Salem Sox Game Notes – April 12, 2011
April 12, 2011 7:05 PM Lynchburg Hillcats (1-1) vs Salem Red Sox (1-1) Game #3
LewisGale Field Salem, VA Home Game #3
Probable Starters: RHP Cory Rasmus (6-9, 3.18) vs RHP Chris Balcom-Miller (7-7, 3.30)
From One Commonwealth to Another: An old-time Massachusetts baseball rivalry returns tonight as the Red Sox and Braves’ Carolina League affiliates tangle for the first time in 2011 and for the first time as a pair of Virginian farm-clubs. Massachusetts and Virginia are two of the four U.S. States that bill themselves as “Commonwealths,” creating a new wrinkle to the longtime Salem-Lynchburg “Route 460 Series.” Through 1953, the Braves and Red Sox were co-residents of Boston, a stretch that ended when the Braves moved to Milwaukee. Now, after 12 years in Myrtle Beach, SC, the Braves High-A club has invaded southwest Virginia to once again battle for regional baseball supremacy with the Sox.
Backstop Backbones: Catchers Dan Butler and Matt Spring combined to bat 5-6 in Salem’s Sunday doubleheader, catalyzing the Red Sox offense that otherwise started slowly. Aside from the pair of backstops, the Red Sox batted 5-44 (.114) as a team. Butler and Spring also combined for five of Salem’s seven RBI in the opening twin-bill.
Four Thumbs Up: Led by Tom Ebert’s three and two-thirds innings of scoreless, hitless baseball, the Salem bullpen has provided the Sox with an incredible boost to begin the season. Ebert, Mitch Herold, Kendal Volz, and Cesar Cabral combined to toss seven scoreless innings out of the pen in Sunday’s doubleheader, surrendering only two hits overall.
A Veteran Table-Setter: When Peter Hissey stepped in the box to lead-off the bottom of the first on Sunday, he joined a pretty small club. The 21-year-old became just the fifth player in Salem’s Carolina League history (since 1968) to lead off on Opening Day in consecutive seasons. The West Chester, PA-native went 2-5 and scored two runs in Salem’s victory on April 8, 2010 and went 1-4 in Salem’s 7-2 loss to Frederick on Sunday. Last season, he hit .234 as a 20-year-old, stealing 25 bases and only making two errors. Of the previous four players who have sat atop the Opening Day lineup in back-to-back years, two went on to play in the major leagues: Infielders Luis Quinones (1981-82) and Chone Figgins (1999-2000) each progressed from Salem to the Show, with Figgins currently entrenched in his 10th MLB season. Hissey also joins Jerry McDonald and Miguel Vilorio.
The Rear-View Mirror: The 2010 Salem Red Sox finished with one of the top records in the Carolina League, but failed to make the postseason due to the quirky nature of playoff qualification. Salem opened the year with 21 wins in its first 28 games, including a season-best seven-game winning streak in the first seven days of May. The Red Sox also finished the first half strong, winning 12 of 15 before dropping the final game before the All-Star Break. In the second half, Salem dropped seven of nine before winning 20 of the next 30. Injuries and promotions hurt the Sox in August, eliminating the club from postseason contention in the season’s final week. Oscar Tejeda led the 2010 Salem Sox with a .307 average, Ryan Lavarnway hit 14 homers, and Will Middlebrooks was tops with 70 RBI.