Myrtle Beach Pelicans: Game Notes, May 17 at Wilmington

May 17, 2018 - Carolina League (CarL) - Myrtle Beach Pelicans News Release

The Myrtle Beach Pelicans square off with the Wilmington Blue Rocks in a rubber match in Thursday's 6:35 p.m. contest. RHP Alex Lange (1-2, 4.65 ERA) starts for the Birds against Blue Rocks RHP Ofreidy Gomez (1-3, 5.40 ERA). Coverage begins at 6:20 p.m. on, the MiLB First Pitch app and TuneIn.


Tyler Alamo collected five hits throughout Wednesday's doubleheader to help Myrtle Beach win the finale over Wilmington 10-1 after dropping the opener 3-1. In game one, the Blue Rocks scored a run in both the first and third innings before a Kevonte Mitchell sacrifice fly halved the lead at 2-1 in the fourth. However, after a Wilmington tally in the sixth, the Birds could not get any closer. In game two, the Pelicans rapped out three runs in the second. The Blue Rocks got on the board in the bottom of the second, but a four-run fifth, two-run sixth and another run in the seventh put Myrtle Beach way out in front at 10-1. Bryan Hudson yielded just one run on one hit in five innings to earn the win in the finale.


After ranking in the top half of the Carolina League in home runs each of the past four seasons, the Pelicans have seen several fly balls come up just a short of home run territory in 2018. The club's 19 dingers this season are ninth in the circuit, and the Birds have mustered just four home runs thus far in their 15 games played in May. In comparison, the Birds whacked 22 home runs in May of last season, and the fewest home runs the club has hit in any May over their recorded history (through the 2005 season) are the 11 they popped in May of 2012. Outside of Tyler Alamo homers on April 28, May 1, May 8 and May 12, Jhonny Pereda, who went yard on May 13, is the only Pelican to launch a roundtripper since April 28.


Perhaps the biggest surprise of the season offensively for Myrtle Beach, Jhonny Pereda leads the Pelicans in average (.321) and on-base percentage (.387). Over his last 27 starts, the native of San Sebastian, Venezuela is hitting .346/.404/.452 with three doubles, one triple, two home runs and 24 RBIs. Pereda ranks fourth in the Carolina League in average due to a contact-oriented approach that has seen him whiff at just 8.2 percent of pitches, the 11th-lowest in the circuit. Pereda's frequent contact is often strong, as his 27.2 percent line drive rate places 10th in the league. He has sprayed his batted balls to the opposite field (42.1 percent, second-most in the league) and up the middle (25.3 percent) a combined 67.4 percent of the time.


Over 13 games from April 16 through May 7, Pelicans first baseman Tyler Alamo went just 8-for-46 (.174), drawing just three walks with one hit-by-pitch for a .240 on-base percentage. However, the Cypress, Calif., native has notched a hit in each of his seven games since, including three multi-hit efforts. Over these last seven contests, Alamo is 12-for-25 (.480), lashing three doubles and two home runs to drive in seven runs. He has also drawn four walks. Perhaps the biggest change for Alamo in 2018 has been his ability to get the ball in the air. After hitting 31.5 percent of his batted balls in the air in 2017, his fly ball rate of 43.0 percent in 2018 ranks as the 12th-highest in the Carolina League.


Myrtle Beach's 10-1 win in Wednesday's doubleheader finale over Wilmington was the Pelicans' largest margin of victory on the season. Still, the blowout was a rarity for the Birds recently. Of Myrtle Beach's last 16 games, 11 have been decided by three runs or fewer. The Pelicans have gone 7-4 in those contests, and the club is 9-12 in these close games over the course of the 2018 season. Interestingly enough, Myrtle Beach's Achilles' heel has come in two-run contests, in which the Birds have posted just a 1-8 record.


Part of Myrtle Beach's pitching resurgence has to be credited to the bullpen, which has seen their season ERA dip from 5.12 on April 28 to 4.08 heading into play today. Over these past 17 games, Birds relievers have pitched 55.0 innings, yielding 25 runs, 16 earned, on 50 hits (8.2 H/9) for a 2.62 ERA. The Pelicans' bullpen has recorded 62 strikeouts (10.1 K/9) during this span.


Myrtle Beach played error-free baseball in Wednesday's doubleheader, but the Birds have struggled defensively in 2018. The Pelicans' 56 errors on the season are seven more than Lynchburg, the next-closest Carolina League team. In fact, the Birds' total is nearly triple that of Buies Creek's 22, which is the best mark in the circuit. Myrtle Beach has made a 31 errors in the 19 games since April 26, tied for the most in all of Minor League Baseball over that span.

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