The Tale of the Magic Pants
Just like Salem’s current winning streak, it began on Wednesday.
Over the past five days, the legend of the magic pants has grown significantly. As Aaron McFarling reported in the Roanoke Times, five different Salem starters have all recorded wins while wearing the same pair of pants. Yes, the pants were washed in between the games.
Drake Britton wore his own pants during a 1-2-3 first inning on Wednesday, but when he was readjusting his tucked-in jersey in the dugout, his zipper broke. Frantically, he raced into the Red Sox clubhouse to find a replacement, and since Brandon Workman was charting the game in the stands wearing street clothes, his white baseball pants were available.
The next night, after Britton had earned his first win of the season the previous day, Miguel Celestino took Workman’s pants to the mound and tossed six superb innings. Wearing his own trousers, Workman dealt six scoreless on Friday, a performance that earned him Carolina League Pitcher of the Week honors.
On Saturday, Ryan Pressly was ready to go in his own pants, but Workman forced him to change right before he took the field. Pressly obliged and enjoyed his finest start of the year. Keith Couch had no chance but to continue the community pants sharing experiment on Sunday, and they worked like a charm again.
Five days. 29.1 innings. 16 hits. Three earned runs. Five wins. One pair of white pants.
Some truths are simply beyond our collective understanding, aren’t they?
Here’s the bad news: As far as I know, the Red Sox are required to wear their grey pants tonight on the road at Wilmington. Drake joked about wearing his white pants underneath his greys. That sounds uncomfortable, but hey, if it guaranteed a quality start, why not?
First pitch from Frawley Stadium arrives at 6:35… Today’s collection of minutiae can be read below…
Talk to you on the radio,
April 30, 2012 6:35 PM Salem Red Sox (12-9) vs Wilmington Blue Rocks (9-13) Game #22
Frawley Stadium Wilmington, DE Road Game #9
Probable Starters: LHP Drake Britton (1-2, 9.87) vs RHP Greg Billo (1-3, 5.00)
A Rotation Creation: Salem’s five-game winning streak comes as a direct byproduct of the Red Sox’ first consistent stretch of starting pitching. Entering play on April 25, Salem’s starters had a combined ERA of 7.39. Today, that number has shrunk to 5.26 courtesy of five straight sensational outings. Since Drake Britton’s five scoreless inning performance on Wednesday, the rotation has dealt 29.1 innings and allowed just three runs on 16 hits, an ERA of 0.92. On Sunday, Keith Couch became the first Salem starter to work into the seventh inning, earning his third win by holding Carolina to just four hits. Britton gets the ball on Monday night, hoping to keep it rolling.
Could It Get Even Better? The answer appears to be yes, as widespread reports have righthander Matt Barnes, Boston’s first pick from last June’s draft, poised to join Salem this week. Selected 19th overall out of UConn, Barnes has blazed through Low-A Greenville with 0.34 ERA in five starts for the Drive. He pitched on Sunday in Lakewood, getting charged for his first and only run of the season in 26.2 innings pitched. He has allowed just 12 hits and possesses 42 strikeouts with just four walks.
Taking What They Want When They Want It: Even before the season starter, Sox skipper Billy McMillon spoke about pushing the envelope with aggressive baserunning. That ethos was exemplified in the three-game sweep over Carolina, with Salem stealing 14 straight bases without being caught in the series. While the other seven Carolina League teams possess an average of 16 steals for the entire season, the Red Sox have now swiped 38 bases, while only being caught seven times, tied for the fewest in the circuit. Across the Advanced-A level, only Bakersfield, with 54, has more steals than Salem.
In The Zone: Keith Couch walked a pair in Sunday’s 8-3 win, upping Salem’s overall walk total to 47 for the year. That is by far the fewest free passes issued in the circuit. In fact, no other Carolina League team has handed out fewer than 61 , with the other seven teams combining to average 77 walks so far this season.
Extended Streaks: With Wilmington’s Brian Fletcher failing to reach base on Sunday, the two longest active reaching base streaks both belong to Salem Sox. Xander Bogaerts has reached base in 17 consecutive games, a stretch in which he’s batting .281 with a .361 OBP and ten extra-base hits. Meanwhile, Jackie Bradley, Jr. has reached base in 15 in a row, while also hitting a ludicrous .439 with a .507 OBP. Eight of his 25 hits during this stretch have gone for extra bases, and he’s also walked 11 times and driven in 14 runs. Christian Vazquez is tied for the fifth-longest active reaching base streak, having reached safely in each of his last 12 games, in which he’s batting .341 with a .431 OBP.
Mileage Meter: After playing 13 of the last 15 games at LewisGale Field, the Sox are now slated to play 14 of the next 17 on the road. The Sox have gone 9-4 at home and 3-5 on the road so far in 2012.