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Myrtle Beach Pelicans: Game Notes, June 14 vs. Carolina

June 14, 2018 - Carolina League (CarL) - Myrtle Beach Pelicans News Release

The Myrtle Beach Pelicans begin a five-game, four-day series with the Carolina Mudcats with Thursday's 7:05 p.m. contest from TicketReturn.Com Field at Pelicans Ballpark. RHP Keegan Thompson (3-3, 3.56 ERA) starts for the Birds against Muddies RHP Braden Webb (3-5, 4.84 ERA). Coverage begins at 6:50 p.m. on MiLB.tv, MyrtleBeachPelicans.com/Broadcast, the MiLB First Pitch app and TuneIn.

PELICANS SWEPT WITH 3-2 LOSS

A late comeback attempt Wednesday was foiled for the Myrtle Beach Pelicans in a 3-2 loss to the Winston-Salem Dash at BB&T Ballpark. Winston-Salem promptly took the lead in their first at-bats, cashing in runs on an Alex Call RBI triple and Blake Rutherford sacrifice fly. In the third, Aramis Ademan singled in a run to halve the Dash's lead. However, in the bottom of the third inning, Ti'Quan Forbes notched an RBI single to put Winston-Salem back up by two. The score remained 3-1 until the seventh, when Austin Upshaw registered an RBI single. However, later in the frame, the Birds had the tying run thrown out at the plate and Myrtle Beach could not complete their comeback in a 3-2 loss. Casey Bloomquist and Jhon Romero combined to pitch four scoreless innings out of the bullpen.

MY HEART'S A MONASTERIO...

Myrtle Beach infielder Andruw Monasterio has reached base multiple times in six contests during his seven-game on-base streak. Over these last seven contests, the Caracas, Venezuela native is 12-for-31 (.387) with one home run, five RBIs and two walks. After slashing just .241/.313/.287 (75 wRC+) in a brief stint at the High-A level last year, Monasterio is hitting .266/.354/.337 (101 wRC+) this season. Part of his success is a better approach at the plate; after walking in 5.2 percent of his plate appearances in 2016 and 8.3 percent last season, Monasterio is posting a career-best 11.1 percent walk rate in 2018.

...IT BEATS FOR YOU SO LISTEN CLOSE

Under first-year hitting coach Ty Wright, the Pelicans have emphasized contact in 2018. Myrtle Beach has struck out 500 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 10 swinging-strike rates have been posted by Pelicans, the most of any team in the league. Andruw Monasterio is third in the league by swinging-and-missing just 6.1 percent of the time. Pelicans catchers P.J. Higgins and Jhonny Pereda place eighth and ninth at 7.5 and 8.0 percent, respectively. Austin Upshaw's 8.6 swinging-strike percentage rounds out the circuit's top 10. Only one Pelican (Wladimir Galindo, 14.9 percent, 14th-highest) ranks near the bottom of the league in swinging-strike rate.

PITCH (NEARLY) PERFECT

Over the last 20 games, Myrtle Beach has seen their starting pitching catch fire, with the club's rotation ceding just 31 runs, 28 earned, on 110 hits in 112.0 innings for a 2.25 ERA. Pelicans starters have whiffed 100 while walking only 25 during this stretch. Not coincidentally, Myrtle Beach has allowed more than four runs just once in these 20 games. Meanwhile the Birds' bullpen has been thriving for even longer. Over the past 43 contests dating back to April 28, Pelicans relievers have posted 2.26 ERA thanks to 52 runs, 37 earned, on 125 hits (7.6 H/9) in 147.1 innings (146 K, 8.9 K/9).

WLADIMIR THE GREAT

Myrtle Beach infielder Wladimir Galindo has recorded hits in 11 of his last 15 games, recording six multi-hit contests. Over this span, the Maracay, Venezuela native, slashing .304/.409/.446 (17-for-56, 5 2B, HR, 14 RBIs, 9 BB, HBP) over this run. Galindo is connecting for 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 23.8 percent this season with Myrtle Beach.

KEEGAN & KEL

Pelicans starter Keegan Thompson has been on a hot streak of late; over his nine starts dating back to April 17, the right-hander has surrendered more than three earned runs in an outing just twice. Over this run, Thompson has surrendered 17 runs, 15 earned, on 35 hits in 51.1 innings for a 2.63 ERA (46 K, 12 BB). The Cullman, Ala., native's 5.4 percent walk rate over the entirety of the season ranks as the eighth-best mark in the Carolina League. Only one qualified pitcher in the circuit has posted a higher fly ball rate than Thompson's 49.7 percent mark. The former Auburn Tigers' 16.0 percent line drive rate is the sixth-lowest such mark, with his ground ball rate of 34.3 percent placing as the fifth-lowest.

PELICAN POINTS

Over their seven-year playoff run, which began in 2011, the Pelicans' worst first-half record was the 36-34 mark the club posted in both 2012 and 2015. The Birds would have to win three of their final five games of this half to equal that record... Myrtle Beach has been involved in four straight sweeps, with the Pelicans brooming three of those series.


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