Myrtle Beach Pelicans: Game Notes, August 12 vs. Wilmington
The Myrtle Beach Pelicans host the Wilmington Blue Rocks in Sunday's 6:05 p.m. rubber match. LHP Justin Steele (0-1, 3.38 ERA) starts for the Birds against Blue Rocks RHP Ofreidy Gomez (4-9, 3.88 ERA). Television coverage begins at 6 p.m. on The CW21 and MiLB.tv. A radio broadcast starts at 5:50 p.m. on MyrtleBeachPelicans.com/Broadcast, TuneIn and the MiLB First Pitch app.
WILMINGTON EDGES MYRTLE BEACH 5-4
The Myrtle Beach Pelicans were nipped Saturday by the Wilmington Blue Rocks 5-4. The Birds jumped out to an early lead in the first inning courtesy of an RBI ground out by Jared Young and a sacrifice fly from Andruw Monasterio. Wilmington responded immediately, as Angelo Castellano and Nate Esposito registered RBI singles before Oliver Nunez's RBI fielder's choice gave the Blue Rocks a 3-2 advantage in the second. The score remained that way until the fifth, when D.J. Burt's RBI ground out put the score at 4-2. In the bottom of the frame though, RBI singles from Jhonny Pereda and Young equalized the score at four. However, in the seventh, Nunez scored on a wild pitch for what proved to be the winning run.
In the first four games with Myrtle Beach, Jared Young went just 2-for-15 (.133) with an RBI and three walks. However, the Prince George, British Columbia native seems to be starting to figure out the High-A level. Over the last 25 games, he is batting 30-for-91 with two doubles, five home runs, and 18 RBIs to slash .330/.384/.516.
THE DOG DAYS OF AUGUST
After winning their final three games of a 14-14 July, Myrtle Beach is off to just a 1-8 start in the month of August, and the Pelicans' offense has really struggled in the season's final full month. The Birds are batting just .230/.303/.300 to post a .603 OPS, far below their league-worst mark of .643 that is .030 away from ninth-place Carolina. Over the first nine games of August, the Pelicans have mustered just 10 extra-base hits. Myrtle Beach is also a woeful 10-for-57 (.175) during the month with runners in scoring position.
THE STRUGGLE IS REAL
Though the Pelicans snapped their seven-game losing streak - the club's first since 2013 - in Friday's 6-5 victory over Wilmington, the Birds have still dropped 17 of their last 22 contests. Over that span, Myrtle Beach has been outscored 98-58, yielding at least four runs in 15 of those 22 games. For perspective, the Birds had surrendered at least four runs in just four of their previous 17 contests. Myrtle Beach has also scored at least four runs in just seven of these last 22 games.
JHONNY, NOT JOHNNY
Since matching a season-high with just two strikeouts on July 28, Pelicans catcher Jhonny Pereda has only whiffed three times in his last 10 games. That has helped push his TPA/SO up to 7.28, the fifth-best such mark in the Carolina League. Pereda's strikeout rate is just 13.7 percent, also placing as the fifth-best in the circuit. With 44 walks and 57 strikeouts 101 games this season, Pereda's 0.77 BB/K is the fifth-highest walk-to-strikeout rate in the league. The San Sebastian, Venezuela native has reached base in 26 of his last 29 games, hitting .295/.373/.375 with a double, triple, two home runs and 12 RBIs during this span.
MAN OF STEELE
On August 1, 2017, Myrtle Beach starter Justin Steele left his outing in Frederick due to injury after just 2.1 innings. A mere three weeks later, the Lucedale, Miss., native underwent Tommy John Surgery, knocking him out for the rest of the 2017 campaign and the beginning portion of the 2018 campaign. However, just 341 days after his surgery, Steele made his return to the mound, allowing just an unearned run in five innings of work on July 29 against Lynchburg. The southpaw is set to make his third start of the season today against Wilmington. It will also be his eighth overall outing after five rehab starts with Rookie-level Mesa, where he struck out 27 against four walks in 18.1 innings and pitching to a 1.47 ERA.
FRIENDS CLOSE, ENEMIES CLOSER
Over the Pelicans' last 17 contests, 15 have been decided by three runs or less, including a remarkable 12 by just one tally. On the season, Myrtle Beach has played 74 games decided by no more than three runs, the third-highest total in the Carolina League. The Pelicans are 36-38 (.486) in those engagements. Interestingly, Wilmington has played 77 games determined by three runs or fewer, the most in the circuit. The Blue Rocks are 43-34 (.558) in those games.
Right-handed pitcher Garrett Kelly was assigned to Myrtle Beach Sunday from Low-A South Bend. The former Wake Forest Demon Deacon was 1-1 with a 1.34 ERA with the Low-A Cubs... If the Birds can win Sunday, they would snap a three-series losing streak.
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