August 29 Game Information
Tonight the Wood Ducks (35-28, 85-48) will go for the series split when they send lefty Sal Mendez (6-2, 2.40) to the mound to face off with Keys (24-38, 53-78) right-hander Brenan Hanifee (9-9, 4.39), with first pitch set for 7 p.m. The broadcast will begin at 6:50 p.m. on 960AM The Bull, and online at 960thebull.com as well as on the MiLB First Pitch and TuneIn Radio Apps. It's Thirsty Thursday at Grainger Stadium, featuring $1 Busch Light and Natty Light, presented by Budweiser. For tickets to the final home game of the regular season visit woodducksbaseball.com or call (252) 686-5172. Complete game notes are attached.
LAST TIME OUT: JC Escarra hit a three-run home run for the Keys in the seventh to snap a scoreless tie, as Frederick took down the Woodies, 4-0, to take a two games to one series lead. Ofelky Peralta tossed six shutout innings, while the Wood Ducks only had multiple runners on in one frame, and their lone extra base hit came from a Diosbel Arias double.
HOW 'BOUT A ROUND OF APPLAUSE: Four Wood Ducks earned End-Year recognition the Carolina League announced Thursday. Pitchers Sal Mendez and Joe Kuzia were named to the All-Star team along with Sam Huff who was selected as the DH. Corey Ragsdale was named the Carolina League Manager of the Year. Huff was also named the Texas Rangers Minor League Player of the Year by Baseball America.
CHASING HISTORY: With their win Tuesday, Down East tied the 1990 Port Charlotte Rangers for the most wins in a single season by a TEX High-A affiliate (85). The Wood Ducks also have a chance to become the winningest team in Kinston baseball history, with the record held by the 1991 Kinston Indians who went 89-49 (.645).
SEARCHING FOR RUNS: Runs have been elusive for the Woodies in the month of August. They have scored a combined 29 runs in their 14 losses (2.1 R/GM) this month, and have been shut out six times. The Wood Ducks have now lost six of their last seven games, and 12 of their last 19, dating back to August 8th.
SLUGGING SHERTEN: Sherten Apostel blasted two home runs for the Wood Ducks Tuesday to give him four with Down East, and 19 on the season. He saw his 27-game on base streak come to a close on Wednesday. Over that stretch he batted .329 with an OBP of .476, including 22 walks.
TERRY ON A TEAR: Curtis Terry hit his tenth home run for the Woodies Sunday against Wilmington, and now has 25 on the year combined with his time in Single-A Hickory. He has posted 15 multi-hit games, including two separate 12-game hitting streaks, and saw his 21-game on-base streak come to a close on Friday. Overall he sports a .926 OPS with Down East, including hits in 49 of 61 games. He was named the Carolina League Player of the Month for the Month of July.
SUPER SAM: Sam Huff belted his 13th home run for the Wood Ducks, Wednesday, which ties him for seventh in the Carolina League this season. Huff ranks fifth in SLG (.443), and ninth in OPS (.775). However, Huff has been held without an extra-base hit in his last 11 games played.
ORGANIZATIONAL STRENGTH: It hasn't just been the Wood Ducks who have performed well this season, the Rangers organi-zation as a whole has been among the best:
1. TEXAS RANGERS 452-345 .567
2. Tampa Bay Rays 489-378 .564
3. LA Dodgers 472-377 .556
THOMPSON TAGS THE KEYS: Bubba Thompson enjoyed his first career multi-home run game, Tuesday against Frederick. He hit a solo shot in the second inning and followed with a three-run blast in the third inning. Thompson also hit a grand slam against the Keys on August second, which likewise was the first of his career. The 21-year-old has gone 9-31 (.290) against the Keys this season with 9 RBI in 9 games played.
TOUGH AUGUST: After pitching to a team ERA of 2.62 through the first four months of the season, with a 3.6 BB/9, the Down East staff has taken a step back in August, working to a 4.55 mark. The Woodies have allowed 87 walks in 205 innings (3.8 BB/9), while opponents are hitting .265 against them. The Woodies have also given up 19 home runs in 24 games, after allowing just 43 homers in their first 109 games. The last time a Wood Ducks starter earned a win was August 11th when Noah Bremer claimed the rubber game against Frederick.
COLE CRUISING: Cole Uvila struck out a career-high six in three scoreless innings Thursday in Fayetteville. Uvila had also struck out five in two of his previous four outings. This season Uvila boasts a 13.50 K/9 (82 K/54.2 IP), and has struck out three or more batters in 15 of his 33 appearances this season.
SELF-ADVOCATE: Josh Advocate struck out a career-high six batters, last Saturday, in three scoreless innings in relief. He has now struck out 5+ batters in three of his last five outings. The right-hander has struck out 38 in his last 28.0 innings (12.21 K/9), and has struck out three batters or more 13 times in 34 outings this season.
THE FUTURE IS HERE: Sam Huff clubbed a game-tying home run in the seventh inning of the SiriusXM Futures Game on Sunday to take home MVP honors. Huff becomes the second Ranger all-time to take home the award, joining Joey Gallo (2014). Huff has now hit 13 home runs for the Wood Ducks and 28 overall on the season.
A HALF FOR THE HISTORY BOOKS: The Down East Wood Ducks became just the sixth team in Carolina League history to finish a half with a winning percentage of .700 or better, while their 50 wins are the second most in any half in league history:
1. 1980 Peninsula (1st) 51-19 .729
2. 2019 DOWN EAST (1st) 50-20 .714
T3. 1982 Peninsula (2nd) 49-20 .710
T3. 1983 Lynchburg (1st) 49-20 .710
5. 1994 Wilmington (1st) 48-20 .706
6. 1980 Peninsula (2nd) 49-21 .700
SHOWTIME: Former Wood Duck Jonathan Hernandez made his Major League debut for the Rangers, Wednesday, tossing 2.1 scoreless innings, and earing the win in relief. Hernandez becomes the tenth Down East player to make it to The Show. Hernandez pitched for the Woodies in 2017 and 2018, combin-ing to go 7-8, 2.86 in 24 games (23 starts), striking out 141 in 122.2 innings or work. Seven former Wood Ducks have made their Rangers debut this season, including Peter Fairbanks and Emmanuel Clase who began the 2019 season in Down East.
RAGS AT THE HELM: Corey Ragsdale returned to the manag-ers chair this season for the first time since 2015 when he led the Hickory Crawdads to their first ever South Atlantic League title, and was recognized as the Rangers Bobby Jones Player Development Man of the Year. Ragsdale was named the Carolina League Manager of the Year, Thursday, becoming the first Manager of the Year in Kinston since 2011 when Aaron Holbert skippered the Kinston Indians. He is also the 14th Kin-ston manager all-time to receive the honor, joining the likes of Torey Lovullo (2004), Eric Wedge (1999), Joel Skinner (1997), Mike Hargrove (1987), and Grady Little (1985) who all went on to manage at the Major League level.
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