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#HappyKopechDay Preview: July 18, 2016 vs. Potomac

GAME INFO:

July 18, 2016 – 7:05 pm

Game 93 of 139

LewisGale Field at Salem Memorial Ballpark – Salem, Va.

vs. Potomac Nationals

Salem Red Sox Baseball Network


ON THE MOUND:

RHP Michael Kopech (0-0, 0.00 ERA) vs. LHP Matthew Spann (1-1, 3.72 ERA)

SOX LINEUP:

Joseph Monge                CF

Reed Gragnani               2B

Rafael Devers                 3B

Nick Longhi                   1B

Mike Meyers                  LF

Danny Mars                   RF

Jordan Procyshen           C

Jose Sermo                    SS

Jordan Betts                  DH

LAST TIME OUT:

The Salem Red Sox scored their fourth walk-off win of the season Sunday afternoon against the Potomac Nationals, winning 7-6 in an 11-inning, four-hour marathon. Jose Sermo doubled to score Mike Meyers with the winning run off Gilberto Mendez in the bottom of the 11th to win the game for Salem. Meyers had a sterling day at the plate, finishing 2-for-5 with a double, two runs scored and two RBIs. Danny Mars continued his recent stretch of hot hitting, collecting three hits and scoring a run, while initiating a game-saving fly ball double play in the 10th inning, nailing a would-be run out at home.

ON THE MOUND FOR THE SOX:

The Red Sox will send Michael Kopech to the bump tonight against the Potomac Nationals, making his third start of the season for Salem. The righty has lived up to his billing as the #5 pre-season prospect in a loaded Red Sox system, having tossed 9.0 shutout innings to start his Class A-Advanced career. Including a June 17 rehab start with the Short Season-A Lowell Spinners, Kopech owns a 13.1 inning scoreless streak to start the season. The Mount Pleasant, Texas native has struck out 14, walked four, and allowed only five hits in his two starts with the Red Sox this season.

105 IN THE SHADE:

In his last start on July 13 vs. Wilmington, Michael Kopech threw a second-inning fastball that was recorded at 105 miles per hour by multiple radar guns. The pitch was the second-fastest pitch ever recorded by a radar gun in a game, trailing only Aroldis Chapman’s 105.1 MPH fastball thrown on September 24, 2010. In non-game situations, two faster pitches have been recorded. In 1974, Nolan Ryan of the California Angels was clocked by a Rockwell Laser as throwing a pitch 108.1 MPH, while in 1946 Bob Feller of the Cleveland Indians was clocked by a Sky Screen Chronograph – a device used to register the speed of artillery rounds during WWII – as throwing a pitch at 107.6 MPH.

TRIPLE VISION:

The Salem Red Sox have collectively hit 47 triples in their first 92 games of the 2016 season. The 47 three-base hits not only leads the Carolina League, but leads all of Minor League Baseball. Salem has hit five more triples than the Altoona Curve (AA-PIT), who are second in MiLB with 42. At their current pace, the Red Sox would hit 71 triples on the season, which would break the franchise record of 64 set in the club’s inaugural 1968 season. The Red Sox tied the Sox era (2009-present) record of 47 set by the 2014 team Saturday night. Mike Meyers leads the team with 8 triples, while Danny Mars and Andrew Benintendi each have collected seven, which rank all three players in the top five in the Carolina League, despite Benintendi not playing for Salem since mid-May.

WALKING ON SUNSHINE:

The Red Sox offense has drawn 359 walks this season, the second-most of any team in the Carolina League (Lynchburg, 391). No Sox player has walked more frequently than Bryan Hudson, who has walked in 19.6% of his 204 plate appearances. Among players at all levels of affiliated baseball with at least 180 PA, only Jabari Blash of the El Paso Chihuahuas (AAA-SD, 20.3%) has walked as frequently as Hudson, who sports a team-leading .403 on-base percentage. The Red Sox are 34-20 (.629 win%) when Hudson is in the starting lineup, and are 21-17 (.553 win%) when Hudson does not start the game. Hudson’s 40 walks drawn this season are five ahead of Nick Longhi for the team lead, despite Longhi having over 130 more plate appearances.

A TALE OF TWO SEASONS:

Heading into the month of June, Rafael Devers was hitting only .195 and had been in the midst of a season-long slump. Since the calendar turned, Devers is hitting .342/.388/.523 (51-for-149, 18 R, 14 2B, 5 3B, HR, 11 BB, 26 SO). The 19-year-old’s .342 average is the best in the Carolina League in that stretch, and is the ninth-highest mark among all Class A-Advanced hitters. Devers used the torrid stretch to raise his season batting line to .263/.325/.409, and his five home runs lead the team, while his 20 doubles rank second among current players behind only Nick Longhi.

MARS RED HOT:

Danny Mars is coming off an other-worldly series against the Wilmington Blue Rocks, where he went 6-for-11 with three runs scored, a double, two triples, two RBIs and three stolen bases. With hits in the first two games of the series with the Nationals, Mars now owns a five-game hitting streak, during which he is 10-for-20, and has raised his batting average from .249 to .262. Mars has multiple hits in four of the five contests, and now has hits in nine of his last 10 games after a prolonged three-week slump.

Game Preview: July 11, 2016 vs. Lynchburg

GAME INFO:

July 11, 2016 – 7:00 pm

Games 87 of 139

LewisGale Field at Salem Memorial Ballpark – Salem, Va.

vs. Lynchburg Hillcats

Salem Red Sox Baseball Network


ON THE MOUND:

LHP Trey Ball (5-4, 3.36 ERA) vs. RHP Mitch Brown (2-6, 5.52 ERA)

SOX LINEUP:

Joseph Monge                CF

Reed Gragnani               2B

Rafael Devers                 3B

Nick Longhi                   1B

Jose Sermo                    SS

Jordan Procyshen           C

Danny Mars                   RF

Jordan Betts                  DH

Bryan Hudson                LF

LAST TIME OUT:

The Salem Red Sox bullpen struggled Sunday afternoon and allowed six runs in a 7-4 loss to the Lynchburg Hillcats Sunday afternoon at LewisGale Field. Starting pitcher Daniel McGrath was solid, allowing only one run on three hits in 5.1 innings, but Jamie Callahan and Bobby Poyner were not as good, combining to allow six runs (five earned) on 10 hits in the game’s final 3.2 innings. Offensively, the Red Sox were led by Rafael Devers, who went 4-for-5 with a double, triple, and a run scored – finishing a home run shy of the cycle. Nick Longhi went 1-for-5 at the dish, but made it count with a double and two RBIs, bringing his team-leading total to 54. Longhi ranks fifth in the Carolina League in RBIs.

ON THE MOUND FOR THE SOX:

The Red Sox will send Trey Ball to the lump tonight, looking to recover from a pair of rough outings. In his last two starts (7/1 at FRE, 7/6 at CAR), Ball has allowed 10 runs in 8.0 innings (11.25 ERA), while striking out seven and walking 10 – including a career-high seven walks against Carolina. The former first-round draft choice is experiencing the swoon after one of his best stretches of the season – a three-start span where he went 3-0 with a 0.93 ERA (2 ER/19.1 IP). Walks have been the issue for Ball this season, with the southpaw allowing 5.24 BB/9.0 IP against a low 6.04 K/9.0 IP ratio. Overall, Ball is 5-4 in 13 starts with Salem with a 3.36 ERA, and is allowing only a .228 batting average against him.

THANK YOU SIR, MAY I HAVE ANOTHER?:

Power hitting has not been the forte of the Salem Red Sox this season, but the team combined for 14 extra-base hits in Saturday and Sunday’s games with the Lynchburg Hillcats. Salem slugged 11 doubles and three triples in the two contests, bringing the club’s season totals to 169 and 39, ranking second and first in the Carolina League, respectively. Salem’s team slugging percentage has increased from .376 entering Saturday’s game to .382 entering play Monday, tied for the third-best mark in the league with Potomac, trailing Frederick (.393) and Lynchburg (.416). The team’s isolated slugging percentage (SLG – AVG) is .117, the third-worst mark in the league behind Carolina (.114) and Wilmington (.101) (League AVG: .126).

MIKE CHECK 1, 2, 3:

Outfielder Mike Meyers carries a six-game hitting streak into Monday’s contest with Lynchburg, a stretch that has seen him go 9-for-22 (.409 AVG) since July 4 at Carolina. The Henderson, Nevada native has mixed in two doubles, a triple and a home run along with five singles, and has raised his batting average by 14 points from .247 to .261. Meyers’ on-base percentage has climbed 11 points from .309 to .322, while his slugging percentage has leaped 32 points from .359 to .391. His six triples lead the team while his four homers rank second behind Rafael Devers.

A TALE OF TWO SEASONS:

Heading into the month of June, Rafael Devers was hitting only .195 and had been in the midst of a season-long slump. Since the calendar turned, Devers is hitting .361/.405/.433 (44-for-122, 15 R, 12, 2B, 3 3B, HR, 9 BB, 21 SO). The 19-year-old’s .361 average is the best in the Carolina League in that stretch, and is the fifth-highest mark among all Class A-Advanced hitters. Devers used the torrid stretch to raise his season batting line to .264/.326/.402, and his five home runs lead the team, while his 18 doubles rank second behind only Nick Longhi.

LONG AWAY:

Nick Longhi has been part of leading the recent charge of extra-base hits, as he has at least one in three of his last four games. While the home run total has not been high for the Salem first baseman this season, his power numbers have steadily increased with each month of the campaign. Longhi’s slugging percentage has increased with each month of the season, from .371 in April, to .395 in May, .402 in June and .513 thusfar in July. The 20-year-old’s increased power production has come without significant increases in his strikeout rate (19.0%) or decreases in his walk rate (10.4%), speaking to the advanced approach he shows at the plate.

WALKING ON SUNSHINE:

The Red Sox offense has drawn 327 walks this season, the second-most of any team in the Carolina League (Lynchburg, 375). No Sox player has walked more frequently than Bryan Hudson, who has walked in 19.3% of his 181 plate appearances. Among players at all levels of affiliated baseball with at least 170 PA, no player has walked as frequently as Hudson, who sports a team-leading .391 on-base percentage.

Game Preview: July 9, 2016 at Lynchburg

GAME INFO:

July 9, 2016 – 6:30 pm

Games 85 of 139

Calvin Falwell Field at Lynchburg City Stadium – Lynchburg, Va.

at Lynchburg Hillcats

Salem Red Sox Baseball Network


ON THE MOUND:

RHP Travis Lakins (5-3, 5.58 ERA) vs. LHP Anderson Polanco (3-2, 3.40 ERA)

SOX LINEUP:

Joseph Monge                CF

Reed Gragnani               2B

Rafael Devers                 3B

Nick Longhi                    1B

Mike Meyers                   LF

Danny Mars                    RF

Jordan Procyshen         C

Jose Sermo                    SS

Jordan Betts                  DH

LAST TIME OUT:

Salem dropped their fifth game in a row Friday night, falling to the Lynchburg Hillcats, 8-2 in the series opener. The five-game losing streak ties a season high for the club. Matt Kent started the game for the Red Sox, and got the loss to fall to 7-4 after giving up a career-high seven runs (six earned) in 5.0 innings on 10 hits. The Red Sox struggled offensively, collecting only six hits in the game – all singles – and only scoring in the seventh inning on a Jordan Betts bases-loaded walk, and a David Sopilka base hit. Jose Sermo went 2-for-4 and was the only Salem player to record a multi-hit game, his third with the team. Minor league rehabber Jorge Marban tossed a scoreless inning out of the bullpen.

ON THE MOUND FOR THE SOX:

The Red Sox will send Travis Lakins to the mound to make his 15th start of the season and his 16th overall appearance. The Red Sox’ 6th-round pick in the June 2015 draft is 5-3 with a 5.58 ERA thus far in his first full professional season, and has fanned 65 batters and walked only 26 in 71.0 innings with Salem. In his last start Monday, July 4 at Carolina, Lakins allowed four runs in 5.0 innings, yeilding seven hits, and walking two while fanning three, getting no decision. Saturday’s outing will be just the second of the season for Lakins against the Hillcats. He got no decision in a May 19 game at Calvin Falwell Field, allowing five runs in 3.1 innings, giving up four hits and walking two and striking out three.

OUT OF THE ZONE:

Red Sox pitching had immense trouble with issuing walks in the nightmarish four-game series with the Carolina Mudcats, issuing 29 free passes in the four games. The trouble with control continued in the opener with Lynchburg, when Salem pitchers walked five batters. During the current five-game swoon, Salem pitchers have a collective 8.50 BB/9.0 IP ratio. Carolina’s team on-base percentage rose from a Carolina League-worst .305 at the beginning of the series, to .313 at the conclusion – still the worst mark in the league. In the four games with the Mudcats, the Red Sox walked seven, nine, two, and 11 batters.

OFF THE ROAD AGAIN:

With the conclusion of Salem’s season-long 10 game road trip tonight, the Red Sox return to the friendly confines of LewisGale Field for a season-long nine-game homestand. The lengthy road swing was necessitated by the presence of the Salem Fair, which wraps up on Sunday, July 10. The longest-remaining road trip and homestand respectively is seven games (at FRE, POT 7/21-27; vs. WIL, CAR 8/12-18)

TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA THIRD BASEMAN:

Since a change in his hitting approach prior to a May 24 game vs Potomac, Rafael Devers has been one of the best hitters in the Carolina League, collecting hits in 27 of his last 37 games played. In that stretch, Devers has posted a .328 AVG/.367 OBP/.474 SLG (45-for-137, 10 2B, 2 3B, 2 HR, 16 R, 17 RBI, 9 BB, 22 K). The .338 average is fourth in the Carolina League in that stretch. The 19-year-old is now batting .251/.314/.380, compared to a .180/.268/.293 line entering the stretch. He has collected 12 multi-hit games since the start of June after only eight multi-hit games in the season’s first two months.

LONG AWAY:

Nick Longhi tucked an opposite-field home run over the short porch at Five County Stadium for his second home run of the season Friday night, continuing what has become a recent power surge. While the home run total has not been high for the Salem first baseman this season, his power numbers have steadily increased with each month of the campaign. Longhi’s slugging percentage has increased with each month of the season, from .371 in April, to .395 in May, .402 in June and .583 thusfar in July. The 20-year-old’s increased power production has come without significant increases in his strikeout rate (19.0%) or decreases in his walk rate (10.6%), speaking to the advanced approach he shows at the plate.

WALKING ON SUNSHINE:

The Red Sox offense has drawn 319 walks this season, the second-most of any team in the Carolina League (Lynchburg, 362). No Sox player has walked more frequently than Bryan Hudson, who has walked in 19.3% of his 181 plate appearances. Among players at all levels of affiliated baseball with at least 170 PA, no player has walked as frequently as Hudson, who sports a team-leading .391 on-base percentage. Hudson’s 35 walks this season lead the Red Sox, one more than Nick Longhi, despite Longhi having over 130 more plate appearances.

Game Preview: July 8, 2016 at Lynchburg

GAME INFO:

July 8, 2016 – 6:30 pm

Games 84 of 139

Calvin Falwell Field at Lynchburg City Stadium – Lynchburg, Va.

at Lynchburg Hillcats

Salem Red Sox Baseball Network


ON THE MOUND:

LHP Matt Kent (7-3, 2.98 ERA) vs. LHP Sean Brady (7-3, 4.68)

SOX LINEUP:

Danny Mars                    CF

Reed Gragnani               2B

Rafael Devers                 3B

Nick Longhi                    RF

Mike Meyers                   LF

Jose Sermo                    SS

Jordan Betts                    1B

David Sopilka                 C

Deiner Lopez                  DH

LAST TIME OUT:

Salem fell 5-2 to the Carolina Mudcats Thursday night at Five County Stadium in Zebulon, N.C., marking the first time that the Sox have been swept in a series by an opponent this season. Michael Kopech made his first start of the season for Salem and struck out six batters in 4.0 innings, including an immaculate inning in the fourth – striking out the side in order on nine pitches. Yankory Pimentel struggled out of the bullpen, allowing four runs in 2.1 innings, including a mammoth home run to Isaias Tejeda in getting the loss. Joseph Monge had a stellar day at the plate, finishing 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI. Mudcats starting pitcher Ryan Clark allowed only two runs in 6.0 innings to notch a quality start and earn his first win of the season against 10 losses.

THE WACO KID:

The Red Sox will send Matt Kent to the bump in the series opener with the Hillcats, a team in which he has had success against this season. Kent will be making his fifth start against Lynchburg, and is already 3-0 with a 1.46 earned run average. In 24.2 innings against the Carolina League’s best offense, the southpaw has struck out 23 batters and walked only four while allowing just 19 hits. Overall, Kent is 7-3 with a league-leading 2.98 ERA in 14 starts with Salem, with a 60:16 SO:BB ratio in 81.2 innings. In his last start against the Frederick Keys on July 3, Kent tossed 6.2 shutout innings, allowing four hits while striking out six and walking only one. He has pitched into the sixth inning in 13 of his 14 starts, with the outlier coming on June 28 vs. Myrtle Beach.

 

OUT OF THE ZONE:

Red Sox pitching had immense trouble with issuing walks in the nightmarish four-game series with the Carolina Mudcats, issuing 29 free passes in the four games. Because of the doubleheader played Wednesday, the Mudcats only batted 28 times in the series, meaning Salem pitchers had a collective 9.32 BB/9.0 IP ratio during the series. Carolina’s team on-base percentage rose from a Carolina League-worst .305 at the beginning of the series, to .313 at the conclusion – still the worst mark in the league. In the four games, the Red Sox walked seven, nine, two, and 11 batters.

OUT OF THE PARK:

Salem pitchers have also had trouble with surrendering home runs on this road trip. In the eight games so far, the staff has surrendered 12 home runs – seven to the Frederick Keys in four games at NYMEO Field at Harry Grove Stadium, and five to the Carolina Mudcats in the recent four game set.

TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA THIRD BASEMAN:

Since a change in his hitting approach prior to a May 24 game vs Potomac, Rafael Devers has been one of the best hitters in the Carolina League, collecting hits in 27 of his last 36 games played. In that stretch, Devers has posted a .338 AVG/.378 OBP/.489 SLG (45-for-133, 10 2B, 2 3B, 2 HR, 16 R, 17 RBI, 9 BB, 20 K). The .338 average is third in the Carolina League and 10th among Class A-Advanced players in that stretch. The 19-year-old is now batting .254/.318/.385, compared to a .180/.268/.293 line entering the stretch. He has collected 12 multi-hit games since the start of June after only eight multi-hit games in the season’s first two months.

LONG AWAY:

Nick Longhi tucked an opposite-field home run over the short porch at Five County Stadium for his second home run of the season Friday night, continuing what has become a recent power surge. While the home run total has not been high for the Salem first baseman this season, his power numbers have steadily increased with each month of the campaign. Longhi’s slugging percentage has increased with each month of the season, from .371 in April, to .395 in May, .402 in June and .520 thusfar in July. The 20-year-old’s increased power production has come without significant increases in his strikeout rate (18.9%) or decreases in his walk rate (10.7%), speaking to the advanced approach he shows at the plate.

WALKING ON SUNSHINE:

The Red Sox offense has drawn 317 walks this season, the second-most of any team in the Carolina League (Lynchburg, 357), and the fourth most of any Class A-Advanced team (Bakersfield, CAL, 359 and Lancaster, CAL, 347). No Sox player has walked more frequently than Bryan Hudson, who has walked in 19.3% of his 181 plate appearances. Among players at all levels of affiliated baseball with at least 170 PA, only Wynston Sawyer of the Frederick Keys (19.4%) has walked more frequently. Hudson’s 35 walks this season lead the Red Sox, one more than Nick Longhi, despite Longhi having over 130 more plate appearances.

Game Preview: July 7, 2016 at Carolina

GAME INFO:

July 7, 2016 – 7:00 pm

Games 84 of 139

Five County Stadium – Zebulon, N.C.

at Carolina Mudcats

Salem Red Sox Baseball Network


ON THE MOUND:

RHP Michael Kopech (1st start) vs. RHP Ryan Clark (0-10, 5.94)

 

SOX LINEUP:

Joseph Monge                CF

Wendell Rijo                   2B

Rafael Devers                 3B

Nick Longhi                    1B

Mike Meyers                   RF

Jose Sermo                    DH

Jordan Procyshen            C

Bryan Hudson                 LF

Deiner Lopez                  SS

LAST TIME OUT:

The Salem Red Sox were swept in a doubleheader last night by the Carolina Mudcats, falling 5-1 in game one, and 11-5 in the nightcap. Salem has now lost three in a row to Carolina, and looks to avoid the series sweep tonight. In game one, Red Sox starting pitcher Trey Ball struggled with his command, walking seven batters and allowing all five runs in 3+ innings. Game two saw Bobby Poyner allow five runs in 3.0 innings in his first professional start, and Jorge Marban allow back-to-back home runs to Isaias Tejeda and Sal Giardina in five-run inning of relief. The twinbill, which was delayed by 63-minutes owing to weather at the outset also saw Red Sox skipper Joe Oliver and second baseman Wendell Rijo get ejected for arguing balls and strikes, the first ejections for Salem in nearly two months.

ON THE MOUND FOR THE SOX:

The Red Sox will send Michael Kopech to the mound in the series finale with the Mudcats, making his first start of the year for Salem. Kopech spent the majority of the first half of the season in extended spring training after suffering an injury during spring training before making a rehab start on June 17 with the Lowell Spinners. In that outing against Vermont, the righty tossed 4.1 shutout innings, allowing four hits, walking four and striking out four. The Texan was scratched from a start on June 23, and was placed on the Disabled List on June 27, retroactive to June 24 before being activated earlier today. Kopech was the first round pick (33rd overall) of Boston in 2014, and was rated as the #5 prospect in the organization by Baseball America and MLB Pipeline, while Baseball America tabbed him the #89 overall prospect in all of Minor League Baseball before the 2016 season.

TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA THIRD BASEMAN:

Since a change in his hitting approach prior to a May 24 games vs Potomac, Rafael Devers has been one of the best hitters in the Carolina League, collecting hits in 27 of his last 35 games played. In that stretch, Devers has posted a .349 AVG/.388 OBP/.504 SLG (45-for-129, 10 2B, 2 3B, 2 HR, 16 R, 17 RBI, 9 BB, 19 K). The .349 average is second in the Carolina League and sixth among Class A-Advanced players in that stretch. The consensus #2 prospect in the Boston organization is now batting .258/.322/.391, compared to a .180/.268/.293 line entering the stretch. He has collected 12 multi-hit games since the start of June after only eight multi-hit games in the season’s first two months.

CHICKS DIG THE LONG BALL:

With their three home runs in Monday’s 9-6 loss to Carolina, the Red Sox set a new season high for home runs in a game. The Red Sox, who have hit the fewest home runs in the league (27), hit a homer in a season-high four straight games from 7/1-4. Salem is on pace for just 47 home runs this year, well below the franchise record-low of 51 (1979). Salem pitchers yielded seven homers in the series with Frederick and four in the first three contests with Carolina, and have now given up a dinger in six of seven games. Despite the recent outburst, the Red Sox have allowed the second-fewest bombs in the circuit (43). Only the Myrtle Beach Pelicans staff (41) has allowed fewer long balls.

LONG AWAY:

One of the Salem batters who hit a homer on Monday was Nick Longhi, who tucked an opposite-field home run over the short porch at Five County Stadium for his second home run of the season. While the home run total has not been high for the Salem first baseman this season, his power numbers have steadily increased with each month of the campaign. Longhi’s slugging percentage has increased with each month of the season, from .371 in April, to .395 in May, .402 in June and .524 thusfar in July. The 20-year-old’s gradual power surge has come without significant increases in his strikeout rate (18.8%) or decreases in his walk rate (10.9%), speaking to the advanced approach he shows at the plate.

ONE-RUN ARTISTS:

Despite Wednesday night’s 1-0 setback to Myrtle Beach, Salem still stands at an astounding 20-6 in one-run games this season. Wednesday night marked the first time all season that the Red Sox lost a game by the slimmest of margins at LewisGale Field, falling to 10-1 in such situations. The 20 one-run wins are the second-most in MiLB, behind the Visalia Rawhide (ARI, Hi-A) while the .769 winning percentage in such contests is the best, just ahead of Visalia (21-7, .750). The success had been predicated on playing from ahead a vast majority of the time as Salem possesses a league-best 34-8 (.810) record when scoring the game’s first run.

WALKING ON SUNSHINE:

The Red Sox offense has drawn 316 walks this season, the second-most of any team in the Carolina League (Lynchburg, 353), and the fourth most of any Class A-Advanced team (Bakersfield, CAL, 352 and Lancaster, CAL, 340). No Sox player has walked more frequently than Bryan Hudson, who has walked in 19.1% of his 178 plate appearances. Among players at all levels of affiliated baseball with at least 170 PA, only Wynston Sawyer of the Frederick Keys (19.7%) has walked more frequently. Hudson’s 34 walks this season are tied with Nick Longhi for the team lead in bases on balls, despite Longhi having over 130 more plate appearances.

Game Preview: July 6 at Carolina

GAME INFO:

July 6, 2016 – 7:05 pm

Games 82 & 82 of 139

Five County Stadium – Zebulon, N.C.

at Carolina Mudcats


ON THE MOUND:

G1: LHP Trey Ball (5-3, 2.81) vs. RHP Caleb Beech (1-2, 3.86)

G2: LHP Bobby Poyner (0-0, 4.22) vs. Zack Bird (2-1, 7.47)

SOX LINEUP – Game 1:

Joseph Monge                CF

Wendell Rijo                   2B

Rafael Devers                 3B

Nick Longhi                    1B

Mike Meyers                   LF

Jose Sermo                     DH

Danny Mars                    RF

Jordan Procyshen          C

Deiner Lopez                  SS

ON THE MOUND FOR THE SOX (G1):

The Red Sox will send Trey Ball to the bump in the opener, making his 13th start of the season for Salem. Ball has logged a 5-3 record with a 2.81 ERA in 2016, but has struggled controlling walks – issuing 32 free passes against only 43 strikeouts in 64.0 innings. In his last start on July 1 at Frederick, the southpaw was rocked for five runs on six hits in 5.0 innings, including allowing two home runs. In his three starts before that rough turn, Ball had allowed only 2 ER in 19.1 IP (0.93 ERA). Ball was the 1st round pick of Boston (7th overall) in 2013.

ON THE MOUND FOR THE SOX (G2):

The Red Sox will send Bobby Poyner to the mound in the nightcap, making his eighth appearance of the season with Salem. Tonight’s outing will mark the first start of Poyner’s career, coming after a combined 40 relief outings in which he recorded 24 saves. Since a promotion from Class A Greenville on June 1, Poyner has no record with three saves and a 4.22 earned run average. In 10.2 innings pitched, Poyner has recorded six strikeouts and walked six batters, while allowing nine hits. Left-handed hitters have yet to record a hit against the southpaw in 11 at-bats, and have drawn just one walk. His career-long outing is a 3.0-inning relief stint on April 20 while pitching against the Hickory Crawdads, where he struck out five and tossed 39 pitches.

TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA THIRD BASEMAN:

Since a change in his hitting approach prior to a May 24 games vs Potomac, Rafael Devers has been one of the best hitters in the Carolina League, collecting hits in 25 of his last 33 games played. In that stretch, Devers has posted a .339 AVG/.382 OBP/.479 SLG (41-for-121, 7 2B, 2 3B, 2 HR, 14 R, 16 RBI, 9 BB, 16 K). The .339average is 3rd in the league in that stretch. The consensus #2 prospect in the Boston organization is now batting .251/.318/.376, compared to a .180/.268/.293 line entering the stretch. He has collected 11 multi-hit games since the start of June after only eight multi-hit games in the season’s first two months.

CHICKS DIG THE LONG BALL:

With their three home runs in Monday’s 9-6 loss to Carolina, the Red Sox set a new season high for home runs in a game. The Red Sox, who have hit the fewest home runs in the league (27), have now hit a homer in a season-high four straight games. Salem is on pace for just 47 home runs this year, well below the franchise record-low of 51 (1979). Salem pitchers yielded seven homers in the series with Frederick, and have now given up a dinger in a season-high five straight games. Despite the recent outburst, the Red Sox have allowed the fewest bombs in the circuit (40).

MONGE, MONGE:

Joseph Monge has been charged with filling the leadoff spot for a majority of the second half this season and has seen his numbers skyrocket. Monge saw his season-long seven-game hitting streak come to an end on Saturday night, but the stretch featured two multi-hit games and seven extra base hits (6 2B, HR). In 13 games as Salem’s leadoff hitter, Monge is hitting .259 (14-for-54, 7 2B, HR, 4 R, 9 RBI). He excelled as the leadoff hitter for Greenville, batting .330 (30-for-91, 8 2B, 2 HR, 15 R, 8 RBI) in 22 games as the top guy in the Drive’s order. He has safely hit in 21 of his 28 games with the Red Sox.

ONE-RUN ARTISTS:

Despite Wednesday night’s 1-0 setback to Myrtle Beach, Salem still stands at an astounding 20-6 in one-run games this season. Wednesday night marked the first time all season that the Red Sox lost a game by the slimmest of margins at LewisGale Field, falling to 10-1 in such situations. The 20 one-run wins are the second-most in MiLB, behind the Visalia Rawhide (ARI, Hi-A) while the .769 winning percentage in such contests is the best, just ahead of Visalia (21-7, .750). The success had been predicated on playing from ahead a vast majority of the time as Salem possesses a league-best 34-7 (.829) record when scoring the game’s first run.

WALKING ON SUNSHINE:

The Red Sox offense has drawn 310 walks this season, the second-most of any team in the Carolina League (Lynchburg, 348), and the fourth most of any Class A-Advanced team (Bakersfield, CAL, 342 and Lancaster, CAL, 328). No Sox player has walked more frequently than Bryan Hudson, who has walked in 18.9% of his 175 plate appearances. Among players at all levels of affiliated baseball with at least 150 PA, only Wynston Sawyer of the Frederick Keys (19.7%) and Bryce Harper of the Washington Nationals (19.1%) have walked at a higher rate than Hudson.

Game Preview: June 23, 2016 vs. Frederick

GAME INFO:

June 23, 2016 – 7:05 pm

Game 71 of 139

LewisGale Field

vs. Frederick Keys


ON THE MOUND:

RHP Michael Kopech (1st Game) vs. RHP Cody Jones (2-3, 2,65)

SOX LINEUP:

Joseph Monge                CF

Wendell Rijo                   2B

Rafael Devers                 3B

Nick Longhi                    1B

Danny Mars                    RF

Jordan Procyshen          C

Jayce Ray                        DH

Deiner Lopez                  SS

Bryan Hudson                LF

NOTES:

SHAKING YOUR KEYS: The Salem Red Sox begin the second half of the 2016 season by welcoming the Frederick Keys to LewisGale Field for a four-game series. The Red Sox and the Keys matched up only six times in the first half, with the series being split 3-3. The Keys won 2-of-3 from the Red Sox at LewisGale Field from April 11-13, and then Salem returned the favor by taking 2-of-3 from Frederick at NYMEO Field at Harry Grove Stadium from April 26-28. The two clubs will play 15 times in the second half of the schedule.

NEW FACE ON THE MOUND: The Red Sox will send Michael Kopech to the mound to open up the second half of the 2016 season. Kopech will be making his first start with Salem, and just his second start of the season after suffering an injury during spring training. In his rehab start with Short Season-A Lowell, the flamethrowing righty went 4.1 shutout innings, allowing four hits, four walks and registering four strikeouts. Kopech, the #5 prospect in the Red Sox system, spent the 2015 season with Low-A Greenville – registering a 4-5 record, 2.63 ERA, and an impressive 70 strikeouts against 27 walks in 65.0 innings.

TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA THIRD BASEMAN: After a slow start to the season, Rafael Devers has turned it on at the end of the first half and has hits in 16 of his last 21 games, dating to 5/24 at Potomac. In that span, Devers is 28-for-86 (.326 AVG), raising his season batting line from .180/.263/.293 to .233/.300/.335. Devers has further improved in June, batting .339/.379/.403 (21-for-62, 2 2B, 3B, 4 R, 7 RBI). No matter how things have gone at the plate, Devers has been rock-solid defensively – he has committed three errors in 188 total chances, good for a .984 fielding %. Devers was the pre-season #2 prospect in the Red Sox organization according to Baseball America and MLB Pipeline.

IT’S TURBO TIME: Salem Red Sox reliever Jamie Callahan has had an up-and-down season, but has pitched extremely well in his last two outings. The last two times the righty has been called on from the bullpen he has delivered a combined 3.1 scoreless frames, allowing two hits, no walks and striking out four. He has lowered his season ERA from 4.80 to 4.32, and marks the first time this season that the Hamer, S.C. native has strung together two outings in a row of any length without issuing a walk.

WELCOME BACK, RIJO: One of the roster moves made during the All-Star Break includes the transfer of Wendell Rijo from Double-A Portland to Salem. The 20-year-old infielder hit .260 in 108 games with Salem in 2015, but just .186 in 51 games with Portland this year.

YEAH, BABY!: Red Sox outfielder Mike Meyers has been hitting at a torrid pace in his last six games, hitting at a 9-for-25 clip (.360 AVG) in the period dating back to June 11 at Wilmington. Meyers has seen his season batting line grow from .235/.307/.363 to .250/.313/.377. His season-long hitting streak is six games, from May 6-13.

SETTING FRANCHISE HISTORY: The Salem Red Sox made history with a win Sunday afternoon at Winston-Salem. The Red Sox victory officially crowned the 2016 squad as having the best first-half record of any team in the Red Sox era (2009-Present). The win also gave the team the second-best first-half record in franchise history, surpassing the 42-28 mark of the 2010 Red Sox, but keeping the team trailing the 1974 Salem Pirates, who ran wild over the Carolina Leauge to the tune of a 47-23 first half record.

WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS: The Salem Red Sox clinched the Carolina League Southern Division First Half Championship for the first time since 1988 with a 7-1 victory over Potomac on June 13. Salem will compete for the Mills Cup Championship in the Carolina League Playoffs for the first time since 2014. The Red Sox last won a division championship in 2013 when the squad won the Second Half.

Game Preview: June 15, 2016 vs. Potomac

GAME INFO:

June 15, 2016 – 7:05 pm

Game 66 of 140

LewisGale Field

vs. Potomac Nationals


ON THE MOUND:

LHP Daniel McGrath (1-2, 4.88) vs. RHP Boone Whiting (6-2, 3.26)

SOX LINEUP:

Danny Mars                   CF

Mauricio Dubon            SS

Mike Meyers                 DH

Rafael Devers                  3B

Jordan Betts                    1B

Jayce Ray                        RF

Jordan Procyshen          C

Deiner Lopez                  2B

Bryan Hudson                LF

NOTES:

WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS: The Salem Red Sox clinched the Carolina League Southern Division First Half Championship for the first time since 1988 with a 7-1 victory over Potomac Monday night. Salem will compete for the Mills Cup Championship in the Carolina League Playoffs for the first time since 2014. The Red Sox last won a division championship in 2013 when the squad won the Second Half.

TAKE THE LONGHI WAY HOME: Nick Longhi has also been strong offensively in June, including an exclamation point last night with his first home run of the season. On the month, Longhi is hitting .300/.390/.400 (15-for-50, 8 R, 2 2B, HR, 8 RBIs, 7 BB). He has performed better with each passing month of the 2016 season, raising his OPS from .724 in April, to .760 in May, to .790 thus far in June.

DANNY THE MARTIAN: In addition, Danny Mars has picked up his offensive output, recording hits in 13 of his last 15 games, dating to 5/28 at Lynchburg. In that span, Mars has recorded seven multi-hit games, including three in the series at Wilmington.The switch-hitting outfielder is 22-for-59 (.373 AVG) in that span. The Chipola College product has raised his season batting line from .239/.315/.314 to .275/.339/.367. Mars stole a season-high three bases Saturday at Wilmington.

TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA THIRD BASEMAN: After a slow start to the season, Rafael Devers has turned it on lately and has hits in 15 of his last 19 games, dating to 5/24 at Potomac. In that span, Devers is 23-for-70 (.328 AVG), raising his season batting line from .180/.263/.293 to .227/.299/.336. Devers has further improved in June, batting .348/.400/.435 (16-for-46, 2 2B, 3B, 4 R, 6 RBI).

PLACE YOUR BETTS: Jordan Betts is another Red Sox player who has flourished in June, hitting to the tune of a .304/.424/.478 line (7-for-23, 4 2B, 11 RBI, 7 BB). The bounceback comes after Betts hit just .176/.236/.197 in the month of May. The 11 runs batted in tallied by Betts in eight games in June surpasses his combined April and May total (seven), and is already the fourth-highest monthly RBI total of his career. The former Duke Blue Devil had 15 RBIs with Salem in June in 2015, and with Lowell in 2014 posted 20 in July and 12 in August.

SETTING THE TABLE: Salem’s offensive success this season has been predicated on Yoan Moncada and Mauricio Dubon getting on base. The dynamic duo has combined for 139 hits, 107 runs, 60 RBI and 58 stolen bases. Both Moncada and Dubon were selected to the 2016 California-Carolina League All-Star Game. The Red Sox are an astounding 33-6 when Moncada and Dubon combine for at least two hits in a game compared to a 2-12 mark when both are in the lineup and fail to combine for two-plus hits. Monday was only the third time all season that neither had a hit, and Salem has a 1-2 record in such games. The team is 6-6 when one of the players is out of the lineup.

Game Preview: June 13, 2016 vs. Potomac

GAME INFO:

June 13, 2016 – 7:05 pm

Game 64 of 140

LewisGale Field

vs. Potomac Nationals


ON THE MOUND:

LHP Matt Kent (5-3, 3.57) vs. RHP Dakota Bacus (0-2, 4.82)

SOX LINEUP:

Yoan Moncada               DH

Mauricio Dubon            SS

Rafael Devers                3B

Nick Longhi                   1B

Danny Mars                    RF

Joseph Monge                CF

Jordan Procyshen          C

Deiner Lopez                  2B

Bryan Hudson                LF

NOTES:

THE LONLIEST NUMBER: The Salem Red Sox magic number to clinch their first first-half championship since 1988 currently stands at one. The Red Sox will clinch a playoff birth with either a win or a Myrtle Beach loss.

TAKE THE LONGHI WAY HOME: Nick Longhi has also been strong offensively in June, including an exclamation point last night with his first home run of the season. On the month, Longhi is hitting .317/.429/.439 (13-for-41, 8 R, 2 2B, HR, 6 RBIs, 7 BB). He has performed better with each passing month of the 2016 season, raising his OPS from .724 in April, to .760 in May, to .868 thus far in June.

DANNY THE MARTIAN: In addition, Danny Mars has picked up his offensive output, recording hits in 13 of his last 14 games, dating to 5/28 at Lynchburg. In that span, Mars has recorded seven multi-hit games, including three in the series at Wilmington.The switch-hitting outfielder is 22-for-55 (.400 AVG) in that span, and the only game he failed to get a hit in was the rain-shortened five-inning contest at Lynchburg on Sunday. The Chipola College product has raised his season batting line from .239/.315/.314 to .280/.342/.374. Mars stole a season-high three bases Saturday at Wilmington, and has successfully stolen 10 bases in a row.

TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA THIRD BASEMAN: After a slow start to the season, Rafael Devers has turned it on lately and has hits in 14 of his last 18 games, dating to 5/24 at Potomac. In that span, Devers is 22-for-65 (.338 AVG), raising his season batting line from .180/.263/.293 to .228/.301/.340. Devers has further improved in June, batting .366/.422/.463 (15-for-41, 2 2B, 3B, 4 R, 4 RBI).

SETTING THE TABLE: Salem’s offensive success this season has been predicated on Yoan Moncada and Mauricio Dubon getting on base. The dynamic duo has combined for 134 hits, 103 runs, 58 RBI and 57 stolen bases. Both Moncada and Dubon were selected to the 2016 California-Carolina League All-Star Game. The Red Sox are an astounding 32-6 when Moncada and Dubon combine for at least two hits in a game compared to a 2-12 mark when both are in the lineup and fail to combine for two-plus hits. Monday was only the third time all season that neither had a hit, and Salem has a 1-2 record in such games. The team is 6-5 when one of the players is out of the lineup.

HITS ON PARADE: In a 10-6 victory over Wilmington Thursday night, the Salem Red Sox matched four franchise hits records. The 21 hits in a game tied the Red Sox era record, set on August 16, 2014 vs. Myrtle Beach. Salem also recorded 18 singles, tying the all-time Salem record. Rafael Devers’ 5-for-5 performance matches the club record for most hits in a nine-inning game and matched club record for most singles in a single game, while setting a new high-water mark for the Sox era.

Game Preview: June 4, 2016 vs. Lynchburg

GAME INFO:

June 4, 2016 – 6:05 pm

Game 56 of 140

LewisGale Field

vs. Myrtle Beach Pelicans


ON THE MOUND:

LHP Daniel McGrath (1-1, 5.40) vs. RHP Nick Pasquale (1-1, 2.35)

SOX LINEUP:

Yoan Moncada               2B

Mauricio Dubon            SS

Jordan Betts                  DH

Nick Longhi                   1B

Danny Bethea                 C

Joseph Monge                CF

Franklin Guzman          RF

Bryan Hudson               LF

Deiner Lopez                  3B

HELLO HILLCATS, OUR OLD FRIENDS: The Salem Red Sox begin a new series and complete an abbreviated homestand by welcoming the Lynchburg Hillcats to LewisGale Field Saturday evening. The unusual 1-2-1 series begins with a game at Salem, before moving to Calvin Falwell Field in Lynchburg for two games on Sunday and Monday, before returning to LewisGale Field on Tuesday for the series finale. Tonight marks the 11th contest between the geographic rivals this season, and the series has been competitive, with the Red Sox owning a 6-4 advantage. By Tuesday, the Hillcats and the Red Sox will have played 14 games in 28 days.

DANG, DANIEL: The Salem Red Sox will send Daniel McGrath to the rubber to make his fourth start of the season, and his second since being activated from the Disabled List on Sunday, May 29. In his first start back from the DL, the southpaw went 4.0 innings against the Hillcats, allowing one run on three hits, walking four and striking out two, getting a no decision. This season, the Australian has a 1-1 record with a 5.40 earned run average in 11.2 innings, holding opposing batters to just a .214 batting average against. McGrath has been plagued by walks, issuing seven free passes and striking out only five, a trend he hopes to reverse.

CREATING A DEVERS-ION: Rafael Devers had an up-and-down month of May, ultimately finishing with a .245/.301/.351 batting line with two home runs and 14 RBIs. The Salem third baseman finished the month on an upswing, getting hits in six-of-his-last-seven games, going 7-for-24 (.292 AVG) in that span to raise his batting line from .143/.242/.286 to .195/.273/.310 in May. Devers has further improved in three games in June, batting .313/.313/.438 (5-for-16, 2 2B, R, RBI). In his last 11 games, Devers is 12-for-40 (.300 AVG) at the plate.

DOUBLE VISION: In the final three games with the Myrtle Beach Pelicans, the Salem Red Sox offense exploded for 14 doubles, including a season-high six in game two of a doubleheader Thursday. The Red Sox now lead the Carolina League with 109 two-baggers, and trail only the High Desert Mavericks (110, TEX) for the lead among all High-A teams. Yoan Moncada had seven doubles in the three games to bring his season total to 20, tied for second in all of Minor League Baseball. Salem has three players ranking in the top-20 in two-base hits among all High-A players in Moncada (t-1st), Andrew Benintendi and Nick Longhi (t-18th, 13).

BRILLIANCE IN THE BULLPEN: The Salem Red Sox bullpen was been lights-out since the start of the weekend series with the Hillcats Friday night. In 24.2 innings across six games, the bullpen has allowed only four earned runs (1.46 ERA) and 11 total hits, while striking out 29 batters. Ben Taylor (2.0 IP), Yankory Pimentel (3.0 IP), Taylor Grover (2.0 IP), and Mario Alcantara (4.0 IP) combined for 11.0 shutout innings of work from Saturday-Monday, at one point retiring 26 consecutive Hillcats batters.

FLASH! AHH!: Salem has been aggressive on the bases this season, stealing 116 bases in 144 attempts (81% success). The Red Sox lead all of MiLB in team stolen bases, three ahead of the Hickory Crawdads (Low-A TEX, 113) . Yoan Moncada leads the Carolina League with 32 swipes, and is second behind Yefri Perez of the Jacksonville Suns (33) for the MiLB lead. After starting the year by successfully stealing 18 of 29 bases (62%), the Sox have been far more efficient, swiping 98 of their past 115 bags (85%).

A KIND OF MAGIC: The Salem Red Sox magic number to clinch their first first-half championship since 1988 currently stands at eight with 15 games to play by virtue of owning the tiebreaker with the Myrtle Beach Pelicans by clinching the first-half series with the doubleheader sweep Thursday. The Red Sox took 3-of-4 from Myrtle Beach to extend their divisional lead to 7.5 games. The magic number means that any combination of Red Sox wins and Pelicans losses that equals eight for the rest of the first half clinches the division for Salem.

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