Myrtle Beach Pelicans Game Notes: August 30 at Wilmington
Today, the Myrtle Beach Pelicans continue their final road trip of the season and their final series, a four-game set against the Wilmington Blue Rocks (a Kansas City Royals affiliate) with the first game of the series beginning at 7:05 p.m. This evening, RHP Javier Assad (4-10, 3.80 ERA) starts for Myrtle Beach against RHP Jonathan Bowlan (5-3, 2.74 ERA). Coverage begins at 6:50 p.m. on MyrtleBeachPelicans.com/Broadcast, TuneIn and the MiLB First Pitch app.
BIG FIFTH PROPELS NATIONALS, ELIMINATES BIRDS
The Myrtle Beach Pelicans fell in the series finale to the Potomac Nationals 5-1 on Thursday from Pfitzner Stadium. After the Birds took a 1-0 lead in the second with an RBI single from Kevonte Mitchell, the Nationals came back in the fifth to take the lead. Cole Freeman tied the game on an RBI fielder's choice before Aldrem Corredor cranked a three-run bomb to right, giving Potomac a 4-1 advantage. In the seventh, Freeman added on with an RBI double to put the game out of reach. In his start, Enrique De Los Rios (L, 1-3) allowed just two unearned runs over his 4.1 innings.
THAT TEAM CAN PITCH
The Pelicans have had their troubles against the Wilmington pitching staff this season. In 10 head-to-head games, in which Myrtle Beach is just 2-8, the Birds are just hitting .213/.288/.272 with two home runs while averaging just 2.6 runs per game. The Blue Rocks have outscored the Pelicans 40-26 over the 10 games. Aramis Ademan (.375 in nine games) and Cam Balego (.325 in 10 games) are the only two everyday Pelicans to have a batting average over .300 against the Blue Rocks on the year.
MY OH AMAYA
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 .256/.356/.448 with six home runs in the second half of the season (49 games). His second half OPS (.804) is 80 points higher than his first-half OPS (.714). Since July 4, Amaya is hitting .285/.390/.492 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).
LEAVING 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 (3.42), while they are last (10th) in road ERA (4.67) in the Carolina League. Their road slashline of .236/.322/.351 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 40 homers on the road in seven fewer games and allowed a league-worst 50 road blasts.
THE WRONG KIND OF RECORDS
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 .228 batting average is one pace to set a new franchise low (.232, 2018). The Birds are also on pace for franchise lows in hits (982), runs (527), at bats (4,306) and total bases (1,450).
Kevonte Mitchell has been hot late in the season for the Pelicans. From May 24 through August 18, he hit just .176 over a stretch of 53 games, but he has turned it around. Over his last 10 games, he is hitting .367/.486/.633 with two doubles, two home runs and 11 RBIs. Mitchell leads the team with 14 home runs, a new career high as well after hitting 11 with Low-A South Bend in 2017. It's the most for the Pelicans since 2017 when Eddy Martinez and Matt Rose both hit 14.
NO POSTSEASON THIS YEAR
With a Pelicans loss and a Fayetteville Woodpeckers win on Thursday, the Woodpeckers clinched the second Southern Division playoff spot. It is 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.
THE RETURN OF THE JEDI
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 .301/.383/.494 with five doubles, three home runs and 15 RBIs in 23 games. He has raised his average with the Birds all the way up to .225 and his OPS from .584 to .675 in those 23 games. Additionally, he has played errorless baseball at first base. He is currently riding a five-game hitting streak, batting .316 (6-for-19) over that span.
The Blue Rocks are playoff bound after winning the Northern Division in the first half of the season...This four-game series ends an 11-game road trip for the Birds.
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Carolina League Stories from August 30, 2019
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