Farewell May, Farewell Drake, Bring On June…
June 1, 2012 7:05 PM Myrtle Beach Pelicans (26-25) vs Salem Red Sox (29-21) Game #51
LewisGale Field Salem, VA Home Game #24
Probable Starters: RHP Wilmer Font (1-3, 3.48) vs RHP Miguel Celestino (2-2, 3.20)
The Home Stretch: June begins with the Red Sox sitting one game out of first place with 20 games remaining in the half, and those 20 tilts will be played in just 17 days with three doubleheaders mixed in. Salem won three in a row to finish May with a 17-11 mark, the most wins in May for any team in the league. Fifty games in, the Sox have played 27 on the road; 12 of the final 20 in the first half will be waged at LewisGale Field, where the Sox have gone 14-9 so far.
The Challenge Ahead: While Salem has won four out of five meetings against Myrtle Beach thus far, the Sox have been fortunate not to face Pelican pitchers Wilmer Font and Cody Buckel. Over the next two days, Salem will see them both. Buckel and Font were first and second, respectively, in Carolina League ERA in May, with Buckel allowing just three earned runs in 33 innings (0.82 ERA) and Font permitting four earned runs in 23 innings (1.57). For the full season, Buckel leads the Carolina League in ERA (1.19), strikeouts (73), and batting average against (.167).
The Month Behind: While Myrtle Beach owned the top two pitchers in the circuit in May, the third and fifth-best ERAs belong to Salem Sox starters Matt Barnes and Drake Britton. Both made five starts for Salem in May, with Barnes compiling a 1.93 ERA and Britton recording a 2.10 ERA. Combined, they struck out 66 and walked 10. Miguel Celestino and Brandon Workman were also in the top 15 starters in the league in May ERA, contributing to Salem’s team ERA of 2.76 in May. Offensively, Jackie Bradley, Jr. led the Carolina League with a .382 average in May, while Travis Shaw tied for second with five homers.
Shaw’s Red Sox Radio Network: Much of the focus on the broadcast over the past week has been honed in on Travis Shaw, who has smacked four homers in his past six games after going deep just once in his first 39 contests. Shaw jacked two home runs in game two of Wednesday’s doubleheader and then bombed a three-run homer in the third inning on Thursday. Last Saturday, Shaw became the first professional hitter to take top Orioles prospect Dylan Bundy out of the park. Since Saturday, Shaw is 5-for-17 in six games, with four of the five hits being round-trippers. He also has 10 RBI, four walks, and has been hit by two pitches in this span.
Double-A Drake: After 36 appearances (all starts except for two relief outings for MLB-rehabber Rich Hill), Drake Britton finally received the call to Double-A Portland. The lefthander progressed through a nightmare 2011 season (1-13, 6.91) and allowed 19 runs in his first three starts of 2012, but permitted just 10 earned runs over his last seven starts since April 25. Britton is coming off back-to-back victories for the first time in his career, beating Frederick last Friday before dealing six scoreless against Lynchburg for the win on Wednesday. Overall, Britton’s Carolina League stats have him with a 3-18 record and a 6.56 ERA, but he has gone 2-3 with a 2.76 ERA in his last seven starts. In this past offseason, Britton was added to Boston’s 40-man roster.