last night, catcher Carson Kelly went 1-for-4 at the plate, walking once. This came after he reached base safely in all five of his plate appearances Wednesday. In the game, he recorded two singles and a walk, and was twice hit by a pitch. He also scored once and drove in a run in the game. Kelly has now hit safely in nine of his last 13 games, and has driven in seven runners in those 13 games. Kelly is having one of his finest seasons thus far. In 74 games with the Redbirds, he is hitting .288 (76-for-264). He has hit 14 doubles, one triple, and seven home runs, while driving in 41 runs. He has also walked 41 times this season, and struck out just 39 times. Of current players that have appeared in at least 70 games with Memphis this season, Kelly owns the second-best on-base percentage at .391, just behind Rangel Ravelo's team-leading .395 mark. With his walk last night, he now leads Ravelo by two for the team-lead in walks. If he continues to get on base at the same pace he has thus far, he will set his career-high in on-base percentage. He has already bested his previous career-high in walks, as well.

RUNNIN' RUNNIN': Last night, infielders Tommy Edman and Max Schrock, as well as outfielder Randy Arozarena, each stole a base, giving Memphis 105 stolen bases this season. Wednesday, Wilfredo Tovar stole the 100th base of the season for Memphis. This season is the first time the Redbirds have recorded at least 100 steals in a season since 2013 when they stole 104 as a team. In the 21-year history of the franchise, the 'Birds have only stolen 100 bases seven times in a season (1998, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2009, 2013, 2018). The 'Birds have only stolen 100 bases as a team four times since 2002. The franchise record for steals is 110, set in 1999. With 15 games remaining, the Redbirds are still within striking distance of that record. With Oscar Mercado getting traded, and Patrick Wisdom getting called-up, Tovar's 11 steals are second-most on the team behind Arozarena's 14. The Redbirds also have the third-most steals in the PCL this season behind Colorado Springs' 151 and Fresno's 108. The Redbirds have only been caught 33 times on the base paths this season, giving them a 76 percent success rate. Memphis now has 105 steals for the first time since 2002. They trail only the 2000 team (106) and the 1999 team.

QUALITY STARTS GALORE: After Kevin Herget's performance last night, 'Birds starters have thrown 57 quality starts in 125 games this season. They threw 55 total in 2017. Earlier this season, the Redbirds staff had a streak of 11-straight quality starts. Of the 17 pitchers that have made a start for Memphis this season, 11 of them have thrown at least one quality start. Sam Tuivailala, Sean Gilmartin, Luke Weaver, Tyler Webb, Tyler Lyons, and Connor Jones combined for 15 starts, and have not thrown a quality start. Dakota Hudson has 11 in 19 starts, Kevin Herget has 10, John Gant has seven, Daniel Poncedeleon has six, Austin Gomber has five, Jack Flaherty, Chris Ellis and Jake Woodford have four apiece, Ryan Helsley has three, Austin Warner has two, and Alex Reyes has one.

RAVELO TO THE DL: Before yesterday's game against Round Rock, infielder and sometimes outfielder, Rangel Ravelo was placed on the Disabled List. Ravelo was hit in the face with a pitch in the first inning of Tuesday night's game against New Orleans. Ravelo exited the game immediately and has not played since. Ravelo is in the midst of the second-longest hitting streak of his career. He has hit safely in 16-consecutive games. Ravelo leads the Redbirds in batting average (.309), on-base percentage (.395), and is second in walks. He already has a career-high 13 home runs.

2017 PCL CHAMPIONSHIP SEASON

START THE SLOW CLAPP: In 2017, first-year skipper Stubby Clapp led the Redbirds to their best season in franchise history. The 'Birds soared to a 91-50 record in the 2017 regular season and added six more wins in the PCL playoffs to win 97 total games on the year. Clapp was named the 2017 PCL Manager of the Year for his efforts, and was also named the 2017 Baseball America Minor League Manager of the Year. Clapp became the first minor league manager in the history of the St. Louis organization to win the Baseball America award. Clapp also earned the organization's prestigious George Kissell award.


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