Game Notes: Memphis Redbirds (81-55) at Nashville Sounds (70-66)
Memphis Redbirds (81-55) At Nashville Sounds (70-66)
Friday, August 31 - 7:05 p.m. (CT) - First Tennessee Park (10,300) - Nashville, Tennessee
Game #137 - Road Game #67 (41-25)
LHP Austin Warner (1-1, 3.73 ERA) vs. RHP Chris Bassitt (5-5, 4.35 ERA)
TODAY'S GAME: The Memphis Redbirds and Nashville Sounds will kick off a four-game set tonight at 7:05 p.m. It is the final series of the regular-season for both teams. With their walk-off win Saturday night, the Redbirds secured their second-consecutive American Southern Division title. It is the second time in franchise history they have won back-to-back division titles, the other time being in 2009 and 2010. Memphis is coming off a 1-2 series loss to the Round Rock Express, and Nashville is coming off a 1-2 series loss to the New Orleans Baby Cakes. Awards have been flying in for the Redbirds this week. Yesterday, pitcher Dakota Hudson was named PCL Pitcher of the Year. Earlier this week, manager Stubby Clapp won the Pacific Coast League Manager of the Year award for the second-consecutive season, and Hudson and outfielder Tyler O'Neill were named to the All-Pacific Coast League Team. Today, Randy Arozarena was placed on the Temporary Inactive List and Andrew Knizner was transferred to Memphis. Today's game will be broadcast on www.memphisredbirds.com with Steve Selby on the call.
ON THE HILL: Left-hander Austin Warner will take the mound in the series opener against Nashville. Coming into tonight's game, Warner is 1-1 with a 3.73 ERA in six starts with the Redbirds this season. Warner started strong in his first four starts with the team, but has struggled in his two most recent outings. Through his first four starts, the lefty was 1-0 with a 2.73 ERA in 22.2 innings of work. He had allowed just seven earned runs in those four starts, while striking out 18 batters. However, in his last two starts, he is 0-1 with a 6.59 ERA in just 8.2 innings of work. He has allowed 22 hits, six earned runs, and three walks, while striking out just two.
The Sounds will send right-hander Chris Bassitt to the mound to battle Warner and the Redbirds. In 17 appearances and 13 starts with Nashville this season, Bassitt is 5-5 with a 4.35 ERA in 80.2 innings of work. Bassitt has pitched well this month. He is 2-1 with a 1.93 ERA in four appearances, three of them starts. He has faced Memphis once this season, throwing two innings and allowing one run.
HISTORY WITH NASHVILLE: Memphis and Nashville have played every season dating back to 1998 when the Redbirds joined the PCL. In that span, Nashville has been affiliated with Pittsburgh, Milwaukee, and now Oakland. This will be the final series the two teams will play against one another this season, and the final series of the regular-season for both teams. They have played 12 games so far this year, and Nashville leads the series 7-5. They won each of the first two series 3-1 before Memphis took last week's series 3-1. So far, Nashville is outpitching the Redbirds, while Memphis is outhitting the Sounds. Nashville has a 3.10 ERA, while Memphis has a 3.94 ERA. Memphis has a .251, while Nashville has a .235 average.
AROZARENA: Was placed on the Temporary Inactive List before tonight's game
BARON: Has hit safely in 16 of his last 19 games since June; had a season-long eight-game hitting streak in that stretch
EDMAN: In his first game back with Memphis Tuesday night, snapped his eight-game hitting streak with 'Birds
KELLY: Has just four hits in his last 12 games, going 4-for-37 (.108) in that span; career-high 48 walks this season
KNIZNER: Rejoins Memphis for his second stint of the season; hitting .316 between Memphis and Springfield
MEJIA: Has hits in just four of his last 12 games; is hitting just .176 (6-for-34) in that 12-game stretch
RAVELO: Recently snapped 16-game hitting streak, going hitless in three-straight; now has hits in four-straight
SCHROCK: Went 2-for-4 with an RBI Wednesday night; hitting just .229 (11-for-48) this month
SOSA: Recently had back-to-back games with a home run for the first time in his Triple-A career; 5 HR with Memphis
THOMAS: Wednesday, hit two-run home run, last night had solo home run; first time with back-to-back games with HR
TOVAR: Wednesday night, went 3-for-4 in the win and hit his first home run since May 30; it was his fifth of the year
URIAS: Has recorded at least one hit in 11 of his last 13 games with Memphis; just snapped eight-game hitting streak
WILLIAMS: Drove in all three runs Memphis scored from 8/19-8/22 on a solo home run and two-run home run
BY THE NUMBERS
86 home runs on the road by Memphis hitters this season is the third-most home runs in franchise history hit on the road by Memphis in a single season. The record is 90 (2004).
BY THE NUMBERS
13-15 record for Memphis this month after losing last night's game. They have secured their first month with a below .500 record under Stubby Clapp, and their first below .500 month since September of 2016.
ON THIS DATE
In 2012, pitcher Shelby Miller struck out nine batters in six innings against Nashville, giving him a franchise-record 160 strikeouts on the season.
ABOUT THE LAST ONE: The Memphis Redbirds dropped the series finale to the Round Rock Express 9-3 last night. With the loss, Memphis split the season-series with Round Rock 8-8.
Memphis starter Kevin Herget struggled in the outing. He allowed nine runs, six earned, on 12 hits and one walk in 4.1 innings of work. He struck out three batters in the game, falling to 9-11 on the season.
The Redbirds scraped out seven hits on offense, while Round Rock collected 14 in the game. Lane Thomas (2-for-4) and Tommy Edman (2-for-5) collected multiple hits for the Redbirds.
Thomas hit a solo home run in the game, while Edman had a triple. Rangel Ravelo drove in two of the three Memphis runs with a single and a sacrifice fly.
BELOW .500 AUGUST: With last night's loss to Round Rock, Memphis fell to 13-15 this month with one game remaining to secure their first below .500 month under Stubby Clapp. It is their first below .500 month since going 2-3 in September of 2016. The 'Birds have struggled both at the plate and on the mound this month. Memphis batters are hitting just a collective .248 with only 22 home runs. Their .248 average is their worst batting average in a month this season, beating their June mark of .266, the previous low. Memphis is also being outscored 138-to-127 this month. It is the first month this season where they have been outscored. The 138 total runs Memphis has allowed this month is a season-high, as is the 121 earned runs. Memphis batters have also struck out 201 times this month, their highest mark.
STRUGGLES WITH THE DIVISION: Despite having a strong overall record of 81-55, and winning their division, Memphis has struggled mightily against its own division this season. Memphis has had to rely on their dominance over other divisions to get the job done. The 'Birds are 5-7 against Nashville, 7-9 against New Orleans, and 8-8 against Round Rock. Memphis has four games remaining this season. They lost the season series with New Orleans, and tied the season-series with Round Rock, and play four more against Nashville. Until a few weeks ago, Memphis batters had just a slightly lower batting average against divisional opponents than they did against opponents from other divisions. However, Memphis has struggled to hit and pitch against the division in recent weeks. Memphis is hitting .274 (859-for-3136) against opponents in other divisions, and are hitting much lower at .259 (377-for-1453) against the division. Memphis pitchers are posting a 3.82 ERA (163ER, 384.0IP) against the division, while posting a 3.42 ERA (308ER, 811.2IP) against everyone else.
HERGET STRUGGLES AGAINST ROUND ROCK: Last night, Memphis starter Kevin Herget was hit hard by the Round Rock Express. Herget threw the first 4.1 innings of the game, allowing nine runs, six of which were earned, to score on 12 hits and one walk. Herget struck out three in the game. The nine runs were the most any one Memphis pitcher has allowed this season, topping the eight runs that had been allowed three times this season. He took the loss for the 'Birds, falling to 9-11 with a 4.61 ERA this season. This is Herget's first season as a consistent starter, and he has pitched reasonably well, and has become Memphis' most consistent starter. He leads the team in both starts, innings, and strikeouts this season. He has appeared in 28 games this season, starting the last 22 appearances dating back to April 30. As a starter, he is 8-10 with a 4.77 ERA in 128.1 innings pitched. The 12 hits Herget allowed last night were a career-high. Despite his rough outing last night, Herget has been the consistent presence Memphis has needed among all the roster moves. Herget has set his career-highs in wins (9), losses (11), innings pitched (138.2), and strikeouts (121).
GAMES WITH BACK-TO-BACK JACKS: Last night, outfielder Lane Thomas went 2-for-4 at the plate with a solo home run. It was the second-consecutive game he had homered in, having hit a two-run home run the night before. It was the first time in his Triple-A career that he had homered in consecutive games. In 28 games with Memphis since being promoted from Springfield last month, Thomas is hitting .252 (29-for-115). Thomas is having a breakout season in his first year in the St. Louis organization. Between the two levels of the organization, he is hitting .259 (129-for-499), the second-highest average of his career. He has also scored 83 runs, hit 22 doubles, hit 26 home runs, driven in 84 runs, and walked 49 times, all career-highs. His six triples, and 16 stolen bases are just shy of his career-high marks.
RAVELO FINDING HIS WAY BACK: On August 15, infielder Rangel Ravelo left the Redbirds' game against New Orleans after being hit in the face with a pitch. He spent more than a week on the Disabled List before returning to the lineup on August 25. At the time of his injury, Ravelo was riding a 16-game hitting streak, tied for the longest such streak of his career. Ravelo went 0-for-8 in his first two games back with the 'Birds. However, in the last four games, he has been finding some consistency. He has recorded one hit in each of his last four games, and has recorded at least one RBI in three of those four games. Last night, Ravelo drove in two of the three Memphis runs via a single and a sacrifice fly. The other run scored on a Lane Thomas solo home run. Ravelo is 4-for-14 (.286) in the last four games with four RBI and two walks. He leads current Memphis players with a .300 (100-for-333) batting average, and .385 on-base percentage.
SOLID NIGHT FOR EDMAN: In last night's loss, infielder Tommy Edman had a solid game, going 2-for-5 with a triple, and scoring one of the three Memphis runs. Before being sent to Springfield last week, Edman had a seven-game hitting streak with the Redbirds. He snapped that streak in his first game back with the team Tuesday, but has now hit in two-straight, recording three total hits. Between Springfield and Memphis, Edman is hitting a career-high .303 (152-for-502). He has scored 79 runs, hit 23 doubles, hit seven home runs, and has stolen 29 bases, all career-highs.
TOVAR SNAPS HOMERLESS STREAK: Wednesday night, Wilfredo Tovar not only made his third appearance in the outfield this season, but he also had a phenomenal night at the plate. The usual middle infielder went 3-for-4 at the dish, scoring once, and driving in two with his fifth home run of the season. For Tovar, it was his first three-hit game since May 9 at Oklahoma City. It was his first home run since May 30 at New Orleans. He now has five long balls on the season. The five home runs in the second-best mark of his career. He hit six last season with Memphis. He also has 43 RBI this season, the second-best mark of his career. Tovar has been phenomenal since August began, and in particular, since he came off the Disabled List. He spent a week on the Disabled List early in the month and is hitting .372 (16-for-43) in his 12 games since then. He has collected hits in 10 of those 12 games and multiple hits in five of them. He is hitting .339 (20-for-59) in 17 games this month.
BACK-TO-BACK FOR CLAPP: Earlier this week, Redbirds manager Stubby Clapp was named the Pacific Coast League Manager of the Year for the second consecutive season. Last season, he led the Redbirds to a franchise-record 91-50 in his first season at the helm of the 'Birds. They won the PCL Championship, winning 97 total games between the regular-season and playoffs. He became the first manager in Memphis history to win the award last season. This season, Memphis is 80-53 with seven games remaining. After winning Saturday night, the Redbirds clinched their second-consecutive division title for the first time since 2009-2010. Clapp is just the third PCL manager on record to win the award in consecutive seasons, joining Dan Rohn of Tacoma (2004, 2005) and Jim Lefebvre of Phoenix (1985, 1986). With the ninth win of the season this year, he became the fastest manager in both Memphis history, and the 116-year history of the PCL to reach 100 wins. He is 171-103 in two seasons with Memphis, a .624 winning percentage, best in franchise history. He also sits fifth in wins among Redbirds' managers.
MORE HONORS FOR THE 'BIRDS: This morning, pitcher Dakota Hudson was named the Pacific Coast League Pitcher of the Year. He is the first player in Memphis history to earn the award. Earlier this week, outfielder Tyler O'Neill and Hudson were named to the All-Pacific Coast League Team. In 19 starts with Memphis this season, Hudson was 13-3 with a 2.50 ERA in 111.2 innings. He was promoted to St. Louis in late July and in 13 relief appearances, he is 4-1 with a 3.14 ERA in 14.1 innings. O'Neill was hitting .311 (74-for-238) with Memphis, posting an on-base percentage of .385, a slugging percentage of .693, and an OPS of 1.078. O'Neill hit 26 home runs with Memphis, posting six multi-home run games. With St. Louis, the outfielder is hitting .282 (24-for-85) with six home runs. It is the first time in franchise history that Memphis has had two players named to the All-PCL team in the same season. Before Patrick Wisdom earned the honor last season, no Memphis player had been named to the team since 2013.
These honors are some of the many the Redbirds have won this season. Adolis Garcia was named the PCL Player of the Month for July. Garcia was also named PCL Player of the Week for the week of July 23-29. Garcia and pitcher Daniel Poncedeleon were named the Cardinals Minor League Player and Pitcher of the Month for July earlier this week, as well. It was the fourth time a Redbird has won a Weekly PCL Honor this season. Garcia joins pitchers Daniel Poncedeleon and Austin Gomber to earn the honor. Poncedeleon earned the honor early in July, and Gomber earned the award once in April and once in May. Earlier this season, Poncedeleon, Dakota Hudson, and Patrick Wisdom were all named PCL All-Stars, while Hudson and outfielder Randy Arozarena participated in the MLB Futures Game. Hudson was also named the Cardinals Minor League Pitcher of the Month for June, the second Memphis pitcher to earn that accolade this season after Gomber earned it in April. Infielder/outfielder Rangel Ravelo was also named the Cardinals Minor League Player of the Month for June. The Redbirds have had a player or pitcher earn the Cardinals Minor League monthly honors every month, except one dating back to the beginning of the 2017 season.
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