Sox & Rocks: Salem Hoping to Avoid a Sunday Sweep
July 22, 2012 4:05 Wilmington Blue Rocks (43-56, 14-15) vs. Salem Red Sox (51-47-1, 10-19) Game #100
LewisGale Field Salem, VA Home Game #48
Probable Starters: RHP Brooks Pounders (2-3, 6.49) vs RHP Miguel Celestino (6-5, 4.22)
Salvaging Sunday: After a slow start to the homestand, the Salem Sox hope to rally behind Miguel Celestino and avoid being swept by the Blue Rocks on Sunday afternoon. Wilmington is seeking its first three-game winning streak on the road all season. While the Blue Rocks are just a game out of first place in the second half standings, the Red Sox remain eight back of Myrtle Beach, the sixth straight day that the Sox have been eight games out. The Red Sox are also looking to avoid being swept in a series at LewisGale Field for the first time in 2012. Salem has not been swept in a series at home since July 13-16 of last year when Myrtle Beach won four in a row in the Roanoke Valley.
Another Dynamite Day: After recording Salem’s only multi-hit performance on Friday, Travis Shaw followed with three hits and a walk on Saturday, including his 16th round-tripper of the season. Shaw’s .320 batting average is #1 among active Carolina Leaguers, and he also leads the league in slugging percentage (.572), extra-base hits (49), runs scored (67), and total bases (191). With 16 homers, he’s third in the circuit, his 72 RBI are tied for first in the league, and his 54 walks are tied for second. Shaw carries a seven-game winning streak into Sunday afternoon, having gone 12-for-24 (.500) with seven walks in his last six games.
Coyle’s Charge: Salem second-baseman Sean Coyle labored through a first half batting .211, but has turned things around dramatically since the break. With three more hits on Saturday, he’s not hitting .316 in the second half with 12 extra base hits in 26 games. He delivered 21 extra base hits in 62 contests in the first half. Over his past five games, Coyle has gone 11-for-20 with eight RBI and five runs scored.
Celestino’s Surge: After a nightmare four start stretch in which he surrendered 22 earned runs in 14.2 innings pitched, Miguel Celestino has rediscovered his early season form in his last two outings. In fact, he has put up goose eggs in 12 of his last 13 innings on the mound. While he allowed three earned runs in the first frame five days ago in Frederick, Celestino rebounded to make it through five, not allowing a run from the second through the fifth and retiring the final ten batters he faced. Eleven days ago, Celestino delivered perhaps the most impressive start of the 2012 season for any Salem starter, dominating Lynchburg with eight scoreless innings, yielding just two hits. In three starts against Wilmington this season, Celestino is 2-0 with a 2.12 ERA. Most recently, he tossed seven scoreless against Wilmington on June 11.
Not Exactly Seventh Heaven: In the first two games of the series, Wilmington has done most of its scoring in the seventh, eighth, and ninth innings. The Blue Rocks scored five of their six runs in the final three innings on Friday and six of their seven in the final three in Saturday. Wilmington has outscored Salem 11-3 in the final three frames the past two nights. Saturday was the fifth time this year that Salem lost when leading after six.