Myrtle Beach Pelicans: Game Notes, July 12 vs. Carolina
The Myrtle Beach Pelicans look for a series win over the Carolina Mudcats with Thursday's 7:05 p.m. contest from TicketReturn.Com Field at Pelicans Ballpark. RHP Cory Abbott (1-4, 4.88 ERA) makes the start for the Birds against Muddies RHP Braden Webb (5-5, 3.63 ERA). Coverage begins at 6:50 p.m. on MiLB.tv, MyrtleBeachPelicans.com/Broadcast, the MiLB First Pitch app and TuneIn.
LACY DRIVES BIRDS TO 6-3 WIN
Rollie Lacy allowed just one run over 5.1 innings to spur the Pelicans to a 6-3 victory Wednesday over Carolina. The right-hander recorded strikeouts on each of his first six outs en route to seven whiffs in his High-A debut. The Birds broke open a scoreless tie with Andruw Monasterio's RBI single and Luis Ayala's RBI ground out to make it 2-0. The Muddies plated a run in the top of the sixth, but Myrtle Beach answered promptly in the bottom of the frame on D.J. Wilson's RBI double. Monasterio drew a bases-loaded walk in the seventh and Roberto Caro followed with a two-run single to make it 6-1. Carolina scored twice in the eighth, but could not get any closer as Jose Paulino earned his first career save with 1.2 scoreless innings out of the bullpen.
IT ALL STARTS AT THE TOP
Pelicans leadoff man D.J. Wilson has hits in 11 of his last 12 games, going 15-for-48 (.313/.377/.396) with two doubles, one triple, seven RBIs, five walks and nine runs scored. After earning 33 walks in 88 games last season with Low-A South Bend, Wilson has already drawn 23 walks in 34 contests this year with Myrtle Beach. Consequently, the Canton, Ohio native has increased his walk percentage from 9.5 percent in 2017 to 16.3 percent this season. Wilson is also going to the opposite field significantly more when he puts the ball in play; With South Bend, 24.1 percent of his batted balls were pushed to left field. However, this year, Wilson's 46.9 percent opposite field rate leads the Carolina League among hitters with at least 140 plate appearances.
BIRDS ON THE POND
Myrtle Beach had gone just 5-for-31 (.161) with runners in scoring position to strand a combined 26 runners on Sunday and Monday, but the Pelicans have rebounded nicely over the last two games. The Birds are 11-for-28 (.393) with men on second and/or third over the last two nights, continuing to pad their numbers in their best hitting situation on the season. Myrtle Beach is batting .252/.331/.348 (.679 OPS) with runners in scoring position this year, which, while not overly impressive, is far better than their line of .231/.307/.325 (.632 OPS) in all other situations. The good news, or potentially bad news, for the Pelicans is that nearly every team at every level in the history of baseball posts similar batting lines regardless of situation.
THE BIG REVIVAL
After falling 3-1 in Monday's series opener with Carolina, Myrtle Beach's offense has mashed over the last two days against a Mudcats pitching staff that had posted a 2.70 ERA over their previous 22 contests. The Pelicans have scored at least six runs in back-to-back games for the first time since plating six runs in consecutive contests on May 27 and May 29. Over these last two duels, Myrtle Beach has registered 24 knocks, with eight Birds recording multi-hit contests and six compiling multi-RBI games.
HOW THE TURNTABLES... HAVE TURNED
Rollie Lacy tossed 5.1 innings of one-run ball in Wednesday's 6-3 victory over Carolina, continuing a sudden trend of strong starting pitching for Myrtle Beach. Over the last 13 games, Pelicans starters have worked 64.2 innings, yielding only 17 runs, all earned, on 48 hits (6.5 H/9) for a 2.37 ERA. The Birds' starting staff has compiled 57 strikeouts against 25 walks over this span. In the seven games prior to this run, Myrtle Beach starters had posted an ugly 7.62 ERA thanks to 27 runs, 24 earned, on 39 hits (12.4 H/9) in 28.1 innings (30 K, 13 BB).
Thanks to a staff that ranks at or near the top of the Carolina League in nearly every single pitching category, the Pelicans do not necessarily need to score a plethora of runs to win games. Sure enough, when Myrtle Beach plates at least four tallies in a game, the Birds have a 33-9 (.786) record. This success has been exemplified of late; In the 66 games since May 11, the Pelicans have pitched well, posting a collective 3.38 ERA (482.1 IP, 406 H, 7.6 H/9, 213 R, 181 ER). Myrtle Beach has scored at least four runs in 25 of those contests, and the Birds are 23-2 (.920) in those games.
Former Myrtle Beach right-hander James Norwood made his major league debut on Wednesday with the Chicago Cubs at San Francisco's AT&T Park. Norwood took the loss in 1.2 innings, striking out two. The New York City native pitched in 35 games with the Birds across the 2016-17 campaigns, going 4-0 with a 2.23 ERA (48.1 IP, 44 H, 18 BB, 49)... The Chicago Cubs signed former Southern Illinois Saluki Max Schell to be the Pelicans' bullpen catcher.
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