The Sky Sox were holding serve and leading 4-2, but Harrison Bader’s defense changed the outlook of the game in a hurry with a home run robbing catch and the momentum swung in Memphis’ favor. The home team scored five unanswered runs across innings 6, 7, and 8 to win 7-4 in the series opener Tuesday night in Memphis. The loss brought the Sox four-game winning streak to a close and trimmed their divisional lead to two games over the Dodgers.
The Sox jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the top of the second, courtesy of a little hit from their pitcher Michael Blazek. The rally started with two down when Yadiel Rivera walked to load the bases for Blazek. The starter picked on the first pitch he saw from Memphis’ starter Josh Zeid and labled a single to right, on which Garrett Cooper and Ivan De Jesus scored. Kyle Wren followed with an RBI single and the Sox were up a field goal.
Memphis would respond against Blazek and Colorado Springs in the fourth inning when Patrick Wisdom cleaned out a pitch for a two-run homer, his 11th of the season. Ryan Cordell made it 4-2 with a two-out RBI single in the fifth, but that was it for the Sky Sox offense and you can pinpoint one specific moment where the momentum shifted and it was in the top of the sixth when Kirk Nieuwenhuis was at the plate. He smoked a ball high and deep to center, but Bader said, “nuh-uh, not today,” jumped at the wall and brought it back for the third out of the inning. Unreal catch.
He then led off the bottom of the sixth with a single and scored later in the inning on a sac fly to make it 4-3. The home half of the seventh saw Paul De Jong put the Redbirds in front with a two run homer, then Luke Voit’s single in the eighth capped off the scoring.
Michael Blazek was very good in his sixth straight start. He went the first five and held the opposition to two runs on five hits; he walked three and fanned three on 99 pitches, 53 of which went for strikes. Stephen Kohlscheen gave up a run, before Tristan Archer gave up four runs on four hits and took the loss. Reliever Mark Montgomery took home the win and Ryan Sheriff the save.
Play of the Game –
Bader’s momentum swaying catch in the sixth inning –
Pregame Interview with Dan Karcher and Redbirds Manager Stubby Clapp –
It’s a veryyyyy quick turnaround today, so let’s jump right into the preview!
Colorado Springs Sky Sox (37-25) at Memphis Redbirds (39-25) – 10:05 a.m.
Pitching Probables: TBA at RHP Jack Flaherty (0-0, 1.50)
Sky Sox Starter: The Sky Sox’s pitching staff has been decimated by the Brewers with Brandon Woodruff and Brent Suter going up to the big leagues, and Forrest Snow down to Biloxi…Today’s starter was slated to be Paolo Espino, but due to Brandon Woodruff getting hurt before his MLB debut, Espino was an emergency add to the Brewers roster in between games of their doubleheader and the Sky Sox left without a starter.
UPDATE: Andrew Barbosa will get the spot start
Redbirds Starting Arm: Right-hander Jack Flaherty is slated to go in the morning game for Memphis and what a start to his Triple-A career he is having. The 21-year old…yes…21-year old hasn’t recorded a decision, but has limited the Omaha and New Orleans offenses to two runs on seven hits in 12 innings to start his PCL career. He made 10 starts with Double-A Springfield prior to his promotion and did nothing, but go 7-2 with a 1.42 ERA allowing 10 runs on 47 hits in 63 1/3 Texas League innings. He’s walked 14 and fanned 75 in 75 1/3 innings this year.
Flaherty has ascended the Cardinals’ ranks quickly since he was drafted in the first round of the 2014 draft out of Harvard-Westlake High School in California. He pitched at rookie ball in 2014, A-ball in 2015, High-A in 2016 and both Double and Triple-A this season. In 62 MiLB outings, 59 starts, he his 22-15 with a 2.72 ERA. Flaherty is ranked by MLBPipeline.com as the Cards’ fifth best prospect.
Last Time Out – June 7 – No decision at New Orleans –
The 21-year old righty went six scoreless innings in his second Triple-A start. He allowed two hits, walked one and recorded eight strikeouts. Flaherty threw 99 pitches, 61 of which went for strikes.
Dan Karcher (@SkySoxKarch) continues his 28th season behind the mic for Sky Sox games, he will have the call of tonight’s game from AutoZone Park beginning at 10:05 a.m. I will get Sky Sox Warmup fired up at 9:30 a.m. MDT on XTRA Sports 1300.
Thanks for reading – See you on the radio,