Amidst Skid, Salem Hopes Couch Brings Comfort
July 2, 2012 7:05 PM Salem Red Sox (44-36-1, 3-8) vs Myrtle Beach Pelicans (44-37, 8-3) Game #82
TicketReturn.Com Field Myrtle Beach, SC Road Game #44
Probable Starters: RHP Keith Couch (6-4, 3.33) vs RHP Kyle Hendricks (3-7, 2.53)
Funkytown: Without question, the Salem Sox are currently mired in their worst funk of the season. Having lost nine of their last 12 games dating back to the first-half finale, the Red Sox have descended back to just eight games above .500 for the season after rising to 14 games above on Saturday, June 16. In the past 48 hours, the Red Sox have been outscored 29-7. Since the end of the third inning on Thursday (when Salem led Potomac 16-7), the Sox have been outscored 42-8. Salem has experienced its three worst losses of the season in the past week.
Nightmares On The Mound: It is easy to understand why the Red Sox are struggling. In 11 games in the second half, Salem’s team ERA is 7.27 (77 ER/95.1 IP). Extending it back one game further, Sox pitchers have a collective ERA of 7.68 (89 ER/104.1 IP) over the past 12 games. Salem entered the final Sunday of the first half with a team ERA of 3.49; now, it has risen to 4.12. Among starters, only Brandon Workman’s brilliant performance of seven scoreless innings on June 24 in Winston registers as a quality start since the All-Star Break. Tonight’s starter, Keith Couch, has been arguably Salem’s second best arm since the break, allowing four runs over 10.2 innings pitched (3.38 ERA) and receiving two no-decisions in the second half.
Staying Put: While the Salem Sox have stolen more bases than every other team in the Carolina League, the baserunning brilliance has not been apparent lately. The Red Sox have not stolen a base in the past three games and Salem possesses just one bag in the last eight games. The Sox are just 1-for-6 in stolen base tries during this span. On the full season, the Red Sox lead the league with 103 steals, 10 more than Potomac, who is second with 93. Outfielder Shannon Wilkerson leads the team and is tied for second in the league with 21 swipes.
Gone, But Still #1: Although it has been over two weeks since Jackie Bradley, Jr. last played for the Salem Sox, his name is still prominent among the Carolina League statistical leaderboards. His .359 average in 67 games remains at the top of charts, as does his .480 on-base percentage. Perhaps even more impressively, no one has surpassed Bradley’s totals of 26 doubles and 52 walks. Bradley will remain on the Carolina League batting leaderboard through the 112th game of the season, a byproduct of his 304 plate appearances. The minimum requirement of 2.7 PA/team games will knock him off the list after the 113th contest, when 305.1 plate appearances would be required to remain on the list. Since ascending to Double-A Portland, Bradley has hit .364 in 11 games for the Sea Dogs.
Blair’s Bomb: Carson Blair launched his first home run of the season on Sunday night, a solo shot in the fourth off Myrtle Beach’s Wilmer Font. The blast was Blair’s eighth professional homer and his first since going deep on August 7, 2011 against Lexington. Blair hit three home runs for the Greenville Drive in 2011, all coming during a three-week span from mid-July to early-August.