September 4 Game Information
Today the Down East Wood Ducks (87-52) and Fayetteville Woodpeckers (72-67) open the Divisional Round of the 2019 Mills Cup Playoffs with a double-header beginning at 3 p.m. Left-hander Sal Mendez will take the mound for Down East in game one, against Fayetteville righty Nivaldo Rodriguez, while Down East righty Scott Engler will start game two, opposite fellow righty Austin Hansen. Both games will be played as seven-inning contests, and game two will follow approximately 30 minutes after the conclusion of game one. The broadcast will begin at 2:50 p.m. on 960AM The Bull, and online at 960thebull.com as well as on the MiLB First Pitch and TuneIn Radio Apps. Complete game notes are attached.
LAST TIME OUT: The Wood Ducks were held without a hit through the first five innings by Shawn Dubin, and entered the ninth trailing, 5-0. Down East batted around, scoring four times, but fell short in a 5-4 loss to the Woodpeckers to close out the regular season. Down East pitching issued nine walks in the ballgame, three of which came in to score. Josh Altmann was the lone Wood Duck to reach multiple times in the ballgame.
FAMILIAR FOE: The Wood Ducks and Woodpeckers will meet in at least eight consecutive games, five to finish the regular season and then again in the opening round of the playoffs, after the Woodpeckers secured a second half berth on Thurs-day. In head-to-head play this season the Woodies hold a 9-7 advantage but the Woodies and 'Peckers have each scored 63 runs across the season series. Of the nine wins for the Wood Ducks, five have come in last-at-bat fashion.
MARTINEZ MASHING: JP Martinez blasted a three-run home run Saturday, homering for the third consecutive game. Martinez finished tied for fourth in the Carolina League with 14 homers on the year. He also capped the season riding an 11-game hitting streak, going 17-43 (.395) over the stretch, and was named the Carolina League Player of the Week for August 26-September 2nd. He becomes the ninth Wood Duck to win a weekly award this season. Martinez also stole 28 bases on the year, joining Brewer Hicklen (WIL) as the only players in the league this season with double-digit home runs and 20+ steals.
NO RUNS FOR YOU!: The Wood Ducks 3-0 win Saturday was their 18th shutout victory on the season, the most in the Carolina League. Down East also has posted a 3.00 ERA this season, which ranks third in all of Minor League Baseball.
HOW 'BOUT A ROUND OF APPLAUSE: Four Wood Ducks earned End-Year recognition the Carolina League announced Thursday. Pitchers Sal Mendez and Joe Kuzia were named to the All-Star team along with Sam Huff who was selected as the DH. Corey Ragsdale was named the Carolina League Manager of the Year. Huff was also named the Texas Rangers Minor League Player of the Year by Baseball America.
MAGNIFICENT MENDEZ: Sal Mendez capped off the regular season by allowing just one earned run over five innings in a win against the Keys, Thursday. He finishes the campaign with a 2.37 ERA, the best mark in the Carolina League since 2014, when Glenn Sparkman posted a 1.56 ERA with Wilmington.
SEARCHING FOR RUNS: Runs have been elusive for the Woodies since the start of August. They have scored a combined 40 runs in their 18 losses (2.2 R/GM), and have been shut out six times. The Wood Ducks have now lost 10 of their last 13 games, and 16 of their last 25, dating back to August 8th.
SURPRISE!: Josh Advocate, Bubba Thompson, and Cole Uvila will head to Surprise, Ariz. at the end of the season to represent the Rangers in the Arizona Fall League. They will join Hickory Catcher Matt Whatley on the Surprise Saguaros, comprised of Rangers, Royals, Yankees, Orioles, and Nationals prospects.
STRIKEOUT BUG: The Wood Ducks struck out 17 times in their loss to Fayetteville yesterday, with Luis Garcia posting his second 12+ strikeout game against Down East. This season the Woodies have struck out 182 times in 137.1 innings (11.93 K/9) against the 'Peckers in 16 games played.
2019 BY THE NUMBERS: 50 first half wins (2nd most in a CL half)...10-gme winning streak April 26-May 5...28 comeback victories...9 walk-off wins...18 Shutout wins...7 Mid-Season All-Stars...3 Year-End All-Stars...9 players promoted...2 players started in Down East and made The Show...3.00 tied for third best ERA in MiLB... .500 or better vs every CL team in head to head play.
ORGANIZATIONAL STRENGTH: It hasn't just been the Wood Ducks who have performed well this season, the Rangers orga-nization as a whole has been among the best, including winning the AZL Championship over the Indians on Friday.
1. TEXAS RANGERS 465-354 .568
2. Tampa Bay Rays 451-383 .567
3. LA Dodgers 482-387 .555
WALK THIS WAY: After pitching to a team ERA of 2.62 through the first four months of the season, with a 3.6 BB/9, the Down East staff has taken a step back since the start of August, working to a 4.44 mark. The Woodies have allowed 117 walks in 251.1 in-nings (3.9 BB/9), while opponents are hitting .258 against them. The Woodies have also given up 22 home runs in 30 games, after allowing just 43 homers in their first 109 games.
COLE CRUISING: Cole Uvila struck out a career-high six in three scoreless innings last Thursday in Fayetteville. Uvila had also struck out five in two of his previous four outings. This season Uvila boasts a 13.27 K/9 (85 K/57.2 IP), and has struck out three or more batters in 15 of his 35 appearances this season.
SELF-ADVOCATE: Josh Advocate tossed three scoreless innings striking out four to pick up the victory in relief in game two on Saturday. The right-hander has struck out 42 in his last 31.0 innings (12.19 K/9), and has struck out three batters or more 14 times in 35 outings this season.
THE FUTURE IS HERE: Sam Huff clubbed a game-tying home run in the seventh inning of the SiriusXM Futures Game on Sunday to take home MVP honors. Huff becomes the second Ranger all-time to take home the award, joining Joey Gallo (2014). Huff has now hit 13 home runs for the Wood Ducks and 28 overall on the season.
A HALF FOR THE HISTORY BOOKS: The Down East Wood Ducks became just the sixth team in Carolina League history to finish a half with a winning percentage of .700 or better, while their 50 wins are the second most in any half in league history:
1. 1980 Peninsula (1st) 51-19 .729
2. 2019 DOWN EAST (1st) 50-20 .714
T3. 1982 Peninsula (2nd) 49-20 .710
T3. 1983 Lynchburg (1st) 49-20 .710
5. 1994 Wilmington (1st) 48-20 .706
6. 1980 Peninsula (2nd) 49-21 .700
SHOWTIME: Former Wood Duck Jonathan Hernandez made his Major League debut for the Rangers, last Wednesday, tossing 2.1 scoreless innings, and earing the win in relief. Hernandez becomes the tenth Down East player to make it to The Show. Hernandez pitched for the Woodies in 2017 and 2018, combin-ing to go 7-8, 2.86 in 24 games (23 starts), striking out 141 in 122.2 innings or work. Seven former Wood Ducks have made their Rangers debut this season, including Peter Fairbanks and Emmanuel Clase who began the 2019 season in Down East.
RAGS AT THE HELM: Corey Ragsdale returned to the manag-ers chair this season for the first time since 2015 when he led the Hickory Crawdads to their first ever South Atlantic League title, and was recognized as the Rangers Bobby Jones Player Development Man of the Year. Ragsdale was named the Carolina League Manager of the Year, Thursday, becoming the first Manager of the Year in Kinston since 2011 when Aaron Holbert skippered the Kinston Indians. He is also the 14th Kin-ston manager all-time to receive the honor, joining the likes of Torey Lovullo (2004), Eric Wedge (1999), Joel Skinner (1997), Mike Hargrove (1987), and Grady Little (1985) who all went on to manage at the Major League level.
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Carolina League Stories from September 4, 2019
- Red Sox Roll Blue Rocks 8-3 - Salem Red Sox
- CLDS Tied at 1-1 After Down East, Fayetteville Split Double-Header - Down East Wood Ducks
- Fayetteville and Down East Split Playoff Doubleheader - Fayetteville Woodpeckers
- Stiever Named White Sox MiLB Pitcher of the Month - Winston-Salem Dash
- Fredericksburg Baseball Hires Nick Hall as New Executive Vice President and General Manager; Bryan Holland and Aaron Johnson Promoted to Vice Presidents - Potomac Nationals
- Robert Named USA Today Minor League Player of the Year - Winston-Salem Dash
- CORRECTION RE: Salem Red Sox Release Postseason Roster - Salem Red Sox
- September 4 Game Information - Down East Wood Ducks
- Former Dash Star Mendick Makes MLB Debut on Tuesday - Winston-Salem Dash
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