Myrtle Beach Pelicans Game Notes: August 16 vs. Salem
Today, the Myrtle Beach Pelicans start a three-game set against the Salem Red Sox (a Boston Red Sox affiliate) with the opener of the series beginning at 7:05 p.m. This evening, LHP Ryan Kellogg (2-7, 4.76 ERA) starts for Myrtle Beach against RHP Thad Ward (2-2, 2.28 ERA). Coverage begins at 6:50 p.m. on MiLB.tv, MyrtleBeachPelicans.com/Broadcast, TuneIn and the MiLB First Pitch app.
BIRDS USE EIGHT-RUN SEVENTH TO HAMMER P-NATS
The Myrtle Beach Pelicans scored eight runs on eight hits in the top of the seventh and cruised to an 11-2 win over the Potomac Nationals on Thursday from Pfitzner Stadium. The Birds took a 3-2 lead in the fourth on a two-run homer from Luke Reynolds before exploding for the eight runs in the seventh. Carlos Sepulveda started the inning with an RBI double before Grant Fennell ripped an RBI single and Sepulveda scored on a wild pitch to make it 6-2. Cam Balego then smashed a two-run shot, his 11th homer of the season, and Aramis Ademan and Jose Gutierrez added RBI singles prior to Ademan scoring on a wild pitch to cap the frame. Brendon Little (W, 1-1) went six innings, allowing just two runs while striking out six in his start to earn his first High-A win while Scott Effross and Jesus Camargo combined to throw three scoreless innings out of the bullpen for the Birds.
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 .258/.379/.455 with five home runs in the second half of the season (39 games). His second half OPS (.833) is 119 points higher than his first-half OPS (.714). Since July 4, Amaya is hitting .300/.434/.522 with eight doubles, four home runs, 21 RBIs and 19 BB compared to 14 strikeouts in a span of 27 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 (45).
BACK IN 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 (4.78) in the Carolina League. Their road slashline of .238/.326/.356 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 36 homers on the road in eight fewer games and allowed a league-worst 47 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 11 batters over their last eight games and have not walked a single batter three times in that span. On the year, when walking three or fewer, the Birds are 38-40, much better than their overall record of 48-72. Another key has been the bullpen, which has just walked six batters over their last eight games. When the bullpen is on, so are the Pelicans, as they are 29-15 when the bullpen does not allow any runs.
SEE YOU IN SEPTEMBER?
The Pelicans are two games back of the Fayetteville Woodpeckers for second place in the Southern Division as of Friday. 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 3.5 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.
BACK AT HOME
The Pelicans are back home after a short three-game road stretch at Potomac. 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 17 games, 11 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.
OFFENSE APLENTY AGAINST RED SOX
The Salem Red Sox have had the Birds number in their head-to-head meetings this season as Myrtle Beach is 5-7 against Salem, but the games have featured a ton of offense. The Pelicans are hitting .271/.340/.400 (highest batting average and OPS against any team this season) with seven homers in 12 games against Salem while the Red Sox are batting .283/.353/.380 in those 12 games. Each team has scored exactly 63 runs against each other (5.3 runs per game). Grant Fennell has torn up the Red Sox, hitting .400 (18-for-45) against them in 12 games while Cam Balego is hitting .324 (11-for-34).
The Pelicans lead the league in walks with 444 (3.7 per game). Cam Balego has been a master at drawing base on balls in the second half. Since July 9 (33 games), Balego is third in 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 51 games in the second half (1st half OBP: .347, 2nd half OBP: .412).
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