Salem Sox Gameday: Sox-Hillcats…Again…

GAME # 103–Salem Red Sox (51-51/13-19) vs Lynchburg Hillcats (49-53/16-16)

6:30 PM, Lynchburg City Stadium, Lynchburg ,Va.

SERIES AT A GLANCE – First of a three-game series, Lynchburg leads season series 10-7

LAST NIGHT – Potomac 7, Salem 1 | WP: Tyler Mapes (2-2), LP: Daniel McGrath (1-4) |Recap| InfographicBox Score

 STARTING PITCHERS – RHP Ty Buttrey (7-3, 3.41) vs. LHP Luis Lugo(6-9, 5.01)

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

SOCIAL MEDIA – Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

GAME NOTES: 

SERIES AT A GLANCE: The Red Sox and Hillcats renew the Route 460 rivalry and begin a three-game series at Lynchburg City Stadium. Salem and Lynchburg have already played 17 times this season with the Red Sox trailing the season-long campaign 10-7. This is the penultimate trip that the Sox will make to the Hill City as Salem’s final series will take place from September 1-3. The Hillcats will travel to Salem for the final time for a three-game set from August 24-26.

LAST TIME OUT: The Salem Red Sox scored a run in the bottom of the eighth inning to narrowly avoid being shut out for the second straight game in Monday’s 7-1 loss to the Potomac Nationals at LewisGale Field. Salem’s lone run scored on an RBI double from Dustin Lawley that plated Kevin Heller. Lawley went 3-for-4 with two doubles and an RBI and Forrestt Allday was 2-for-4 with a pair of singles. Daniel McGrath was tagged with his third loss in as many starts, as he allowed six runs on seven hits with three walks and a strikeout in five innings. The Sox were swept for the second time in their last three series and were outscored 13-3 in the three-game series.

VERSATILITY: Yoilan Cerse batted eighth in Sunday’s 3-0 loss to the Potomac Nationals, representing the ninth different spot in the batting order that he has occupied. Since being assigned to Salem on June 10, Cerse has batted in every position, the only player to accomplish that feat in 2015. The Cuban-born utility player has most frequently hit fifth, slotting in that spot for ten of his 37 games. He has also played three different positions in the field with 25 starts in left field, five in right field, four as the designated hitter and three at second base.

BACK TO .500: Monday’s 7-1 loss dropped the Red Sox to 51-51, which represents the first time since a June 11 loss dropped them to 30-30 that Salem had not been at least a game above. After finding themselves at 30-30, the Red Sox reeled off eight wins in their next nine games, including a five-game winning streak that equaled their longest of the season. The Sox have not been below .500 since June 6, when a 4-3 loss to Potomac placed them at 27-28. In total, Salem has spent only 19 days as a losing ballclub and the last time it was more than one game below was May 22 when a 4-0 loss to Winston-Salem pushed the record to 20-22.

ODD COUPLE: Of the 17 prior meetings between the Red Sox and the Hillcats, the home team has managed only two victories with Salem posting a 6-1 record at Lynchburg City Stadium and Lynchburg taking nine of the 10 meetings at LewisGale Field. The Red Sox only loss in Lynchburg came on the Fourth of July, a 15-0 thumping that has been the outlier in the Hill City. Lynchburg has mashed baseballs off of Salem pitching all season, posting a .283 team batting average with 53 doubles and 13 homers. In the six victories at Lynchburg City Stadium, the Red Sox have outscored the Hillcats 33-12.

SHUT IT DOWN: Salem was shut out for just the fifth time in 2015 on Sunday against Potomac, losing 3-0. While shutouts have been rare this year, they have cropped up at an alarming rate recently, with Sunday’s loss representing the third time since July 19 that the Sox have been blanked. Salem was the last team in the league to be shut out, lasting until May 22 until they were blanked 4-0 by Winston-Salem.

HI, MY NAME IS: The Red Sox roster has been a revolving door in 2015 and another new face appeared on Sunday when Greenville catcher Danny Bethea was promoted to Salem and Jordan Weems was transferred to Double-A Portland. Bethea represents the 47th player to play for Salem this season, just one shy of the all-time franchise record of 48 set by the 1988 Salem Buccaneers. Bethea is also the 26th different position player to appear on the roster, just one shy of the record of 27 set by the 2014 Salem Red Sox. Part of the reason for the rotating roster has been the mass exodus to Portland; Weems promotion makes it 13 Salem Sox to receive the call-up to Double-A in 2015.

LINEUP:

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Salem Sox Gameday: Finishing the Homestand

GAME # 102–Salem Red Sox (51-50/13-18) vs Potomac Nationals (47-52/14-15)

7:05 PM, LewisGale Field, Salem, Va

SERIES AT A GLANCE – Third of a three-game series, Potomac leads series 2-0, Salem leads season series 6-4

LAST NIGHT – Potomac 3, Salem 0 | WP: Ian Dickson (1-0), LP: Kevin McAvoy (5-9) |Recap| InfographicBox Score

 STARTING PITCHERS – LHP Daniel McGrath (1-3, 3.02) vs. RHP Tyler Mapes (1-2, 3.00)

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

SOCIAL MEDIA – Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

GAME NOTES:

SERIES AT A GLANCE: The Potomac Nationals make their penultimate trip to the Roanoke Valley as the Red Sox host a three-game series that will finish out a six-game homestand. Salem has entertained the P-Nats twice before and they own a 6-4 record that features a four-game sweep from May 1-4. The Nationals are the only team that the Red Sox have yet to play a road series with, but that will change on Friday.

LAST TIME OUT: Three Potomac Nationals pitchers combined to hold the Red Sox to only three hits in a 3-0 shutout on Sunday night at LewisGale Field. Potomac scored all three of its runs in the third inning, an inning that was extended as the result of an error charged to Salem starter Kevin McAvoy on a potential double play ball. McAvoy pitched 6.2 innings and gave up the three unearned runs on eight hits with two walks and four strikeouts. Salem’s three hits equaled a season low and all three were singles that did not leave the infield. Mauricio Dubon was 2-for-3 with a walk and Cole Sturgeon picked up the other single, going 1-for-4.

A CHANGE IN FORTUNE: After winning their first four contests of the year against the Potomac Nationals, the Red Sox have scuffled against their Northern Dvision foe, losing four of the last six matchups. Salem swept the first meeting of the season from May 1-4 and then split a four-game set from June 4-7. The Sox have outscored the Nationals 52-37, but have managed only 11 runs in the four losses.

SHUT IT DOWN: Salem was shut out for just the fifth time in 2015 on Sunday against the Potomac Nationals, losing 3-0. While shutouts have been rare for the season, they have cropped up at an alarming rate recently, with Sunday’s loss representing the third time since July 19 that the Sox have been blanked. Salem was the last team in the Carolina League to be shut out, lasting until May 22 until they failed to score a run in a May 22 4-0 loss to the Winston-Salem Dash.

STEADY ON THE BACK END: German Taveras allowed an unearned run in Saturday’s 3-2 loss to the Potomac Nationals, breaking a streak of 17.2 consecutive scoreless innings dating back to the sixth inning of Tuesday’s 12-0 loss to the Myrtle Beach Pelicans. Since Taylor Grover was touched for three runs over 2.1 innings on Tuesday, the relief corps, including Grover’s 2.1 scoreless frames yesterday, has allowed only 11 hits and four walks paired with 16 strikeouts over the scoreless stretch. Since the run scored on a passed ball, it’s now 20.1 full innings since an earned run has scored against the Salem bullpen.

HI, MY NAME IS: The Red Sox roster has been a revolving door in 2015 and another new face appeared on Sunday when Greenville catcher Danny Bethea was promoted to Salem and Jordan Weems was transferred to Double-A Portland. Bethea represents the 47th player to play for Salem this season, just one shy of the all-time franchise record of 48 set by the 1988 Salem Buccaneers. Bethea is also the 26th different position player to appear on the roster, just one shy of the record of 27 set by the 2014 Salem Red Sox. Part of the reason for the rotating roster has been the mass exodus to Portland; Weems promotion makes it 13 Salem Sox to receive the call-up to Double-A in 2015.

IT’S SHOWTIME: Brandon Show continued his strong performance in Wednesday’s 6-5 loss to the Wilmington Blue Rocks with 4.1 shutout innings out of the bullpen. It was the second straight appearance in which Show had pitched at least four scoreless innings, with the last coming in a 4-1 loss to the Lynchburg Hillcats on July 17 when he struck out four with one hit allowed in four innings. Show has now delivered 11.1 scoreless innings in four appearances with Salem and has only allowed one run at any level in 2015. In one appearance with Low-A Greenville, he struck out two in four shutout innings and over three outings with Short Season-A Lowell he allowed one run in 9.2 innings. Combined, Show has an ERA of 0.36 (1 ER in 25 innings) between three levels this year.

LINEUP:

7-27 LINEUP

Salem Sox Gameday: 100 down, 40 to go

GAME # 101–Salem Red Sox (51-49/13-17) vs Potomac Nationals (46-52/13-15)

7:05 PM, LewisGale Field, Salem, Va

SERIES AT A GLANCE – Second of a three-game series, Potomac leads series 1-0, Salem leads season series 6-2

LAST NIGHT – Potomac 3, Salem 2 | WP: Derek Self (3-3), LP: German Taveras(4-2) |Recap| InfographicBox Score

 STARTING PITCHERS – RHP Kevin McAvoy (5-8, 4.70) vs. RHP Ian Dickson (0-0, 3.55)

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

SOCIAL MEDIA – Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

GAME NOTES:

SERIES AT A GLANCE: The Potomac Nationals make their penultimate trip to the Roanoke Valley as the Red Sox host a three-game series that will finish out a six-game homestand. Salem has entertained the P-Nats twice before and they own a 6-3 record that features a four-game sweep from May 1-4. The Nationals are the only team that the Red Sox have yet to play a road series with, but that will change next week.

LAST TIME OUT: The Red Sox gave up a 2-0 lead in the seventh inning and lost 3-2 to the Potomac Nationals on Saturday night at LewisGale Field. Salem jumped out to a 2-0 lead with runs in the third and fourth innings thanks to RBI singles from Mauricio Dubon and Mario Martinez, who was 2-for-4 with an RBI. Dubon went 1-for-3 with an RBI and a walk. Aaron Wilkerson had a shutout through six innings but surrendered a pair of runs in the seventh. He lasted 6.2 innings with two runs on seven hits with two walks and five strikeouts. Potomac scored the winning run on a passed ball that squirted between the legs of Jordan Weems. German Taveras was the hard luck loser, allowing only an unearned run on two hits and a walk with two strikeouts in 2.1 innings of work.

LATE INNING STUMBLES: Salem lost for only the third time after being tied through eight innings on Saturday night at LewisGale Field. The Red Sox led the Potomac Nationals 2-0 through six and gave up two runs in the seventh before surrendering the winning run on a passed ball in the ninth inning. When entering the ninth in a tie game, the Red Sox are now 5-3 and 2-2 at home. Salem has been great at holding late leads, with a 42-6 mark while leading after seven and a 35-3 record while leading after eight.

STEADY ON THE BACK END: German Taveras allowed an unearned run in Saturday’s 3-2 loss to the Potomac Nationals, breaking a streak of 17.2 consecutive scoreless innings dating back to the sixth inning of Tuesday’s 12-0 loss to the Myrtle Beach Pelicans. Since Taylor Grover was touched for three runs over 2.1 innings on Tuesday, Taveras, Mike Adams, Brandon Show, Kyle Kraus, Chandler Shepherd and Kyle Kaminska have allowed only nine hits and three walks paired with 14 strikeouts over the scoreless stretch. Since the run scored on a passed ball, it’s now 18 full innings since an earned run has scored against the Salem bullpen.

HI, MY NAME IS: The Red Sox roster has been a revolving door in 2015 and another new face appeared on Sunday when Greenville catcher Danny Bethea was promoted to Salem and Jordan Weems was transferred to Double-A Portland. Bethea represents the 47th player to play for Salem this season, just one shy of the all-time franchise record of 48 set by the 1988 Salem Buccaneers. Bethea is also the 26th different position player to appear on the roster, just one shy of the record of 27 set by the 2014 Salem Red Sox. Part of the reason for the rotating roster has been the mass exodus to Portland; Weems promotion makes it 13 Salem Sox to receive the call-up to Double-A in 2015.

“E”NOUGH: Salem did not commit a fielding error during the 3-2 loss to Potomac on Saturday night, the first time that the Red Sox had finished the game with a zero in the error column in the last 10 games. The streak dated back to game two of the July 15 doubleheader in Lynchburg, a game that the Sox won 4-1. The Red Sox were 4-5 over the nine-game stretch, and despite ending the game with no errors, an unearned run was the deciding factor in Saturday’s loss, as a passed ball in the ninth inning scored the game winning run. The streak was a blip on the radar of a strong defensive season, as Salem’s 82 errors are the second fewest in the league, more than only the Myrtle Beach Pelicans who have committed just 61. The Sox .978 fielding percentage is also second, trailing only the Pelicans’ .983 mark.

WHAT DIVISION ARE WE IN?: Tonight’s match against Potomac continues a string of 15 consecutive games against North Division foes for Salem. The Red Sox are scheduled to play just 12 more games against the South Division, all coming from August 7-20. The final 17 games of the year will be against Wilmington, Potomac and Lynchburg. In total, 49 of Salem’s 70 second half games are against the North.

LINEUP:

7-26 LINEUP

Salem Sox Gameday: Nationals in Town

GAME # 100–Salem Red Sox (51-48/13-16) vs Potomac Nationals (45-52/12-15)

6:05 PM, LewisGale Field, Salem, Va

SERIES AT A GLANCE – First of a three-game series, Salem leads season series 6-2

LAST NIGHT – Salem 9, Wilmington 4 | WP: Trey Ball (8-8), LP: Zach Lovvorn (2-2) |Recap| InfographicBox Score

 STARTING PITCHERS – RHP Aaron Wilkerson (7-2, 2.77) vs. RHP Reynaldo Lopez (5-6, 4.82)

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

SOCIAL MEDIA – Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

GAME NOTES:

SERIES AT A GLANCE: The Potomac Nationals make their penultimate trip to the Roanoke Valley as the Red Sox host a three-game series that will finish out a six-game homestand. Salem has entertained the P-Nats twice before and they own a 6-2 record that features a four-game sweep from May 1-4. The Nationals are the only team that the Red Sox have yet to play a road series with, but that will change next week. After the conclusion of the series with Potomac, Salem embarks on a six-game road trip to Lynchburg and Potomac

LAST TIME OUT: Buoyed by three multi-run innings, the Red Sox beat the Wilmington Blue Rocks 9-4 in a rubber match on Friday night at LewisGale Field, taking the three-game series 2-1. Trey Ball (8-8) allowed four runs, three earned, on six hits with four strikeouts over five innings and picked up the win. Forrestt Allday walked three times and was 1-for-2 with two runs scored and a stolen base. Jordan Betts was 2-for-4 with a run scored, Jordan Weems went 3-for-4 with two runs scored and Zach Kapstein finished 1-for-3 with two RBI.

STEADY ON THE BACK END: Kyle Kaminska and Chandler Shepherd combined for four shutout innings out of the bullpen in Friday’s 9-4 victory over Wilmington, giving Red Sox relievers 15.2 consecutive scoreless innings dating back to the sixth inning of Tuesday’s 12-0 loss to the Myrtle Beach Pelicans. Since Taylor Grover was touched for three runs over 2.1 innings on Tuesday, Mike Adams, Brandon Show, Kyle Kraus, Shepherd and Kaminska have allowed only seven hits and two walks paired with 12 strikeouts over the scoreless stretch.

“E”NOUGH: Wendell Rijo committed a fielding error in the fifth inning of Friday’s 9-4 win over Wilmington, resulting in an unearned run. The run brought Wilmington within three and although it didn’t end up harming Salem, it did mean that the Red Sox have now committed at least one error in nine consecutive games and 10 of their last 11. The last time Salem was not charged with an error was in game two of a doubleheader on July 15 in Lynchburg, a game that the Sox won 4-1. The Red Sox are 3-5 over the eight-game stretch. Despite the current streak, Salem’s 82 errors are the second fewest in the league, more than only the Myrtle Beach Pelicans who have committed just 60. The Sox .977 fielding percentage is tied for second and trails only the Pelicans’ .983 mark.

FROM OPPOSITE ENDS OF THE SPECTRUM: Tonight’s pitching matchup features a pair of right-handers that are in stark contrast of one another. Salem’s Aaron Wilkerson went undrafted out of NAIA Cumberland University before turning to the independent ranks where he pitched for three different teams before being signed by Boston on July 18, 2014. Wilkerson has filled both the starter’s role and the bullpen role in Salem, starting ten games of his 15 appearances. Potomac’s Reynaldo Lopez was signed out of the Dominican Republic and the flamethrower is considered the Nationals number three prospect by Baseball America and number five by MLB.com

HI, MY NAME IS: The Red Sox roster has been a revolving door in 2015 and another new face appeared on Monday when newly signed IF/ OF Dustin Lawley was assigned to Salem and Jose Vinicio was added to the disabled list. Lawley represents the 46th player to play for Salem this season, just two shy of the all-time franchise record of 48 set by the 1988 Salem Buccaneers. Lawley is also the 25th different position player to appear on the roster, just two shy of the record of 27 set by the 2014 Salem Red Sox. Part of the reason for the rotating roster has been the mass exodus to Portland; 12 Salem Sox have received the call-up to Double-A in 2015.

WHAT DIVISION ARE WE IN?: Tonight’s opener against Potomac continue a string of 15 consecutive games against North Division foes for Salem. The Red Sox are scheduled to play just 12 more games against the South Division, all coming from August 7-20. The final 17 games of the year will be against Wilmington, Potomac and Lynchburg. In total, 49 of Salem’s 70 second half games are against the North.

LINEUP:

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Salem Sox Gameday: Christmas Eve in July

GAME # 99–Salem Red Sox (50-48/12-16) vs Wilmington Blue Rocks (51-46, 13-14)

7:05 PM, LewisGale Field, Salem, Va

SERIES AT A GLANCE – Third of a three-game series, series tied 1-1, Salem leads season series 6-2

LAST NIGHT – Salem 3, Wilmington 1 | WP: Kyle Kraus (1-0), LP: Evan Beal (0-1) |Recap| InfographicBox Score

 STARTING PITCHERS – LHP Trey Ball (7-8, 3.61) vs. RHP Zach Lovvorn(2-1, 3.86)

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

SOCIAL MEDIA – Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

GAME NOTES: 

SERIES AT A GLANCE: The Red Sox welcome a North Division foe in the Wilmington Blue Rocks to LewisGale Field for the second and final time in 2015 for the first three games of a six-game homestand. Salem enters tonight with a 6-2 advantage in the eight prior matchups, having swept the first half North Division champion in their prior visit to the Roanoke Valley from June 12-14 and taking two of three in Wilmington from June 15-17. The .750 winning percentage against Wilmington is Salem’s highest against any opponent this year. They will visit Frawley Stadium in Wilmington once more in 2015, a three-game set from August 21-23.

LAST TIME OUT: The Red Sox plated two runs in the seventh inning to break a 1-1 tie and beat the Wilmington Blue Rocks 3-1 on Thursday night at LewisGale Field, snapping a four-game losing streak in the process. Mauricio Dubon and Forrestt Allday had back-to-back RBI singles in the decisive frame to give the Sox the lead. Jordan Betts went 2-for-4 with a run scored and Kevin Heller was 1-for-2 with a pair of walks and a run. Ty Buttrey did not factor in the decision after allowing one run on six hits and three walks over five plus innings pitched. Kyle Kraus (1-0) earned the win with four shutout innings out of the bullpen as he allowed only a hit and a walk and struck out six.

STEADY ON THE BACK END: After Kyle Kraus spun four shutout innings out of the bullpen in Thursday’s 3-1 victory over the Wilmington Blue Rocks, the Red Sox relievers have now delivered 11.2 consecutive scoreless innings, dating back to the sixth inning of Tuesday’s 12-0 loss to the Myrtle Beach Pelicans. Since Taylor Grover was touched for three runs over 2.1 innings on Tuesday, Mike Adams, Brandon Show, Chandler Shepherd and Kraus have allowed only five hits and two walks paired with ten strikeouts over the scoreless stretch.

“E”NOUGH: Dustin Lawley committed a fielding error in the eighth inning during Thursday’s 3-1 win over Wilmington. The late inning miscue did not affect the game’s result or result in a run, but it did mean that the Red Sox have now committed at least one error in eight consecutive games and nine of their last 10. The last time Salem was not charged with an error was in game two of a doubleheader on July 15 in Lynchburg, a game that the Sox won 4-1. The Red Sox are 3-5 over the eight-game stretch. Despite the current streak, Salem’s 81 errors are the second fewest in the league, more than only the Myrtle Beach Pelicans who have committed just 59. The Sox .977 fielding percentage is tied for second and trails only the Pelicans’ .983 mark.

HOME RUNS ARE THINGS THAT RARELY HAPPEN: Salem homered twice in Wednesday’s 6-5 home loss to the Wilmington Blue Rocks, with both Kevin Heller and Forrestt Allday going yard. Home runs have been at a premium all season long for the Red Sox, as their 39 bombs are tied with Wilmington for the third-fewest in the league, more than only Potomac (38) and Winston-Salem (32). Salem is on pace for 56 home runs, only 5 more than the franchise-low of 51 set by the 1979 Salem Pirates. The two homers on Wednesday pushed the home total to 13 in 50 games, on pace for just over 18 for the season. The franchise-low for homers at LewisGale Field is 23, set by the 1999 Salem Avalanche. Wednesday was just the second multi-homer game of the year at LewisGale Field for Salem (June 5 vs Potomac, Sam Travis and Tzu-Wei Lin). The Red Sox have not had success in the rare occurrence of a home field home run, going 3-8 in Salem when homering.

HI, MY NAME IS: The Red Sox roster has been a revolving door in 2015 and another new face appeared on Monday when newly signed IF/ OF Dustin Lawley was assigned to Salem and Jose Vinicio was added to the disabled list. Lawley represents the 46th player to play for Salem this season, just two shy of the all-time franchise record of 48 set by the 1988 Salem Buccaneers. Lawley is also the 25th different position player to appear on the roster, just two shy of the record of 27 set by the 2014 Salem Red Sox. Part of the reason for the rotating roster has been the mass exodus to Portland; 12 Salem Sox have received the call-up to Double-A in 2015.

LINEUP:

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Salem Sox Gameday: Second Half Skid

GAME # 98–Salem Red Sox (49-48/11-16) vs Wilmington Blue Rocks (51-45, 13-13)

7:05 PM, LewisGale Field, Salem, Va

SERIES AT A GLANCE – Second of a three-game series, Wilmington leads series 1-0, Salem leads season series 5-2

LAST NIGHT – Wilmington 6, Salem 5 | WP: Ashton Goudeau (5-2), LP: Daniel McGrath (1-3) |Recap| InfographicBox Score

 STARTING PITCHERS – RHP Ty Buttrey (7-3, 3.53) vs. LHP Luis Rico (5-5, 3.29)

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

SOCIAL MEDIA – Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

GAME NOTES:

SERIES AT A GLANCE: The Red Sox welcome a North Division foe in the Wilmington Blue Rocks to LewisGale Field for the second and final time in 2015 for the first three games of a six-game homestand. Salem enters the series with a 5-2 advantage in the seven prior matchups, having swept the first half North Division champion in their prior visit to the Roanoke Valley from June 12-14 and taking two of three in Wilmington from June 15-17. The .714 winning percentage against Wilmington is Salem’s highest against any opponent this year. They will visit Frawley Stadium in Wilmington once more in 2015, a three-game set from August 21-23.

LAST TIME OUT: Kevin Heller and Forrestt Allday both homered, but it wasn’t enough as the Red Sox lost a seesaw affair 6-5 to the Wilmington Blue Rocks on Wednesday night at LewisGale Field. Daniel McGrath was touched for six runs on nine hits in 3.2 innings, failing to make it out of the fourth for the first time since returning from the disabled list. Dustin Lawley went 3-for-4 with a double and an RBI and Heller was 4-for-4 with three singles to go with his homer. Brandon Show pitched 4.1 scoreless innings in relief of McGrath, allowing only two hits and a walk paired with one strikeout.

HOME RUNS ARE THINGS THAT HAPPEN RARELY: Salem homered twice in Wednesday’s 6-5 home loss to the Wilmington Blue Rocks, with both Kevin Heller and Forrestt Allday going yard. Home runs have been at a premium all season long for the Red Sox, as their 39 bombs are tied with Wilmington for the third fewest in the league, more than only Frederick (38) and Winston-Salem (32). Salem is on pace for 56 home runs, only 5 more than the franchise-low of 51 set by the 1979 Salem Pirates. The two homers on Wednesday pushed the home total to 13 in 49 games, on pace for just under 19 for the season. The franchise-low for homers at LewisGale Field is 23, set by the 1999 Salem Avalanche. Yesterday was just the second multi-homer game of the year at LewisGale for Salem (June 5 vs Potomac, Travis and Lin).

IT’S SHOWTIME: Brandon Show continued his strong performance in Wednesday’s 6-5 loss to the Wilmington Blue Rocks with 4.1 shutout innings out of the bullpen. It was the second straight appearance in which Show had pitched at least four scoreless innings, with the last coming in a 4-1 loss to the Lynchburg Hillcats on July 17 when he struck out four with one hit allowed in four innings. Show has now delivered 11.1 scoreless innings in four appearances with Salem and has only allowed one run at any level in 2015. In one appearance with Low-A Greenville he struck out two in four shutout innings and over three outings with Short Season-A Lowell he allowed one run in 9.2 innings. Combined, Show has an ERA of 0.36 (1 ER in 25 innings).

HI, MY NAME IS: The Red Sox roster has been a revolving door in 2015 and another new face appeared on Monday when newly signed IF/ OF Dustin Lawley was assigned to Salem and Jose Vinicio was added to the disabled list. Lawley represents the 46th player to play for Salem this season, just two shy of the all-time franchise record of 48 set by the 1988 Salem Buccaneers. Lawley is also the 25th different position player to appear on the roster, just two shy of the record of 27 set by the 2014 Salem Red Sox. Part of the reason for the rotating roster has been the mass exodus to Portland; 12 Salem Sox have received the call-up to Double-A in 2015.

FOR STARTERS: Mauricio Dubon jacked a leadoff home run to start Monday’s contest, becoming the second Red Sox player to start a game with a long ball. Manuel Margot provided the other first at-bat shot on June 20 at Winston-Salem, exactly one month prior to Dubon’s blast. Ironically enough, both games were started by Salem’s Teddy Stankiewicz, as were two of the three games in which an opponent hit a leadoff homer. Lynchburg’s Luigi Rodriguez went yard against Stankiewicz on May 20 and June 28 at LewisGale Field. Carolina’s Connor Lien started the game in Salem with a solo shot on July 8 against Trey Ball.

LINEUP:

LINEUP 7-23

Salem Sox Gameday: Home Sweet Home

GAME # 97–Salem Red Sox (49-47/11-15) vs Wilmington Blue Rocks (50-45, 12-13)

7:05 PM, LewisGale Field, Salem, Va

SERIES AT A GLANCE – First of a three-game series, Salem leads season series 5-1

LAST NIGHT – Myrtle Beach 12, Salem 0 | WP: Jen-Ho Tseng (4-6), LP: Kevin McAvoy (5-8) |RecapBox Score

 STARTING PITCHERS – LHP Daniel McGrath (1-2, 1.89) vs. RHP Ashton Goudeau (4-2, 1.95)

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

SOCIAL MEDIA – Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

GAME NOTES:

SERIES AT A GLANCE: The Red Sox welcome a North Division foe in the Wilmington Blue Rocks to LewisGale Field for the second and final time in 2015 and the first three games of a six-game homestand. Salem enters the series with a 5-1 advantage in the six prior matchups, having swept the first half North Division champion in their prior visit to the Roanoke Valley from June 12-14 and taking two of three in Wilmington from June 15-17. The .833 winning percentage against Wilmington is Salem’s highest against any opponent this year. They will visit Frawley Stadium in Wilmington once more in 2015, a three-game set from August 21-23.

LAST TIME OUT: The Myrtle Beach Pelicans hung five runs in the first inning and cruised to a 12-0 shutout of the Salem Red Sox on Tuesday night at Pelicans Ballpark, completing a three-game sweep. Myrtle Beach got eight of its first nine batters to reach against Kevin McAvoy (5-8), who gave up nine runs, eight earned, on nine hits with three walks in 3.2 innings. Mario Martinez went 2-for-4 with a pair of singles one day after snapping his 14-game hitting streak with an 0-for-3 effort. Jen-Ho Tseng (4-6) went five shutout innings with five hits and three strikeouts to pick up the win for the Pelicans.

HOUSE OF HORRORS: After the three-game sweep in Myrtle Beach, the Red Sox are now just 3-9 in 2015 at TicketReturn.com field at Pelicans Ballpark. Salem has been outscored 54-28 in Myrtle Beach and the 3-9 mark is the worst for the Red Sox at any ballpark this season. The Sox are not scheduled to return to the Grand Strand in 2015 and will see the Pelicans once more at home for a three-game series August 11-13. Salem scored just one run in the three-game set and went 2-for-16 with runners in scoring position.

HI, MY NAME IS: The Red Sox roster has been a revolving door in 2015 and another new face appeared on Monday when newly signed IF/ OF Dustin Lawley was assigned to Salem and Jose Vinicio was added to the disabled list. Lawley represents the 46th player to play for Salem this season, just two shy of the all-time franchise record of 48 set by the 1988 Salem Buccaneers. Lawley is also the 25th different position player to appear on the roster, just two shy of the record of 27 set by the 2014 Salem Red Sox. Part of the reason for the rotating roster has been the mass exodus to Portland; 12 Salem Sox have received the call-up to Double-A in 2015.

FOR STARTERS: Mauricio Dubon jacked a leadoff home run to start Monday’s contest, becoming the second Red Sox player to start a game with a long ball. Manuel Margot provided the other first at-bat shot on June 20 at Winston-Salem, exactly one month prior to Dubon’s blast. Ironically enough, both games were started by Salem’s Teddy Stankiewicz, as were two of the three games in which an opponent hit a leadoff homer. Lynchburg’s Luigi Rodriguez went yard against Stankiewicz on May 20 and June 28 at LewisGale Field. Carolina’s Connor Lien started the game in Salem with a solo shot on July 8 against Trey Ball.

UNPACK YOUR BAGS: After playing a league-high 43 home games in the first three months, the Red Sox have dealt with a road-heavy schedule in the month of July. Yesterday, the Sox finished up a stretch of 15 of 20 games played away from LewisGale Field, going 7-8 in the 15 contests. The Red Sox have been road warriors thus far, though, posting a 25-23 record away from home, the second-best road mark in the league behind Myrtle Beach. The Red Sox offense is hitting just .248 on the road, but the pitching staff has an ERA of 3.65.

WHAT DIVISION ARE WE IN?: Tonight’s opener against Wilmington initiates a string of 15 consecutive games against North Division foes for Salem. The Red Sox are scheduled to play just 12 more games against the South Division, all coming from August 7-20. The final 17 games of the year will be against Wilmington, Potomac and Lynchburg. In total, 49 of Salem’s 70 second half games are against the North.

LINEUP:

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Salem Sox Gameday: So Long Myrtle Beach

GAME # 96–Salem Red Sox (49-46/11-14) vs Myrtle Beach Pelicans (55-39/14-11)

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

SERIES AT A GLANCE – Third of a three-game series, Myrtle Beach leads series 2-0, Myrtle Beach leads season series 10-4

LAST NIGHT – Myrtle Beach 4, Salem 1 | WP: Brad Markey (2-0), LP: Kyle Kaminska (1-1) |Recap|InfographicBox Score

 STARTING PITCHERS – RHP Kevin McAvoy (5-7, 4.11) vs. RHP Jen-Ho Tseng (3-6, 3.67)

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

SOCIAL MEDIA – Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

GAME NOTES:

SERIES AT A GLANCE: The Red Sox travel to take on the Myrtle Beach Pelicans for a three-game set at TicketReturn.com Field at Pelicans Ballpark. The two intradivision rivals have squared off 14 times with the Pelicans holding a 10-4 advantage in the season series. The first series of the season was a two-game split, but Myrtle Beach has since won the last four sets, including taking the first two this week. Twelve of the 14 meetings have been determined by three runs or less, with the lone outliers being four-run contests.

LAST TIME OUT: Salem got a leadoff home run from Mauricio Dubon, but that was the only run scoring by the Red Sox in a 4-1 loss to Myrtle Beach on Monday night. Teddy Stankiewicz lasted just one inning after taking a line drive off his right shoulder and face in the last of the first inning. Kyle Kaminska (1-1) came on in relief and lasted six innings while giving up three runs on eight hits. After allowing the leadoff homer, Brad Markey was exceptionally sharp for the Pelicans, giving up just two more hits in six innings. He retired 13 of the final 14 he faced. Salem had multiple runners on base at the same time just once in the game with back-to-back two-out singles in the seventh

SUPER MARIO: Mario Martinez went 0-for-3 in last night’s contest to snap his hitting streak at a season-best 14 games. In the stretch, which was the longest active stretch in the league, he batted .449 (22-49) with nine runs scored, two doubles, a homer and 11 RBI. He also posted eight multi-hit games during the stretch, including three straight before last night. For Martinez, it was his third streak of at least eight games this season. He previously hit in eight straight from June 7 to June 14 and posted a nine-game streak from May 7 to May 15. Martinez’s streak was the longest for a Salem player since Matty Johnson hit safely in 17 straight games from July 27 – August 17 last year. Mike Papi of the Lynchburg Hillcats has the longest streak in the Carolina League this year at 16 games from June 26 – July 3. Despite the hitting streak ending, Martinez did reach base on a walk to extend his on-base streak to 17 straight games since June 27.

FOR STARTERS: Mauricio Dubon jacked a leadoff home run to start yesterday’s contest, becoming the second Red Sox player to start a game with a long ball. Manuel Margot provided the other first at-bat shot on June 20 at Winston-Salem, exactly one month prior to Dubon’s blast. Ironically enough, both games were started by Salem’s Teddy Stankiewicz, as were two of the three games in which an opponent hit a leadoff homer. Lynchburg’s Luigi Rodriguez went yard against Stankiewicz on May 20 and June 28 at LewisGale Field. Carolina’s Connor Lien started the game in Salem with a solo shot on July 8 against Trey Ball.

UNPACK YOUR BAGS: After playing a league-high 43 home games in the first three months, the Red Sox are dealing with a road-heavy schedule in the month of July. Today, the Sox finish up a stretch of 15 of 20 games played away from LewisGale Field. Salem is 7-7 in the first 14 road games of the stretch, going 2-3 against Myrtle Beach and Lynchburg on the first trip before bouncing back to go 5-2 on its last trip to Frederick and Lynchburg. The Red Sox have been road warriors thus far, though, posting a 25-22 record away from home, the second-best road mark in the league behind Myrtle Beach. The Red Sox offense is hitting just .249 on the road, but the pitching staff has an ERA of 3.47.

DOUBLE, DOUBLE PLAYS Y’ALL: Kevin McAvoy takes the mound today in search of his sixth win of the season. Thanks to a sinking fastball, McAvoy is the league leader among active pitchers with 19 double play balls. Frederick’s Luis Gonzalez is the next closest with 12 double plays forced. In fact, McAvoy is tied for second in all of Minor League Baseball in twin killings, trailing just Tim Adleman of the Double-A Pensacola Blue Wahoos (Cincinnati), who has forced 21. McAvoy is second in the circuit (minimum 10 appearances) in ground out to air out ratio, creating 2.61 ground ball outs for every fly ball out. Lynchburg’s Robbie Aviles had an absurd 3.38 GO/AO ratio to lead the league. McAvoy has forced at least one double play in 12 of his 17 starts with multiple twin killings in five starts.

LINEUP:

Salem Sox Gameday: Back to the Future Night

GAME # 93–Salem Red Sox (48-44/10-12) vs Lynchburg Hillcats (43-48/10-11)

6:05 PM, LewisGale Field, Salem Va. 

SERIES AT A GLANCE – Fifth of a five-game series, Salem leads series 3-1, Lynchburg leads season series 10-6

LAST NIGHT – Lynchburg 4, Salem 1 | WP: D.J. Browm (7-3), LP: Daniel McGrath (1-2) |Recap|InfographicBox Score

 STARTING PITCHERS – LHP Trey Ball(6-8, 3.73) vs. LHP Luis Lugo (5-8, 4.98)

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

SOCIAL MEDIA – Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

GAME NOTES:

SERIES AT A GLANCE: The Red Sox meet the Lynchburg Hillcats once again for the third series that the two have played in the second half. The interdivision rivals wrap a set that featured five games over four days in two separate cities, with the final two coming at LewisGale Field. Salem trails the season series 10-6 and all six wins have come on the road where they are 6-1. Tonight’s meeting is the 17th of the year with nine more scheduled in the final 47 games of the year.

LAST TIME OUT: In front of 7,059 fans, the largest in Salem Red Sox history, the Lynchburg Hillcats struck early and never trailed as they beat the Sox 4-1 on Friday night at LewisGale Field. Lynchburg took their early lead with a two-run single from Dorssys Paulino in the first and added to it with a Luigi Rodriguez RBI double in the second. Daniel McGrath (1-2) took the loss in his second start back from the disabled list, walking two and striking out four with four runs, two earned, on nine hits in four-plus innings. Mario Martinez blasted a solo homer in the seventh for the Red Sox lone run. Martinez went 2-for-4 and extended his hitting streak to 12 games, the longest active streak in the Carolina League. Brandon Show pitched four shutout innings in relief of McGrath and struck out four batters.

HUGE GATHERINGS IN SALEM: Friday’s crowd was the largest in the Salem Red Sox era and the third largest in the history of LewisGale Field as 7,059 fans packed into the ballpark for the 4-1 loss to the Lynchburg Hillcats. The previous high in the Red Sox era was set last season on August 16 against the Myrtle Beach Pelicans with 6,411 fans on hand for a 17-9 Red Sox victory. The only two larger crowds in the history of LewisGale Field both came in 1997 with 8,389 flocking to see the Avalanche play the Durham Bulls on June 28 and 7,941 watching Salem take on Lynchburg on August 30.

ODD COUPLE: Salem welcomes Lynchburg for the fourth time in 2015, having dropped the previous nine meetings by a combined total of 67-27 (7.4-3). The Sox play the Hillcats more than any other team this season, with a total of 26 meetings between the two clubs. Roles have been flipped to this point with the Red Sox posting a 6-1 record in Lynchburg. Salem is 23-15 against the rest of the league at home, outscoring those opponents 170-129. The Hillcats are batting .286 as a team against the Red Sox with 51 doubles (3.2 per game) and 12 home runs (0.75 per game). Salem pitchers have an egregious 5.41 ERA against the Hillcats and have allowed double digit hits in eight of the 16 games in the season set. Lynchburg’s longest winning streak at Salem is 12 games from April 20, 1984 through May 9, 1985.

SUPER MARIO: Mario Martinez provided the only Red Sox run in Friday’s loss to the Lynchburg Hillcats by smacking a leadoff homer in the seventh inning. Martinez went 2-for-4 to extend his hitting streak to a season-best 12 games dating back to July 3. In the current streak, which is the longest active stretch in the league, he is batting .439 (18-41) with eight runs scored, two doubles, a homer and nine RBI. He’s also posted six multi-hit games during the stretch. For Martinez, it’s his third streak of at least eight games this season. He previously hit in eight straight from June 7 to June 14 and posted a nine-game streak from May 7 to May 15.

COMEBACK KIDS: Salem came from behind to beat the Lynchburg Hillcats 5-3 on Thursday night at Lynchburg City Stadium, erasing what was once a 3-0 lead. Entering the eighth inning, the Sox were in a 3-2 hole and plated a pair in the frame to take the lead for good. It was only the third time that Salem had won a game that they trailed after seven innings in 2015, but the second in a span of a week. Saturday in a ten-inning 3-2 victory over the Frederick Keys, the Red Sox trailed 2-1 after seven and forced extra innings with a rally in the eighth. Yoilan Cerse sparked both rallies with a triple that led to him scoring the game-tying run. All three of Salem’s comeback victories have come on the road, the first of which occurred on May 15 in an 11-inning 6-3 win over the Winston-Salem Dash.

LINEUP:

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Thought’s From the Booth: What a Road Trip

EDITOR’S NOTE: Thoughts from the Booth will be a recurring segment throughout the second half of the season. It will feature analysis and random musings from Kevin Burke and Brian Gardner, the members of the Salem Sox broadcast team

Back at LewisGale Field after a 5-2 road trip, the Red Sox will entertain the Lynchburg Hillcats for two games finishing out an unconventional two-city series. Salem took the first three games of a five-game set with a doubleheader sweep on Wednesday and a come-from behind 5-3 victory on Thursday. This built upon one of the stranger stats all season, as the Sox are 6-1 at Lynchburg City Stadium but have yet to beat the Hillcats in eight home contests.

It’s beginning to look as though the Red Sox have shaken off the slow start to the second half and may more closely resemble the team that finished the first half strong by winning eight of their last ten games, including a five-game winning streak. Prior to this road trip, Salem had turned in only a 5-9 record in the second half with that stretch featured a season-long six-game losing streak.

The newcomers Jordan Procyshen, Mauricio Dubon, and Zach Kapstein had gotten off to slow starts but the rising comfort level of each has directly coincided with the team’s hot streak.

Dubon should see some more consistent playing time at shortstop after the Wednesday promotion of Tzu-Wei-Lin to Double-A Portland. At the beginning of the road trip he was hitting .158, a mark that’s up to .219 after three multi-hit games during the week of games away from home. His most impressive attribute has been his defense, Dubon has a strong arm and his incredible range makes some of the toughest plays look routine. He’s played third and second as well as short, showing versatility in what had become a crowded infield.

Procyshen is more or less splitting time with Jordan Weems and has showed off his cannon behind the plate. He has now caught eight of the 20 attempted base stealers that he has seen, including a walk-off in Frederick on Saturday when he gunned Josh Hart at second for the final out of the 3-2 ten-inning win.

Kapstein’s playing time has been limited but he made some noise during the road trip. He’s appeared in only nine games including four of the seven during the road swing, and homered for the first time in High-A against Frederick.

In each of the last two years, the Red Sox have started at a glacial pace in the second half only to turn in on in August and race to the playoffs. The 2013 Mills Cup champion team went 13-15 in before finishing 22-8 in August and 2-0 in September. Last season’s playoff squad went 11-16 in July and 18-10 in August. To this point, Salem is 10-11 in the second half and 9-7 in July. Perhaps the hot streak arrive a few weeks early in 2015…

A couple of notable pieces of reading and listening before I scamper out of here.

-Check out this profile of my broadcast partner Kevin Burke published earlier this week in Leesburg Today.

Chris Hatfield of SoxProspects.com was in Frederick this weekend taking in the series and spoke with Ty Buttrey for a podcast. Ty’s interview begins at the 58:40 mark.

And an interesting anecdote from today’s game notes that illustrates how much the team has changed since the beginning of the season:

THE PORTLAND RED SOX: Tzu-Wei Lin was promoted to Double-A Portland on Thursday, becoming the 12th Salem player to receive the call-up. Lin was the starting shortstop and number nine hitter in the SeaDogs lineup on Thursday and one of five players in Portland’s starting lineup who were Opening Day starters for the Salem Sox. Lin, Manuel Margot, Sam Travis, Cole Sturgeon and Jake Romanski were all starters in Portland’s 7-2 loss to New Hampshire and Oscar Tejeda, Jorge Marban and Williams Jerez also appeared in the game for the SeaDogs, making it eight 2015 Salem Red Sox taking a line in the box score.

 

The Red Sox are seeking their fourth win in a row tonight and attempting to beat the Hillcats at home for the first time this season. If you can’t make it out for NASCAR Night and the fireworks show on another Freedom Friday, we’ve got you covered as always on 1240 AM in the Roanoke Valley, or through the TuneIn Radio app.

Until we speak again,

-Brian

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