Bring on the Bling #GameNotesRhymeTime
April 11, 2014 7:05 PM Myrtle Beach Pelicans (3-4) vs Salem Red Sox (6-1) Game # 8
LewisGale Field Salem, VA Home Game # 4
Probable Starters: RHP Chi Chi Gonzalez (0-1, 4.91) vs RHP Justin Haley (0-0, 6.00)
Bring on the Bling: Before tonight’s game, the members of the Salem Sox who were part of last year’s championship team will receive their rings. There were 12 members Salem’s Opening Day roster who will be collecting their jewelry tonight, not to mention Pitching Coach Kevin Walker and Athletic Trainer David Herrera, both of whom return from last year. The Sox won the title by sweeping Potomac in the finals, clinching the Mills Cup on September 10, 2013, exactly 12 years after Salem’s last championship. The Avalanche, a Rockies affiliate won the Carolina League crown in 2001. Salem previously won three other Mills Cups in 1972, 1974, and 1987.
Back on Track: When Salem trailed 1-0 after the third inning on Wednesday, it marked the end of a remarkable run of never playing from behind. Salem had been either tied or ahead at the conclusion of the previous 80 innings, spanning more than eight full games, before the Dash scored a run on Tim Anderson’s double in the third. Winston went on to beat Salem 4-2, snapping Salem’s 16-game winning streak. But the Red Sox returned to their winning ways on Thursday night, scoring the game’s first tally for the 16th time in their last 18 games dating back to last year. In fact, the Red Sox have not lost back-to-back games since August 12 and 13 of last year. Since then, Salem has gone a ridiculous 28-4 in its last 32 games, with half of those losses coming in shortened seven-inning doubleheader games.
Lets Talk Betts: One streak we’re still watching is continuing to unfold in Double-A, where second-baseman Mookie Betts has reached base in six straight games to begin the 2014 season. Considering that Betts reached safely in the final 35 games of 2013, including the playoffs, he has now recorded at least a hit or a walk in 42 consecutive games dating back to last August. In these 42 games between Salem and Portland, Betts is hitting .426(66-for-155). In six games with the Sea Dogs, Betts is hitting .464 (13-for-28) with four walks and only three strikeouts. In addition to Betts, former Salem catcher Blake Swihart has enjoyed a fine start to his time in Double-A. In five games, Swihart is batting .368 (7-for-19) with a double, a triple, and three RBI.
Myrtle’s Fertile: While Salem swept the Pelicans in four straight in the season opening series, Myrtle Beach responded by winning the first three games of its road trip to inch back within a game of .500. After losing four games by the combined score of 22-5 against Salem, the Pelicans outscored Wilmington 15-11 and won three close games in Delaware. Perhaps most notable was Thursday’s performance from power-hitting third-baseman Joey Gallo, who launched his first two home runs of the season. In 2013, Gallo hit 40 homers for the year, most in the minor leagues.
Demand Command: The small size is still quite small, but through seven games, the Salem Sox pitching staff has set an amazing tone in terms of throwing plenty of strikes. Collectively, Salem hurlers have struck out 77 batters thus far, 11 more than the next-highest total in the Carolina League. In addition, Sox pitchers have issued only 14 walks, seven fewer than the next-smallest amount of free passes. And this comes after the Red Sox hurlers walked a season-high five on Thursday night. Salem’s bullpen has only walked two in 23.2 innings so far this year. Salem and Myrtle Beach enter this series with exactly the same ERA, tied at 3.29 (23 ER/63 IP). The two clubs are tied for the second best ERA in the league behind Carolina, who sits at 3.14.