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Myrtle Beach Pelicans Game Notes: August 28 at Potomac

August 28, 2019 - Carolina League (CarL) - Myrtle Beach Pelicans News Release

Today, the Myrtle Beach Pelicans continue their final road trip of the season and a four-game set against the Potomac Nationals (a Washington Nationals affiliate) with the third game of the series beginning at 7:05 p.m. This evening, LHP Brendon Little (2-1, 5.52 ERA) starts for Myrtle Beach against RHP Francys Peguero (0-1, 1.59 ERA). Coverage begins at 6:50 p.m. on, TuneIn and the MiLB First Pitch app.



The Myrtle Beach Pelicans took down the Potomac Nationals 8-5 on Tuesday from Northwest Federal Field at Pfitzner Stadium in a game which featured five combined errors. The Birds jumped out in front in the second inning when Kevonte Mitchell slugged his 14th home run of the season, a two-run shot. They then added on with two in the fourth and two more in the fifth inning to take a 6-0 lead. Potomac scored four unanswered runs to pull within two, but two more tallies on a two-run single from Mitchell in the eighth, who tied a career-high four RBIs in the game, put the contest out of reach. In his start, Jeffrey Passantino (W, 3-1) was strong, allowing just one run over six innings while whiffing eight batters in the win.


Miguel Amaya has been a hot hitter for the Pelicans over the last couple months. After hitting just .217/.353/.361 with five homers in the first half of the season (49 games), he is hitting a strong .263/.365/.461 with six home runs in the second half of the season (48 games). His second half OPS (.827) is 113 points higher than his first-half OPS (.714). Since July 4, Amaya is hitting .296/.403/.512 with 12 doubles, five home runs, 25 RBIs and 20 BB compared to 19 strikeouts in a span of 36 games. The Pelicans catcher is within one long ball 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).


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 (3.42), while they are last (10th) in road ERA (4.62) in the Carolina League. Their road slashline of .236/.322/.353 is also much better than home games: .220/.314/.323. The Birds hit 33 home runs at home and allowed 41 while they have hit 39 homers on the road in nine fewer games and allowed a league-worst 49 road blasts.


The Pelicans are on pace to set a few franchise lows in 2019. In the first half, the Pelicans set the franchise record for fewest first half wins (21), most first half losses (46) and lowest first-half winning percentage (.313). The record for fewest road wins is 25 (2010) and the Pelicans currently have 24 road wins. Offensively, the Pelicans .2237 batting average is one pace to set a new franchise low (.232, 2018). The Birds are also on pace for franchise lows in hits (980), runs (527), at bats (4,303) and total bases (1,452).


The bullpen has been a huge key in the Birds success, having just walked 17 batters over their last 17 games. When the bullpen is on, so are the Pelicans, as they are 33-17 when the bullpen does not allow any runs. The bullpen has been dominant in general, allowing seven earned runs over their last 43.1 innings (spanning their last 12 games) and over their last 16 games, the 'pen has a 1.42 ERA (8 ER over 50.2 IP).


The Pelicans are 3.5 games back of the Fayetteville Woodpeckers for second place in the Southern Division as of Wednesday. If the season were to end today, the Woodpeckers would be in the playoffs. Their magic number to clinch a playoff spot is three, meaning that they can go 3-4 over the next seven games and make the playoffs even if the Pelicans win their last six games. If the Pelicans miss out on the playoffs, it will be the first time the Pelicans failed to make the playoffs in back-to-back seasons since 2009 and 2010. Fayetteville, which was Buies Creek last season, won the Mills Cup title in 2018 in a one-game, hurricane-shortened series.


Luke Reynolds has been an offensive force since returning to the Pelicans. Reynolds played the first 55 games of the season with Myrtle Beach, hitting just .190/.296/.288 before being sent down to Low-A South Bend for 22 games. Since coming back to the Grand Strand, Reynolds is hitting .303/.384/.513 with five doubles, three home runs and 15 RBIs in 21 games. He has raised his average with the Birds all the way up to .223 and his OPS from .584 to .675 in those 21 games. Additionally, he has played errorless baseball at first base.


The Pelicans finish the season with an 11-game road trip, featuring three games against Salem (in which the Pelicans were just swept), four at Potomac and a season-finishing series at Wilmington. This is the longest road trip to finish out a season in recorded franchise history (dating back to 2005). The previous long was eight games in 2015. It's the fifth-straight year that the Birds have finished the regular season on the road...Kevonte Mitchell has been on fire for the Pelicans, hitting .346/.414/.654 with two homers over his last eight games.

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