Sox & Rocks Set For Two On Wednesday
June 13, 2012 5:05 PM Salem Red Sox (36-27-1) vs Wilmington Blue Rocks (28-36) Games #65&66
Frawley Stadium Wilmington, DE Road Games #34&35
Probable Starters: Game One: RHP Jeremy Kehrt (0-1, 5.40) vs RHP Yordano Ventura (3-5, 3.21)
Game Two: RHP Keith Couch (5-4, 3.66) vs RHP Brooks Pounders (0-0, 0.00)
Double-Dipping: For the fifth time in the last 15 days, the Salem Sox will engage in a doubleheader. Since sweeping the Hillcats in Lynchburg two Wednesdays ago, the Sox were swept by the Pelicans on June 2, swept by the Nationals on June 8, and split with the Nationals on June 9. Currently engaged in a stretch of 30 games in 27 days to wrap up the first half, the Sox will play six in five days beginning tonight. Salem currently trails Winston-Salem by three games in the divisional chase , giving the Dash a magic number of four to clinch the first-half title in the Southern Division. Late on Tuesday night, Lynchburg clinched the Northern Division’s first-half crown by sweeping Carolina in a doubleheader.
Jackie’s Journey: After a 2-for-16 start to the 2012 season, Jackie Bradley, Jr.’s personal production has been nothing short of remarkable. He has gone 80-for-200 (.400) since, giving him a .380 average for the season. His batting clip is 44 points better than the second best in the Carolina League and fourth overall in all of minor league baseball. His .491 on-base percentage is tops in all of pro ball, the majors and minors included. He also leads the Carolina League in doubles, walks, and extra-base hits.
The Super Staff: Salem’s early season struggles primarily were located on the mound, with the Sox finishing April with a team ERA of 4.90, second worst in the league. In those 22 games, the Sox surrendered 105 earned runs in 193 innings. Since then, the Sox have permitted just 106 earned runs in the past 347 innings, an ERA of 2.75 in the past 42 games. Entering Wednesday evening, three of the top nine pitchers in the Carolina League ERA list are Salem starters: Miguel Celestino (3rd, 2.53), Brandon Workman (8th, 3.31), and Keith Couch (9th, 3.66). In addition, Matt Barnes leads all of minor league baseball in ERA with an 0.93 in 12 starts, but with only seven starts for Salem, he has not yet accumulated enough innings in the Carolina League to qualify for the leaderboard. Salem’s team ERA for the season is 3.52, second in the league behind only Myrtle Beach.
Take Your Base: Salem drew a season-high 12 walks in Monday’s 8-0 victory, catapulting the Sox into the league lead in walks for the season. The Sox have drawn 229 walks, more than any other club in the league, leading to a .355 team on-base percentage, tops in the circuit. Salem’s pitching staff also has paced the league with the fewest walks allowed, as the Sox arms have issued just 144 walks on the year. In 64 games, the Sox have received 85 more walks than they have given up.
Salem’s Stars: Four Red Sox are heading to the California-Carolina League All-Star Game in Winston-Salem next week. Xander Bogaerts, Jackie Bradley, Jr., and Travis Shaw are all starters for the Carolina League squad, while Mike Olmsted, who leads the league with 12 saves, will anchor the club’s bullpen. This will be the 16th All-Star Game pitting the Advanced-A leagues from the respective coasts. California leads Carolina 8-7, having won the past three years. The Carolina League is seeking its first win since 2008.