OKC Dodgers Game Notes - September 17, 2021
Round Rock Express (58-56) at Oklahoma City Dodgers (59-55)
Game #115 of 129/Home #55 of 64
Pitching Probables: RR-RHP Collin Wiles (6-2, 4.31) vs. OKC-RHP Austin Bibens-Dirkx (10-5, 4.57)/RHP Aaron Wilkerson (6-5, 4.55)
Friday, September 17, 2021 | Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark | Oklahoma City, Okla. | 7:05 p.m. CT
Radio: KGHM AM-1340 The Game, 1340thegame.com, iHeartRadio; Video: MiLB.tv
Today's Game: The Oklahoma City Dodgers continue their Red Dirt Rumble series against the Round Rock Express at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark. The Dodgers will take the field this series as Cielo Azul de Oklahoma City and Round Rock will play as Los Chupacabras de Round Rock throughout ¡Celebración Cielo Azul!, presented by OG&E.-
Last Game: A two-run homer in the top of the 10th inning sent the Round Rock Express to a 6-5 win against the Oklahoma City Dodgers Thursday night at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark. The Dodgers scored a run in the bottom of the seventh inning to tie the game, 4-4, which remained the score through nine innings. With the designated runner on second base to open the 10th inning, Round Rock's Curtis Terry sent a two-run homer out to left field to give the Express a 6-4 lead. In the bottom of the inning, the Dodgers loaded the bases with one out. Cristian Santana brought in a run when he hit into a force out at second base, but the Dodgers ultimately stranded the tying run at third base. The Dodgers had taken a quick 2-0 lead in the first inning on a RBI groundout by Matt Davidson and RBI single by Santana. Davidson connected on his team-leading 25th home run of the season in the third inning for a 3-0 OKC lead. After an OKC error with two outs in the fourth inning, Round Rock scored three runs to tie the game, 3-3. A sacrifice fly by Terry gave Round Rock a 4-3 lead in the sixth inning before Luke Raley homered in the seventh inning to even the score.
Today's Probable Pitchers: Austin Bibens-Dirkx (10-5) tries for his league-leading 11th win of the season tonight...Bibens-Dirkx became the first Triple-A West pitcher to 10 wins this season in last outing Sept. 11 in Salt Lake. He piggybacked Aaron Wilkerson and threw 4.0 scoreless innings as part of OKC's 8-0 shutout victory. He allowed three hits, with one walk and four strikeouts...After starting the season 9-1 through his first 17 outings, including a stretch of 14 games (eight starts) without a loss, he is 1-4 in his last five outings, with losses in four straight starts...Bibens-Dirkx currently ranks second in Triple-A West with a 4.57 ERA and 102.1 innings pitched, fifth with a 1.39 WHIP and sixth with a .281 AVG...Bibens-Dirkx last recorded 10 wins in a season in 2013 when he finished a combined 12-9 in the Blue Jays organization, including nine wins with High-A Dunedin and three wins with Double-A New Hampshire...Bibens-Dirkx signed with the Dodgers May 4 after he did not see any formal game action in 2020...Tonight is his sixth appearance and fifth start of the season against Round Rock. He is 5-0 against the Express, posting a 2.00 ERA (6 ER/27.0 IP) with a .204 BAA.
Aaron Wilkerson (6-5) is set to piggyback Bibens-Dirkx...Wilkerson last pitched Sept. 11 at Salt Lake, making his first start since going on the IL in mid-August. He pitched 3.0 scoreless innings, allowing two hits with four strikeouts...Wilkerson returned to game action Sept. 6 against Albuquerque in OKC, and in his first two games back, he's thrown 4.0 scoreless innings with six strikeouts...Wilkerson paces Triple-A West with a 4.55 ERA, ranks second with 106 strikeouts, a .246 AVG and 1.18 WHIP, while his 95.0 IP are eighth...Wilkerson signed with the Dodgers as a free agent May 1. He originally signed with Rakuten of the Chinese Professional Baseball League during the 2020-21 offseason, but opted out of his contract...In four games against Round Rock this season, Wilkerson is 0-2 with a 6.63 ERA (14 ER/19.0 IP).
Against the Express: 2021: 14-10 2019: 6-10 All-time: 144-118 At OKC: 67-58 The Oklahoma City Dodgers and Round Rock Express close out their Red Dirt Rumble rivalry series at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark...The teams last met for a rain-shortened five-game series in OKC Aug. 12-17, with OKC winning the set, 4-1...The first 18 games of the season between the teams were played at Dell Diamond in Round Rock...OKC has won 14 of the last 20 meetings after opening the season with four consecutive losses to the Express in May, as well as 13 of the last 18 games...The Dodgers have outscored the Express 127-113 this season, while Round Rock has outhit OKC, 204-196, with 35 homers compared to OKC's 33. The Express have homered at least once in 21 of the first 24 games...OKC has won seven of the last nine games between the teams entering tonight. The Express is looking to win consecutive games against the Dodgers for the first time since taking each of the first four games of the season, May 6-9...Only 371 miles separate Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark from Dell Diamond, making it the shortest distance between the Dodgers and any of their Triple-A opponents...The Dodgers need to win only one game this series to win the inaugural Red Dirt Rumble.
Es Divertido Ser Un Fan: Throughout this series, OKC and Round Rock will take the field with their MiLB "Es Divertido Ser Un Fan™" ("It's Fun to Be a Fan™") identities - Cielo Azul de Oklahoma City and Los Chupacabras de Round Rock. In addition to players and coaches wearing Cielo Azul jerseys and hats during the series, the gameday environment during ¡Celebración Cielo Azul! will include Latin music, colorful and festive concourse decorations, specialty concessions, unique entertainment, live performances and a Spanish-speaking public address announcer for select games...The name Cielo Azul - translated to "Blue Sky" - was established in 2018 and derived from three key factors: Incorporating the color blue, which is a key component of the Dodgers organization; the vibrancy of Oklahoma's blue skies, and the breadth of the diversity of Hispanic and Latino culture that resides under those skies; and as a tribute to Dodgers legendary pitcher Fernando Valenzuela, who looked up at the sky during his windup.
Trending Up: Even with last night's defeat, the Dodgers have won seven of their last nine games, as well as nine of their last 12 games...The recent success follows a stretch in which the Dodgers lost 11 of 13 games, sending the Dodgers from a season-best seven games above .500 (48-41) to two games below .500 (50-52). Prior to Aug. 31, the team had not been below .500 since they were 20-21 entering play June 22...The Dodgers are 9-4 in September and tonight will look to avoid consecutive losses for the first time this month.
Batting Around: The Dodgers tallied 11 more hits Thursday for their third straight game with 10-plus hits after piling up 14 hits Tuesday and 19 hits Monday. Their 44 hits over the last three games makes for the team's second-highest three-game hit total this season, only behind the 46 hits they compiled May 28-30 in El Paso...Four of their hits last night went for extra bases and the Dodgers have 45 extra-base hits over the last nine games, with at least four XBH in seven straight games. The team's 62 extra-base hits since Sept. 1 are second-most in Triple-A West, trailing only Reno's 68. The team has collected at least three XBH in all 13 games this month...Over the last nine games, OKC has scored 77 runs and has batted .317 (109x344) as a team overall and .347 (34x98) with runners in scoring position...The Dodgers have hit 19 homers over the last nine games after being held to four homers in the six games prior. OKC has homered in nine straight games and has 22 homers in September - second-most in Triple-A West (Reno, 30). The Dodgers have hit at least two homers in seven of the last nine games, including six of the last seven and four straight.
On the Run: The Dodgers scored at least five runs in a fifth straight game last night and for the 11th time in the first 13 games of September. They have scored at least eight runs in seven of the last 11 games (87 R)...OKC's 98 runs so far in September are second-most in Triple-A West behind Reno's 103 runs scored.
Matt the Bat: Matt Davidson hit his team-leading 25th homer of the season last night - and fifth homer of September - finishing 2-for-5 with two RBI. He has now hit safely in seven of his last nine games, going 15-for-40 (.375) with eight extra-base hits. In his 15 games since returning from the Injured List Aug. 28, Davidson has 23 RBI and 11 extra-base hits (7 HR)...He has 21 multi-hit games this season and a team-leading 21 multi-RBI games...This is the sixth time this season he's gone deep in back-to-back games.
Young Sheldon: Sheldon Neuse went 2-for-5 Thursday with a leadoff triple and scored two runs. It was his fourth consecutive multi-hit game and his second straight game with a triple. He's 9-for-20 over the last four games and has hit safely in 11 of his last 12 games, going 21-for-58 (.362) with seven multi-hit games, 17 RBI and 15 runs scored...He now has seven extra-base hits over his last seven games.
Cool Hand Luke: Luke Raley connected on a solo homer in the seventh inning last night to tie the game, 4-4, homering for a third straight game. Over his last three games, he's 6-for-14 with three homers and eight RBI, marking the first time in his career he's gone deep in three straight games. He's now homered five times in the last six games and collected 12 RBI during that time...Raley has played in 20 games with OKC since Aug. 7 and is batting .329 (28x85) with nine homers, five doubles, 22 RBI and 20 runs scored, as well as nine multi-hit games.
Santana's Greatest Hits: Cristian Santana extended his hitting streak to eight games Thursday, going 1-for-5 with two RBI. During the streak he is 15-for-34 with two homers, three doubles, 10 RBI and eight runs scored...Santana leads OKC with 91 hits and 27 multi-hit games this season...Since Aug. 1, Santana has 49 hits in 37 games - tied for fourth-most in Triple-A West during the span, while his .343 batting average in the same time period ranks fourth-best in the league.
Close But Not Quite: The Dodgers fell to 2-5 in extra-inning games this season with last night's loss. They have now lost six straight extra-inning games in OKC and have not won an extra-inning game at home since August 2018. They have also lost seven of the last nine extra-inning games overall going back to 2019...Thursday marked OKC's league-leading 22nd one-run loss of the year, and the five extra-inning losses are tied for most in Triple-A West...Thursday marked the third time in the last 12 home games the Dodgers lost after holding a lead of at least three runs. They ended up losing each game by one run...Yesterday was the 12th last at-bat win by an opponent this season.
Around the Horn: Reliever Darien Núñez has turned in six straight scoreless outings. Since Aug. 31, he has allowed two hits and one walk over 7.1 innings, holding opponents 2-for-23. He has struck out 13 of the 24 batters he's faced...Since Aug. 9 (20 games), Drew Avans is batting .345 (19x55) with a .455 OBP (OB 30/66 PA). During that time he has 17 runs and 10 RBI, with 10 walks against six strikeouts...Zach McKinstry is 5-for-15 with two doubles, a homer and four runs scored over his last three games.
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