Tonight’s Goal: A Win for Henry Owens – UPDATED
You could argue that Henry Owens received a bounty of good fortune last year, and perhaps it will even out in 2013.
In 2012, Owens earned a dozen victories, going 12-5 despite a relatively pedestrian 4.87 ERA as a 19-year-old in the South Atlantic League. Fellow starters did not enjoy nearly the same run support to help produce an increased win total. For example, Mickey Pena went just 8-7 with a 2.95 ERA in 20 games. Noe Ramirez started 16, compiled a 4.15 ERA, and somehow went 2-7.
Owens could easily be 3-0 this year with a little help, but instead he enters tonight’s 7:05 first pitch against Wilmington with an 0-1 mark, having gone five innings in each of his first three starts, with 0, 2, and 2 earned runs allowed in each.
Today marks the third straight day of themed game notes. I’m 53 away from Dimaggio.
UPDATED: Deven Marrero was placed on the disabled list today after tweaking his hamstring last night. Bryan Johns was called up from Greenville.
Here’s tonight’s lineup:
Broadcast begins at 7 PM tonight…
April 23, 2013 7:05 PM Wilmington Blue Rocks (9-8) vs. Salem Red Sox (7-9) Game #17
LewisGale Field Salem, VA Home Game #8
Probable Starters: RHP Aaron Brooks (0-1, 5.79) vs. LHP Henry Owens (0-1, 2.40)
LOB City: Salem endured perhaps its most excruciating setback of the young season on Monday night, giving away a five-run lead and wasting numerous opportunities, all of which came back to haunt them when three unearned runs decided the game in the 11th inning. One day after matching a season-high with 10 men left on base, the Sox stranded 11, a new zenith for the year. The two-day total of 21 left on base is five more than Salem’s next largest two-day total this April. Salem also drew a season-high nine walks on Monday night, but while the first four men who walked scored, all of the final five did not.
Not a Slam Dunk: Yesterday’s series opener was the first time all season that Salem lost when leading after six innings, seven, or eight innings. And incredibly, it was just the second time all year that any Carolina League team lost when leading after eight. On April 9, Frederick blew a 4-3 advantage in the ninth, falling 5-4 in 10 against Winston-Salem. Aside from Salem and Frederick, the six other Carolina League clubs are all unbeaten when leading after eight. Last night’s loss dropped the Sox to 0-3 in extra-inning contests on the season.
Born to Assist: Salem’s leading assist man is shortstop Deven Marrero, a first round pick who was steadily praised for his defense while in college at Arizona State. Marrero has accumulating 46 assists in 14 games, despite the fact that no baseballs were hit his way in the season opener. Marrero is currently second in the circuit in assists, trailing only Frederick’s Sammie Starr. But while Starr has made two errors, Marrero is flawless defensively without a single error in 76 total chances. He’s the only shortstop in the league with more than three games played who has not committed an error on the year. Marrero’s bat has been almost as forceful as his glove, pounding eight doubles on the year, most in the league. He’s hitting .294 and is tied for sixth in the league with nine walks.
Blake: After reaching base just three times in his first five games, 21-year-old catcher Blake Swihart is finally finding a groove at the dish. With an RBI single and a pair of walks yesterday, Salem’s backstop has now reached base in seven straight games, recording eight hits and four walks during this stretch. In his last seven contests, Swihart is batting .333 (8-for-24) with a .429 OBP that his fifth in the league since April 13. While Swihart has not doubled or homered yet this year, he has recorded two triples, one from each side of the plate for the switch-hitter.
A California Boy: Lefthander Henry Owens becomes the first member of the Sox to start his fourth game of the year when he gets the ball tonight against Wilmington. While Owens has not earned a victory yet, he has pitched well enough to enter this evening in the top 10 of the league’s ERA leaders. Opponents are hitting just .164 against him, the third-best mark in the league, and his 0.93 WHIP is fourth in the circuit. Tonight will be Owens’ first ever start against a Royals affiliate.