Myrtle Beach Pelicans Game Notes: April 15 vs. Frederick
Today, the Myrtle Beach Pelicans start a new series against the Frederick Keys (affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles) with first pitch at 7:05 p.m. In the first contest of the three-game set, LHP Luis Lugo (0-0, 1.80 ERA) makes his second start for the Birds against RHP Cody Sedlock (0-0, 3.18 ERA). Coverage begins at 6:50 p.m. on MiLB.tv, MyrtleBeachPelicans.com/Broadcast, TuneIn and the MiLB First Pitch app.
WOODPECKERS DOWN BIRDS IN SERIES FINALE BEHIND NINE RUNS
The Myrtle Beach Pelicans dropped their third-straight series to begin the season on Sunday, losing 9-4 to the Fayetteville Woodpeckers from TicketReturn.Com Field at Pelicans Ballpark. After Jimmy Herron led off the home-half of the first with a triple and scored on a Carlos Sepulveda sac fly, the Woodpeckers exploded offensively. A Miguelangel Sierra grand slam in the second put the Astros affiliate ahead for good. They added on a run in the third, fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth innings as well before the Birds put up three in the ninth. Erling Moreno (0-2) was handed the loss, allowing five runs, four earned, over 3.1 innings while tying a career-high with six walks.
BEST BACKSTOPS IN BASEBALL?
Both Miguel Amaya and Tyler Payne have controlled the running game brilliantly to start 2019. Among MiLB and MLB teams with at least 16 stolen bases attempted against them, the Pelicans rank first with a 53 percent caught-stealing percentage (9-for-17). Amaya has gunned down 7-of-12 potential base stealers while Payne has pegged out 2-of-5. In 2018, the Pelicans (behind catchers Jhonny Pereda, P.J. Higgins, Tyler Alamo, Michael Cruz and Tyler Pearson) finished first in the Carolina League in caught stealings (67) and fifth in caught-stealing percentage (36.0 percent). The league-average for caught-stealing percentage in 2018 was 34.2 percent.
THREE IS A MAGIC NUMBER, BUT SO IS FIVE
Going five innings seems to be the key for Pelicans starters in the beginning of the season. In the first 11 games, the Birds starter has finished the fifth inning five times. In those starts, they own a 2.52 ERA (7 ER over 25 IP). In the other six starts that have not reached the end of the fifth, the Birds' ERA is 11.64 (25 ER over 19.1 IP). Paul Richan (1), Bryan Hudson (2), today's starter Luis Lugo (1) and Javier Assad (1) have made the five five-inning starts.
LUGO LOOKS AT FAMILIAR FOE
This season marks the journeyman's third in the Carolina League after spending 2015 and 2016 in the circuit with the Lynchburg Hillcats. During Lugo's two seasons with the Indians organization in the league, he faced the Keys six times. Over those starts, he owned a 1-2 record with a 4.97 ERA. Interestingly enough, this will only be his second start at home against the Keys. The lefty struck out 25 batters and walked 12 over 29 innings in his career against Frederick.
BRINGING UP THE BACK END
In the Pelicans' two wins this season, the Birds' bullpen has not surrendered a run. On Friday, Tyler Peyton was strong through three scoreless innings in relief and Ben Hecht tossed a runless ninth inning as well. When the bullpen allows a run, the Birds are 0-9 this season. Overall, the 'pen owns a 1-3 record and a 5.02 ERA.
I WALK IT OUT, I WALK IT OUT
The Pelicans walked a season-best 11 times in Friday's game against Fayetteville and added eight more on Saturday. Friday's game marked most walks the Pelicans had drawn since May 13, 2018 against the Buies Creek Astros when they coaxed 12 free passes. In those two days, the Pelicans jumped from eighth in the league in walks to tied for third and they now sit tied for fourth in the league. Though they did not walk once in the series finale against the Woodpeckers, Frederick has struggled this season with its control as well. The Keys are tied with the Woodpeckers for most walks allowed this season (61) and they have played only 10 games to Fayetteville's 11.
BATS STILL WARMING UP
Through the first 11 games of the season, the Pelicans have only scored 34 runs (3.1/game). The Birds currently last in the Carolina League in batting average (.180), OBP (.278) SLG (.251) and OPS (.529). Miguel Amaya, Kevonte Mitchell and Aramis Ademan are the only three Birds to send a ball over the fence in the first 11 games. On the current pace in the small sample size, the Pelicans are projected to hit 140 doubles, 38 homers and score 433 runs. All would be franchise lows.
Aramis Ademan has been hot for the Pelicans. The shortstop has reached nine times in his last four games and holds an outright lead for the Birds in RBIs (6), OBP (.368), SLG (.387) and OPS (.756)...The Pelicans' -32 run differential (34 runs scored, 66 runs allowed) is the worst in Minor League Baseball. For reference, the Miami Marlins and the Baltimore Orioles are tied for Major League Baseball's worst run differential (-34). The Tampa Bay Rays have scored 38 more runs than they have allowed, which paces the minors and the majors.
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Carolina League Stories from April 15, 2019
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