After two victories in the first two games of the best-of-five series over the El Paso Chihuahuas, the Memphis Redbirds find themselves tied at two games apiece, with their season on the line in Sunday’s series finale in El Paso.
The Redbirds hosted the first two games at AutoZone Park in Memphis, Tennessee, before the series shifted to Southwest University Park in El Paso, Texas. Thus far in the series, home-field advantage has been key, as the Chihuahuas climbed out of their 0-2 hole sustained in Memphis to set up a decisive fifth game on Sunday night.
Memphis has struggled to manufacture runs in Texas, dropping Game Three, 3-0, and the fourth game by a 5-1 score. Between their Game Three and Four losses, the Redbirds have stranded 18 runners on base, going 0-for-11 with runners in scoring position.
Ryan Helsley was solid in his start in Game Three, with six innings of one-run ball. Nonetheless, Helsley took his second loss of the postseason as the result of no run support. Zac Gallen got in to trouble in his start in Saturday’s fourth game, allowing five runs in the third inning. Gallen was able to pitch through the fifth, but the Memphis bats couldn’t counter the Chihuahua’s big frame.
With their season on the line Sunday, the Redbirds will give the ball to right-hander Matt Pearce. Pearce allowed three runs in a no-decision in the series finale against the Colorado Springs Sky Sox, a game ultimately won by the Redbirds, 13-10. Josh Zeid worked three innings on Saturday, so Mike Mayers will likely be Pearce’s successor on pitching front.
The Redbirds will be facing right-hander Kyle Lloyd. Lloyd was 1-4 with a 7.02 ERA in 12 starts at Triple-A this season, and made one start for the Padres at the big-league level.
On the offensive side, the Redbirds will hope for infielder Aledmys Diaz and outfielder Jose Adolis Garcia will look to produce more timely hitting. Diaz came up with an RBI double in Saturday’s game, and Garcia walked-off Game Two with a home run in the 11th inning.
Sunday night’s game will begin at 7:05 PM Central time. To follow the game live, please visit memphisredbirds.com.