Myrtle Beach Pelicans Game Notes: August 15 at Potomac
Today, the Myrtle Beach Pelicans conclude a three-game set against the Potomac Nationals (a Washington Nationals affiliate) with the finale of the series beginning at 7:05 p.m. This evening, LHP Brendon Little (0-1, 16.88 ERA) starts for Myrtle Beach against LHP Tim Cate (4-3, 3.75 ERA). Coverage begins at 6:50 p.m. on MyrtleBeachPelicans.com/Broadcast, TuneIn and the MiLB First Pitch app.
BIRDS SMASHED BY NATIONALS TO FORCE RUBBER GAME
The Potomac Nationals dropped the Myrtle Beach Pelicans 7-0 on Wednesday from Pfitzner Stadium. Tied in a scoreless game into the bottom of the fifth, the P-Nats scored six runs to take the lead, highlighted by a solo homer from K.J. Harrison and a Gilbert Lara three-run bomb. The Nationals tacked on with another run in the seventh inning to take their 7-0 lead. Myrtle Beach has held to just three hits in their first shutout loss since July 7 by Nick Raquet (W, 10-8), who tossed seven scoreless frames. In the Birds bullpen, both Chad Hockin and Enrique De Los Rios threw a shutout inning. In the loss, Javier Assad (L, 4-9) tied a season high by allowing six runs and set a new season high with 10 hits allowed. It was Assad's shortest start (4.1 innings) since June 14 when he lasted only four innings.
MY OH AMAYA
Miguel Amaya has been a hot hitter for the Pelicans over the last month. After hitting just .217/.353/.361 with five homers in the first half of the season (49 games), he is hitting a strong .264/.378/.465 with five home runs in the second half of the season (38 games). His second half OPS (.843) is 129 points higher than his first-half OPS (.714). Since July 4, Amaya is hitting .310/.435/.540 with eight doubles, four home runs, 21 RBIs and 17 BB compared to 14 strikeouts in a span of 26 games. The Pelicans catcher is within two long balls of his career-best 12 he hit with Low-A South Bend in 2018. In 2018, his second-half OPS (.634) was much lower than his first half mark (.865). Defensively, Amaya also has the MiLB lead with caught-stealings (44).
AWAY FROM THE FRIENDLY CONFINES
Inside the pitcher-friendly TicketReturn.Com Field at Pelicans Ballpark, the Birds have been an entirely different team than when they are on the road. At home, the Pelicans own the third-best ERA in the league (3.56), while they are last (10th) in road ERA (4.83) in the Carolina League. Their road slashline of .235/.323/.351 is also much better than home games: .219/.312/.321. The Birds have hit 31 home runs at home and allowed 40 while they have hit 34 homers on the road in nine fewer games and allowed a league-worst 45 road blasts.
WHEN THE RED SIGN IS FLASHING, DO NOT WALK
The Pelicans pitching staff has not given up many free passes over the last few games. As a team, Myrtle Beach arms have just walked 10 batters over their last seven games and have not walked a single batter three times in that span. On the year, when walking three or fewer, the Birds are 37-40, much better than their overall record of 47-72. Another key has been the bullpen, which has just walked five batters over their last seven games. When the bullpen is on, so are the Pelicans, as they are 28-15 when the bullpen does not allow any runs.
SEE YOU IN SEPTEMBER?
The Pelicans are three games back of the Fayetteville Woodpeckers for second place in the Southern Division as of Thursday. If the season were to end today, the Woodpeckers would be in the playoffs and they also hold the head-to-head lead over the Pelicans. Winston-Salem is 1.5 games back of the Pelicans and 4.5 back of the Woodpeckers. The Pelicans have captured the season series against the Dash while Winston-Salem lost the season series with Fayetteville. Fayetteville, which was Buies Creek last season, won the Mills Cup title in 2018 in a one-game, hurricane-shortened series.
ON THE ROAD AGAIN
The Pelicans are on a short three-game road stretch at Potomac, starting on Tuesday. The Birds will be back home for a six-game stretch in seven days (separated by an off day) from August 16 through 22 to finish off the home slate. In their last 18 games, 12 will be on the road. The Birds finish off the season with an 11-game road trip against Northern Division foes, playing three in Salem, four in Potomac and four in Wilmington.
SUCCESS AGAINST THE NATIONALS
The Pelicans are 5-4 in nine head-to-head games this season against Potomac. As a team, even after the shutout loss on Wednesday, the Birds are hitting .254/.347/.435 with seven home runs while averaging 4.7 runs per game. Wladimir Galindo's 1.208 OPS in his four games against Potomac leads the team and Cam Balego (who has two home runs against the P-Nats) owns a 1.042 OPS. Carlos Sepulveda has the most hits (9-for-27), hitting .333 in eight games, while Grant Fennell is 8-for-25 (.320) in his seven contests. On the hill, the Pelicans 3.38 ERA is their third-best mark against any team in the Carolina League this season.
The Pelicans lead the league in walks with 439 (3.7 per game). Cam Balego has been a master at drawing base on balls in the second half. Since July 9 (32 games), Balego leads all of baseball (Major and Minor Leagues) with 30 walks. After walking 19 times in 48 games in the first half, Balego has walked 33 times 50 games in the second half (1st half OBP: .347, 2nd half OBP: .413).
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Carolina League Stories from August 15, 2019
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