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Salem Sox Gameday: Two to Go

GAME # 138–Salem Red Sox (64-73/26-41) vs Potomac Nationals (65-72, 32-35)

6:05 PM, G. Richard Pfitzner Stadium, Woodbridge Va.

SERIES AT A GLANCE – Third of a four-game series, Salem leads series 1-1, Salem leads season series 11-9

LAST GAME – Potomac 6, Salem 2| WP: Tyler Mapes (6-3), LP: Ty Buttrey (8-10) |Recap|InfographicBox Score

 STARTING PITCHERS – RHP Teddy Stankiewicz (4-11, 4.22) vs. RHP Ian Dickson (3-2. 3.52)

RADIO – 1240 ESPN AM Roanoke | salemsox.com | TuneIn Radio App

SOCIAL MEDIA – Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

GAME NOTES:

SERIES AT A GLANCE: The Red Sox close out the 2015 season with a four-game series in Woodbridge against the Potomac Nationals. Salem has been good against the Nationals this year, winning 11 of the previous 20 meetings between the two teams. They have a .271 team batting average and a 3.24 team ERA against Potomac and took two of three games at Pfitzner Stadium in their only prior trip to Northern Virginia. Despite the Red Sox only visiting the Nationals twice, Potomac journeyed to Salem four times in 2015.

LAST TIME OUT: Potomac scored runs in bunches with three in the fourth and two in the second and beat the Red Sox 6-2 on Saturday night at Pfitzner Stadium. Ty Buttrey (8-10) was tagged with the loss thanks to five runs allowed on seven hits and two walks in five innings. Kevin Heller was the only Red Sox batter to record more than one hit, finishing 2-for-4 with a pair of singles. Wendell Rijo went 1-for-3 with a walk and a run scored and Mauricio Dubon scored the other Salem run while going 1-for-4. Jordan Procyshen recorded the only extra base hit for the Red Sox, he was 1-for-3 with a double and a walk.

EXIT STAGE RIGHT: Ty Buttrey made his final start of 2015 last night and took the loss against Potomac by allowing five runs on seven hits and two walks in five innings. The number 16 prospect in the Red Sox organization according to MLB Pipeline, Buttrey finishes the season having posted an 8-10 record and a 4.20 ERA with Salem. He began the season in Low-A Greenville and was 1-0 with a 2.45 ERA with the Drive. Buttrey was 7-2 after his first 11 starts but struggled down the stretch, going just 1-8 in his final 10. Buttrey’s ERA sat at 2.54 after hurling six one-run innings on June 26, but in his final 12 starts his ERA was 5.45.

FINISHING STRONG: Since being eliminated from playoff contention on August 22, the Red Sox have played their baseball of the second half. Salem has won nine of its last 14 by a combined score of 71-48. The Red Sox offense has posted four or more runs in ten of the contests after a stretch in which they scored four runs or more in 10 of the previous 27 games. The pitching staff has posted a 2.95 ERA in the last 14 games (41 ER/125 IP) while allowing four runs or more in only six of the contests.

PRIMETIME PLAYER: Wendell Rijo struggled at times in the field in the first half, committing nine errors in 49 games played. His defense has been much stronger in the second half of the season, though, as Rijo has only made two errors in 58 games played to this point. Rijo hasn’t committed an error since July 28, a span of 31 games. The bat has been more potent in the second half as well, batting .274 as opposed to .236 in the first half. Since his average bottomed out at .239 on July 30, Rijo, is batting .301 (34-for-113) in 29 games with six doubles, a triple, two home runs, 12 runs scored and 20 RBI.

CHASING NUMBERS: Kevin Heller has put up career numbers in 2015 with the Red Sox, as he holds the active team lead in batting average (.295), home runs (tied-7), RBI (50), OBP (.408), SLG (.430) and OPS (.838). Heller has appeared in 91 games and finally has enough plate appearances to qualify for the league leaderboard. His average is second in the league, and his on-base percentage leads the circuit. His slugging percentage is also good enough for fifth in the league. In the final two games of the season, Heller needs to record six plate appearances (3.00 per game) to reach the required minimum of 376 to stay on the league leaderboard.

HOME RUNS FOUND: Wendell Rijo’s two-run shot on Friday night was Salem’s fourth home run of September. Homers have been at a premium this season as the Red Sox’ 53 bombs are more than just Potomac (49) and Winston-Salem (49). Salem has homered in only 45 games, posting a 24-21 mark, but the Sox have hit nine blasts in their last 12 games.

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Salem Sox Gameday: Streaking to the Finish

GAME # 137–Salem Red Sox (64-72/26-40) vs Potomac Nationals (64-72, 31-35)

6:35 PM, G. Richard Pfitzner Stadium, Woodbridge Va.

SERIES AT A GLANCE – Second of a four-game series, Salem leads series 1-0, Salem leads season series 11-8

LAST GAME –  Salem 6, Potomac 3 | WP: Trey Ball (9-13), LP: Jeff Jowell (1-2) |Recap|InfographicBox Score

 STARTING PITCHERS – LHP Trey Ball (8-13, 4.85) vs. RHP Jeff Howell (1-1. 2.45)

RADIO – 1240 ESPN AM Roanoke | salemsox.com | TuneIn Radio App

SOCIAL MEDIA – Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

GAME NOTES:

SERIES AT A GLANCE: The Red Sox close out the 2015 season with a four-game series in Woodbridge against the Potomac Nationals. Salem has been good against the Nationals this year, winning 11 of the previous 19 meetings between the two teams. They have a .272 team batting average and a 3.07 team ERA against Potomac and took two of three games at Pfitzner Stadium in their only prior trip to Northern Virginia. Despite the Red Sox only visiting the Nationals twice, Potomac journeyed to Salem four times in 2015.

LAST TIME OUT: The Red Sox hung six runs in the top of the second inning and cruised to a 6-3 victory over the Potomac Nationals on Friday night. Yoilan Cerse was 1-for-5 with a triple and three RBI and Wendell Rijo homered for the second straight game, finishing 2-for-5 with two RBI. Trey Ball (9-13) earned the win in his last start of 2015, tossing five innings with two runs, one earned, on six hits and a walk while striking out six. Mario Martinez went 2-for-5 with a run scored and Jordan Betts was 1-for-3 with a walk, an RBI and a run scored. Brandon Show picked up his second save of the season with four innings of relief, allowing an unearned run on four hits.

WE’RE GOING STREAKING: Salem’s 6-3 win over Potomac on Friday night was their fourth straight victory, the first time in the second half that Salem has won four in a row. Previously, the Red Sox won three straight from August 22-24 and July 15-16, a stretch that included a doubleheader. The four-game streak is the longest for the Sox since they equaled a season-high with five straight wins from June 16-20, a streak that ended on the final day of the first half.

EXIT STAGE LEFT: Salem’s Trey Ball, rated the number 13 prospect in the Red Sox system by Baseball America and number 15 by MLB Pipeline, finished his 2015 campaign with a win last night. Ball snagged his ninth win thanks to five innings with two runs, one earned, on six hits and a walk with six strikeouts. He snapped a five-start losing streak and finishes 2015 with an ERA of 4.73 and a 9-13 record in 25 starts and 129.1 innings with 79 strikeouts. Ball was most effective in June, as he tallied a 3-1 record with an ERA of 1.59 over five starts.

FINISHING STRONG: Since being eliminated from playoff contention on August 22, the Red Sox have played their baseball of the second half. Salem has won nine of its last 13 by a combined score of 59-42. The Red Sox offense has posted four or more runs in ten of the contests after a stretch in which they scored four runs or more in 10 of the previous 27 games. The pitching staff has posted a 2.69 ERA in the last 13 games (35 ER/117 IP) while allowing four runs or more in only five of the contests.

PRIMETIME PLAYER: Wendell Rijo, who turned 20 yesterday, struggled at times in the field in the first half, committing nine errors in 49 games played. His defense has been much stronger in the second half of the season, though, as Rijo has only made two errors in 57 games played to this point. Rijo hasn’t committed an error since July 28, a span of 30 games. The bat has been more potent in the second half as well, batting .274 as opposed to .236 in the first half. Since his average bottomed out at .239 on July 30, Rijo, is batting .300 (33-for-110) in 28 games with six doubles, a triple, two home runs, 11 runs scored and 20 RBI. His home run last night was his second in as many nights.

CHASING NUMBERS: Kevin Heller has put up career numbers in 2015 with the Red Sox, as he holds the active team lead in batting average (.292), home runs (tied-7), RBI (50), OBP (.407), SLG (.429) and OPS (.836). Heller has appeared in 89 games, but his 366 plate appearances do not qualify him for the Carolina League leaderboard. His average would place him second in the league, and his on-base percentage would lead the circuit. In the final three games of the season, Heller needs to record 10 plate appearances (3.33 per game) to reach the required minimum of 376 to appear on the league leaderboard. In his previous 90 games, he has averaged 4.07 plate appearances.

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Salem Sox Gameday: Last Series

GAME # 136–Salem Red Sox (63-72/25-40) vs Potomac Nationals (64-71, 31-34)

7:05 PM, G. Richard Pfitzner Stadium, Woodbridge Va.

SERIES AT A GLANCE – First of a four-game series, Salem leads season series 10-8

LAST GAME –  Salem 7, Lynchburg 2 | WP: Daniel McGrath (4-6), LP: Michael Peoples (11-4) |Recap|InfographicBox Score

 STARTING PITCHERS – LHP Trey Ball (8-13, 4.85) vs. RHP Jeff Howell (1-1. 2.45)

RADIO – 1240 ESPN AM Roanoke | salemsox.com | TuneIn Radio App

SOCIAL MEDIA – Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

GAME NOTES:

SERIES AT A GLANCE: The Red Sox close out the 2015 season with a four-game series in Woodbridge against the Potomac Nationals. Salem has been good against the Nationals this year, winning 10 of the previous 18 meetings between the two teams. They have a .275 team batting average and a 3.19 team ERA against Potomac and took two of three games at Pfitzner Stadium in their only prior trip to Northern Virginia. Despite the Red Sox only visiting the Nationals twice, Potomac journeyed to Salem four times in 2015.

LAST TIME OUT: Three Red Sox pitchers combined to hold the Lynchburg Hillcats to five hits and Wendell Rijo drove in a career-high five runs as Salem dispatched Lynchburg 7-2 on Thursday night, completing a series sweep. Rijo finished 2-for-5 with a double and a home run and Mario Martinez was 2-for-4 with a run scored. Daniel McGrath (4-6) earned his third consecutive victory in his final start of the season with two runs allowed on five hits, one walk and five strikeouts in five innings pitched. Luis Ysla struck out five over three hitless innings in his first appearance in the Red Sox organization. Deiner Lopez went 2-for-3 with a double, an RBI and a run scored.

BREAK OUT THE (DUSTY) BROOMS: Salem’s three-game sweep over the Lynchburg Hillcats was its first sweep since taking three against the Wilmington Blue Rocks at home from June 12-14 and only its third sweep of the season. The Sox outscored the Hillcats a combined 20-9 in the three games. The sweep was the Red Sox first road sweep of the season, as both the sweep of the Blue Rocks and a sweep of the Potomac Nationals from May 1-4 took place at LewisGale Field.

FINISHING STRONG: Since being eliminated from playoff contention on August 22, the Red Sox have played their baseball of the second half. Salem has won eight of its last 12 by a combined score of 53-39. The Red Sox offense has posted four or more runs in nine of the contests after a stretch in which they scored four runs or more in nine of the previous 26 games. The pitching staff has posted a 2.83 ERA in the last 12 games (34 ER/108 IP) while allowing four runs or more in only five of the contests.

PRIMETIME PLAYER: Wendell Rijo, who turns 20 today, struggled at times in the field in the first half, committing nine errors in 49 games played. His defense has been much stronger in the second half of the season, though, as Rijo has only made two errors in 56 games played to this point. Rijo hasn’t committed an error since July 28, a span of 29 games. The bat has been more potent in the second half as well, batting .271 as opposed to .236 in the first half. Since his average bottomed out at .239 on July 30, Rijo, is batting .295 (31-for-105) in 27 games with six doubles, a triple, a home run, 10 runs scored and 18 RBI. His home run last night was his first since July 2.

CHASING NUMBERS: Kevin Heller has put up career numbers in 2015 with the Red Sox, as he holds the active team lead in batting average (.292), home runs (tied-7), RBI (50), OBP (.404), SLG (.430) and OPS (.434). Heller has appeared in 89 games with Salem, but his 361 plate appearances do not qualify him for the Carolina League leaderboard. His average would place him second in the league, as would his on-base percentage. In the final four games of the season, Heller needs to record 15 plate appearances (3.75 per game) to reach the required minimum of 376 to appear on the league leaderboard. In his previous 89 games, he has averaged 4.06 plate appearances.

HOME RUNS FOUND: Wendell Rijo’s three-run shot last night was Salem’s third home run of September. Homers have been at a premium this season as the Red Sox’ 52 bombs are more than just Potomac (48) and Winston-Salem (49). Salem has homered in only 44 games, posting a 23-21 mark. Rijo’s blast moved Salem out of a tie for the franchise record for fewest homers in a season, which is 51 set by the 1979 Salem Pirates. The Sox have hit eight blasts in their last 11 games, but did not homer against the P-Nats last weekend.

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Salem Sox Gameday: Sox and Hillcats, One More Time

GAME # 135–Salem Red Sox (62-72/24-40) vs Lynchburg Hillcats (70-65/37-28)

6:30 PM, Lynchburg City Stadium, Lynchburg, Va.

SERIES AT A GLANCE – Third of a three-game series, Salem leads series 2-0, Lynchburg leads season series 15-10

LAST GAME –  Salem 7, Lynchburg 2 | WP: Kevin McAvoy (11-9), LP: Dace Kime (3-8) |Recap|InfographicBox Score

 STARTING PITCHERS – LHP Daniel McGrath (3-6, 3.86) vs. RHP Michael Peoples (11-3, 3.50)

RADIO – 1240 ESPN AM Roanoke | salemsox.com | TuneIn Radio App

SOCIAL MEDIA – Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

GAME NOTES:

SERIES AT A GLANCE: The Red Sox embark on their final road trip of the season, beginning with a three-game set in Lynchburg against the Hillcats. Salem faces Lynchburg more than any other team in 2015, as these three games will conclude a 26-game season series between the Red Sox and the Hillcats. Salem’s final five games will take place on the road, as it will finish with four at Potomac after the three-game series with Lynchburg.

LAST TIME OUT: Salem scored in four consecutive innings from the fourth through the seventh and rolled past the Lynchburg Hillcats 7-2 on Wednesday night in Lynchburg. Dace Kime retired the first nine Red Sox, but Salem had the first five batters reach in the fourth inning and ended up having 19 of the next 29 hitters reach base. The top four in Salem’s order (Mauricio Dubon, Wendell Rijo, Kevin Heller and Mario Martinez) combined to go 10-for-18 with six doubles, five runs scored and four RBI. Kevin McAvoy earned his sixth straight win by allowing just two runs on four hits in 5.2 innings. He is now tied for the active league lead with 11 wins.

RETURNING TO FORM: Daniel McGrath makes his final start of the season tonight for the Red Sox. McGrath started the season on fire, posting a 1.80 ERA in his first six starts coupled with a .119 opponents batting average, the best in the league at that time. After missing twoplus months with left elbow inflammation, McGrath’s ERA ballooned to 4.40 in his first seven starts back by giving up 24 earned runs in 31.1 innings (6.89 ERA) and a .343 average against. Since then, though, he has posted three straight quality starts and has won back-to-back decisions. During this stretch, McGrath has held opponents to a .145 clip and a 2.00 ERA (4 ER/18 IP) on nine hits with 15 K’s and two walks.

SHARP UP THE MIDDLE: Wendell Rijo struggled at times in the field in the first half, committing nine errors in 49 games played. His defense has been much stronger in the second half of the season, though, as Rijo has only made two errors in 55 games played to this point. Rijo hasn’t committed an error since July 28, a span of 28 games. The bat has been more potent in the second half as well, batting .267 as opposed to .236 in the first half, including a .287 clip in 23 games during August.

THE WOULD-BE LEAGUE LEADER: Kevin Heller has put up career numbers in 2015 with the Red Sox, as he leads the team in batting average (.294), home runs (7), RBI (50) and OBP (.407). Heller has appeared in 88 games with Salem, but his 356 plate appearances do not qualify him for the Carolina League leaderboard. His average would place him second in the league and the on base percentage would tie for first. In the final six games of the season, Heller needs to record 20 plate appearances (3.33 per game) to reach the required minimum of 376 to appear on the league leaderboard. In his previous 88 games, he has averaged 4.05 plate appearances.

ODD COUPLE: After tonight, the Red Sox will have played the Hillcats 26 times, despite the Red Sox and the Hillcats appearing in opposite divisions. Lynchburg was Salem’s most frequent opponent, with 19 of the meetings taking place in the second half. Lynchburg has taken 15 of the previous 25 meetings thanks to a .275 team batting average. Conversely, Salem is batting .252 against Lynchburg and has an ERA of 4.88. The road team has won 19 of the 25 meetings in the series with the Red Sox taking eight of 12 in Lynchburg.

HOME RUNS FOUND: Franklin Guzman’s two home runs on Tuesday were Salem’s first two home runs of September. Homers have been at a premium this season as the Red Sox’ 51 bombs are the third-fewest in the league, ahead of Potomac’s 47 and Winston-Salem’s 48. Salem has homered in just 43 games, posting a 22-21 mark. The Sox have matched the franchise record for fewest homers in a season, which is 51 set by the 1979 Salem Pirates.

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Salem Sox Gameday: Six to go

GAME # 134–Salem Red Sox (61-72/23-40) vs Lynchburg Hillcats (70-64/37-27)

6:30 PM, Lynchburg City Stadium, Lynchburg, Va.

SERIES AT A GLANCE – Second of a three-game series, Salem leads series 1-0, Lynchburg leads season series 15-9

LAST GAME –  Salem 6, Lynchburg 5 | WP: Teddy Stankiewicz (4-11), LP: Mitch Brown (9-12) |Recap|InfographicBox Score

 STARTING PITCHERS – RHP Kevin McAvoy (10-9, 3.93) vs. RHP Dace Kime (3-7, 4.46)

RADIO – 1240 ESPN AM Roanoke | salemsox.com | TuneIn Radio App

SOCIAL MEDIA – Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

GAME NOTES:

SERIES AT A GLANCE: The Red Sox embark on their final road trip of the season, beginning with a three-game set in Lynchburg against the Hillcats. Salem faces Lynchburg more than any other team in 2015, as these three games will conclude a 26-game season series between the Red Sox and the Hillcats. Salem’s final six games will take place on the road, as it will finish with four at Potomac after the three-game series with Lynchburg.

LAST TIME OUT: Franklin Guzman went yard twice and the Red Sox put up five runs in the fourth inning, powering their way to a 6-5 victory over the Lynchburg Hillcats on Tuesday night at Lynchburg City Stadium. Teddy Stankiewicz (4-11) earned his first win since July 3 with five runs, four earned, allowed on eight hits with three strikeouts in five-plus innings. German Taveras entered with nobody out and the bases loaded in the sixth inning and escaped with only one inherited runner scoring. He went on to throw three shutout innings with only one hit against and two strikeouts. Guzman was 3-for-4 with the two home runs and three RBI, Mauricio Dubon went 2-for-5 with a double, an RBI and a run scored, Yoilan Cerse was 2-for-4 with a walk, a double and two RBI and Deiner Lopez finished 2-for-5 with a run scored.

TWICE IS NICE: Franklin Guzman’s two home runs in Tuesday’s win over the Lynchburg Hillcats represented the first two-homer game for a member of the Salem Red Sox in 2015 and the first time since May 24, 2014, when Kevin Heller went deep twice in a 7-6 extra inning victory against the Potomac Nationals. Guzman’s seven home runs in 2015 are tied with Heller for the most on the team, despite having appeared in only 43 games. Guzman would be on pace for 23 home runs with a full 140-game season.

ODD COUPLE: At the end of the season, the Red Sox will have played the Hillcats 26 times, despite the Red Sox and the Hillcats appearing in opposite divisions. Lynchburg will be Salem’s most frequent opponent, with 19 of the meetings taking place in the second half. Lynchburg has taken 15 of the first 23 meetings thanks to a .280 team batting average. Conversely, Salem is batting .245 against Lynchburg and has an ERA of 5.05. The road team has won 17 of the 23 meetings in the series with the Red Sox taking six of 10 in Lynchburg.

SHARP UP THE MIDDLE: Wendell Rijo struggled at times in the field in the first half, committing nine errors in 49 games played. His defense has been much stronger in the second half of the season, though, as Rijo has only made two errors in 54 games played to this point. Rijo hasn’t committed an error since July 28, a span of 26 games. The bat has been more potent in the second half as well, batting .263 as opposed to .236 in the first half, including a .287 clip in 23 games during August.

THE WOULD-BE LEAGUE LEADER: Kevin Heller has put up career numbers in 2015 with the Red Sox, as he leads the team in batting average (.288), home runs (7), RBI (49) and OBP (.405). Heller has appeared in 87 games with Salem, but his 351 plate appearances do not qualify him for the Carolina League leaderboard. His average would place him second in the league and the on base percentage would also be the second-best mark. In the final seven games of the season, Heller needs to record 25 plate appearances (4.17 per game) to reach the required minimum of 376 to appear on the league leaderboard. In his previous 87 games, he has averaged 4.03 plate appearances.

HOME RUNS FOUND: Franklin Guzman’s two home runs on Tuesday were Salem’s first two home runs of September. Homers have been at a premium this season as the Red Sox’ 51 bombs are the third-fewest in the league, ahead of Potomac’s 47 and Winston-Salem’s 48. Salem has homered in just 43 games, posting a 22-21 mark. The Sox have matched the franchise record for fewest homers in a season, which is 51 set by the 1979 Salem Pirates.

LINEUP:

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Salem Sox Gameday: The Final Roadtrip

GAME # 133–Salem Red Sox (60-72/22-40) vs Lynchburg Hillcats (70-63/37-26)

6:30 PM, Lynchburg City Stadium, Lynchburg, Va.

SERIES AT A GLANCE – First of a three-game series, Lynchburg leads season series 15-8

LAST GAME –  Potomac 4, Salem 1 | WP: Tyler Mapes (5-3), LP: Brandon Show (1-1) |Recap|InfographicBox Score

 STARTING PITCHERS – RHP Teddy Stankiewicz (3-11, 4.11) vs. RHP Mitch Brown (9-11, 4.84)

RADIO – 1240 ESPN AM Roanoke | salemsox.com | TuneIn Radio App

SOCIAL MEDIA – Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

GAME NOTES:

SERIES AT A GLANCE: The Red Sox embark on their final road trip of the season, beginning with a three-game set in Lynchburg against the Hillcats. Salem faces Lynchburg more than any other team in 2015, as these three games will conclude a 26-game season series between the Red Sox and the Hillcats. Lynchburg’s magic number for clinching a playoff berth is one, so any Hillcat victory or loss by the Frederick Keys will give Lynchburg the second half North division title. Salem’s final seven games will take place on the road, as it will finish with four at Potomac after the three-game series with Lynchburg.

LAST TIME OUT: Kyle Kraus allowed only three hits and one run with three strikeouts over six innings but the Red Sox gave up a run in the eighth and two in the ninth and dropped the home finale 4-1 to the Potomac Nationals. Jordan Procyshen was 2-for-4 with a double and scored the only Salem run. Yoilan Cerse went 3-for-4 with a double and Franklin Guzman was 2-for-4. Brandon Show (1-1) took the loss by allowing three runs, two earned, on five hits in three innings out of the bullpen.

DO YOU REMEMBER THE FIRST DAY OF SEPTEMBER: Thanks in part to a chain-reaction due to the expansion of major league rosters on the first of September, the Red Sox have transferred OF Forrestt Allday, C Danny Bethea and RHP Kyle Kaminska to Double-A Portland. Bethea and Kaminska have each appeared with the Sea Dogs in 2015 but Allday will appear in Double-A for the first time. As a corresponding move, the Sox have received C Carlos Coste from Short Season-A Lowell.

ODD COUPLE: At the end of the season, the Red Sox will have played the Hillcats 26 times, despite the Red Sox and the Hillcats appearing in opposite divisions. Lynchburg will be Salem’s most frequent opponent, with 19 of the meetings taking place in the second half. Lynchburg has taken 15 of the first 23 meetings thanks to a .280 team batting average. Conversely, Salem is batting .245 against Lynchburg and has an ERA of 5.05. The road team has won 17 of the 23 meetings in the series with the Red Sox taking six of 10 in Lynchburg.

SHARP UP THE MIDDLE: Wendell Rijo struggled at times in the field in the first half, committing nine errors in 49 games played. His defense has been much stronger in the second half of the season, though, as Rijo has only made two errors in 53 games played to this point. Rijo hasn’t committed an error since July 28, a span of 26 games. The bat has been more potent in the second half as well, batting .268 as opposed to .236 in the first half, including a .287 clip in 23 games during August.

THE WOULD-BE LEAGUE LEADER: Kevin Heller has put up career numbers in 2015 with the Red Sox, as he leads the team in batting average (.293), home runs (7), RBI (49) and on base percentage (.410). Heller has appeared in 86 games with Salem, but his 346 plate appearances do not qualify him for the Carolina League leaderboard. His average would place him second in the league and the on base percentage would lead the circuit. In the final seven games of the season, Heller needs to record 30 plate appearances (4.29 per game) to reach the required minimum of 376 to appear on the league leaderboard. In his previous 86 games, he has averaged 4.02 plate appearances.

HOME RUNS FOUND: Franklin Guzman’s solo shot on Thursday night was Salem’s seventh home run of August and the fifth in as many days. Homers have been at a premium this season as the Red Sox’ 49 bombs are the third fewest in the league, ahead of Potomac’s 47 and Winston-Salem’s 48. Salem has homered in just 42 games, posting a 21-21 mark. The franchise record for fewest homers in a season is 51 set by the 1979 Salem Pirates. Salem hit just 19 home runs at LewisGale Field this season, which established a newSalem Memorial Ballpark record-low. The previous record was 23 home runs hit by the 1999 Salem Avalanche.

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Salem Red Sox Gameday: McGrath vs. Spann

GAME # 130–Salem Red Sox (59-70/21-38) vs Potomac Nationals (60-69/27-32)

7:05 PM, LewisGale Field, Salem, Va.

SERIES AT A GLANCE – Second of a four-game series, Salem leads series 1-0, Salem leads season series 9-6

LAST GAME –  Salem 5, Potomac 2 | WP: Kevin McAvoy (10-9), LP: Jake Johansen (1-7) |Recap|InfographicBox Score

 STARTING PITCHERS – LHP Daniel McGrath (2-6, 4.05) vs. LHP Matthew Spann (2-6, 4.67)

RADIO – 1240 ESPN AM Roanoke | salemsox.com | TuneIn Radio App

SOCIAL MEDIA – Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

GAME NOTES:

SERIES AT A GLANCE: The Red Sox and the Potomac Nationals renew acquaintances for a four-game series at LewisGale Field, the final four home games of 2015. Salem owns a 9-6 season series advantage over Potomac including a 7-5 mark at home. Seven of the remaining 10 games on the Red Sox schedule will be played against the Nationals, as Salem finishes the season with a four-game series at Pfitzner Stadium from September 4-7. Potomac, with an elimination number of three, can be eliminated from playoff contention in this series.

LAST TIME OUT: Kevin McAvoy struck out five over seven one-run innings and the Red Sox scored two in the seventh and two in the eighth en route to a 5-2 victory over the Potomac Nationals on Thursday. Wendell Rijo went 2-for-4 with two RBI and drove in two in the seventh to give the Red Sox the lead for good. Franklin Guzman was 3-for-4 with a solo home run. McAvoy allowed only five hits over his seven innings and earned his fifth win in his last five starts. Kyle Kaminska tossed two innings with one run allowed to earn his third save of the season.

THE WOULD-BE LEAGUE LEADER: Kevin Heller has put up career numbers in 2015 with the Red Sox, as he leads the team in batting average (.299), home runs (7), RBI (47) and on base percentage (.414). Heller has appeared in 83 games with Salem, but his 333 plate appearances do not qualify him for the Carolina League leaderboard. His average would place him second in the league and the on base percentage would lead the circuit. In the final ten games of the season, Heller needs to record 45 plate appearances to reach the required minimum of 378 to appear on the league leaderboard. In his previous 83 games, he has averaged 4.01 plate appearances per game.

HOME RUNS FOUND: Franklin Guzman’s solo shot last night was Salem’s seventh home run of August and the fifth in as many days. Homers have been at a premium this season as the Red Sox’ 49 bombs are the third fewest in the league, ahead of Potomac’s 46 and Winston-Salem’s 47. Salem has homered in just 42 games, posting a 21-21 mark. The franchise record for fewest homers in a season is 51 set by the 1979 Salem Pirates. Salem has hit just 19 home runs at LewisGale Field this season and will need a late boom to avoid setting a Salem Memorial Ballpark record-low, currently set at 23 by the 1999 Salem Avalanche.

MO HITS FOR MO: Mauricio Dubon went 1-for-4 in last night’s win, keeping his batting average at a season-best .255. An All-Star with Low-A Greenville in the first half, Dubon struggled at the outset of the second half with Salem, batting just .056 (1-for-18) in his first five games. A move to the leadoff spot has helped propel Dubon, who is batting .299 (29-97) in 26 games as the leadoff hitter as opposed to .214 (22-103) in 27 games elsewhere. Over his current seven-game hitting streak, Dubon is batting .385 (10-26), raising his average 19 points.

SO LONG, OUR TIME HERE IS UP: The Red Sox play their final three home games of 2015 against the Potomac Nationals before embarking on a seven-game road trip to finish the season. Salem has enjoyed moderate success at LewisGale Field in 2015, playing to a 30-36 record, but only a 10-18 mark in the second half. The Sox are batting .267 at home and score 4.0 runs per game, while allowing 4.3. Kevin Heller (.324, 2 HR, 21 RBI), Jordan Procyshen (.304, 2 2B, 5 RBI) and Mario Martinez (.284, 12 2B, 5 HR, 26 RBI) have all had significant success at home in 2015. The team as a whole is batting 21 points higher than they are on the road (.246).

UNLUCKY 70: Wednesday’s 8-4 loss to the Lynchburg Hillcats gave the Red Sox their 70th loss of the season, the first time since 2011 that Salem has lost 70 games. The Red Sox finished the 2011 campaign 64-75, one of two times in the Salem Red Sox era that the team lost at least 70 times, with the first such instance occurring in 2009 when the team went 67-72. Salem will need to go at least 6-4 in the final ten games to avoid equaling the 2011 Red Sox for the worst record in the Red Sox era.

LINEUP: 

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Salem Sox Gameday: Red Sox – P-Nats

GAME # 129–Salem Red Sox (58-70/20-38) vs Potomac Nationals (60-68/27-31)

7:05 PM, LewisGale Field, Salem, Va.

SERIES AT A GLANCE – First of a four-game series, Salem leads season series 8-6

LAST GAME –  Lynchburg 8, Salem 4 | WP: Justin Brantley (5-5), LP: German Taveras (4-4) |Recap|InfographicBox Score

 STARTING PITCHERS – RHP Kevin McAvoy (9-9, 4.08) vs. RHP Austen Williams (4-4, 2.62)

RADIO – 1240 ESPN AM Roanoke | salemsox.com | TuneIn Radio App

SOCIAL MEDIA – Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

GAME NOTES:

SERIES AT A GLANCE: The Red Sox and the Potomac Nationals renew acquaintances for a four-game series at LewisGale Field, the final four home games of 2015. Salem owns an 8-6 season series advantage over Potomac including a 6-5 mark at home. Eight of the remaining 11 games on the Red Sox schedule will be played against the Nationals, as Salem finishes the season with a four-game series at Pfitzner Stadium from September 4-7. Potomac, with an elimination number of five, can be eliminated from playoff contention in this series.

LAST TIME OUT: Salem took a one-run lead thanks to a four-run fifth inning, but were felled by a five-run seventh as they dropped the rubber match of the three-game series with the Lynchburg Hillcats 8-4 on Wednesday. Teddy Stankiewicz retired 10 of the final 11 batters he faced, but was tagged with a no decision after allowing three runs on four hits and five walks in six innings. German Taveras took the loss after allowing five runs, two earned, on three hits and three walks in one inning. Mario Martinez was 1-for-4 and capped the four-run fifth with a three-run home run, Kevin Heller went 2-for-4 with a run scored and an RBI and Yoilan Cerse finished 2-for-4 with a walk and a run scored.

SO LONG, OUR TIME HERE IS UP: The Red Sox play their final four home games of 2015 against the Potomac Nationals before embarking on a seven-game road trip to finish the season. Salem has enjoyed moderate success at LewisGale Field in 2015, playing to a 29-36 record, but only a 9-18 mark in the second half. The Sox are batting .267 at home and score 3.98 runs per game, while allowing 4.34. Kevin Heller (.331, 2 HR, 21 RBI), Jordan Procyshen (.315, 2 2B, 4RBI) and Mario Martinez (.284, 12 2B, 5 HR, 26 RBI) have all had significant success at home in 2015. The team as a whole is batting 21 points higher than they are on the road (.246).

MAC ATTACK: Today’s starting pitcher Kevin McAvoy has pitched extremely well as of late, earning victories in each of his past four starts. In his last five starts dating back to July 26, he is 4-1 with a 2.10 ERA and has lowered his season-long ERA from 4.70 to 4.08. The 2014 fourth round draft pick out of Bryant University has faced Potomac four times in 2015 and is 2-2 with a 1.42 ERA. In back-to-back appearances against the P-Nats July 26 and July 31, he did not allow an earned run over 13.2 innings pitched.

HOME RUNS FOUND: Mario Martinez’s three-run blast last night was just Salem’s sixth home run of August, but the fourth in as many days. Homers have been at a premium this season as the Red Sox’ 48 bombs are the third fewest in the league, ahead of Potomac’s 46 and Winston-Salem’s 47. Salem has homered in just 41 games, posting a 20-21 mark. The franchise record for fewest homers in a season is 51 set by the 1979 Salem Pirates. Salem has hit just 18 home runs at LewisGale Field this season and will need a late boom to avoid setting a Salem Memorial Ballpark record-low, currently set at 23 by the 1999 Salem Avalanche.

MO HITS FOR MO: Mauricio Dubon went 2-for-4 in Tuesday’s loss to Lynchburg, pushing his batting average to a season-best .255. An AllStar with Low-A Greenville in the first half, Dubon struggled at the outset of the second half with Salem, batting just .056 (1-for-18) in his first five games. A move to the leadoff spot has helped propel Dubon, who is batting .301 (28-93) in 25 games as the leadoff hitter as opposed to .214 (22-103) in 27 games elsewhere. Over his current six-game hitting streak, Dubon is batting .409 (9-22), raising his average 19 points.

BACK FROM PORTLAND: Kyle Kaminska rejoined the Salem Sox yesterday after appearing twice with Double-A Portland, tallying a 1.35 ERA and one save over 6.2 innings pitched. In his first stint with Salem in 2015, he was 1-2 with two saves and a 3.03 ERA. Originally a 25th round draft pick of the Florida Marlins, Kaminska spent part of 2013 with Salem before announcing his retirement from baseball. He came out of retirement this summer and had two scoreless appearances with Low-A Greenville before being assigned to Salem on June 19.

LINEUP:

8-27 LINEUP

Salem Sox Gameday: We Play On

Before we get to the usual gameday post, I’d like to take a moment to express heartfelt condolences to the families of Alison Parker and Adam Ward, as well as all of those associated with WDBJ7 after the tragic shooting this morning. Next to each coaches box today, the Channel 7 logo is painted on the field. It’s worth your time to view some of the coverage from WDBJ as they remembered the lives of Allison and Adam earlier today.

Now, on to baseball.

GAME # 128–Salem Red Sox (58-69/20-37) vs Lynchburg Hillcats (66-62/33-25)

7:05 PM, LewisGale Field, Salem, Va.

SERIES AT A GLANCE – Third of a three-game series, series tied 1-1, Lynchburg leads season series 14-8

LAST GAME –  Lynchburg 4, Salem 2 | WP: Luis Lugo (8-10), LP: Trey Ball (8-13) |Recap| InfographicBox Score

 STARTING PITCHERS – LHP Trey Ball (8-12, 4.77) vs. LHP Luis Lugo (7-10, 4.24)

RADIO – 1240 ESPN AM Roanoke | salemsox.com | TuneIn Radio App

SOCIAL MEDIA – Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

GAME NOTES:

SERIES AT A GLANCE: The Salem Red Sox and Lynchburg Hillcats renew acquaintances for a three-game at LewisGale Field, beginning the final homestand of 2015. Lynchburg leads the season series 14-8 and swept the Sox in the last meeting between the two clubs from July 28-30. The Hillcats and Red Sox have gone in opposite directions in the second half. Lynchburg leads the Northern Division at 33-25, 4.0 games clear of the Frederick Keys while Salem is in last place in the Southern Division at 20-37, 16 games behind Winston-Salem. The Red Sox have four games remaining against the Hillcats, as they will see them for a three-game series in Lynchburg September 1-3.

LAST TIME OUT: Kevin Heller launched a two-run home run in the last of the first inning, but that was all for the Salem offense as they fell 4-2 to the Lynchburg Hillcats on Tuesday night at LewisGale Field. Lynchburg tied the game in the second inning on an RBI double and RBI groundout before taking the lead for good on a two-run single from LeVon Washington in the top of the fourth inning. That was the last batter that Salem starter Trey Ball faced as he lasted just 3.2 innings, giving up four runs on six hits and three walks. Heller homered for the second time in three days, going 2-for-4 with two RBI. Mauricio Dubon added two hits as well.

ODD COUPLE: At the end of the season, the Red Sox will have played the Hillcats 26 times, despite the Red Sox and the Hillcats appearing in opposite divisions. Lynchburg will be Salem’s most frequent opponent, with 19 of the meetings taking place in the second half. Lynchburg has taken 14 of the first 22 meetings thanks to a .280 team batting average. Conversely, Salem is batting .246 against Lynchburg and has an ERA of 5.05. Salem held Lynchburg to just two runs Monday night, the Hillcats’ lowest output against the Sox in a nine-inning game this year.

HOME RUNS FOUND: Kevin Heller’s two-run blast last night was just Salem’s fifth home run of August, but the third in as many days. Homers have been at a premium this season as the Red Sox’ 47 bombs are tied for the second-fewest in the league, ahead of Potomac’s 45. Salem has homered in just 40 games, posting a 20-20 mark. The franchise record for fewest homers in a season is 51 set by the 1979 Salem Pirates. Salem has hit just 17 home runs at LewisGale Field this season and will need a late boom to avoid setting a Salem Memorial Ballpark record-low, currently set at 23 by the 1999 Salem Avalanche. The Sox look to hit home runs in four straight games for the first time this year.

MO HITS FOR MO: Mauricio Dubon went 2-for-4 in Tuesday’s loss to Lynchburg, stretching his hitting streak to six games and pushing his batting average to .255, the highest point it has been with the Red Sox. An All-Star with Low-A Greenville in the first half of the season, Dubon struggled at the outset of the second half with Salem, batting just .056 (1-for-18) in his first five games. A move to the leadoff spot has helped propel Dubon, who is batting .301 (28-93) in 25 games as the number one hitter as opposed to .214 (22-103) in 27 games at any other spot in the batting order. Over his current six-game hitting streak, Dubon is batting .409 (9-22) and has raised his average from .236 to .255.

LONG SHORT STREAK: Zach Kapstein went 0-for-4 last night, ending his hitting streak AT six games. Kapstein recorded a base hit in every game in which he had an at bat in August, but had only appeared in seven of the previous 20 games for Salem this month. He raised his average from .205 to .286 in the process by going 10-for-24 (.417) with a double, four runs scored, and four RBI.

BACK FROM PORTLAND: Kyle Kaminska rejoins the Salem Sox today after appearing twice with Double-A Portland, tallying a 1.35 ERA and one save over 6.2 innings pitched. In his first stint with Salem in 2015, he was 1-2 with two saves and a 3.03 ERA. Originally a 25th round draft pick of the Florida Marlins, Kaminska spent part of 2013 with Salem before announcing his retirement from baseball. He came out of retirement this summer and had two scoreless appearances with Low-A Greenville before being assigned to Salem on June 19.

LINEUP:

Daily Lineup 8-26

Salem Sox Gameday: Three in a row

GAME # 127–Salem Red Sox (58-68/20-36) vs Lynchburg Hillcats (65-62/32-25)

7:05 PM, LewisGale Field, Salem, Va.

SERIES AT A GLANCE – Second of a three-game series, Salem leads series 1-0, Lynchburg leads season series 14-7

LAST GAME –  Salem 4, Lynchburg 2 | WP: Ty Buttrey (8-8), LP: Jayson Aquino (0-2) |Recap| InfographicBox Score

 STARTING PITCHERS – LHP Trey Ball (8-12, 4.77) vs. LHP Luis Lugo (7-10, 4.24)

RADIO – 1240 ESPN AM Roanoke | salemsox.com | TuneIn Radio App

SOCIAL MEDIA – Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

GAME NOTES:

SERIES AT A GLANCE: The Salem Red Sox and Lynchburg Hillcats renew acquaintances for a three-game at LewisGale Field, beginning the final homestand of 2015. Lynchburg leads the season series 13-8 and swept the Sox in the last meeting between the two clubs from July 28-30. The Hillcats and Red Sox have gone in opposite directions in the second half. Lynchburg leads the Northern Division at 32-25, 3.5 games clear of the Frederick Keys while Salem is in last place in the Southern Division at 20-36, 16 games behind Winston-Salem. The Red Sox have five games remaining against the Hillcats, as they will see them for a three-game series in Lynchburg September 1-3.

LAST TIME OUT: The Red Sox recorded 12 hits and scored three of their four runs with two outs as they beat the Lynchburg Hillcats 4-2 on Monday. Salem trailed 2-1 after three but struck for one run in each of the next three innings. Cole Sturgeon went 3-for-5 with a run and an RBI and Mike Meyers was 2-for-4 including a home run, two runs scored and two RBI. Jordan Procyshen went 2-for-3 and Kevin Heller was 2-for-4 with a triple. Ty Buttrey earned the win with six innings, allowing only two runs on three hits and four walks while striking out five. Salem beat Lynchburg for only the second time at home in 2015 and the win was its third in a row.

WELCOME HOME: In his first two at-bats at LewisGale Field, Mike Meyers recorded an RBI. After joining the Red Sox at the beginning of the past road trip, Meyers played his first game in Salem during Monday’s 4-2 win over Lynchburg and introduced himself to the crowd with an RBI single in the first and a solo home run in the fourth. In 92 games with the Greenville Drive in 2015, Meyers batted .296 with five homers and 40 RBI, including a .312 mark with three home runs and 23 RBI in 46 home games.

THAT’S CALLED A WINNING STREAK: Yesterday’s 4-2 victory over Lynchburg secured Salem’s third straight win. After dropping five straight series, the Sox have an opportunity to win back-to-back sets for the first time since mid-June when they took three of four from Winston-Salem to end the first half and two of three from Frederick to start the second half. Salem has not won a home series since July 22- 24 against Wilmington. The Sox look for a fourth straight win for the first time since winning a season-high 5 in a row from June 16-20.

ODD COUPLE: At the end of the season, the Red Sox will have played the Hillcats 26 times, despite the Red Sox and the Hillcats appearing in opposite divisions. Lynchburg will be Salem’s most frequent opponent, with 19 of the meetings taking place in the second half. Lynchburg has taken 13 of the first 21 meetings thanks to a .280 team batting average. Conversely, Salem is batting .247 against Lynchburg and has an ERA of 5.16. Salem held Lynchburg to just two runs last night, the Hillcats’ lowest output against the Red Sox in a nine-inning game this year.

LONG SHORT STREAK: Zach Kapstein went 1-for-4 with two RBI on Friday night, extending his hitting streak to six games. Kapstein has recorded a base hit in every game in which he has an at bat in August, but has only appeared in seven of the 17 games for Salem this month. He has raised his average from .205 to .286 in the process by going 10-for-24 (.417) with a double, four runs scored, and four RBI. He has recorded a multi-hit game in four of the six outings.

HOME RUNS WANTED: Mike Meyers’ solo blast last night was just Salem’s fourth home run of August, but the second in as many days. Homers have been at a premium this season as the Red Sox’ 46 bombs are the second-fewest in the league, ahead of just Potomac’s 45. Salem has homered in just 39 games, posting a 20-19 mark. The franchise record for fewest homers in a season is 51 set by the 1979 Salem Pirates. Salem has hit just 16 home runs at LewisGale Field this season and will need a late boom to avoid setting a Salem Memorial Ballpark record-low, currently set at 23 by the 1999 Salem Avalanche. The Sox look to hit home runs in three straight games for the first time this year.

LINEUP:

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