Salem Sox Gameday: Freedom Friday in Salem

GAME #8 – Carolina Mudcats (4-3) at Salem Red Sox (3-4)

7:05 PM, LewisGale Field at Salem Memorial Ballpark, Salem, VA

SERIES AT A GLANCE – Second of a four-game series, Salem leads series 1-0, Carolina leads season series 3-2

LAST NIGHT – Salem 13, Carolina 3 | WP : Jake Dahlstrand (2-0), LP: Lucas Sims (1-1), SV Mike Adams (1) | Recap | Infographic | Box Score

STARTING PITCHERS –  LHP Trey Ball (0-1, 8.44) vs RHP Andrew Thurman (1-0,0.00)

RADIO – 1240 ESPN AM Roanoke | salemsox.com | TuneIn Radio App

SOCIAL MEDIA – Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

GAME NOTES – 

SERIES AT A GLANCE: After finishing their season opening road trip at 2-4, the Salem Red Sox return to the Roanoke Valley for a seven-game homestand. First up is a four game set with the Carolina Mudcats, a team that the Red Sox saw for four games last week to open theseason. The first-year Atlanta Braves affiliate took three of four games from the Red Sox in Zebulon, N.C. Last season, the Red Sox were 5-5 at home against the Mudcats and 7-3 against Lynchburg, Atlanta’s Carolina League affiliate in 2014. This season, the Red Sox and Mudcats will meet 22 times, 11 at each ballpark. Twelve of the 22 matchups will take place over the season’s first 18 games.

LAST TIME OUT: Salem thumped Carolina Thursday night in the home opener at LewisGale Field, tallying 16 hits en-route to a 13-3 win over the Mudcats. Every player in the Red Sox lineup got a hit, eight scored a run and six had an RBI. Manuel Margot and Cole Sturgeon scored three times and Margot, Forrestt Allday and Jake Romanski each had three hits. Jake Dahlstrand notched his second win of the season, allowing just two runs in six innings, striking out four batters.

DAY LONG PRODUCTION: Forrestt Allday is red-hot in the early part of the season. After a 3-for-3 outing on Thursday night, Allday is batting .600 in the young 2015 campaign. Over his last ten plate appearances, Allday is 6-for-7 with three doubles, a home run, five RBI, four runs, two walks, and a sac fly. He leads the team in average, on-base percentage (.667), walks (4), RBI (tied-5) and is second in runs (5). On Tuesday, he crushed his first career home run over the top of the left field pole to tie the game at one, threw a runner out at third base on a potential sacrifice fly, and drove home the eventual game-winning run with a sac fly in the seventh inning. The home run for Allday came in his 93rd game and 327th at-bat as a Red Sox farmhand. An eighth-round selection by Boston back in 2013, Allday had not homered since his college days at the University of Central Arkansas in 2013 when he hit three for the Bears in 64 games.

TAKE TWO, THEY’RE SMALL: Salem had seven doubles as a team in the 13-3 win over Carolina Thursday night. It was the most doubles the Red Sox have had as a team since July 24, 2013, when they had nine in a home game against the Frederick Keys. The team season total was doubled on Thursday. Entering the game, Salem had seven two-baggers for the entire season. The Red Sox also nearly doubled their entire scoring output on the opening road trip, when they scored a total of 15 runs.

THE BOYS ARE BACK IN TOWN: In home openers at LewisGale Field since becoming a Boston Red Sox affiliate, Salem is now 4-3. After losing back-to-back home openers in 2011 and 2012, the Red Sox have won three consecutive to begin the season in Salem: a 7-2 take down of Myrtle Beach in 2013, a 12-11 shootout over Winston-Salem in 2014 and last night’s 13-3 triumph over Carolina. This is the fourth straight year that the Sox home opener was not on MiLB Opening Day. The team hasn’t been at home to start the season since 2011. Salem finished last season with a 35-32 home record.

GOOD PITCHING BEATS GOOD HITTING: Salem’s pitching staff looks to be especially strong this season with three top-30 prospects in Trey Ball, Teddy Stankiewicz and Joe Gunkel. Of the 12 pitchers on the roster, eight were selected in the top 10 rounds of their respective drafts: Ball (1st, 2013), Stankiewicz (2nd, 2013), Austin Maddox (3rd, 2012), Kevin McAvoy (4th, 2014), Kyle Kraus (7th, 2012), Mike Adams (7th, 2013), Jake Dahlstrand (10th, 2010) and Taylor Grover (10th, 2013). This year is a new challenge for a majority of the staff as only five of the pitchers have reached High-A before this season. Nine of the hurlers are 23 years old or younger, including two 20-year olds. So far, the youthful staff has held its own, stockpiling a 3.27 ERA in the first week of the season. Six of Salem’s starters have allowed three earned runs or less and all but one has gone at least five innings. Sox starters have already recorded three quality starts.

LINEUP :

4-17 LINEUP

Salem Sox Gameday: Home Sweet Home

GAME #7 – Carolina Mudcats (4-2) at Salem Red Sox (2-4)

7:05 PM, LewisGale Field at Salem Memorial Ballpark, Salem, VA

SERIES AT A GLANCE – First of a four game series, Carolina leads season series 3-1

LAST NIGHT – Rained out at Myrtle Beach, game rescheduled as part of a May 6 doubleheader

LAST GAME – (Tuesday Doubleheader) (Game #1) Myrtle Beach 5, Salem 3 | WP: Jen-Ho Tseng (1-0), LP Daniel McGrath (0-1), SV Tayler Scott (1) | Infographic | Box Score

(Game #2) Salem 3, Myrtle Beach 1 | WP Taylor Grover (1-0), LP Gerardo Conception (0-1) |Recap | Infographic | Box Score

STARTING PITCHERS –  RHP Jake Dahlstrand (1-0, 0.00) vs RHP Lucas Sims (1-0,3.00)

RADIO – 1240 ESPN AM Roanoke | salemsox.com | TuneIn Radio App

SOCIAL MEDIA – Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

SERIES RECAP – What was originally scheduled as a three-day, three-game series turned in to two seven-inning games played as a doubleheader Tuesday Night in Myrtle Beach. After Game one was postponed due to rain on Monday, the Sox earned a split Tuesday night. Salem dropped the opening game 5-3 before bouncing back for a 3-1 victory behind a strong performance from Forrestt Allday. Allday went 2-for-2 with a walk and launched his first career home run. He later plated the go-ahead run on a sacrifice fly. The series rubber match scheduled for Wednesday night was rained out and will be made up as part of a doubleheader tentatively scheduled for May 6.

The 2015 Salem Red Sox make their first appearance at LewisGale Field tonight beginning at 7:05 p.m. We’ll see you at the ballpark, until then all of your pertinent Home Opener info is below.

GAME NOTES – 

SERIES AT A GLANCE: After finishing their season opening road trip at 2-4, the Salem Red Sox return to the Roanoke Valley to begin a seven-game homestand. First up is a four game set with the Carolina Mudcats, a team that the Red Sox saw for four games last week to open the season. The first-year Atlanta Braves affiliate took three of four games from the Red Sox in Zebulon, N.C. Last season, the Red Sox were 5-5 at home against the Mudcats and 7-3 against Lynchburg, Atlanta’s Carolina League affiliate in 2014. This season, the Red Sox and Mudcats will meet 22 times, 11 at each ballpark. Twelve of the 22 matchups will take place over the season’s first 18 games.

THE BOYS ARE BACK IN TOWN: In home openers at LewisGale Field since becoming a Boston Red Sox affiliate, Salem is 3-3. After losing back-to-back home openers in 2011 and 2012, the Red Sox have won two consecutive to begin the season in Salem, a 7-2 take down of Myrtle Beach in 2013 and a 12-11 shootout over Winston-Salem in 2014. This is the fourth straight year that the Sox home opener was not on MiLB Opening Day. The team hasn’t been at home to start the season since 2011. Salem finished last season with a 35-32 home record.

LAST TIME OUT: Salem split a doubleheader on Tuesday night at Myrtle Beach, falling 5-3 in the opener before swiping the nightcap 3-1. Forrestt Allday led the charge in the second game by going 2-for-2 with two RBI, including his first professional home run. Taylor Grover earned the win in the second game by firing two scoreless frames of relief. Manuel Margot was a combined 2-for-6 in the twin-bill with his first home run of the year coming in the first game. Wendell Rijo was 3-for-3 in the opener, finishing a home run shy of the cycle.

LET’S PLAY TWO: The Red Sox earned the split of their first doubleheader of the season Tuesday night in Myrtle Beach thanks to a 3-1 victory in game two. In 2014, Salem was a combined 10-4 in doubleheader contests including two splits. It was the Red Sox first doubleheader against the Pelicans since July 11, 2013 and their first doubleheader in Myrtle Beach since August 11, 2009.

TWO BY TWO: Every game this season for the Red Sox has been decided by exactly two runs. Last season, Salem was involved in 25 games decided by exactly two runs, posting a 12-13 record in such contests. The sixth two-run game, however, did not come until May 9. The Red Sox have scored runs in their last at-bat in three straight games to create the two-run margin.

WHAT A DAY: Forrestt Allday was involved in every facet of the game during Tuesday’s nightcap. The 24-year old from Friendswood, Texas crushed his first career home run over the top of the left field pole to tie the game at one, threw a runner out at third base on a potential sacrifice fly, and drove home the eventual game-winning run with a sac fly in the seventh inning. The home run for Allday came in his 93rd game and 327th at-bat as a Red Sox farmhand. An eighth-round selection by Boston back in 2013, Allday had not homered since his college days at the University of Central Arkansas in 2013 when he hit three for the Bears in 64 games.

OPENING DAY NO-NO: Thursday night, Jake Dahlstrand and Joe Gunkel combined to throw the 11th no-hitter in Salem franchise history. The rain-shortened outing that was called final after 6.1 innings was the first no-hitter since Henry Owens, Matty Ott and Matt Price collaborated to no-hit the Frederick Keys on July 17, 2013 in a 6-0 Red Sox victory. It was the second shortest no-hitter in Salem history. On June 29, 1972, John Morlan and Dewayne Mason held the Kinston Eagles hitless in a 2-1 Salem Pirates victory that was called final after just five innings. Gunkel is the second pitcher in team history to throw just 0.1 innings of a combined no-hitter. Ryan Oulette did it for the Salem Avalanche on August 5, 2008. It was the third Opening Day no-hitter involving the Salem franchise as the 1992 Buccaneers and 1995 Avalanche were on the wrong side of no-hitters by the Peninsula Pilots and Prince William Cannons, respectively

LINEUP:

Daily Lineup 4-16

Salem Sox Gameday: Series Finale in Myrtle Beach

GAME #7 – Salem Red Sox (2-4) at Myrtle Beach Pelicans (3-3)

7:05 PM, TicketReturn.com Field at Pelicans Ballpark, Myrtle Beach, SC

SERIES AT A GLANCE – Third game of a three game series, series tied 1-1

LAST NIGHT – Myrtle Beach 5, Salem 3 | WP: Jen-Ho Tseng (1-0), LP Daniel McGrath (0-1), SV Tayler Scott (1) | Infographic | Box Score

(Game #2) Salem 3, Myrtle Beach 1 | WP Taylor Grover (1-0), LP Gerardo Conception (0-1) | Recap | Infographic | Box Score

STARTING PITCHERS –  RHP Jake Dahlstrand (1-0, 0.00) vs RHP Duane Underwood Jr. (1-0,0.00)

RADIO – 1240 ESPN AM Roanoke | salemsox.com | TuneIn Radio App

TV – MiLB TV (subscription required)

SOCIAL MEDIA – Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

Tonight is the final game of the season-opening seven-game road trip. Tomorrow, the Sox open up a seven-game homestand with the first of a four-game set against the Carolina Mudcats beginning at 7:05 p.m. But before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s focus on the series finale with the Pelicans.

GAME NOTES –

SERIES AT A GLANCE: The Salem Red Sox continue their season-opening seven-game road trip with a three-game series against the Myrtle Beach Pelicans. The Sox took 11 of 19 games from the Pelicans in the regular season last year, but fell when it counted most two games to one in the South Division Championships Series. Salem is 2-4 for the third time in the last four years, also reaching that mark in 2012 and 2013. The Red Sox have not started 2-5 since that 2012 campaign when they finished 68-69-1.

LAST TIME OUT: Salem split a doubleheader on Tuesday night at Myrtle Beach, falling 5-3 in the opener before swiping the nightcap 3-1. Forrestt Allday led the charge in the second game by going 2-for-2 with two RBI, including his first professional home run. Taylor Grover earned the win in the second game by firing two scoreless frames of relief. Manuel Margot was a combined 2-for-6 in the twin-bill with his first home run of the year coming in the first game. Wendell Rijo was 3-for-3 in the opener, finishing a home run shy of the cycle.

LET’S PLAY TWO: The Red Sox earned the split of their first doubleheader of the season Tuesday night in Myrtle Beach thanks to a 3-1 victory in game two. In 2014, Salem was a combined 10-4 in doubleheader contests including two splits. It was the Red Sox first doubleheader against the Pelicans since July 11, 2013 and their first doubleheader in Myrtle Beach since August 11, 2009.

TWO BY TWO: Every game this season for the Red Sox has been decided by exactly two runs. Last season, Salem was involved in 25 games decided by exactly two runs, posting a 12-13 record in such contests. The sixth two-run game, however, did not come until May 9. The Red Sox have scored runs in their last at-bat in three straight games to create the two-run margin.

WHAT A DAY: Forrestt Allday was involved in every facet of the game during Tuesday’s nightcap. The 24-year old from Friendswood, Texas crushed his first career home run over the top of the left field pole to tie the game at one, threw a runner out at third base on a potential sacrifice fly, and drove home the eventual game-winning run with a sac fly in the seventh inning. The home run for Allday came in his 93rd game and 327th at-bat as a Red Sox farmhand. An eighth-round selection by Boston back in 2013, Allday had not homered since his college days at the University of Central Arkansas in 2013 when he hit three for the Bears in 64 games.

OPENING DAY NO-NO: Thursday night, Jake Dahlstrand and Joe Gunkel combined to throw the 11th no-hitter in Salem franchise history. The rain-shortened outing that was called final after 6.1 innings was the first no-hitter since Henry Owens, Matty Ott and Matt Price collaborated to no-hit the Frederick Keys on July 17, 2013 in a 6-0 Red Sox victory. It was the second shortest no-hitter in Salem history. On June 29, 1972, John Morlan and Dewayne Mason held the Kinston Eagles hitless in a 2-1 Salem Pirates victory that was called final after just five innings. Gunkel is the second pitcher in team history to throw just 0.1 innings of a combined no-hitter. Ryan Oulette did it for the Salem Avalanche on August 5, 2008. It was the third Opening Day no-hitter involving the Salem franchise as the 1992 Buccaneers and 1995 Avalanche were on the wrong side of no-hitters by the Peninsula Pilots and Prince William Cannons, respectively.

SOLID RELIEF: Taylor Grover was strong out of the bullpen last night in his second appearance of the season, allowing just one hit in 2.0 innings pitched. Grover used just 31 pitches in his outing while walking a pair. It was his seventh career appearance with Salem. After an August call-up from Low-A Greenville in 2014, Grover posted a 1.46 ERA and .167 batting average against with the Red Sox. He did not allow a run in four of those appearances and now has held opponents scoreless in six of his seven career High-A outings. Overall, Grover, Jorge Marban and Austin Maddox have combined to post 6.1 consecutive scoreless innings out of the pen over the last three games.

LINEUP 

Daily Lineup 4-15

Salem Sox Gameday: To the Beach!

GAME #5 – Salem Red Sox (1-3) at Myrtle Beach Pelicans (2-2)

7:05 PM, TicketReturn.com Field at Pelicans Ballpark, Myrtle Beach, SC

SERIES AT A GLANCE – First of a three game series, first meeting of the season

LAST NIGHT  Carolina 4, Salem 2 | WP: Steve Janas (1-0), LP Kevin McAvoy (0-1), SV Tyler Jones (2) | Recap | Infographic | Box Score

STARTING PITCHERS – LHP Daniel McGrath (0-0, –) vs RHP Jen-Ho Tseng (0-0, –)

RADIO – 1240 ESPN AM Roanoke | salemsox.com | TuneIn Radio App

TV – MiLB TV (subscription required)

SOCIAL MEDIA – Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

CAROLINA SERIES RECAP: 

Thursday : Red Sox 2, Mudcats 0 – WP Jake Dahlstrand (1-0), LP Yean Carlos Gil (0-1)

Friday: Mudcats 6, Red Sox 4 – WP Lucas Sims (1-0), LP Trey Ball (0-1), SV Tyler Jones (1)

Saturday: Mudcats 3, Red Sox 1 – WP Andrew Thurman (1-0), LP Teddy Stankiewicz (0-1), SV Andrew Waszak (1)

Sunday : Mudcats 4, Red Sox 2 – WP Steve Janas (1-0), LP Kevin McAvoy (0-1), SV Tyler Jones (2)

Four games down, 136 to go. The opening series saw a few trends emerge, most notably some very strong pitching. Jake Dahlstrand set the tone with his six innings in the rain-shortened no-hitter on Thursday and the rest of the staff followed suit.  As is noted in the game notes below, Salem’s rotation was nearly unhittable save for one rough inning in Trey Ball’s outing on Friday. This unfortunately did not translate to victories. Every Red Sox starter but Dahlstrand took the loss.

This was due in part to inconsistency on the offensive side. The Sox hit just .182 as a team over the opening four games, with 11 of the teams 22 hits coming from Manuel Margot and Anuery Tavarez. Salem’s nine runs are the fewest plated by a Carolina League team through the first four games.

The Red Sox won’t have to wait long for another crack at the Mudcats, Carolina will be the first visitor to LewisGale Field beginning with the home opener on Thursday, April 16. In fact, three of the first five series and 12 of the first 18 games will be played against the Braves High-A affiliate. But for now, the attention turns to the Myrtle Beach Pelicans.

GAME NOTES –

SERIES AT A GLANCE: The Salem Red Sox continue their season-opening seven-game road trip with a three-game series against the Myrtle Beach Pelicans. The Sox took 11 of 19 games from the Pelicans in the regular season last year, but fell when it counted most two games to one in the South Division Championships Series. Salem is 1-3 for the third time in the last four years, also reaching that mark in 2012 and 2013. Both of those Red Sox teams lost the fifth game of the year before rebouding with wins in the sixth game.

LAST TIME: Salem dropped its third straight two-run game to Carolina in the series finale on Sunday afternoon, 4-2. Kevin McAvoy yielded just one run in five innings in his High-A debut, but was dealt the loss. The Red Sox offense managed just one hit in the first six innings, a bunt single when Aneury Tavarez was thrown out trying to reach third base. Steve Janas continued a strong string of starting pitching for Carolina, tossing six shutout, one-hit innings. Mudcat starters gave up just four earned runs in 22.2 innings in the series (1.39 ERA).

A FLEDGLING STREAK: After going 1-for-4 Sunday at Carolina, Anuery Tavarez has now hit safely in each of the first four games.Tavarez, who was the only player to appear in the field in all four games against the Mudcats, is batting .500 (7-for-14) on the young season. Six of his seven hits have been singles. Now in his second year with Salem, Tavarez has hit safely in 9-of-10 games dating back to last year.

UNCHARTED WATERS: In his first professional season last year with the Short Season-A Lowell Spinners, Kevin McAvoy never had a start last more than three full innings. With the cap off in 2015 with Salem, McAvoy pitched in to the fourth for the first time as a professional Sunday afternoon against the Mudcats. It was the fourth inning that ultimately made him the hard-luck loser, McAvoy allowed a leadoff double and later the only run against him in that frame. In a total of five innings, McAvoy allowed just four hits to go with the lone run, walking two and striking out three.

STRONG STARTERS: The Red Sox have received impressive performances from their starting pitchers in each of the four games to open the season. With the exception of the second inning of Trey Ball’s start on Friday, Ball, Jake Dahlstrand, Teddy Stankiewicz and Kevin McAvoy have combined for 21.1 innings with just 15 hits and four earned runs against them, good for an ERA of 1.69. The starters have combined to give up just 20 hits in 80 at-bats for a .250 average against with two quality starts.

SHOULDERING THE LOAD: Manny Margot and Anuery Tavarez have started the year hot, hitting a combined 11-for-25 (.440) with two doubles, three stolen bases and two runs scored. The rest of the team has combined to go just 11-for-96, a combined average of .115. Twelve of the teams 22 hits have come with two outs, as have four of their nine runs scored.

OPEN WITH A LONGBALL: Sam Travis became the second player this season to have his first hit be a home run. After going 0-for-3 in the opener, Travis slugged a two-run homer in the fourth inning to cut the deficit to two on Friday night. For Travis, a 2014 second round selection out of Indiana who is in his first full professional season, it was his eighth career minor league home run.

PLAYING BEYOND HIS YEARS: In his first High-A at-bat on Thursday, Wendell Rijo crushed a two-run homer over the left-center field wall, driving in the only two runs of the game. Rijo, who at 19-years old is the youngest player in the Carolina League, continued a trend of starting hot after he hit .341 over his first 31 games in 2014 with Low-A Greenville. Rijo is one of four players in the Carolina League that were born in 1995: Frederick’s Chance Sisco (February 24), Winston-Salem’s Trey Michalczowski (February 27) and Lynchburg’s Ivan Castillo (May 30).

LINEUP –

Daily Lineup 4-13

Salem Sox Gameday: Series Finale in Zebulon

GAME #4 – Salem Red Sox (1-2) at Carolina Mudcats (2-1)

2PM, Five County Stadium, Zebulon, NC

SERIES AT A GLANCE – Fourth game of a four game series (CAR leads 2-1), CAR leads season series tied 2-1.

LAST NIGHT  Carolina 3, Salem 1 | WP: Andrew Thurman (1-0), LP Teddy Stankiewicz (0-1), SV Andrew Waszak (1) | Recap | Infographic | Box Score

STARTING PITCHERS – RHP Kevin McAvoy (0-0, –) vs RHP Steve Janas (0-0, –)

RADIO – 1240 ESPN AM Roanoke | salemsox.com | TuneIn Radio App

TV – MiLB TV (subscription required)

SOCIAL MEDIA – Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

LINEUP 

Daily Lineup 4-12

GAME NOTES 

SERIES AT A GLANCE: The Salem Red Sox kick off their seventh season as an affiliate of the Boston Red Sox on the road against the Carolina Mudcats, entering their first season in the Atlanta Braves organization. The Red Sox won 11 of 20 meetings with the Mudcats last season, the same record they had against last year’s Atlanta affiliate in Lynchburg. As part of the new unbalanced schedule this season, the Red Sox and Mudcats will meet 22 times, 11 times at each site. Twelve of the 22 matchups will take place in the season’s first 18 games. The Red Sox were 6-4 at Five County Stadium last season and are 20-13 in Zebulon since the Mudcats moved into the Carolina League.

STRONG STARTERS: The Red Sox have received impressive performances from their starting pitchers in each of the three games to open the season. With the exception of the second inning of Trey Ball’s start on Friday, Ball, Jake Dahlstrand and Teddy Stankiewicz have combined for 17.1 innings with just 11 hits and three earned runs against them, good for an ERA of 1.56. The starters have combined to give up just 16 hits in 63 at-bats for a .254 average against with two quality starts.

SHOULDERING THE LOAD: Manny Margot and Anuery Tavarez have started the year hot, hitting a combined 10-for-21 (.476) with two doubles, three stolen bases and two runs scored. The rest of the team has combined to go just 8-for-71, a combined average of .113. Eleven of the teams 18 hits have come with two outs, as have three of their nine runs scored.

OPEN WITH A LONGBALL: Sam Travis became the second player this season to have his first hit be a home run. After going 0-for-3 in the opener, Travis slugged a two-run homer in the fourth inning to cut the deficit to two last night. For Travis, a 2014 second round selection out of Indiana who is in his first full professional season, it was his eighth career minor league home run.

SOLID RELIEF: Taylor Grover was strong out of the bullpen on Friday night in his first appearance of the season, allowing just one hit in 2.2 innings pitched. Grover used just 31 pitches in his outing, striking out two and issuing no walks. It was his sixth career appearance with Salem. After an August call-up from Low-A Greenville in 2014, Grover posted a 1.46 ERA and .167 batting average against with the Red Sox over five appearances. He did not allow a run in four of those appearances and now has held opponents scoreless in five of his six career High-A outings.

PLAYING BEYOND HIS YEARS: In his first High-A at-bat on Thursday, Wendell Rijo crushed a two-run homer over the left-center field wall, driving in the only two runs of the game. Rijo, who at 19-years old is the youngest player in the Carolina League, continued a trend of starting hot after he hit .341 over his first 31 games in 2014 with Low-A Greenville. Rijo is one of four players in the Carolina League that were born in 1995: Frederick’s Chance Sisco (February 24), Winston-Salem’s Trey Michalczowski (February 27) and Lynchburg’s Ivan Castillo (May 30).

OPENING DAY NO-NO: Thursday night, Jake Dahlstrand and Joe Gunkel combined to throw the 11th no-hitter in Salem franchise history. The rain-shortened outing that was called final after 6.1 innings was the first no-hitter since Henry Owens, Matty Ott and Matt Price collaborated to no-hit the Frederick Keys on July 17, 2013 in a 6-0 Red Sox victory. It was the second shortest no-hitter in Salem history. On June 29, 1972, John Morlan and Dewayne Mason held the Kinston Eagles hitless in a 2-1 Salem Pirates victory that was called final after just five innings. Gunkel is the second pitcher in team history to throw just 0.1 innings of a combined no-hitter. Ryan Oulette did it for the Salem Avalanche on August 5, 2008. It was the third Opening Day no-hitter involving the Salem franchise as the 1992 Buccaneers and 1995 Avalanche were on the wrong side of no-hitters by the Peninsula Pilots and Prince William Cannons, respectively.

Salem Sox Gameday: Game #3 @ Carolina Mudcats

Salem Red Sox (1-1) at Carolina Mudcats (1-1)

6PM, Five County Stadium, Zebulon, NC

SERIES AT A GLANCE – 3rd game of four (tied 1-1), season series tied 1-1.

STARTERS – RHP Teddy Stankiewicz (0-0, –) vs RHP Andrew Thurman (0-0, –)

RADIO – 1240 ESPN AM Roanoke | salemsox.com | TuneIn Radio App

TV – MiLB TV (subscription required)

SOCIAL MEDIA – Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

LINEUP 

Daily Lineup 4-11

GAME NOTES 

OPEN WITH A LONGBALL: Sam Travis became the second player this season to have his first hit be a home run. After going 0-for-3 in the opener, Travis slugged a two-run homer in the fourth inning to cut the deficit to two last night. For Travis, a 2014 second round selection out of Indiana who is in his first full professional season, it was his eighth career minor league home run.

SOLID RELIEF: Taylor Grover was strong out of the bullpen on Friday night in his first appearance of the season, allowing just one hit in 2.2 innings pitched. Grover used just 31 pitches in his outing, striking out two and issuing no walks. It was his sixth career appearance with Salem. After an August call-up from Low-A Greenville in 2014, Grover posted a 1.46 ERA and .167 batting average against with the Red Sox over five appearances. He did not allow a run in four of those appearances and now has held opponents scoreless in five of his six career High-A outings.

STAY HOT MANNY: Safe to say that Manuel Margot enjoys playing in a Salem Red Sox uniform. The centerfielder was 3-for-3 with two stolen bases and three singles on Thursday night. It was his 17th game with the club after playing in 16 last season. In those games, he hit .340 with two home runs, 14 RBI and five triples. Margot also led all Red Sox minor leaguers with 42 stolen bases in 2014.

PLAYING BEYOND HIS YEARS: In his first High-A at-bat on Thursday, Wendell Rijo crushed a two-run homer over the left-center field wall, driving in the only two runs of the game. Rijo, who at 19-years old is the youngest player in the Carolina League, continued a trend of starting hot after he hit .341 over his first 31 games in 2014 with Low-A Greenville. Rijo is one of four players in the Carolina League that were born in 1995: Frederick’s Chance Sisco (February 24), Winston-Salem’s Trey Michalczowski (February 27) and Lynchburg’s Ivan Castillo (May 30).

OPENING DAY NO-NO: Thursday night, Jake Dahlstrand and Joe Gunkel combined to throw the 11th no-hitter in Salem franchise history. The rain-shortened outing that was called final after 6.1 innings was the first no-hitter since Henry Owens, Matty Ott and Matt Price collaborated to no-hit the Frederick Keys on July 17, 2013 in a 6-0 Red Sox victory. It was the second shortest no-hitter in Salem history. On June 29, 1972, John Morlan and Dewayne Mason held the Kinston Eagles hitless in a 2-1 Salem Pirates victory that was called final after just five innings. Gunkel is the second pitcher in team history to throw just 0.1 innings of a combined no-hitter. Ryan Oulette did it for the Salem Avalanche on August 5, 2008. It was the third Opening Day no-hitter involving the Salem franchise as the 1992 Buccaneers and 1995 Avalanche were on the wrong side of no-hitters by the Peninsula Pilots and Prince William Cannons, respectively.

GOOD PITCHING BEATS GOOD HITTING: Salem’s pitching staff looks to be especially strong this season with three top-30 prospects in Trey Ball, Teddy Stankiewicz and Joe Gunkel. Of the 12 pitchers on the roster, eight were selected in the top 10 rounds of their respective drafts: Ball (1st, 2013), Stankiewicz (2nd, 2013), Austin Maddox (3rd, 2012), Kevin McAvoy (4th, 2014), Kyle Kraus (7th, 2012), Mike Adams (7th, 2013), Jake Dahlstrand (10th, 2010) and Taylor Grover (10th, 2013). This year is a new challenge for a majority of the staff as only five of the pitchers have reached High-A before this season. Nine of the hurlers are 23 years old or younger, including two 20-year olds.

How About an Encore?

Jake Dahlstrand chats with MiLB about his Opening Day no-hitter outside of the visiting clubhouse in Zebulon.

Jake Dahlstrand chats with MiLB about his Opening Day no-hitter outside of the visiting clubhouse in Zebulon.

The rain continued to fall and the lightning continued to flash as Brian and I walked out of Five County Stadium last night. Both of us agreed it was one of the weirdest feelings we’ve had when leaving a ballpark. We just witnessed a no-hitter. It may have been a rain-shortened no-no, but the Mudcats still left the park with a 0 in the hit column.

Amidst all the chaos and uncertainty that comes with Opening Day, Jake Dahlstrand (6 IP) and Joe Gunkel (0.1 IP) looked unfazed as they dominated Carolina hitters before Mother Nature took over. It marked the 11th no-hitter in Salem baseball history and first for the Red Sox since July 17, 2013 when Henry Owens, Matty Ott and Matt Price no-hit the Frederick Keys.

If it wasn’t weird enough already, it marked the second straight season a Red Sox affiliate won a rain-shortened no-hitter as Owens tossed a no-no for Double-A Portland last season. Dahlstrand is good friends with Owens and talked about the odd symmetry in this article with MiLB.

As for game two of the season, two former first round picks go head-to-head as Salem’s Trey Ball takes on Carolina’s Lucas Sims. Hits will probably be at a premium again today. Here are today’s notes:

OPENING DAY NO-NO: Thursday night, Jake Dahlstrand and Joe Gunkel combined to throw the 11th no-hitter in Salem franchise history. The rain-shortened outing that was called final after 6.1 innings was the first no-hitter since Henry Owens, Matty Ott and Matt Price collaborated to no-hit the Frederick Keys on July 17, 2013 in a 6-0 Red Sox victory. It was the second shortest no-hitter in Salem history. On June 29, 1972, John Morlan and Dewayne Mason held the Kinston Eagles hitless in a 2-1 Salem Pirates victory that was called final after just five innings. Gunkel is the second pitcher in team history to throw just 0.1 innings of a combined no-hitter. Ryan Oulette did it for the Salem Avalanche on August 5, 2008. It was the third Opening Day no-hitter involving the Salem franchise as the 1992 Buccaneers and 1995 Avalanche were on the wrong side of no-hitters by the Peninsula Pilots and Prince William Cannons, respectively.

HIGHLY-TOUTED PITCHING MATCHUP: A pair of former first round draft picks square off tonight as Trey Ball goes for Salem against the Mudcats’ Lucas Sims. Ball, a left-handed pitcher, was selected seventh overall by the Red Sox in 2013 and is rated by Baseball America as the 15th-best prospect in the Red Sox minor league system. He makes his High-A debut tonight after pitching all of last season with Low-A Greenville. Sims, a right-handed pitcher, was selected 21st overall by the Braves in 2012. He spent the year in High-A last year with the Lynchburg Hillcats and is appearing for the first time as a Mudcat following the affiliation change.

BREAKING A PATTERN: Thursday night’s win marked the first time since 1987-88 that the franchise has won back-to-back Opening Day games, when the Salem Buccaneers took down Durham in consecutive years. Salem had alternated Opening Day wins and losses for 10 straight seasons dating back to 2005, including a 10-3 thumping of the Myrtle Beach Pelicans in 2014. The Red Sox have now won three of their last four Opening Day games, all on the road.

STAY HOT MANNY: Safe to say that Manuel Margot enjoys playing in a Salem Red Sox uniform. The centerfielder was 3-for-3 with two stolen bases and three singles on Thursday night. It was his 17th game with the club after playing in 16 last season. In those games, he hit .340 with two home runs, 14 RBI and five triples. Margot also led all Red Sox minor leaguers with 42 stolen bases in 2014.

PLAYING BEYOND HIS YEARS: In his first High-A at-bat, Wendell Rijo crushed a two-run home run over the left-center field wall, driving in the only two runs of the game. Rijo, who at 19-years old is the youngest player in the Carolina League, continued a trend of starting hot after he hit .341 over his first 31 games in 2014 with the Low-A Greenville Drive. Rijo is one of four players in the Carolina that were born in 1995: Frederick’s Chance Sisco (February 24), Winston-Salem’s Trey Michalczowski (February 27) and Lynchburg’s Ivan Castillo (May 30).

And today’s lineup:

Daily Lineup 4-10

We’re on the air at 7 p.m. on WGMN 1240, SalemSox.com and the TuneIn App. Talk to you then…

Kevin

Opening Day in Carolina

Five County Stadium in Zebulon is ready for the opener of the 2015 season.

Five County Stadium in Zebulon is ready for the opener of the 2015 season.

Hello from Five County Stadium in Raleigh where the 2015 Salem Red Sox season gets started tonight at 7 p.m. Take a look at our season-opening game notes:

SERIES AT A GLANCE: The Salem Red Sox kick off their seventh season as an affiliate of the Boston Red Sox on the road against the Carolina Mudcats, entering their first season in the Atlanta Braves organization. The Red Sox won 11 of 20 meetings with the Mudcats last season, the same record they had against last year’s Atlanta affiliate in Lynchburg. As part of the new unbalanced schedule this season, the Red Sox and Mudcats will meet 22 times, 11 times at each site. Twelve of the 22 matchups will take place in the season’s first 18 games.

OPENING DAY FOOTNOTES: Since joining the Carolina League in 1968, the Salem franchise has gone 21-27 on Opening Day. Since the affiliation change in 2009, the Red Sox are 3-3 on the season’s first day, including a 10-3 win at Myrtle Beach last season. Oddly enough, Salem has alternated wins and losses on Opening Day for 10 straight seasons, dating back to 2005. Salem has not won back-to-back Opening Day games since winning in 1987 and 1988 when the Pirate-affiliated Buccaneers triumphed in back-to-back seasons at Durham. This will be the fourth straight season, and fifth time in six years, that the Red Sox have started the season on the road.

THIRD TIME’S THE CHARM: Salem has made the Carolina League playoffs in back-to-back seasons for the first time as a Red Sox affiliate, winning the Mills Cup in 2013 before bowing out to Myrtle Beach in the Southern Division Finals last season. This year’s squad will look to do something no Salem team has ever accomplished: qualify for the playoffs three years in a row. In the 48 years of Carolina League baseball in Salem, the franchise has made the playoffs 13 times, but never in three straight seasons. Salem has not won a first half title since 1988.

PROSPECT POWER: This season’s team features six players ranked in the top 30 of Baseball America’s annual organizational prospect rankings. Outfielder Manuel Margot (7th) is the highest-rated prospect and is joined in the top 30 by infielders Sam Travis (12th) and Wendell Rijo (24th) plus pitchers Trey Ball (15th), Teddy Stankiewicz (20th) and Joe Gunkel (26th). Margot (6th), Ball (12th), Travis (15th), Rijo (17th) and Stankiewicz (20th) also find themselves in the top 30 according to MLB.com.

BEATING THE SYSTEM: The Red Sox’ roster contains four players that were drafted just last season by Boston. Infielder Sam Travis (2nd round) is the highest selection from last year’s class to make it to Salem. He is joined by pitcher Kevin McAvoy (4th round), outfielder Cole Sturgeon (10th round) and infielder Jordan Betts (18th round). All three hitters batted at least .269 in their professional debut while McAvoy posted a sub-2.00 ERA for Short Season-A Lowell.

GOOD PITCHING BEATS GOOD HITTING: Salem’s pitching staff looks to be especially strong this season with three top-30 prospects in Trey Ball, Teddy Stankiewicz and Joe Gunkel. Of the 12 pitchers on the roster, eight were selected in the top 10 rounds of their respective drafts: Ball (1st, 2013), Stankiewicz (2nd, 2013), Austin Maddox (3rd, 2012), Kevin McAvoy (4th, 2014), Kyle Kraus (7th, 2012), Mike Adams (7th, 2013), Jake Dahlstrand (10th, 2010) and Taylor Grover (10th, 2013). This year is a new challenge for a majority of the staff as only five of the pitchers have reached High-A before this season. Nine of the hurlers are 23 years old or younger, including two 20-year olds.

HELLO OLD FRIEND: Infielder Oscar Tejeda is the second-oldest player on the team at 25 years old, trailing only pitcher Jorge Marban. Tejeda brings a wealth of experience to Salem, where he had arguably the best year of his career in 2010. That year, Tejeda was named a Carolina League mid- and post-season All-Star after leading Red Sox farmhands with 156 hits, finishing second with a .307 average and ranking third with 231 total bases. He led Salem in average, hits, slugging (.455), multi-hit games (44), runs (76), extra-base hits (48) and total bases. Tejeda was in the Carolina League last year, when he had an All-Star campaign with Potomac in the Nationals organization.

And here is today’s starting lineup:

Daily Lineup 4-9This season you can catch every game on WGMN 1240 AM in Roanoke, SalemSox.com and the TuneIn App on your smartphone tablet.

Air time is set for 7 p.m.! Talk to you soon…

Kevin & Brian

 

Opening Day Roster: Position Players

Manuel Margot is the highest rated prospect on the Opening Day roster. Photo courtesy of soxprospects.com

Manuel Margot is the highest rated prospect on the Opening Day roster. Photo courtesy of soxprospects.com

Yesterday we discussed the pitching staff of the 2015 Salem Red Sox, so now let us turn our attention to the men who swing the sticks. Three position players appear on the Red Sox top 30 prospect list as compiled by Baseball America. This list is headlined by outfielder Manuel Margot, and includes infielders Sam Travis and Wendell Rijo.

Margot is the highest rated prospect on the team and is touted as the fastest base runner and best defensive outfielder in the Red Sox system. Margot is considered by Baseball America to be the 72nd-best overall prospect in baseball, and the seventh-best with the Red Sox.  The 20-year old native of San Cristobal, Dominican Republic spent the majority of the year in Low-A Greenville last season where he hit .286 with 10 HR, 45 RBI and 39 SB before his August promotion to Salem.  In 16 games with the club, he hit .340 with two home runs and 14 RBI. Margot stole a combined 42 bases to lead all Red Sox minor leaguers and was named the organization’s Base Runner of the Year. He was one of just five minor leaguers with at least 10 home runs and 40 stolen bases. The former international free agent was signed at the age of 16 and is entering his fourth season with the Red Sox organization.

Travis has risen quickly through the ranks since being drafted by the Red Sox in the second round of the 2014 June Draft. Considered the Red Sox 12th best prospect, he combined with Short Season-A Lowell and Low-A Greenville to hit .316 with 7 HR and 44 RBI over 67 games in his first professional season. The first baseman reached base safely in 30 consecutive games spanning from 7/6-8/7. Travis will make his full-season debut in 2015.

Rijo, however, made his full-season debut in 2014 with Low-A Greenville, leading the Drive in games (111) and doubles (27). The second baseman also ranked second on the team in hits (104) and triples (six). Baseball America tabbed him as the 17th best prospect in the NY-Penn league and 24th in the Red Sox system. At just 19 years old, he is the youngest player on the team.

Margot will be accompanied in the outfield by returner Aneury Tavarez, and newcomers in the form of Forrestt Allday, Franklin Guzman and Cole Sturgeon. Tavarez, who last season led Salem with 11 home runs, spent the entire 2014 season in High-A. He appeared in 93 games, batting .250, and finished second on the team with 18 stolen bases.

Allday was limited to just 52 games in his first full professional season with Low-A Greenville due to two DL stints. He performed well when healthy, tallying a .274 average and .380 OBP.

Guzman began the 2014 season with Short Season-A Lowell but was promoted to Greenville after just 15 games. He hit a combined .241 over 54 games between the two clubs with five home runs.

Sturgeon played just seven games with Short Season-A Lowell before his promotion to Greenville. A 10th round draft pick in 2014. He finished out the regular season with the Drive but did appear with the Salem Sox in the Carolina League playoffs.

Rijo and Travis are expected to be staples on the right side of the infield at first and second base, respectively. Joining them are returners in the form of Jose Vinicio, Mario Martinez and Oscar Tejeda.

Tejeda begins his second stint in the Red Sox organization; he was a 2010 Carolina League All Star with Salem in 2010. After being traded to the Pirates in 2012, he rose as high as Triple-A Indianapolis with the Pittsburgh organization. Tejeda spent the majority of 2014 in the Carolina League with Potomac after being signed as a minor league free agent by the Nationals. He was named an All-Star with the P-Nats, hitting .270 with 16 HR and 65 RBI and played 18 games with Double-A Harrisburg.

Vinicio returns after being limited to just 39 games with the Salem Sox in 2014 due to multiple DL stints. The shortstop hit .264 with the club and he finished hot, batting .411 over his final 15 games.

Martinez was with Salem for almost the entirety of the 2014 season, he also made his Triple-A debut playing one game with Pawtucket. A corner infielder, he led the team in RBI (62) and doubles (28), also placing second among team leaders in games played (118), hits (124) and home runs (9).

The infield is rounded out by two more players who will make their High-A debut in 2015, third baseman Jordan Betts and shortstop Tzu-Wei Lin. Betts is one of two players on the roster who will skip Low-A Greenville, the 18th round selection in last year’s draft became the first Lowell Spinner to hit double-digit home runs in a season since 2008. He led the Short Season-A club in home runs (10), RBI (40), walks (25) and slugging percentage (.479), and was named a New York-Penn League all star.

Lin spent his third season with the organization entirely with Low-A Greenville. A former international free agent signed in 2012 out of Taiwan, he played 102 games, all at shortstop, and batted .229 with 10 stolen bases.

The Salem Sox will carry three catchers to start the year, including two returners in Jake Romanski and Jordan Weems. Romanski was promoted to Salem from Low-A Greenville in early August and finished the season in High-A, appearing in 17 games. He hit .291 with two home runs and nine RBI with the Salem Sox. In his final game of the season at Wilmington on 8/31 he went 4-4 with four doubles, becoming the first Salem player to ever record four doubles in a game.

Weems spent 24 games with Salem in 2014 after playing his first 50 with Low-A Greenville. He had struggled at the plate with the Drive, batting just .166, but put up a .329 average in his time with Salem.

Carlos Coste rounds out the roster, the five-year veteran will appear in High-A for the first time. He appeared in 27 games in Greenville in 2014. The former 35th round draft pick batted .259 with the Drive.

The Salem Red Sox announced today that RHP Jake Dahlstrand will be the 2015 Opening Day Starter. Dahlstrand will take on the Carolina Mudcats tomorrow in Zebulon, N.C. First pitch is scheduled for 7 p.m.

Opening Day Roster: Pitchers

Trey Ball (pictured) is one of many high-profile prospects on this year's staff.

Trey Ball (pictured) is one of many high-profile prospects on this year’s staff.

With the announcement of the Salem Red Sox 2015 Opening Day Roster coming today, we’d like to use this space to expand on the official release and take a more in-depth look at the men who make up the team. Let’s begin with the pitchers.

The 2015 staff is comprised of three players in the top 30 of Baseball America’s annual organizational rankings and five who appeared with the team last year.

Trey Ball highlights the Salem Sox projected 2015 rotation. The seventh overall pick of the 2013 June Draft logged a 5-10 record with a 4.68 ERA over 22 starts in his first full minor league season with Low-A Greenville in 2014. Ball struggled at times but he finished strong, going 4-3 with a 2.70 ERA and a .195 opponent AVG in his final 11 starts. He is ranked by Baseball America as the 15th best prospect in the Red Sox organization. The 6-6 LHP was drafted out of high school and will turn 21 in late June. Before signing with the Red Sox, the New Castle, Indiana native had committed to the University of Texas, and was Gatorade’s Indiana Baseball Player of the Year.

Teddy Stankiewicz was drafted in the second round in the same 2013 June Draft that yielded Ball. Ranked the #20 Red Sox prospect by Baseball America, Stankiewicz spent the entire 2014 season with Low-A Greenville. A 6-4 RHP, he led the Drive in starts (25), wins (11), innings (140.1) and strikeouts (102). His 11 wins were tied for fourth in the South Atlantic League. The 21-year old registered a 3.72 ERA and finished the season strong, going 4-1 with a 1.89 ERA over his final six starts.

Joe Gunkel made his High-A debut with Salem last season. He started all ten of the games he appeared in with the club. Gunkel started his pro career as a reliever but was moved to the rotation in 2014 with Low-A Greenville. Another big pitcher, the 6-5 right-hander made five starts and 17 appearances before his promotion to Salem. Gunkel was named a South Atlantic League mid-season All-Star and combined with the Drive and the Red Sox to go 6-5 with a 3.47 ERA and a .228 opponent AVG.

More familiar faces come in the form of Jake Dahlstrand, Taylor Grover, Kyle Kraus and Austin Maddox. Perhaps the most notable of the group is Kraus, who is the only pitcher on the Opening Day roster who pitched above High-A in 2014, making one appearance in Double-A Portland. Kraus appeared in 27 games with Salem last season, starting three and had the most innings with the club (83.1) of any member of the 2015 staff.

Dahlstrand spent the majority of 2014 working out of the bullpen in Low-A Greenville but started five of his six appearances after his July promotion to Salem. His combined record was 8-5 with a 2.90 ERA including 3-0 with a 2.81 ERA in Salem. The 6-5, 250-pound righty from Houston, TX also made one postseason start in High-A, taking a no-decision after 7.0 shutout innings (2 H, 0 BB, 8 K).

Mike Adams was strong out of the bullpen for Low-A Greenville where he spent the entire season. In a team-leading 30 appearances, the lefty tallied a 2-3 record and 2.82 ERA over 51.0 innings. Adams did not surrender a run in his final seven appearances (15.2 IP).

Kevin McAvoy makes the rare jump directly from Short Season-A Lowell to High-A Salem. After being selected in the fourth round of last year’s draft, McAvoy put up an impressive 1.91 ERA in 11 appearances with the Spinners. Nine of his 11 outings were scoreless and he did not allow a HR all season. McAvoy continues the trend of large pitchers on the 2015 roster, the right-hander weighs in at 6-4, 220.

The staff includes two pitchers singed by the Red Sox as international free agents, LHP Daniel McGrath of Templestowe, Australia and RHP German Tavares of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. McGrath made 19 appearances, all starts, with Low-A Greenville in 2014. He tallied a 6-6 record, 4.07 ERA and held opponents to a .223 AVG. Tavares combined with Short Season-A Lowell and Low-A Greenville to go 3-2 with a 3.63 ERA (18 ER/44.2 IP) in 18 relief appearances. He pitched in 7 games for the Spinners before transferring to Greenville on 7/12 and spent the remainder of the season there.

The staff is rounded out by Jorge Marban, a free agent signee out of independent baseball. Marban appeared in the independent Atlantic League, the independent Frontier League, and the Australian Baseball League in 2014. Salem will be his first stop in the Red Sox organization.

The starting rotation projects to include Trey Ball, Jake Dahlstrand, Teddy Stankiewicz, Kevin McAvoy, and Daniel McGrath in some order. The Opening Day starter has not yet been announced.

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