The highlights from last night’s incredible comeback win:
August 30, 2012 7:05 Frederick Keys (58-76, 31-33) vs. Salem Red Sox (66-66-1, 25-38) Game #134
LewisGale Field Salem, VA Home Game #65
Probable Starters: RHP Kevin Gausman (0-1, 9.00) vs RHP Michael McCarthy (1-1, 3.45)
A Relevant Walk-Off: Salem’s 50th round gem provided the exclamation point to Wednesday night’s come-from-behind win over Frederick, belting a two-run bomb in the bottom of the tenth to boost the Sox past the Keys 8-6. Drew Hedman, or Mr. Relevant, now has two walk-off dingers on the year! He also ended a game two months ago on June 30 at Portland, when his blast beat Trenton 4-3. After the game on Wednesday night, Hedman learned he’d be heading back to Vacationland for the last five days of the regular season. It will be Hedman’s second stint with the Sea Dogs this season.
Three Nights in August: The walk-off bomb was Salem’s first walk-off homer of the 2012 season, but it was the Red Sox’ third walk-off win of the month! Salem was lacking any walk-off wins until a bases loaded walk forced home the winning run against Wilmington in the 11th inning on August 4. Four days later, a wild pitch allowed Sean Coyle to scurry home from third to beat Carolina in the bottom of the ninth at LewisGale Field. In 2011, the Salem Sox enjoyed six walk-off wins, with three of them coming in August. Two Salem players belted walk-off homers last year: Dan Butler’s grand slam beat Lynchburg 7-6 on May 30, while David Mailman’s two-run shot in the 11th beat Myrtle Beach 8-6 on August 15.
Forgotten All-Stars: On Thursday, five Salem Red Sox were named end of the year Carolina League All-Stars, but only one of the five is still here in the Roanoke Valley. Michael Almanzar, who leads the league with 36 doubles and owns the second best batting average (.302) among active players, is the All-Star third-baseman. Current Portland Sea Dogs Christian Vazquez, Travis Shaw, Xander Bogaerts, and Jackie Bradley, Jr. were also named All-Stars at the High-A level. Salem (five players) and Winston-Salem (six players) earned 11 of the 15 spots on the end of the year Carolina League All-Star team.
Consistent Impact: With his league leading 36th double, Michael Almanzar delivered his 134th hit of the season on Wednesday night, bypassing Kolbrin Vitek into the number two spot in the category of most hits in a single season for the Salem Sox. In 2010, second-baseman Oscar Tejeda finished the year with 156 hits, the second-most in the league that year. His 36 doubles are more than any other member of the Salem Sox in a single season in the past four years. Tim Federowicz had 34 doubles in 2010.
Mound Matchup: Thursday night brings a very intriguing pair of righthanders taking the mound at LewisGale Field. Salem sends Mike McCarthy to the bump for his fourth Carolina League start, six days after he earned his first Advanced-A victory with a dominant performance against Carolina. Back when McCarthy was in college at Cal State U-Bakersfield, he gained great acclaim for his victory over UCLA and future #1 pick Gerritt Cole. That past success should serve him well tonight as he squares off against the fourth overall pack from this past June’s draft, Kevin Gausman. The 2012 All-American signed a $4.32 million dollar bonus with the Orioles and made his pro debut on August 6. Tonight will be his fifth pro start.
Since the Salem Sox arrived in the Roanoke Valley in 2009, no Salem pitcher has won 11 games. Tonight, Keith Couch tries to go up to 11.
The Red Sox outfield will also be bolstered by the arrival of Keury De La Cruz, a 20-year-old Dominican outfielder who has put up spectacular numbers with Greenville all year long. His .308 average is seventh in the circuit, while he’s tied for second with 19 homers and tied for third with 81 RBI. Nobody had more than De La Cruz’s total of 62 extra-base hits.
While De La Cruz was a likely candidate to be one of Salem’s key cogs in 2013, the fans at LewisGale Field will now get a glimpse of the toolsy outfielder for the final six games of 2012.
Having won four of the last five, the Sox look to keep it rolling tonight at 7:05. Game notes are below…
August 29, 2012 7:05 Frederick Keys (58-75, 31-32) vs. Salem Red Sox (65-66-1, 24-38) Game #133
LewisGale Field Salem, VA Home Game #64
Probable Starters: LHP Trent Howard (3-10, 4.86) vs RHP Keith Couch (10-9, 3.47)
How Different It Could Have Been: Salem only sent 27 men to the plate in a nine inning game last night, yet the Sox still came out on top, defeating Frederick 1-0 in the series opener. Keys pitchers only faced three more than the minimum in eight frames, with three doubles being all the Sox could muster. It was Salem’s first one-run win in nearly three weeks, while the Sox have endured five one-run losses in the last 20 days. The Red Sox have gone just 5-14 in one-run decisions since the Break, compared to Salem’s 8-5 mark in one-run tilts in the first half. In terms of run differential, the Salem Sox are +43 for the entire season, the second-best mark in the league behind Winston’s preposterous +186 margin. Despite that, Salem’s fourth in the league in wins and will be spectators in the postseason.
All It Takes: Salem also won on Tuesday despite mustering just three hits, the first time the Sox have won with three hits or less since May 6, 2011, when the Sox were outhit 8-3 but defeated Myrtle Beach 2-1 at LewisGale Field. Last night was just the seventh time all season that the Sox when the opponent had more hits. For the entire season, only Winston-Salem has more hits than the Sox, who have averaged just under nine hits per game on the year. Winston’s averaging nine and a half hits per game. The league average is eight and a half.
Wednesday Warriors: From the “probably just a coincidence department,” the Salem Sox have gone 17-4 on Wednesdays this season, including wins in 17 of their last 19 Wednesday ballgames. In addition, the Sox have been victorious in their last seven Wednesday home games since losing to Lynchburg 11-9 on April 18. Friday is the only other day of the week that has seen the Sox create an above .500 record.
Consistent Impact: With his league leading 35th double, Michael Almanzar delivered his 133rd hit of the season on Tuesday night. When he picks up his next knock, he will only trail Oscar Tejeda in the category of most hits in a single season for the Salem Sox since 2009. Last year, Kolbrin Vitek finished with 133 hits, a mark that Almanzar could bypass today. In 2010, second-baseman Oscar Tejeda finished the year with 156 hits, the second-most in the league that year. If Almanzar goes exactly 1-for-4 tonight, his second half numbers would match his first half numbers precisely, at 67-for-221 (.303). He has 31 runs in each half, but he has improved his all-around game as the year has progressed. He has nine homers since the Break after belting just three in the first half. In addition, while he struck out 43 times and drew 13 walks in the first half, he has just 31 punchouts while earning 20 free passes since the Break.
Who’s Your Padre?: Former Salem righthander Casey Kelly made his major league debut for San Diego on Monday, tossing six scoreless and earning the win against the Atlanta Braves. Incredibly, Kelly became the 12th member of the 2009 Salem Red Sox squad to play in the major leagues. He joins Daniel Nava, Ryan Kalish, Yamaico Navarro, Robert Coello, Che-Hsuan Lin, Kyle Weiland, Anthony Rizzo, Kris Negron, Tim Federowicz, and Stephen Fife.
Interviews from the Weekend:
August 28, 2012 7:05 Frederick Keys (58-74, 31-31) vs. Salem Red Sox (64-66-1, 23-38) Game #132
LewisGale Field Salem, VA Home Game #63
Probable Starters: RHP Tyler Wilson (7-6, 4.24) vs RHP Yeiper Castillo (2-3, 3.26)
The Magnificent Seven: Salem is back home on Tuesday night, ready for its final seven games of the 2012 campaign. The Sox return to LewisGale Field having won three out of four to finish their recent six-game trip. The Sox need to win just one game in the last week to surpass the win total of last season. If Salem goes 5-2 in the final week, the Sox would complete the year above .500. In the first half, Salem went 41-28-1, good for the second best overall record in the league. Unfortunately, due to the quirky nature of Carolina League playoff qualifying, the Sox will miss the postseason for the third straight year.
Who Said These Were Meaningless?: While Salem’s playoff fate is determined, the Frederick Keys are still battling for their postseason lives in the mediocre Northern Division. Despite owning a league-worst 58-74 record, the Keys are currently just one game back of first-place Wilmington in the race for the second-half title in the North. The Keys finish the season with four in Salem and then three at home against Carolina, while the Blue Rocks have six games left, three against Myrtle Beach and three against Potomac, with all six coming in Wilmington. Frederick, the 2011 Mills Cup Champ, is fighting for the right to defend last year’s title in the postseason.
Second-Half Surge: After a disappointing first half to his Advanced-A debut, second-baseman Sean Coyle has proven himself to be more than capable at the Carolina League level. Since the All-Star Break, Coyle’s .310 batting average is fourth in the league, behind only Winston’s Dan Black, Winston’s Cyle Hankerd, and Carolina’s Bo Greenwell. Coyle delivered three hits on Sunday afternoon to help the Red Sox take two out of three against the Mudcats. In the series, Coyle went 7-for-13 with six RBI.
Putting It In Perspective: While Sean Coyle is fourth in the league in hitting since the Break, Michael Almanzar is fifth with a .304 clip. On the full season, Almanzar’s .303 average is second among active players. The 21-year-old infielder enters Tuesday night with 132 hits, which is the third-most hits in a single season for any Salem Red Sox player since the affiliation began in 2009. Last year, Kolbrin Vitek finished with 133 hits, a mark that Almanzar could bypass today. In 2010, second-baseman Oscar Tejeda finished the year with 156 hits, the second-most in the league that year.
Who’s Your Padre?: Former Salem righthander Casey Kelly made his major league debut for San Diego last night, tossing six scoreless and earning the win against the Atlanta Braves. Incredibly, Kelly became the 12th member of the 2009 Salem Red Sox squad to play in the major leagues. He joins Daniel Nava, Ryan Kalish, Yamaico Navarro, Robert Coello, Che-Hsuan Lin, Kyle Weiland, Anthony Rizzo, Kris Negron, Tim Federowicz, and Stephen Fife.
Doubles Supreme: With three doubles on Friday night, the 2012 Salem Sox became the greatest doubles hitting team in the history of the franchise. Salem now has 297 doubles, breaking the record of the 2002 Salem Avalanche that recorded 295 two-base hits.
August 26, 2012 2:00 Salem Red Sox (63-66-1, 22-38) vs Carolina Mudcats (61-71, 29-33) Game #131
Five County Stadium Zebulon, NC Road Game #69
Probable Starters: RHP Matt Barnes (5-4, 3.35) vs LHP Francisco Jimenez (8-8, 5.19)
The End of the Road: Sunday afternoon’s rubber match against the Mudcats doubles as the final road game of the season for the Salem Sox. After playing brilliantly away from LewisGale Field in the first half (20-15), the Sox have struggled mightily on the road in the second half (11-22). Since beating Potomac in Woodbridge on August 1, the Red Sox have dropped 10 of their last 12 away from home. Following Sunday’s finale, the Sox will enjoy their final off day on Monday before kicking off a seven-game homestand to wrap up the regular season.
Salem Sagehen Success: While the Sox offense did not muster much on Saturday night, half of the hits were registered by a pair of former Division-III college teammates. James Kang and Drew Hedman played together at Pomona-Pitzer in California, and last night the duo combined to go 4-for-8 for the Red Sox. Meanwhile, the other seven hitters in the lineup combined to go just 4-for-26. While at Pomona-Pitzer, Kang and Hedman played for the Sagehens. What is a Sagehen? It’s a large ground-dwelling bird that can reach up to 30 inches in length and two feet in height, distinguished by its long pointed tail. It’s an omnivore that eats mainly insects and sagebrush. The actual Pomona-Pitzer mascot is named Cecil the Sagehen.
Mastering the Mudcats: Salem has won 13 of 19 meetings against Carolina this season, and Sunday starter Matt Barnes has enjoyed two dominant outings against the Mudcats. Barnes has permitted just one run on four hits over 11 innings against Carolina, striking out 14 and walking two in two starts. But incredibly, Barnes does not have a victory since he defeated the Mudcats on June 14. In the first half, Barnes went 5-1 with a 1.37 ERA in eight starts. But in 10 starts since, he’s gone 0-3 with a 5.63 ERA. He’s been better in his most recent two outings, though, allowing just one run on six hits over nine innings. On the year, Barnes has 130 strikeouts and 26 walks.
Hit Kings: Michael Almanzar enters Sunday afternoon with 131 hits on the season, which is the third-most hits for any Salem Red Sox player since the affiliation began in 2009. Last year, Kolbrin Vitek finished with 133 hits, a mark that Almanzar could bypass as early as today. In 2010, second-baseman Oscar Tejeda finished the year with 156 hits, the second-most in the league that year. Almanzar would need 25 hits in his final nine games to match Tejeda, unquestionably a tough task. Almanzar carries a .304 average into today’s action, the second-best mark in the league among active players.
Doubles Supreme: With three doubles on Friday night, the 2012 Salem Sox became the greatest doubles hitting team in the history of the franchise. Salem leads the league with 297 doubles, breaking the record of the 2002 Salem Avalanche that recorded 295 two-base hits. Future Rockies Cory Sullivan and Brad Hawpe led the ‘02 team with 42 and 38 doubles, respectively. Six different 2012 Salem Sox have between 26 and 34 doubles, with Michael Almanzar leading the squad with 34. The Red Sox have 13 guys with at least ten doubles on the year and 19 different players with at least one double on the season.
August 22, 2012 7:05 Salem Red Sox (61-65-1, 20-37) vs Myrtle Beach Pelicans (71-57, 35-23) Game #128
TicketReturn.Com Field Myrtle Beach, SC Road Game #65
Probable Starters: RHP Keith Couch (9-9, 3.59) vs RHP Kyle Devore (2-1, 3.69)
Pitchers’ Duel: After allowing 10 or more hits in eight consecutive games, the Salem Sox limited the Pelicans to just five hits on Tuesday night. Unfortunately, Salem mustered just four hits and fell by the slimmest of margins, 3-2. The loss was Salem’s ninth consecutive road setback, the first such streak for Salem in more than 22 years since the 1990 Salem Buccaneers dropped nine in a row on the road in July. Salem’s last road win came three weeks ago, on August 1 in Potomac. The struggling Sox have won just three of their last 15 games overall and have dropped 21 of their last 30 road games.
Going For Ten: Keith Couch may not be the most heralded Salem starter, but his performance has proven to be headline-worthy. In his last six starts, Couch is 3-2 with a 1.85 ERA, with both losses being games in which the Sox scored just one run behind him. Couch’s full season ERA is 3.59, seventh in the league among qualifiers and third among qualifiers who are still active in this circuit. On Wednesday night, Couch will bid for his tenth win, looking to become just the second Salem pitcher to grab double-digit wins in a season since the Red Sox affiliation began in 2009. Last year, Chris Hernandez earned his 10th win on August 2 and went winless in his final five starts of the season to finish the year 10-7.
Wednesday Wisdom: The Salem Sox are a ridiculous 16-4 on Wednesdays this season and are hoping that the midweek matchup with Myrtle Beach will put an end to the current road misery. But last Wednesday, when the Sox had lost six in a row overall heading into the night, the Dash completed a sweep to hand Salem its seventh straight loss, but more importantly, just the fourth Wednesday setback all year! Salem’s other Wednesday losses occurred on April 11, April 18, and June 27.
Mathematically Eliminated: For the third consecutive year, Salem will not be one of the four Carolina League teams heading to the postseason. Salem’s fate was sealed on Monday night with a 5-1 loss to Myrtle Beach, sending the Sox 13.5 games back of the Pelicans with 13 games remaining in the second half standings. Back in the first half, the Red Sox 41-28-1 record was the second-best mark in the league, but Winston-Salem finished ahead of the Sox in the Southern Division to deny Salem its first first-half title since 1988. Salem last made the playoffs in 2009, when the Sox won the Southern Division before falling to Lynchburg in the Mills Cup Finals.
It’s Only a Matter of Time: With one double on Tuesday night, the Sox are now just five away from history. Salem leads the league with 289 doubles and is five shy from tying a 10-year-old franchise record. If the Sox record six doubles in the final 12 games, they will set the record. The 2002 Salem Avalanche recorded 295 two-base hits. Future Rockies Cory Sullivan and Brad Hawpe led the ‘02 team with 42 and 38 doubles, respectively. Six different 2012 Salem Sox have between 24 and 32 doubles, with Michael Almanzar leading the squad with 32. Carson Blair recorded his tenth double on Tuesday, giving Salem 13 guys with at least ten doubles on the year.
August 20, 2012 7:05 Salem Red Sox (61-63-1, 20-35) vs Myrtle Beach Pelicans (69-57, 33-23 Game #126
TicketReturn.Com Field Myrtle Beach, SC Road Game #64
Probable Starters: RHP Matt Barnes (5-4, 3.40) vs RHP Joe Van Meter (2-5, 1.87)
Back to Work: The Salem Sox received an extra day off on Sunday with rain cancelling the series finale against Potomac. Since the two squads do not meet again this year, the game will not be made up and, consequently, the Red Sox won the season series from the Nationals 10-9. Monday kicks off the final road trip of the season for the Salem, with four in Myrtle Beach and three in Carolina preceding the final seven-game homestand of the summer. With 14 games left, the Red Sox are trailing the Pelicans by 12.5 games in the chase for the second-half playoff spot. Unless the Red Sox sweep the Birds in four straight, Salem will be eliminated from postseason contention.
Mr. Relevant: Despite the fact that 1,517 players were taken before him in the 2009 draft, Drew Hedman has made an considerable impact as a professional ballplayer. On Monday, Hedman, a 50th round pick, was named Carolina League Player of the Week for the stretch from August 13-19. In his last five games, Hedman has gone 8-for-19 (.421) with three doubles, two triples, one homer, and six runs scored. After recording just four triples in his first 303 professional games, Salem first baseman Drew Hedman tripled twice on Friday night, becoming the first member of the Salem Sox to deliver two triples in a single game this season. Hedman also doubled and walked in his 3-for-4, 3 RBI performance. In 17 games with Double-A Portland in June and July, Hedman hit four home runs, including a walk-off shot in the Sea Dogs’ 4-3 victory over Trenton on June 30.
Barnes At His Best?: Six days ago in Winston-Salem, Matt Barnes looked like his old self, dealing five scoreless innings while allowing just one hit against the Dash. Unfortunately, the Sox could not preserve a 6-0 lead when he departed and Salem lost 10-9, depriving Barnes of his first win since June 14. Prior to last Tuesday, Barnes had gone 0-3 with a 6.97 ERA in his last eight Carolina League starts, a stark contract to his 5-1 mark and 1.37 ERA from his first eight.
Extra! Extra! Read All About It: Salem’s offense teed off on the league’s worst pitching staff on Friday night, matching a franchise record with 11 extra-base hits in the 12-6 Red Sox victory. Salem registered seven doubles, two triples, and a pair of two-run homers. Salem had twice recorded 10 extra-base hits in a game in 2012 before setting a new season high on Friday. The Salem Avalanche delivered 11 extra-base hits in a game at Frederick on August 6, 2008.
It’s Only a Matter of Time: With 10 doubles in the past two games, the Red Sox all but ensured that they will break the franchise record for doubles in a season. Salem leads the league with 289 doubles and is six away from tying a 10-year-old franchise record. If the Sox record seven doubles in the final 14 games, they will set the record. The 2002 Salem Avalanche recorded 295 two-base hits. Future Rockies Cory Sullivan and Brad Hawpe led the ‘02 team with 42 and 38 doubles, respectively. Six different 2012 Salem Sox have between 24 and 32 doubles, with Michael Almanzar leading the squad with 32. Carson Blair recorded his tenth double on Tuesday, giving Salem 13 guys with at least ten doubles on the year.
August 13, 2012 7:00 Salem Red Sox (59-59-1, 18-31) vs Winston-Salem Dash (74-44-1, 30-19) Game #120
BB&T Ballpark Winston-Salem, NC Road Game #61
Probable Starters: RHP Miguel Celestino (7-7, 4.59) vs RHP Justin Collop (8-2, 3.83)
Sunday Silence: Salem was shut out for the eighth time in 2012 on Sunday afternoon in Wilmington, culminating a miserable offensive series for the Red Sox. With just four hits on Sunday, the Sox went 13-for-85 (.153) and scored just two runs offensively in the series. In the four games since Xander Bogaerts was promoted, the Red Sox are hitting .179 (21-for-117), and Salem has lost all four games, scoring a total of four runs. The Red Sox take the field on Monday looking to avoid matching their worst losing streak of the season. The Sox dropped five in a row from June 29 to July 3, earlier this half.
Close Calls: When Salem went 41-28-1 in the first half, the Sox only experienced five one-run losses. Since the All-Star Break, Salem has gone 18-31, and the Sox have dropped 11 one-run decisions. While the Red Sox are at .500 for the full season, Salem has outscored its opponents by 41 runs on the year, the second-best overall run differential in the league (Winston’s plus-149 differential is far and away the best in the circuit. If Salem does not win on Monday, it will be the first time since April 25 that the Sox were below .500. Salem beat Carolina on the 26th of April to improve to 9-9 and have been above .500 since April 27 until Sunday’s shutout loss.
Where’s Wilkerson?: In 91 games, outfielder Shannon Wilkerson has been one of Salem’s steadiest performers, batting .274 with 17 doubles, five triples, four homers, 40 RBI, and 26 stolen bases in 31 tries. His versatility has been well-established, batting in every spot in the lineup at least once except for the cleanup spot. When you glance at his success based upon his slot in the batting order, the varying productivity is staggering. When Wilkerson has hit seventh, eighth, or ninth, his average is a scorching .380 (57-for-150). Contrastingly, he’s batting just .195 (39-for-200) when hitting first, second, third, fifth or sixth. Like the rest of the team, Wilkerson struggled against Wilmington, and he enters Monday night having gone hitless in his last 12 at-bats.
The Correct Pre-Snap Read: If you’re looking for a hit, Heiker Meneses is probably the player to provide it. The Red Sox infielder has hit in five straight games and 15 of his last 16 dating back to July 23. In his last 16 games, Meneses is hitting .313 (21-for-67) with three doubles, three triples, and one homer. Meneses has particularly feasted off lefthanded pitching, batting .408 (20-for-49) against southpaws. He also is batting .326 on the road compared to his .275 clip at LewisGale Field.
Chasing History: Salem leads the league with 267 doubles and is 29 doubles away from breaking a 10-year-old franchise record. The 2002 Salem Avalanche recorded 295 two-base hits, and the Salem Sox are on pace to smash that mark with 314 doubles. Future Rockies Cory Sullivan and Brad Hawpe led the ‘02 team with 42 and 38 doubles, respectively. Six different 2012 Salem Sox have between 24 and 32 doubles, with Michael Almanzar leading the squad with 32. A dozen members of the team have recorded at least ten doubles on the year.
A missed opportunity: today’s game notes are not “Truman Show” themed.
Alas, the Salem Sox will try to hand Michael Goodnight his league leading 12th defeat of the 2012 season here on the eighth day of the year’s eighth month.
An interesting batch of number nuggets below…
Broadcast begins at 7:03 on NewsTalk 960 AM & FM 107.3 WFIR and online at www.salemsox.com
Talk to you soon,
August 8, 2012 7:05 Carolina Mudcats (55-59, 23-21) vs. Salem Red Sox (58-55-1, 17-27) Game #115
LewisGale Field Salem, VA Home Game #58
Probable Starters: RHP Michael Goodnight (2-11, 4.45) vs RHP Miguel Celestino (7-7, 4.43)
Bombed: Carolina swiped the series opener on Tuesday night on the back of two three-run homers, the 91st and 92nd home runs allowed by the Red Sox pitching staff this season. In all of 2011, Salem pitchers permitted 92 round trippers in 139 games. In 2010, in 138 games, Salem arms surrendered only 74 homers. Since 1996, the Salem franchise has only allowed triple-digit homers once (104 in 1998). The franchise record for most homers allowed belongs to the 1983 Salem Redbirds, a San Diego Padres affiliate that yielded 139 bombs in 139 games. The ‘83 team’s ERA of 5.15 is the second worst of any Salem team since the squad joined the Carolina League in 1968.
Wilkerson’s Want: With three hits on Tuesday night, Shannon Wilkerson has now recorded in hit in six of his last seven games, a stretch in which he’s hitting .370 (10-for-27). He doubled twice in the opener against Carolina, the first time he delivered multiple doubles since the 2012 season opener on April 6 in Frederick. It is amazing to realize Wilkerson’s numbers at different spots in the batting order. In his 39 games batting seventh, eighth, or ninth, he’s hitting .392 (56-for-143). Meanwhile, in 47 contests leading off, batting second, third, or sixth, Wilkerson is hitting .201 (38-for-189). Tuesday’s was Wilkerson’s 26th multi-hit game and his fifth three-hit game of 2012.
Valley Hacking: Entering Wednesday’s action, Salem has played 57 games at home and 57 on the road, with Salem going 29-27-1 at home and 29-28 on the road. The Red Sox have been one of the best offensive teams in the league anywhere, but the squad’s .287 clip at LewisGale Field is the best home batting average of any Carolina League club. Michael Almanzar (.340) and Xander Bogaerts (.337) lead the team with the best individual averages at Salem Memorial Ballpark. The Red Sox have scored 18 more runs at home despite hitting seven fewer home runs than in their road games. Salem has 37 homers at LewisGale Field at 44 on the road.
August Heat: Salem’s batting .293 in six games in August, however the Red Sox are just 3-3 as a result of a 4.74 ERA this month. Xander Bogaerts leads the Sox with a .619 average in August, while Adalberto Ibarra is batting .471, Shannon Wilkerson is hitting .391, and Heiker Meneses owns a .389 clip in August. Salem hit .290 in April, .268 in May, .269 in June, and .275 in July, and the Red Sox owned above .500 records in every month until July, when the Sox struggled to an 11-17 mark.
Don’t Slander Xander: While the Salem Sox did not take the field on Monday night, shortstop Xander Bogaerts still registered a noteworthy achievement. Five consecutive multi-hit games to begin the month of August conspired to help earn Bogaerts the Carolina League Player of the Week award for the week of July 30-August 5. While he went 0-for-3 on July 31 (the Sox were off on the 30th), Bogaerts is hitting .619 (13-for-21) in his last five games, with six doubles, three walks, and zero strikeouts. Since July 24, Bogaerts has hit in 11 of 12 games, batting .478 (22-for-46), the best average in all of Advanced-A in the past two weeks. Bogaerts hasn’t struck out since the seventh inning on July 29, 26 at-bats ago.
Many more thoughts in the coming days on the Fenway PA experience, but here’s what you need to know for today:
Brandon Workman looks to make it 11 straight starts of at least six innings in tonight’s action at LewisGale Field.
Game notes below…
August 7, 2012 7:05 Carolina Mudcats (54-59, 22-21) vs. Salem Red Sox (58-54-1, 17-26) Game #114
LewisGale Field Salem, VA Home Game #57
Probable Starters: LHP Mike Rayl (7-8, 4.35) vs RHP Brandon Workman (7-6, 3.34)
The Red Carpet: While the Salem Sox did not take the field on Monday night, shortstop Xander Bogaerts still registered a noteworthy achievement. Five consecutive multi-hit games to begin the month of August conspired to help earn Bogaerts the Carolina League Player of the Week award for the week of July 30-August 5. While he went 0-for-3 on July 31 (the Sox were off on the 30th), Bogaerts is hitting .619 (13-for-21) in his last five games, with six doubles, three walks, and zero strikeouts. Since July 24, Bogaerts has hit in 11 of 12 games, batting .478 (22-for-46), the best average in all of Advanced-A in the past two weeks. Bogaerts hasn’t struck out since the seventh inning on July 29, 26 at-bats ago.
Previous Winners: It’s hard to believe that Xander Bogaerts is just Salem’s second Offensive Player of the Week winner in 2012. TravisShaw also won the award for the week of May 28-June 3, a seven-day stretch in which he hit .370 (10-for-27) over eight games with four homers and 12 RBI. Three different Salem pitchers have earned the league’s weekly pitching honor: Matt Barnes took the accolades on June 4-10, Drake Britton won it for the week of May 28-June 3 (when Salem swept the pair of awards), and Brandon Workman got the nod on April 23-29. Interestingly, Tuesday’s pitching matchup of Workman vs. Mike Rayl features two hurlers who won the league’s Pitcher of the Week honor in consecutive weeks back in April. Rayl won it for the week of April 16-22, one week before Workman garnered the honor.
A Worthy #2: Batting in the second spot for just the second time all season on Sunday, Adalberto Ibarra recorded a career-high four hits, going 4-for-5 with three singles and a double. He’s hit in four straight games since July 29, batting .563 (9-for-16) in that span with doubles in three straight games. Ibarra mustered just three extra-base hits in his first 46 games played this season, but has doubled seven times in his last 10 contests. He’s still searching for his first triple and home run of his pro career since coming to America.
It’s a Bonus: Salem is now 5-4 in extra-inning games in 2012 following Saturday’s 6-5 victory in 11 and Sunday’s 5-4 setback in 10. In the past week, the Red Sox went 2-1 in bonus baseball, garnering a 5-3 win in 10 innings in Wednesday’s game that was completed on Thursday. Only one Carolina League team (Myrtle Beach) has played more extra inning games than Salem this year.
He’s Almost All Gone: With the Salem Sox playing their 113th game on Sunday, Jackie Bradley, Jr.’s name disappeared from the top of the league’s best hitters. Bradley hit .359 in 67 games with a .480 on-base percentage, accumulating 304 plate appearances. The minimum requirement of 2.7 plate appearances per team games dropped him of the charts after Sunday’s game, the 113th contest of the season for Salem, when 305.1 plate appearances would be required to qualify for statistical superiority. Bradley’s total of 52 walks remains fifth best in the league, the only reminder of Bradley’s first-half domination on the current Carolina League Daily Report.
I’m not a fan of reusing themes when it comes to game notes’ headlines, but the #1 Counting Crows’ album title is too timely to disregard. In case you missed last year’s “August and Everything After” edition, here’s a refresher: http://salemsox.mlblogs.com/2011/08/02/august-and-everything-after-the-human-side-of-the-deadline/
The post-Travis Shaw era, not to be confused with Anna, begins at 7:05 tonight in Woodbridge.
May you enjoy some fine tunes, gold medals, and perhaps a little baseball too on this premier August Wednesday.
Since we’re near DC, hopefully it’s not Raining in Baltimore,
August 1, 2012 7:05 Salem Red Sox (55-52-1, 14-24) vs Potomac Nationals (50-58, 19-19) Game #109
Pfitzner Stadium Woodbridge, VA Road Game #56
Probable Starters: RHP Brandon Workman (7-6, 3.28) vs RHP Alex Meyer (1-0, 0.00)
August and Everything After: Salem begins the new month with 32 games remaining in the regular season, and the Sox trail first-place Myrtle Beach by eight games in the quest for the final playoff spot in the Carolina League’s Southern Division. While the Pelicans have been the top team in the league since the All-Star break, two of their top players were traded to the Chicago Cubs in the Deadline’s deal that moved Ryan Dempster to Texas. Third-baseman Christian Villanueva and pitcher Kyle Hendricks had been with Myrtle Beach all season until Tuesday. While no Salem players changed organizations, the dominoes of the Lars Anderson deal help to facilitate the promotion of Travis Shaw to Double-A Portland.
Time and Time Again: It’s a reality of minor league baseball: your best players are never around forever. Salem lost Jackie Bradley, Jr. to Portland at the All-Star Break, and first-baseman Travis Shaw learned of his promotion after Tuesday’s game in Potomac. Although Shaw went 0-for-3 on Tuesday and slumped to a 1-for-20 skid in his last seven games with the Salem Sox, he leaves the Carolina League having been, undoubtedly, one of the top offensive producers the circuit has seen this season. His .305 average in 99 games is seventh overall and fourth among active players (as of Tuesday), while his 16 home runs are third and his 73 RBI are second. He shares the league leads with 31 doubles and 69 runs scored, while he’s also second with 51 extra-base hits, 193 total bases, and 59 walks.
Round Here: Meanwhile, Keith Couch continues his resurgence that makes him look like a worthy pitcher in Double-A or beyond. With six scoreless innings on Tuesday night, Couch has now allowed just two runs over his last 21 innings, a 0.86 ERA spanning his last three starts. During this stretch, Couch has struck out 17 and only walked two. This is a stark contrast to his previous three starts, when he allowed 15 earned runs in 13.1 innings, an ERA of 10.13. With the Sox hanging on for the 5-4 victory on Tuesday, Couch now has wins in consecutive starts for the first time all season.
Omaha: Both starting pitchers in tonight’s contest were accomplished collegiate righthanders, but only one of the two ever advanced to the Mecca of NCAA Baseball. Salem’s Brandon Workman led the Texas Longhorns to Rosenblatt Stadium in Nebraska in 2010, taking his team to the brink of a national title before dropping the deciding game against LSU. Potomac’s Alex Meyer never advanced to Omaha during his three years at Kentucky, but earned All-SEC Honors as a junior and was drafted 23rd overall in the 2011 draft.
Ghost Train: While Jackie Bradley, Jr. has not been in the Carolina League since June 17, the star center-fielder still is #1 atop the circuit’s batting leaders. With a .359 clip in his 67 games, Bradley has appeared on the league’s official list for almost the entire season, a phantom leader who will disappear this week. He accumulated enough plate appearances to remain on the list through 112 games, but when the Sox play their 113th contest, Bradley’s reign atop the batting chart will end.