Britton’s Electric Stuff, Bledsoe over Mirer, and More
Good afternoon again from the damp confines of LewisGale Field. Here’s some good news: the tarp is being removed from the field as I type, and it appears that our first Thursday night home game will be greeted by gorgeous playing conditions this evening.
Yesterday, I mentioned how Drake Britton was preparing for his 30th Carolina League outing, and how one of these times it was all going to click. It turns out that Wednesday was that day.
Britton enjoyed a wide smile in the clubhouse after his masterful performance, dealing five one-hit shutout innings with seven strikeouts. He was not the only one. Pitching Coordinator Ralph Treuel and Salem Sox Pitching Coach Kevin Walker also shared in Britton’s overdue success. While there’s no doubt that Britton’s confidence has wavered mightily over the past 13 months, Treuel and Walker have remained steadfast in the belief that Britton’s arsenal of a mid-90s heater, hammer curve, and deceptive changeup would be a recipe for domination. On Wednesday, at least for one night, they were.
With the NFL Draft tonight, I was thinking about my first memory of the generally overhyped event. Probably my first recollection of the draft was in the early 90s when my New England Patriots were vacillating between Drew Bledsoe or Rick Mirer with the top pick. Certainly, at the time, they were the consensus top two, similar to Peyton Manning and Ryan Leaf a few years later.
I think the draft has lost a ton of luster because of the overreporting. Case in point, we already know for certain that Andrew Luck will be #1 and Robert Griffin III will be #2. Will one of this duo be a Mirer or a Leaf? Can either be the franchise changer the way Bledsoe or Manning altered the histories and perceptions of the Colts and Pats?
I suppose those are interesting questions, but we will not have the answers any time soon. Regardless, ESPN’s ratings tonight will certainly be astronomical. I wonder if Mickey Loomis will be available for post-pick interviews.
Another day, another run scored for Jackie Bradley, Jr. Ho-hum. Details below.
See you on the radio at 7:05,
April 26, 2012 7:05 PM Wilmington Blue Rocks (9-9) vs Salem Red Sox (8-9) Game #18
LewisGale Field Salem, VA Home Game #10
Probable Starters: RHP Leondy Perez (2-0, 1.54) vs RHP Miguel Celestino (1-1, 3.60)
Draft Day: Ironically, neither of tonight’s starting pitchers ever experienced a professional draft, with both signing pro contracts as free agents out of the Dominican Republic. Born less than two months apart in 1989, Miguel Celestino and Leondy Perez square off tonight in the series finale at LewisGale Field, with the Sox hoping to earn a series split of the four-game set. Following tonight’s action, Wilmington returns home to face Winston-Salem, while Salem remains home for a three-game weekend series with Carolina.
Drake’s Take: In his finest performance at the Advanced-A level, Drake Britton held the Blue Rocks to just one hit over five scoreless innings on Wednesday night. Wilmington scrapped four singles in four innings off Salem’s bullpen, but the Sox still matched its season-best performance of fewest hits allowed in a ballgame with five. In addition, the Salem arms also struck out 13 Rocks, tying the most punchouts in a game this year. Salem’s team ERA is no longer the worst in the Carolina League. Potomac allowed 14 runs yesterday and currently sits at the bottom of that category entering tonight’s action.
Eight is Great: The Red Sox reached the double digit hit threshold again on Wednesday, connecting for ten or more hits for the eighth straight contest. During this remarkable stretch, the Sox are swinging at a robust .316 clip (92-for-291), bringing the season average to .298, second best in the league. Despite this offensive onslaught, Salem is just 4-4 during this stretch.
Not as Easy as 1-2-3: In the first three games of this series, the Salem Sox have enjoyed baserunners in all but three innings. The Blue Rocks pitchers have dealt one perfect frame in each game, but the Sox have put men aboard in 23 of 26 innings. Unfortunately, Salem has scored just nine runs in the three games, stranding 31 runners on base. Red Sox pitchers have recorded nine perfect, 1-2-3 innings in the series heading into Thursday night.
X-istential Contributions: Shortstop Xander Bogaerts enjoyed his first day off of the 2012 campaign on Wednesday night. One of the top prospects in the Boston organization, Bogaerts has delivered at least one hit in 10 of his last 11 games. In fact, Bogaerts has recorded an extra-base hit in five of his last six games, ascending him into a tie for the Carolina League doubles lead with seven. The 19-year-old native of Aruba has reached base in 13 straight contests, a stretch in which he possesses a .314 average and a .375 on-base percentage.
John Fogerty Sang About Him: Jackie Bradley, Jr. has made playing center field look downright easy at times this season. Offensively, at the top of the lineup, Bradley has scored at least one run in ten of his last 11 games, a stretch in which he has reached base in every game. In his last 11 contests, Bradley is hitting ..405 with an insane .473 on-base percentage. For the season, Bradley leads the league with 15 walks and is fifth with 14 runs scored.