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Myrtle Beach Pelicans: Game Notes, June 13 at Winston-Salem

June 13, 2018 - Carolina League (CarL) - Myrtle Beach Pelicans News Release

The Myrtle Beach Pelicans try to salvage their three-game series at the Winston-Salem Dash with Wednesday's 7 p.m. contest. RHP Cory Abbott (1-0, 3.00 ERA) starts for the Birds against LHP Tanner Banks (5-2, 2.94 ERA). Coverage begins at 6:45 p.m. on, the MiLB First Pitch app and TuneIn.


Both Blake Rutherford and Luis Alexander Basabe homered Tuesday to back seven strong innings from Bernardo Flores in the Myrtle Beach Pelicans' 4-0 loss to the Winston-Salem Dash at BB&T Ballpark. Rutherford smacked a solo shot in the first to give Winston-Salem an early lead. In the third, Basabe blasted a two-run dinger to put the Dash up 3-0. Winston-Salem plated another run in the fifth on an Alex Call RBI single. Meanwhile, the Pelicans' offense mustered only three hits all night as Flores struck out five in his seven dominant innings. Jose Paulino pitched 2.1 scoreless innings out of the bullpen before yielding to Wyatt Short, who twirled a scoreless eighth.


The Pelicans and Dash have formed quite a rivalry over the past few seasons. Since the start of the 2015 campaign, including the postseason, Myrtle Beach and Winston-Salem have met in 77 contests, with the Birds owning a 44-33 (.571) record against their Camel City foes. However, that record does not completely sell how close the two clubs have played against each other. Incredibly, 52 of those 77 games (67.5 percent) have been decided by three runs or less. The Pelicans have a significant edge in those games, going 33-19 (.635) against Winston-Salem in those contests decided by slim margins. Since the start of 2016, that advantage has been even bigger, with Myrtle Beach posting a 22-10 (.688) record in games decided by three runs or less against the Dash.


Under first-year hitting coach Ty Wright, the Pelicans have emphasized contact in 2018. Myrtle Beach has struck out 495 times this year, the fourth-fewest in the Carolina League. There are several underlying numbers that back that up as well. Four of the circuit's lowest 13 swinging-strike rates play for the Birds, the most of any team in the league. Andruw Monasterio is third in the league by swinging-and-missing just 6.2 percent of the time. Pelicans catchers P.J. Higgins and Jhonny Pereda place eighth and ninth at 7.6 and 8.1 percent, respectively. Austin Upshaw's 8.7 swinging-strike percentage is the CL's 13th-lowest. Only one Pelican (Wladimir Galindo, 14.9 percent, 14th-highest) ranks near the bottom of the league in swinging-strike rate.


Over the last 19 games, Myrtle Beach has seen their starting pitching catch fire, with the club's rotation ceding just 28 runs, 25 earned, on 102 hits in 108.0 innings for a 2.08 ERA. Pelicans starters have whiffed 95 while walking only 23 during this stretch. Not coincidentally, Myrtle Beach has allowed more than four runs just once in these 19 games. Meanwhile the Birds' bullpen has been thriving for even longer. Over the past 42 contests dating back to April 28, Pelicans relievers have posted 2.32 ERA thanks to 52 runs, 37 earned, on 123 hits (7.8 H/9) in 143.1 innings (143 K, 9.0 K/9).


Myrtle Beach infielder Andruw Monasterio has notched five consecutive multi-hit games during his six-game hitting streak. Over these last six contests, the Caracas, Venezuela native is 12-for-29 (.414) over that span with one home run and five RBIs. After slashing just .241/.313/.287 (75 wRC+) in a brief stint at the High-A level last year, Monasterio is posting a .269/.351/.341 (100 wRC+) batting line this season. Part of his success is a better approach at the plate; after walking in 5.2 percent of his plate appaearances in 2016 and 8.3 percent last season, Monasterio is posting a career-best 10.4 percent walk rate in 2018.


Myrtle Beach infielder Wladimir Galindo has recorded hits in 11 of his last 14 games, slashing .327/.435/.481 (17-for-52, 5 2B, HR, 14 RBIs, 9 BB, HBP) over this run. Galindo is hitting much more solid contact this season; after posting a line drive percentage of 16.9 last year with Low-A South Bend, he is at 24.4 percent this season with Myrtle Beach.


No runs had been scored against Birds starter Alex Lange entering play Tuesday in the previous 19 frames until an electric home run by Blake Rutherford in the first inning... During Cory Abbott's first High-A start on June 7, the righty garnered six innings of two-run ball at Buies Creek, registering eight strikeouts and no walks... Myrtle Beach accumulated three consecutive sweeps going into this interesting set with Winston-Salem. However, the Pelicans need to win on Wednesday to salvage the series.

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