Playoff Preview: September 9, 2016 vs. Myrtle Beach

GAME INFORMATION

Friday, September 9, 2016

South Division Championship Series

Game Three – vs. Myrtle Beach Pelicans

LewisGale Field – Salem, Va.

#Soxtember

IMPORTANT LINKS

Salem Red Sox Baseball Network

Weather Forecast

Twitter Updates

PITCHING MATCHUP

LHP Matt Kent vs. RHP Duane Underwood

  • In need of a win to keep the season alive, the Red Sox turn to southpaw Matt Kent. The Texas A&M product has been one of the best and most steady starting pitchers for Salem this year, posting a 10-7 record with a 3.69 ERA. Kent finished the regular season tied for third in the Carolina Leauge in ERA and games started (26), tied for fourth in strikeouts (120) and wins, and led in innings pitched (156.0) and BB/9.0 IP (1.79). The lefty made five starts against the Pelicans during the regular season, and recorded positive results – a 1-0 record with a 3.29 ERA, including two quality starts. Kent has not allowed more than two earned runs in five consecutive outings, all of which have been quality starts.
  • Myrtle Beach sends Duane Underwood to the mound, making his second rehab appearance with the Pelicans. The righty made 13 starts with Double-A Tennessee, recording an 0-5 record and 4.91 ERA with the Smokies before being shut down after a July 5 start. In his first rehab start with the Pelicans, Underwood allowed a run on three hits in 4.2 innings against the Potomac Nationals on September 2.

RED SOX LINEUP

  1. Joseph Monge, RF
  2. Luis Basabe, CF
  3. Rafael Devers, 3B
  4. Nick Longhi, 1B
  5. Jayce Ray, LF
  6. Jose Sermo, DH
  7. Jordan Procyshen, C
  8. Deiner Lopez, 2B
  9. Jeremy Rivera, SS

PLAYOFF SCHEDULE AND RESULTS

Northern Division Championship Series

  1. at Potomac Nationals 7, Lynchburg Hillcats 0 (7)
  2. at Lynchburg 6, Potomac 5 (14)
  3. Potomac at Lynchburg, 6:30 pm

Southern Division Championship Series

  1. at Myrtle Beach Pelicans 8, Salem Red Sox 1
  2. at Salem 5, Myrtle Beach 1
  3. Myrtle Beach at Salem, 7:05 pm

WHAT’S AT STAKE?

  • The winner in this decisive Game Three punches their ticket to the Mills Cup Finals to play for the Carolina League championship against the winner of the NDCS

RED SOX LAUNDRY BAG

  • NO STRANGER TO PRESSURE: Red Sox starting pitcher Matt Kent is no stranger to pitching in big situations. Last year at Texas A&M, the lefty made four postseason starts and went 3-0 with a 0.60 ERA against the nation’s toughest competition. In the SEC tournament he outdueled Carson Fulmer and eventual national champions Vanderbilt, tossing a complete game four-hitter. Then, in the NCAA Regionals, Kent went 7.0 shutout innings against Texas Southern in the opener, striking out a season-high nine, then came back three days later to beat California in a 7.0-inning, one-run effort. The southpaw started in the Fort Worth Super Regional against TCU ace and current Myrtle Beach Pelican Preston Morrison, going 7.2 scoreless innings in a 2-1, 10-inning Aggies triumph.
  • THE CREAM RISES: When facing the stiff competition of the Pelicans this season, the Red Sox elevated their play to a higher level. Against Myrtle Beach, the Red Sox hit .284/.345/.405, compared to a .274/.346/.395 clip against the Carolina League as a whole. Ten batters recorded a .308 AVG or better against Myrtle Beach pitching, and Rafael Devers hit four of his 11 home runs against the foe. Additionally, the pitching staff was markedly better against the Pelicans, posting a 3.69 ERA and a 4.50 R/9, versus a 4.05 ERA and 4.62 R/9 against the League as a whole. Excluding the Pelicans, the staff ERA was 4.10, and allowed 4.64 R/9.
  • RED SOX IN THE PLAYOFFS: The Red Sox have made the playoffs three times in four seasons, and each time have met the Pelicans in the Southern Division Championship Series. Salem won the 2013 SDCS 2-0 with a pair of 10-inning victories before sweeping Potomac in the Mills Cup Finals. Myrtle Beach returned the favor in 2014, defeating Salem 2-1 in the SDCS. In the Red Sox era (2009-present) the team has made the playoffs four times, including this year. The Red Sox are 10-6 in the playoffs, and have advanced to the Mills Cup Finals twice (2009 and 2013). In SDCS contests, Salem holds a 7-3 record. In franchise history, Salem has won five Mills Cups – ‘72, ‘74, ‘87, ‘01 and ‘13. Salem seeks to be the third straight team and fifth in the last six years to win the SDCS after losing Game One.

Playoff Game Preview: September 7, 2016 at Myrtle Beach

GAME INFORMATION

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

South Division Championship Series

Game One – at Myrtle Beach Pelicans

TicketReturn.com Field – Myrtle Beach, S.C.

IMPORTANT LINKS

Buy Tickets For The Playoffs!

Salem Red Sox Baseball Network

Weather Forecast

Twitter Updates

PITCHING MATCHUP

RHP Michael Kopech (4-1, 2.25 ERA) vs. RHP Trevor Clifton (7-7, 2.72 ERA)

  • Salem sends right-handed ace Michael Kopech to the mound in the playoff opener. The Carolina League’s August Player of the Month is on the heels of a fantastic season, recording a 4-1 record with a 2.25 ERA in 11 starts. The hard-throwing Texan has posted other-worldly strikeout numbers in his time with Salem, whiffing 82 batters in 52.0 innings (14.19 K/9, 40.0% K%). Both of those rates are far and away the best among Carolina League pitchers (min. 50.0 IP – Carlos Salazar, CAR, 12.71, Matt Cooper, WS, 31.1%). However, Kopech suffered in his last start vs. WS, walking the first five and allowing a career-high six runs in 0.2 IP. Despite the rough outing, the #5 prospect has more strikeouts than any other MiLB pitcher since his July 7 debut.
  • Myrtle Beach counters with their ace Trevor Clifton, the winner of the Carolina League’s Pitcher of the Year Award and the winner of the CL ERA crown. Clifton struck out a team-high 129 batters in 119.0 innings, giving him a 9.76 K/9 rate – the third-highest among qualified starting pitchers. The righty ended his season on a high note, tossing two-straight scoreless outings (12.2 IP total) and didn’t allow an earned run in four of his last five starts, beginning with a seven-inning, one-hit performance against Frederick on August 3.

RED SOX LINEUP

  1. Joseph Monge, RF
  2. Luis Basabe, CF
  3. Rafael Devers, 3B
  4. Nick Longhi, 1B
  5. Jose Sermo, DH
  6. Mike Meyers, LF
  7. Jordan Procyshen, C
  8. Jeremy Rivera, SS
  9. Deiner Lopez, 2B

PLAYOFF SCHEDULE

Northern Division Championship Series

  1. Lynchburg Hillcats at Potomac Nationals, 7:05 pm – 9/7
  2. Potomac at Lynchburg, 6:30 pm – 9/8
  3. Potomac at Lynchburg, 6:30 pm (if necessary) – 9/9

Southern Division Championship Series

  1. Salem Red Sox at Myrtle Beach Pelicans, 6:05 pm – 9/7
  2. Myrtle Beach at Salem, 7:05 pm – 9/8
  3. Myrtle Beach at Salem, 7:05 pm (if necessary) – 9/9

 

WHAT’S AT STAKE?

  • The Red Sox look to bounce back quickly after a regular season-ending shutout loss at the hands of the Lynchburg Hillcats Monday afternoon and sieze momentum in the opening round of the playoffs.
  • Salem needs five more wins to clinch the Mills Cup.

RED SOX LAUNDRY BAG

  • THE CREAM RISES: When facing the stiff competition of the Pelicans this season, the Red Sox elevated their play to a higher level. Against Myrtle Beach, the Red Sox hit .284/.345/.405, compared to a .274/.346/.395 clip against the Carolina League as a whole. Ten batters recorded a .308 AVG or better against Myrtle Beach pitching, and Rafael Devers hit four of his 11 home runs against the foe. Additionally, the pitching staff was markedly better against the Pelicans, posting a 3.69 ERA and a 4.50 R/9, versus a 4.05 ERA and 4.62 R/9 against the League as a whole. Excluding the Pelicans, the staff ERA was 4.10, and allowed 4.64 R/9. Myrtle Beach pitchers’ ERA ballooned from a 3.47 season mark to 4.43 against the Red Sox.
  • RED SOX IN THE PLAYOFFS: The Red Sox have made the playoffs three times in four seasons, and each time have met the Pelicans in the Southern Division Championship Series. Salem won the 2013 SDCS 2-0 with a pair of 10-inning victories before sweeping the Potomac Nationals in the Mills Cup Finals. Myrtle Beach returned the favor in 2014, defeating Salem 2-1 in the SDCS. In the Red Sox era (2009-present) the team has made the playoffs four times including this year. Entering Wednesday’s series opener, the Red Sox are 9-5 in the playoffs, and have advanced to the Mills Cup Finals twice (2009 and 2013). In SDCS contests, Salem holds a 6-2 record. In franchise history (1968-present) Salem has won five Mills Cups – 1972, 1974, 1987, 2001 and 2013.
  • REVISIONIST HISTORY: In a historic 2016 campaign, the Red Sox tied a new franchise record for wins in a season (87), equalling the 1974 Salem Pirates. The team also set new Red Sox-era records in road wins (41), home wins (46), first half wins (43), second half wins (44), batting average (.274), runs (694), hits (1,280), 3B (62), stolen bases (241), sacrifice hits (40), sacrifice flies (53) and saves (42). Salem also recorded the best record in the CL by a 3.5-game margin, the fourth time in franchise history the team has done so (1972, 1974 and 1987). In all three previous occurrences, Salem has hoisted the Mills Cup.

Game Preview: September 1, 2016 vs. Winston-Salem

GAME INFORMATION

Thursday, September 1, 2016 – 5:30 & 7:05 pm

Games 134 &135 of 139 vs. Winston-Salem Dash

LewisGale Field – Salem, Va.

IMPORTANT LINKS

Buy Tickets!

Salem Red Sox Baseball Network

Weather Forecast

Twitter Updates

PITCHING MATCHUP

G2: LHP Trey Ball (8-5, 3.77 ERA) vs. RHP Zach Thompson (2-5, 6.00 ERA)

  • Salem sends lefty prospect Trey Ball to the mound, whose roller coaster season has taken an upswing recently, as he has won his last three decisions. Overall, Ball is 8-5 with a 3.77 ERA in 112.1 innings across 22 starts in 2016. In his last three starts, Ball has recorded a 3-0 record with a 3.17 ERA (6 ER/17.0 IP), striking out 13 and walking nine. In five starts in the month of August, the southpaw posted a 2.89 ERA, a marked recovery from a spectacularly underwhelming July when his ERA was 8.17. Excluding the 2013 first-rounder’s 25.1 nightmarish July frames, his season ERA is 2.48, which would be the best among Carolina League qualifiers.
  • Winston-Salem rolls with Zach Thompson, who has also experienced ups and downs in his nine starts with the club. He lasted 5.0 shutout innings against the Red Sox in game two of a doubleheader at BB&T Ballpark on August 20, but that was coming off of allowing six runs on eight hits to the Lynchburg Hillcats in his previous outing. Last time out, he lost to the Carolina Mudcats, allowing three runs (two earned) on a season-high 11 hits in 6.1 innings.

RED SOX LINEUPS

Resumption of Suspended Game from 8/31:

  1. Joseph Monge, CF
  2. Jose Sermo, 2B
  3. Rafael Devers, 3B
  4. Nick Longhi, RF
    1. Bryan Hudson, PR-9 (Stayed in game as LF in 10th inning)
  5. Mike Meyers, LF (Moved to RF in 10th inning)
  6. Jordan Betts, 1B
  7. Ben Moore, DH
  8. David Sopilka, C
  9. Deiner Lopez, SS

Game 2:

  1. Joseph Monge, DH
  2. Luis Alexander Basabe, CF
  3. Rafael Devers, 3B
  4. Nick Longhi, 1B
  5. Jayce Ray, RF
  6. Jose Sermo, 2B
  7. Jordan Procyshen, C
  8. Deiner Lopez, SS
  9. Bryan Hudson, LF

SECOND HALF STANDINGS

Northern Division

  1. *Lynchburg Hillcats, 38-27
  2. ^Potomac Nationals, 37-28, 1.o GB
  3. Frederick Keys, 31-34, 7.0 GB
  4. Wilmington Blue Rocks, 24-41, 14.0 GB

Southern Division

  1. ^Myrtle Beach Pelicans, 42-22
  2. *Salem Red Sox, 40-24, 2.0 GB
  3. Winston-Salem Dash, 27-36, 14.5 GB
  4. Carolina Mudcats, 19-46, 23.5 GB

*Clinched playoff berth through first half division title

^Clinched playoff berth

WHAT’S AT STAKE?

  • If the cards all fall right, the Red Sox can gain a game and a half on the Myrtle Beach Pelicans with a pair of wins and a Pelicans loss tonight. If Salem can pass Myrtle Beach by Monday’s regular season finale, the entire first round of the playoffs will be hosted at LewisGale Field.
  • The Dash have been mathematically eliminated from the playoffs and have six games remaining, including tonight’s quasi-doubleheader.

SOX LAUNDRY BAG

  • WHERE WE LEFT OFF: Thursday’s quasi-doubleheader will begin by resuming Wednesday’s contest in the top of the 11th inning with the game tied 7-7. Zack Collins of Winston-Salem will be at the plate with no outs and the bases empty, facing Simon Mercedes. After falling behind 7-0 after three-and-a-half innings, Salem mounted a ferocious comeback including four runs in the bottom of the ninth to tie the game against the Winston-Salem Dash. The tying run scored after Nick Longhi and Mike Meyers each doubled with two outs and two strikes against them.
  • A REAL ‘PRO’: Red Sox catcher Jordan Procyshen connected on a walk-off double with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning on Sunday, the icing on a sweet month of August. The Canadian backstop has taken finishing strong to heart, batting .301/.329/.479 (22-71, 10 2B, HR, 15 RBIs) in 20 games in August, including a .323 (10-31) clip in his last seven games played. The spurt has elevated Procyshen’s season batting average from .233 at the end of July to .257. Procyshen has hits in eight of his last 10 games played.

Game Preview: August 31, 2016 vs. Winston-Salem

GAME INFORMATION

Wednesday, August 31, 2016 – 7:05 pm

Game 134 of 139 vs. Winston-Salem Dash

LewisGale Field – Salem, Va.

IMPORTANT LINKS

Buy Tickets!

Salem Red Sox Baseball Network

Weather Forecast

Twitter Updates

PITCHING MATCHUP

RHP Michael Kopech (4-1, 1.23 ERA) vs. LHP Tanner Banks (6-3, 4.42 ERA)

  • Salem sends top pitching prospect Michael Kopech to the mound to make his 11th start of the season, and first against the Dash. The right-hander has been a revelation since joining the Red Sox on July 7, and has only gotten stronger as the season has continued. Kopech is 4-1 with a 1.23 ERA with Salem, and has struck out an incredible 81 batters and walked 24 while allowing 24 hits in 51.1 innings (14.20 K/9, 4.21 BB/9, .143 BAA). Kopech missed the first half of the season while rehabbing from a broken hand suffered during spring training.
  • The Dash’s Tanner Banks makes his third start of the season against the Red Sox, having gone 1-1 in his first two outings. Overall, the Bluffdale, Utah native is 6-3 with a 4.42 ERA, having struck out 51 and walked only 16 in 75.1 IP across 14 starts this season. Salem touched up Banks for four runs (three earned) in 7.0 innings in game one of a doubleheader on Saturday, August 20.

RED SOX LINEUP

  1. Joseph Monge, CF
  2. Jose Sermo, 2B
  3. Rafael Devers, 3B
  4. Nick Longhi, RF
  5. Mike Meyers, LF
  6. Jordan Betts, 1B
  7. Ben Moore, DH
  8. David Sopilka, C
  9. Deiner Lopez, SS

SECOND HALF STANDINGS

Northern Division

  1. *Lynchburg Hillcats, 37-27
  2. Potomac Nationals, 36-28, 1.o GB
  3. Frederick Keys, 31-33, 6.0 GB
  4. Wilmington Blue Rocks, 24-40, 13.0 GB

Southern Division

  1. ^Myrtle Beach Pelicans, 42-21
  2. *Salem Red Sox, 39-24, 2.5 GB
  3. Winston-Salem Dash, 27-36, 15.0 GB
  4. Carolina Mudcats, 18-46, 24.5 GB

*Clinched playoff berth through first half division title

^Clinched playoff berth

WHAT’S AT STAKE?

  • The Red Sox begin to align their playoff rotation by sending Michael Kopech to the mound tonight. They are still eligible to host game one of the opening round, but would have to overcome a 2.5-game hole over the Myrtle Beach Pelicans in six games to earn the contest.
  • The Dash have been mathematically eliminated from the playoffs and have six games remaining, including tonight’s contest.

SOX LAUNDRY BAG

  • KOPECH’S K’S: Red Sox starter Michael Kopech has established himself as the premier strikeout artist in the Carolina League by fanning 81 batters in 51.1 innings. Since his High-A debut, only Max Scherzer of the Washington Nationals has struck out more batters (83) in all of affiliated baseball, though Scherzer has 18.0 more IP in that span. The 2013 first-round pick has recorded double-digit strikeouts in four of his last five starts, including in each of his last three outings. An unreal 41.1% of plate appearances against Kopech have ended in a strikeout. At the MLB level, Kopech’s K/9 (14.20) would rank fourth, and his K% would rank third (min. 50 IP), and first among starting pitchers by a wide margin.
  • WINSTON WOES: The Salem Red Sox have the highest team batting average in the Carolina League this season at a cumulative .275 mark. However, against the Winston-Salem Dash the offense has struggled this season, hitting just .241 as a unit, by far the lowest average against any singular opponent for the Red Sox this season. The games against Winston-Salem drag Salem’s team batting average down a full seven points from .282 to .275. The .666 OPS the Sox have posted against Dash pitching would be the 2nd-worst season mark in the CL (WIL .663).

Game Preview: August 30, 2016 vs. Winston-Salem

GAME INFORMATION

Tuesday, August 30, 2016 – 7:05 pm

Game 133 of 139 vs. Winston-Salem Dash

LewisGale Field – Salem, Va.

Taco Tuesday (2 tacos for $5!)

IMPORTANT LINKS

Buy Tickets!

Salem Red Sox Baseball Network

Weather Forecast

Twitter Updates

PITCHING MATCHUP

LHP Matt Kent (10-6, 3.78 ERA) vs. RHP Jordan Stephens (6-10, 3.71 ERA)

  • Salem sends Matt Kent to the slab in the series opener, making his team-leading 25th start of the 2016 campaign. Tuesday’s game marks the sixth time that Kent has matched up with the Winston-Salem Dash, including twice in his last three starts. Overall, the southpaw is 10-6 with a 3.78 earned run average since an early-season promotion from the Low-A Greenville Drive. Kent is tied for the team lead in wins, and leads the staff in innings pitched (143.0), strikeouts (104), hits allowed (157) and unintentional BB/9.0 IP ratio (1.83). The soft-tossing lefty has had a mixed bag of success against the Dash this season, going 1-3 with a 4.66 ERA in his five previous outings. However, he yeilded just two runs in six innings in his last start against the club on August 20 at BB&T Ballpark.
  • Winston-Salem sends Jordan Stephens to the mound, coming off of a start that encapsulates his season perfectly. The Houston native struck out a season-high 10 Frederick Keys batters in 5.0 innings, allowing two runs on two hits and taking the loss. The Carolina League leader in strikeouts with 136, Stephens has not gotten great run support from his lineup and has been victimized by the bullpen this season, although the same can be said for many other starters in the Dash rotation.

RED SOX LINEUP

  1. Joseph Monge, CF
  2. Bryan Hudson, DH
  3. Rafael Devers, 3B
  4. Nick Longhi, 1B
  5. Jayce Ray, RF
  6. Mike Meyers, LF
  7. Jordan Procyshen, C
  8. Jose Sermo, 2B
  9. Deiner Lopez, SS

SECOND HALF STANDINGS

Northern Division

  1. *Lynchburg Hillcats, 37-26
  2. Potomac Nationals, 36-27, 1.o GB
  3. Frederick Keys, 30-33, 7.0 GB
  4. Wilmington Blue Rocks, 22-40, 14.5 GB

Southern Division

  1. ^Myrtle Beach Pelicans, 41-21
  2. *Salem Red Sox, 39-23, 1.5 GB
  3. Winston-Salem Dash, 26-36, 15.0 GB
  4. Carolina Mudcats, 18-44, 23.0 GB

*Clinched playoff berth through first half division title

^Clinched playoff berth

WHAT’S AT STAKE?

  • The Red Sox look to reverse their luck at LewisGale Field against the Winston-Salem Dash, who have a 5-3 advantage over the home club, despite Salem’s 15-8 record in the season series. More importantly a win could close the 1.5-game deficit to the Myrtle Beach Pelicans, who just keep winning. The race will determine who hosts game one of the first round of the playoffs on Wednesday, September 7.
  • The Dash have been mathematically eliminated from the playoffs and have seven games remaining, including tonight’s contest.

SOX LAUNDRY BAG

  • A REAL ‘PRO’: Red Sox catcher Jordan Procyshen connected on a walk-off double with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning on Sunday, the icing on a sweet month of August. The Canadian backstop has taken finishing strong to heart, batting .319/.347/.507 (22-67, 10 2B, HR, 15 RBIs) in 19 games in August, including a .370 (10-27) clip in his last seven games played. The spurt has elevated Procyshen’s season batting average from .233 at the end of July to .262. Procyshen has hits in eight of his last nine games played, and 14 of 16.
  • A CALL TO ARMS: Since allowing a run in the top of the second to the Frederick Keys in the second game of Saturday’s doubleheader, the Salem Red Sox pitching staff has scored 15.0 consecutive scoreless innings, one shy of the season-high mark of 16.0 frames (5/15 to 5/18-1).
  • HOME COOKING: The Salem Red Sox had an 11-game home winning streak snapped in game one of the doubleheader with the Frederick Keys Saturday afternoon, but the club has won 13 of its last 14 home contests. The 11-game home winning streak tied a franchise record set by the 2000 Salem Avalanche. Since the run of great play began Friday, August 5 against Lynchburg, the Sox have outscored oppenents by a 87-53 margin, and have out-hit opponents by an impressive 164-105 clip. The pitching has registered a one-hitter (8/17 vs. CAR) and a two-hitter (8/13 vs. WIL) during the streak, which has featured three walk-off wins (8/6 vs. LYN, 8/16 vs. CAR, 8/28 vs. FRE).

Game Preview: August 28, 2016 vs. Frederick

GAME INFORMATION

Sunday, August 28, 2016 – 4:05 pm

Game 132 of 139 vs. Frederick Keys

LewisGale Field – Salem, Va.

IMPORTANT LINKS

Buy Tickets!

Salem Red Sox Baseball Network

Weather Forecast

Twitter Updates

PITCHING MATCHUP

LHP Daniel McGrath (7-6, 4.42 ERA) vs. LHP Mitch Horacek (5-11, 4.85 ERA)

  • The Red Sox send Daniel McGrath to the mound Sunday to try to clinch a series victory with Frederick. The southpaw will be making his 18th start of the season, and his fifth against the Frederick Keys. McGrath is 7-6 with a 4.42 ERA on the season for Salem, but has pitched superbly in the second half, recording a 6-3 record with a 3.88 ERA after going 1-3 with a 5.59 ERA in the first half of the season. A fly ball pitcher, the Australian has thrived in the spacious confines of LewisGale Field, posting an ERA over a full run lower than on the road (3.91 home vs. 4.98 road) and holding opponents to a batting average nearly 50 points lower (.199 home vs. .247 road). Against the Keys this season, McGrath is 3-1 with a 2.18 ERA, and has struck out 12 batters and walked nine in 20.2 innings.
  • Frederick will send embattled Mitch Horacek to the mound to try to salvage a series split with the Sox. After leading the Carolina League with losses (17) in 2015, the southpaw has improved somewhat in 2016 by losing just 11 starts, tied for the third-most in the league. Horacek is heading toward the finish line this season on a low note, having allowed nine runs (eight earned) in 5.1 innings over his last two starts.

RED SOX LINEUP

  1. Mike Meyers, LF
  2. Michael Chavis, DH
  3. Rafael Devers, 3B
  4. Nick Longhi, RF
  5. Jayce Ray, CF
  6. Jose Sermo, 2B
  7. Jordan Procyshen, C
  8. Jordan Betts, 1B
  9. Deiner Lopez, SS

SECOND HALF STANDINGS

Northern Division

  1. *Lynchburg Hillcats, 36-26
  2. Potomac Nationals, 36-26
  3. Frederick Keys, 30-32, 6.5 GB
  4. Wilmington Blue Rocks, 22-39, 13.5 GB

Southern Division

  1. ^Myrtle Beach Pelicans, 40-21
  2. *Salem Red Sox, 38-23, 1.5 GB
  3. Winston-Salem Dash, 25-36, 15.0 GB
  4. Carolina Mudcats, 18-43, 22.0 GB

*Clinched playoff berth through first half division title

^Clinched playoff berth

WHAT’S AT STAKE?

  • The Red Sox look to take the final game of the season with Frederick, which would also give them another series victory over the Keys. More importantly, with a 1.5-game deficit to close in eight games against the Myrtle Beach Pelicans, who just keep winning. The race will determine who hosts game one of the first round of the playoffs on Wednesday, September 7.
  • The Keys are 6.0 games out of a playoff spot with eight games to play, and face the possibility of being mathematically eliminated from contention this week (elimination number three).

SOX LAUNDRY BAG

  • REVISIONIST HISTORY: Salem has already established a Red Sox-era record for most wins in a season (82), surpassing the 76 wins posted by the 2013 Carolina League champions. With eight games to play including tonight’s contests, the Red Sox would have to go 5-3 to tie the all-time franchise record of 87 victories, set by the 1974 Pirates. The team has also already set new Red Sox-era records in road wins (38), first half wins (43), home wins (44), triples (60), and stolen bases (233). By winning their 82nd game of the season Friday night, the Red Sox have won the third-most games in team history, trailing only the 1968 Rebels (85) and ‘74 Pirates.
  • EXCELLING CLOSE & LATE: When leading after seven innings this year, the Red Sox are an impressive 64-1 (.986). The second-best record in the circuit in that situation belongs to Potomac at 60-2 (.968). Salem is one of five full-season teams in Minor League Baseball with one loss or fewer when leading at the conclusion of seven innings. Trenton (AA, NYY) have the best winning percentage of the fab five with their .986 (73-1) clip. Salem has also amassed a 31-11 (.738) record in one-run games, the only team in MiLB with 30 one-run wins this season. The next-best one-run team in MiLB is Clearwater (High-A, PHI) who is 23-10 (.697), although Jackson (AA, SEA) has 29 one-run victories.
  • WHAT A ‘RAY’-VELATION: Prior to the 2016 campaign, Jayce Ray had never played in affiliated baseball. Now, he has turned into one of the biggest surprises in the Red Sox lineup. In game two Satuday, Ray had a 23-game on-base streak snapped by going 0-for-3. During the remarkable stretch, Ray posted a .419 average (31-74) with five doubles, one triple, 18 runs scored, 11 RBI, and 14 walks. His on-base percentage is an astounding .522 for the stretch, which started on June 23 and continued for 22 games after returning from the disabled list in late July.  He tied Andrew Benintendi for the longest on-base streak of the season.

Doubleheader Preview: August 27, 2016 vs. Frederick

GAME INFORMATION

Saturday, August 27, 2016 – 4:05 pm

Games 130 & 131 of 139 vs. Frederick Keys

LewisGale Field – Salem, Va.

Military Appreciation Night

IMPORTANT LINKS

Buy Tickets!

Salem Red Sox Baseball Network

Weather Forecast

Twitter Updates

PITCHING MATCHUP

G1: RHP Anyelo Leclerc (3-2, 4.95 ERA) vs. RHP Lucas Long (6-6, 4.47 ERA)

  • The first game of the doubleheader will be started by Anyelo Leclerc, making his eighth start and his 13th overall appearance with Salem. Overall, Leclerc is 3-2 with a 4.95 ERA, and has recorded 38 strikeouts and 20 walks in 43.2 innings. As a starting pitcher, he is 2-2 with a 5.34 ERA in 30.1 innings. The righty has made two previous outings against Frederick – one start and one relief appearance – and is 1-0 with a 2.25 ERA (2 ER/8.0 IP). In his last start on Sunday at Winston-Salem, Leclerc allowed one run on three hits in 5.0 innings, earning the win in a 12-1 Salem triumph.
  • Frederick will send Lucas Long to the mound in the opener, making his 23rd start of the season. Long is 6-6 with a 4.47 ERA, and has struck out 99 batters and walked only 27 in 118.2 innings pitched this season. The Minnesotan righty is a ground ball machine, racking up a 1.75 Ground Out-to-Air Out ratio this season. Long has struggled as of late, allowing three or more runs in five consecutive starts.

G2: RHP Mario Alcantara (9-2, 3.44 ERA) vs. RHP Ivan Hernandez (3-1, 3.66 ERA)

  • The back end of the double dip will feature righty Mario Alcantara toeing the rubber. Alcantara will be making his first start of the season for Salem, and his 30th overall appearance. Overall the hurler is 9-2 with a 3.44 ERA, and has struck out 53 batters while issuing 42 free passes in 70.2 innings pitched this season. Opponents are hitting a paltry .197 against him, the lowest batting average against of any Carolina League reliever this season.
  • The Keys will also send a bullpen arm to the bump in the form of Ivan Hernandez, who will be making his second start and 26th overall appearance. Hernandez is 3-1 with a 3.66 ERA on the campaign, and has fanned 33 batters and walked 18 in 51.2 innings pitched.

RED SOX LINEUP

Game 1

  1. Joseph Monge, CF
  2. Mike Meyers, LF
  3. Rafael Devers, 3B
  4. Nick Longhi, 1B
  5. Michael Chavis, DH
  6. Jayce Ray, RF
  7. Jordan Procyshen, C
  8. Jose Sermo, 2B
  9. Deiner Lopez, SS

Game 2

Lineup T.B.D.

SECOND HALF STANDINGS

Northern Division

  1. *Lynchburg Hillcats, 36-25
  2. Potomac Nationals, 35-26, 1.0 GB
  3. Frederick Keys, 29-31, 6.5 GB
  4. Wilmington Blue Rocks, 22-38, 13.5 GB

Southern Division

  1. ^Myrtle Beach Pelicans, 39-21
  2. *Salem Red Sox, 38-22, 1.0 GB
  3. Winston-Salem Dash, 25-35, 14.0 GB
  4. Carolina Mudcats, 17-43, 22.0 GB

*Clinched playoff berth through first half division title

^Clinched playoff berth

WHAT’S AT STAKE?

  • The Red Sox are only 1.0 game behind the Myrtle Beach Pelicans in the race to determine home field advantage in game one of the opening round of the Mills Cup Playoffs. Salem has already clinched hosting games two and three (if necessary) by winning the first half. With a sweep of the doubleheader, Salem would gain at least 0.5 games on Myrtle Beach.
  • The Keys enter the twinbill clinging to their playoff lives. With a 5.5 game deficit to make up against the Potomac Nationals, Frederick has to play nearly flawless baseball for the remainder of the season to have a chance at making the postseason.

SOX LAUNDRY BAG

  • HOME COOKING: The Salem Red Sox enter play Saturday riding a franchise-record 11-game home winning streak, tying a mark set by the 2000 Salem Avalanche. The streak, which began Friday, August 5 against Lynchburg, has featured gaudy offensive numbers from the Red Sox – the club is outscoring oppenents by a 79-46 margin, and are outhitting opponents by an impressive 141-89 clip. The pitching has also been strong, registering a one-hitter (8/17 vs. Carolina) and a two-hitter (8/13 vs. Wilmington) during the streak, which has featured two walk-off wins (8/6 vs. Lynchburg and 8/16 vs. Carolina).
  • HEY NOW, THEY ARE ALL-STARS: The Salem Red Sox have the best record in the Carolina League thanks in large part to their two (2) Carolina League Post-Season All-Stars. The league announced today that Yoan Moncada and Rafael Devers were voted to the prestigious team. Moncada hit .307 with 36 stolen bases in 61 games with Salem, adding 25 doubles, three triples and four home runs. Devers is hitting .280 with 31 doubles and a team-leading 11 homers in 119 games.

Game Preview: August 26, 2016 vs. Frederick

GAME INFORMATION

Friday, August 26, 2016 – 7:05 pm

Game 129 of 139 vs. Frederick Keys

LewisGale Field – Salem, Va.

IMPORTANT LINKS

Buy Tickets!

Salem Red Sox Baseball Network

Weather Forecast

Twitter Updates

PITCHING MATCHUP

RHP Trey Ball (7-5, 3.86 ERA) vs. RHP Jon Keller (0-1, 2.89 ERA)

  • Salem sends lefty Trey Ball to the bump in Friday’s series opener, making his 22nd start of the season, and his fourth against the Keys. Overall, Ball has recorded a 7-5 record to go with his 3.86 ERA, the fifth-best mark in the Carolina League. The southpaw has been solid in the month of August, pitching to the tune of a 3.13 ERA in 23.0 innings, lowering his ERA from 4.06 at the start of the month. Ball has tossed quality starts in three of his four outings, and has won his two decisions. Against Frederick, Ball is 1-0 with a 3.94 ERA in 16.0 innings, striking out 16 and walking eight – both numbers better than his season averages.
  • Frederick will send Jon Keller to the mound against the Red Sox, sporting an 0-1 record with a 2.89 ERA with five starts with the Keys this season. Keller began the season as a member of the bullpen for the Double-A Bowie Baysox, making 24 appearances and going 0-3 with a hellacious 6.69 ERA. The righty struggled with walks, issuing 7.93 BB/9 at the Double-A level, and hasn’t been much better in High-A, posting a 6.75 BB/9 ratio.

RED SOX LINEUP

  1. Joseph Monge, CF
  2. Bryan Hudson, LF
  3. Rafael Devers, 3B
  4. Nick Longhi, 1B
  5. Michael Chavis, DH
  6. Jayce Ray, RF
  7. Jose Sermo, 2B
  8. David Sopilka, C
  9. Deiner Lopez, SS

SECOND HALF STANDINGS

Northern Division

  1. *Lynchburg Hillcats, 36-24
  2. Potomac Nationals, 34-26, 2.0 GB
  3. Frederick Keys, 29-30, 6.5 GB
  4. Wilmington Blue Rocks, 22-37, 13.5 GB

Southern Division

  1. ^Myrtle Beach Pelicans, 38-21
  2. *Salem Red Sox, 37-22, 1.0 GB
  3. Winston-Salem Dash, 25-34, 13.0 GB
  4. Carolina Mudcats, 16-43, 22.0 GB

*Clinched playoff berth through first half division title

^Clinched playoff berth

WHAT’S AT STAKE?

  • The Red Sox are only 1.0 game behind the Myrtle Beach Pelicans in the race to determine home field advantage in game one of the opening round of the Mills Cup Playoffs. Salem has already clinched hosting games two and three (if necessary) by winning the first half.
  • The Keys enter with their postseason hopes still alive, needing to overcome a 4.5-game deficit against the Potomac Nationals to be the second club from the Northern Division to enter the playoffs. Frederick has a game in hand over Potomac, to be played this saturday at LewisGale Field.

SOX LAUNDRY BAG

  • NO HITS FOR YOU!: The Salem bullpen has had its ups and downs this season, but some of the mainstays have come into their own recently. The Red Sox currently have three of the top five relievers in the circuit when it comes to lowest opponent batting average. Mario Alcantara has posted a .197 average against to lead the league while Jamie Callahan (.223) and Yankory Pimentel (.241) rank third and fifth, respectively, among active qualifiers. Salem’s staff overall has had opposing hitters to a .252 clip, tied for the best on the loop (Potomac).
  • WHAT A ‘RAY’-VELATION: Prior to the 2016 campaign, Jayce Ray had never played in affiliated baseball. Now, he has turned into one of the biggest surprises in the Red Sox lineup, currently riding a 21-game on-base streak. During that stretch, Ray has posted a .420 average (29-69) with three doubles, one triple, 16 runs scored, 11 RBI, and 12 walks. His on-base percentage is an astounding .518 for the stretch, which started on June 23 and has picked up in 19 games since returning from the disabled list in late July.
  • REVISIONIST HISTORY: Salem has already established a Red Sox-era record for most wins in a season (80), surpassing the 76 wins posted by the 2013 Carolina League champions. With 11 games to play including tonight’s contest, the Red Sox would have to go 6-5 to tie the all-time franchise record of 86 victories, set by the 1974 Rebels. The team has also already set new Red Sox-era records in road wins (38), first half wins (43), triples (60), and stolen bases (227). The win Thursday night gave Salem its first 80-win team since the 1987 Buccaneers went 80-59 in their first season as an affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates. No Salem club has finished with more than 80 wins since the ‘74 team.

Anatomy of a Team Record: Stolen Bases

Andrew BenintendiBefore the season, Red Sox Manager Joe Oliver expressed his desire to be a team that runs frequently to put pressure on defenses to make plays. When Bryan Hudson stole second base in the third inning of Sunday’s game against the Winston-Salem Dash, it was the 221st successful stolen base of the season for Salem, a new franchise record set with 13 games remaining to play.

The club’s frequent stolen bases this season have been key to its success. It is no coincidence that the talent-laden team has also set a Red Sox-era record for wins in a season, with 78 entering Tuesday’s matchup with the Potomac Nationals. Considering that both records will continue to be left in the dust by the surging Red Sox, let’s take a look at just how much the running game has contributed to the historic season.

In order to do so, we must first establish a few things. The first concept to understand when seeking to get a full picture of stolen bases is what is called the run value (RV) of the event. In their seminal book The Book: Playing the Percentages in Baseball, Tom Tango, Mitchell Lichtman and Andrew Dolphin analyzed years of baseball play-by-play data and determined the RV of every possible event on the field. Without getting into gory mathematical details, their research spanned five years of every MLB game to determine how many runs scored following certain events and base-out states (e.g.- runners on first and second, one out).

Tango, et. al. calculated that the RV of a successful stolen base was 0.16, and the RV of a caught stealing was -0.45. Boiled down into simple terms, this means that approximately six successful steals generates on average one extra run, but two caught stealings on average costs one run. This is why you need to be successful in roughly three out of every four attempts to break even.

We are going to use this information to calculate a statistic known as stolen base runs (SBR). To do so we will take the RV of the successful stolen bases and subtract the RV of the times the Red Sox have been caught stealing.

Entering Tuesday’s game with Potomac, the Red Sox have stolen 221 bases and been caught 61 times. As a team, the Red Sox have 7.91 SBR on the season. That means in 126 games, the team has scored an additional eight runs because of stolen bases alone! That may not seem like much, but it is actually quite significant. No other Carolina League team has more than 4.32 SBR this season, and the Red Sox alone raise the league average SBR from -1.71 to -0.51.

Salem is nearly 10 runs better than the rest of the league when it comes to stealing bases, which translates to an additional win throughout the season. So now that we see how well the team has done in stealing bases, how about highlighting a few of the individual performances that have contributed.

Not surprisingly the two All-Stars, Yoan Moncada and Mauricio Dubon, pace the team in SBR, with 2.16 and 2.04, respectively. Moncada stole 36 bases in 44 attempts, while Dubon swiped 24 in 28 tries. But the players right behind them are Bryan Hudson (1.75 SBR) and Mike Meyers (1.59). Each of those two have been key role players in the Red Sox outfield for the entire season, and should contribute to the Mills Cup Playoff run.

However, there is a wide gulf between Meyers and the next-best SBR player, Franklin Guzman (0.54), followed closely by Jose Sermo (0.51) and Jordan Procyshen (0.48). After that, the positive impact of any one player is minimal, although there are four players who have cost runs with their steal attempts.

I will fully admit that this is not a perfect science. This very crude calculation of SBR fails to take into account variances in base-out states and how RV differs in different states as well as at different junctures in the game.

A runner caught stealing in the ninth inning down by one has a bigger impact than a runner caught stealing in the first inning. Stealing third base gives you a greater chance to score a run than stealing second base. This calculation fails to take these things into account and is therefore simply a very general picture of what the Red Sox have done. Context to statistics is key, and unfortunately I have stripped these stats of all context.

There are more sophisticated stats that exist to give a better picture of the true impact of stolen bases, but quite frankly they are too advanced for my mathematical abilities. Additionally, baserunning stats are the least mature of the four major statistical categories (hitting, pitching, fielding and baserunning), so there is a lot more refinement that needs to be done by people far smarter than I.

But in the absence of any momentary lapse of math genius on my part, this will have to do to show that the Red Sox have been far and away the best team at stealing bases in the Carolina League, and it has gone far toward helping them re-write the record books.

@JoeVasilePBP

Game Preview: August 21, 2016 at Winston-Salem

GAME INFORMATION

Sunday, August 21, 2016 – 2:00 pm

Game 125 of 139 vs. Winston-Salem Dash

BB&T Ballpark – Winston-Salem, N.C.

IMPORTANT LINKS

Buy Tickets for the Upcoming Homestand!

Salem Red Sox Baseball Network

Weather Forecast

Twitter Updates

PITCHING MATCHUP

RHP Anyelo Leclerc (2-2, 5.35 ERA) vs. RHP Kelvis Valerio (3-4, 4.01 ERA)

  • The Red Sox look for the sweep behind right-hander Anyelo Leclerc, making his seventh start and 12th overall appearance with Salem. Leclerc allowed four runs in 4.2 innings against the Carolina Mudcats in his last outing on Tuesday, and is 2-2 with a 5.35 ERA overall. The righty swingman is 1-1 with a 6.04 ERA as a starting pitcher, compared to a 1-1 mark with a 4.05 ERA as a reliever. He as also seen his walk and strikeout rates increase as a starter, improving from 7.42 to 7.81 K/9, and from 5.40 to 3.90 BB/9. Leclerc became a fixture in the Salem rotation when Travis Lakins was placed on the disabled list on July 28
  • Winston-Salem rolls the dice with RHP Kelvis Valerio, who like Leclerc, began the season in the bullpen before being moved to the starting rotation. Valerio will be making his seventh start of the year for the Dash, and his 30th overall appearance. The righty has also been more effective as a starter, posting a 2-1 record with a 3.82 ERA as a starter, compared to a 1-3 ledger with a 4.15 ERA out of the bullpen.

RED SOX LINEUP

  1. Bryan Hudson, CF
  2. Mike Meyers, LF
  3. Rafael Devers, DH
  4. Nick Longhi, 1B
  5. Jayce Ray, RF
  6. Jose Sermo, 2B
  7. Jordan Procyshen, C
  8. Jordan Betts, 3B
  9. Deiner Lopez, SS

SECOND HALF STANDINGS

Northern Division

  1. *Lynchburg Hillcats, 33-23
  2. Potomac Nationals, 32-24, 1.0 GB
  3. Frederick Keys, 27-28, 5.5 GB
  4. Wilmington Blue Rocks, 22-34, 11.0 GB

Southern Division

  1. Myrtle Beach Pelicans, 34-21
  2. *Salem Red Sox, 34-21
  3. Winston-Salem Dash, 24-31, 10.0 GB
  4. Carolina Mudcats, 16-40, 18.5 GB

*Clinched playoff birth through first half division title

WHAT’S AT STAKE?

  • After ripping off nine straight wins, the Salem Red Sox have tied the Myrtle Beach Pelicans for first place in the Carolina League Southern Division second half standings. The winner of the second half hosts game one of the Mills Cup playoffs in September.
  • The Dash have lost their last six games and are 4-6 in their last 10, continuing their slide since a hot start to the second half. Their elimination number is now three.

SOX LAUNDRY BAG

  • REVISIONIST HISTORY: With the doubleheader sweep of the Winston-Salem Dash Saturday night, Salem set a Red Sox-era record for most wins in a season (77), surpassing the 76 wins posted by the 2013 Carolina League champions. With 14 games to play including Sunday’s contest with the Dash, the Red Sox would have to go 10-4 to tie the all-time franchise record of 87 victories, set by the 1974 Rebels. The squad obliterated the previous Red Sox-era record for triples in a season with 57, surpassing the 2014 team’s 47. The club long ago passed the Red Sox-era record for stolen bases (180 in 2012) and with 217 thefts, is only three shy of the franchise record of 220 by the 1987 Buccaneers.
  • WE’RE GOING STREAKING!: The Salem Red Sox have won nine games in a row, a new Red Sox-era record for longest winning streak, and the longest in franchise history since the 2007 Salem Avalanche won 12 consecutive contests. Additionally, the Red Sox have won 10 straight games at LewisGale Field, surpassing a Red Sox-era record set from April 25-May 8, 2012 (seven games). It is the first home winning streak of 10 games or more for Salem since an 11-game surge for the Salem Avalanche from May 26-June 15, 2000. That streak stands as the all-time franchise record for most home wins in a row. During the current streak, the Red Sox are outscoring their opponents by a 72-42 margin, and have out-hit their opponents by a ludicrous 123-74 clip.