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 Wilmington Blue Rocks

Opponent Preview - Greenville Drive

April 15, 2024 - South Atlantic League (SAL)
Wilmington Blue Rocks News Release

After a stunning 3-0 home-opening series and a series split on the road in Aberdeen, the Wilmington Blue Rocks are ready to welcome fans back to Frawley Stadium for their second homestand of the season atop the South Atlantic League standings. In the six-game series, the Rocks will host the Greenville Drive, the High-A affiliate of the Boston Red Sox. This series marks the first time that the teams have played one another in MiLB history.

As reigning 2023 South Atlantic League Champions, the Greenville Drive have had a slow start to the 2024 season. After winning their first game on the road against the Greensboro Grasshoppers, Greenville went on a four-game losing streak against Greensboro and at home against the Bowling Green Hot Rods. After dropping another two games to the Hot Rods, the Drive currently find themselves tied for last place in the SAL South standings.

Amongst the difficult start, a few things were evident of the Drive. One, there are obvious early struggles for some of their starting pitchers and relievers. Opening Day starter Luis Perales has struggled in his two starts this season; accumulating a 9.00 ERA in 5.0 IP. As the only member of the Drive in the Red Sox's top ten prospects, this is a notable stat line for the right-handed pitcher. The Drive currently have four pitchers on their roster with an ERA above 10.00 including reliever Reidis Sena who gave up a five-run lead by allowing six runs in two innings including a walk-off home run to seal their first loss of the season.

Besides some underwhelming pitching performances, there are a few pitchers that the Blue Rocks may struggle against in this series. Connelly Early has had two fantastic starts for Greenville, striking out 13 batters across 9.0 innings while sporting a 1.00 ERA. Relievers Jonathan Brand and Cooper Adams have similarly impressive stat lines having not allowed a run across a combined six appearances and 14.1 IP. Right-hander Caleb Bolden possesses two of Greenville's three wins this season in relief, racking up 10 SO in 6.1 IP across 4 appearances on the mound.

When it comes to keeping up on offense against the Drive, it is important to score early, as the majority of Greenville's runs come in the first half of their outings. The Grasshoppers shut out the Drive in the eighth and ninth innings in all of their three games.

Much like the Blue Rocks had a few hot bats to start the season, including home runs from Maxwell Romero Jr and Jared McKenzie, the Drive also has some early offensive performers worth noting. First baseman Bryan Gonzalez currently leads the team with 3 HRs and 8 RBIs. Caden Rose, who was a member of the Red Sox's 2023 draft class, homered in the second game of the season, his second-ever MiLB game.

While he hasn't hit one out of the park just yet, catcher Ronald Rosario has also proved to be a major point of stability for the Drive's offense. The right-handed hitter has a .300 batting average in 30 ABs. Assuming he will be in the lineup for the majority of the series, whether he's the team's designated hitter or catcher for the day, Rosario is a major bat to look out for.

Overall, this second homestand should be a challenge for the Blue Rocks. As Wilmington's undefeated record at home to start the season remains intact, only time will tell if it'll be Greenville who ends the streak.

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South Atlantic League Stories from April 15, 2024

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