Myrtle Beach Pelicans Game Notes: August 31 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 second game of the series beginning at 6:05 p.m. This evening, RHP Alexander Vargas (2-4, 4.74 ERA) starts for Myrtle Beach against LHP Kris Bubic (6-4, 2.45 ERA). Coverage begins at 5:50 p.m. on MyrtleBeachPelicans.com/Broadcast, TuneIn and the MiLB First Pitch app.
BIRDS FALL IN THIRD STRAIGHT, DROP OPENER TO ROCKS
The Myrtle Beach Pelicans came back from an early deficit on Friday, but could not complete the victory in a 6-4 defeat against the Wilmington Blue Rocks from Frawley Stadium. After the Blue Rocks built a 4-1 lead, the Birds tied the game up with a three-run fifth. After Miguel Amaya drove in a run with a sacrifice fly, Grant Fennell and Kevonte Mitchell plated runs with RBI singles to knot the game up. The Blue Rocks came back with a run in the seventh and another in the eighth to take the first game of the series. In the losing effort, Delvin Zinn collected his second three-hit game of the season with the Birds while Carlos Sepulveda had a 2-for-4 day.
THAT TEAM CAN PITCH
The Pelicans have had their troubles against the Wilmington pitching staff this season. In 11 head-to-head games, in which Myrtle Beach is just 2-9, the Birds are just hitting .217/.290/.273 with two home runs while averaging just 2.7 runs per game. The Blue Rocks have outscored the Pelicans 46-30 over the 11 games while owning a 2.16 ERA. Aramis Ademan (.361 in 10 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.
ALEXANDER THE GREAT
Today's starter, Alexander Vargas, makes his final start of 2019. After struggling in the middle of his season, he has pitched much better over his last three starts. During that stretch, he owns a 2.65 ERA (5 ER over 17 innings). In those starts, he has struck out eight and only walked one. A Rule 5 Draft selection from the Yankees in December of 2018, Vargas has made 17 outings with the Pelicans, 12 of them being starts.
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 .237/.322/.350 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 six 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 (985), runs (527), at bats (4,310) 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 11 games, he is hitting .353/.463/.588 with two doubles, two home runs and 12 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 .299/.378/.483 with five doubles, three home runs and 15 RBIs in 24 games. He has raised his average with the Birds all the way up to .225 and his OPS from .584 to .672 in those 24 games. Additionally, he has played errorless baseball at first base. He is currently riding a season best tying six-game hitting streak, batting .304 (7-for-23) 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. It's the fifth season in a row in which Myrtle Beach finishes the season on the road...Delvin Zinn has been on fire, hitting .400 (10-for-25) on a six-game hitting streak. Over his last 14 games, Zinn is batting .309 (17-for-55).
• Discuss this story on the Carolina League message board...
Carolina League Stories from August 31, 2019
- Mudcats Blanked 6-0 in Antepenultimate Game in Salem - Carolina Mudcats
- P-Nats Sweep Saturday's Doubleheader - Frederick Keys
- Potomac Keeps Season Alive with Doubleheader Sweep - Potomac Nationals
- Villegas, Advocate Combine For Two-Hit Shutout In Double-Header Split - Down East Wood Ducks
- Woodpeckers, Wood Ducks Split Doubleheader - Fayetteville Woodpeckers
- Pelicans Shutout by Blue Rocks on Saturday Night - Myrtle Beach Pelicans
- Hillman Throws Gem in Hillcats Victory - Lynchburg Hillcats
- Dash Drop Saturday's Road Contest 6-1 at Lynchburg - Winston-Salem Dash
- August 31 - Carolina Mudcats Game Information - Carolina Mudcats
- Winston-Salem Dash: Game Notes (August 31 at Lynchburg) - Winston-Salem Dash
- Myrtle Beach Pelicans Game Notes: August 31 at Wilmington - Myrtle Beach Pelicans
- August 31 Game Information - Down East Wood Ducks
The opinions expressed in this release are those of the organization issuing it, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.