Game #133 Preview – Dash at Salem

Game #133 – Away Game #63
Winston-Salem Dash (26-36, 54-78) at Salem Red Sox (40-23, 77-55)
Tuesday, August 30 – 7:05 p.m. 
LewisGale Field (Salem, Va.)

GAME BACKGROUND:

The Dash blasted the Carolina Mudcats 15-2 in their final home game of the season on Sunday at BB&T Ballpark. Winston-Salem banged out 17 hits and scored in five innings, including 10 runs from the sixth to the eighth frames. Eight of the Dash’s nine starters had at least one hit, while all 14 of the club’s RBIs came from four men.

STARTING LINEUP:

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After Sunday’s outing, Drew Hasler completed his season without allowing a run in 15.2 innings at BB&T Ballpark (Jody Stewart/W-S Dash).

Landon Lassiter – LF
Michael Suiter – CF
Mason Robbins – RF
Gerson Montilla – 1B
Zack Collins – C
Toby Thomas – 3B
Marcus Davis – DH
Dante Flores – 2B
Cleuluis Rondon – SS
Jordan Stephens – RHP

DASH DOTS:

  • During Sunday’s affair, Daniel Gonzalez and Michael Suiter set new career-highs with four apiece, while both Dante Flores and Cleuluis Rondon registered three. On the bump, Robinson Leyer set a new season-high with seven strong innings, during which he whiffed eight, while Drew Hasler finished the contest with two scoreless innings.
  • The Dash had lost 11 of their last 12 games, the club’s worst such stretch of the season, before Sunday’s annihilation. Winston-Salem matched a season-high for margin of victory (18-5 win at Wilmington on July 1). Before this game, the Dash had scored just 35 runs in their previous 12 contests (2.9 per game).
  • Winston-Salem finished off its toughest season in the BB&T Ballpark era with an emphatic win. The Dash finished the seventh season at the downtown facility with a 31-39 mark, the club’s worst home mark since moving from Ernie Shore Field. The Dash’s only other losing record at BB&T Ballpark came in 2014 (34-35).
  • With a season-ending seven-game road trip on the horizon, the Dash turn to Jordan Stephens, the only member of the club’s Opening Day rotation to remain with the club. All four others have advanced to Double-A Birmingham, though Stephens has had an outstanding season. The White Sox fifth-round pick last year, Stephens paces the Carolina League with 136 strikeouts, while his 3.71 ERA is second amongst qualifiers. In his last outing Wednesday, Stephens logged a career-high 10 strikeouts at Frederick.
  • Sunday marked the 94th time that both Nick Basto and Mason Robbins played in the same game for the Dash. Only five times has an opposing team held both men hitless in the same game. This is a big reason why Basto has never owned an overall average below .305 at the High-A level, while Robbins’ mark has been north of .300 every day since July 16.

BROADCAST INFORMATION:

Tuesday’s contest will be broadcast live on wsdash.com/broadcast and the TuneIn Radio app. The Pregame Dash will begin at 6:50 p.m., with the first pitch set for 7:05 p.m.

-Joe

Game #132 Preview – Dash vs. Carolina

Game #132 – Home Game #70
Winston-Salem Dash (25-36, 53-78) vs. Carolina Mudcats (18-43, 47-84)
Sunday, August 28 – 2:00 p.m. 
BB&T Ballpark (Winston-Salem, N.C.)

GAME BACKGROUND:

Winston-Salem took a 4-1 lead into the eighth inning, but Carolina evened the contest with three in the eighth and claimed the lead for good on a Gerson Montilla fielding error in the ninth for a 5-4 triumph on Saturday at BB&T Ballpark.  The Dash and Mudcats will square off on Sunday in what will be the final home contest for Winston-Salem this season.

STARTING LINEUP:

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Kelvis Valerio tied a career-high with seven innings on Saturday (Jody Stewart/W-S Dash).

Michael Suiter – CF
Dante Flores – 2B
Mason Robbins – RF
Nick Basto – LF
Zack Collins – DH
Marcus Davis – 1B
Toby Thomas – 3B
Daniel Gonzalez – C
Cleuluis Rondon – SS
Robinson Leyer – RHP

DASH DOTS:

  • The Dash have lost 11 of their last 12 games, the club’s worst such stretch of the season. During this span, Myrtle Beach has more than doubled its advantage on Winston-Salem in the Southern Division’s second half standings (7.0 to 15.0). The Pelicans officially clinched a playoff spot, and eliminated the Dash in the process, on Wednesday. In its last 11 losses, Winston has only amassed 26 runs (2.4 per game), while the opposition has scored 66 times (6.0 per game).
  • Winston-Salem’s outfield duo of Nick Basto and Mason Robbins have earned spots on the Carolina League’s Year-End All-Star team, the league office announced Saturday. The Dash are one of three clubs with multiple players on the team, joining Lynchburg (six) and Salem (two). Bobby Bradley of Lynchburg earned the CL’s Most Valuable Player award, while Myrtle Beach’s Trevor Clifton took home the Pitcher of the Year honor. Hillcats skipper Mark Budzinski is the circuit’s Manager of the Year.
  • Basto is third in on-base (.386), fifth in slugging (.482), tied for eighth in home runs (12) and tied for ninth in runs. Robbins is in the top 10 on the circuit in several categories, too: at-bats (473, third), total bases (207, fifth), doubles (31, tied for sixth) and slugging (.438, 10th).
  • The key reason Basto and Robbins are Year-End All-Stars is batting average. Robbins leads the Carolina League with a .315 average, while Basto is second at .307. Fellow All-Star Aderlin Rodriguez (.305) a slugger with Frederick, is the only other Carolina League qualifier with an average above .300. If Robbins and Basto maintain their hold on the top two spots, it would be the second time in five years that a Dash duo would finish one-two in batting average. Carlos Sanchez and Dan Black finished with .315 marks in 2012, the last year the Dash reached the Mills Cup Championship Series.
  • Sunday marks the 94th time that both Basto and Robbins are playing in the same game for the Dash. Only five times has an opposing team held both men hitless in the same game. This is a big reason why Basto has never owned an overall average below .305 at the High-A level, while Robbins’ mark has been north of .300 every day since July 16. Robbins also registered his team-leading 43rd multi-hit game Saturday (2-for-5).
  • Even though the Dash’s home slate ends on Sunday, the season will continue for one more week. Following an off day on Monday, Winston-Salem embarks on a week-long road trip. The Dash will invade Salem from Tuesday through Thursday before heading to Carolina for a four-game set to conclude the season. The Dash’s 30-39 home record is the worst in the seven-year BB&T Ballpark era, with the only other previous losing record coming in 2014 (34-35).

BROADCAST INFORMATION:

Television coverage of Sunday’s contest will be available on My48 at 2 p.m. A full channel guide is available here. The game will also be broadcast live on wsdash.com/broadcast and the TuneIn Radio app. The Pregame Dash will begin at 1:45 p.m., with the first pitch set for 2 p.m.

-Joe

Game #130 Preview – Dash vs. Carolina

Game #130 – Home Game #68
Winston-Salem Dash (25-34, 53-76) vs. Carolina Mudcats (16-43, 45-84)
Friday, August 26 – 7:00 p.m. 
BB&T Ballpark (Winston-Salem, N.C.)

GAME BACKGROUND:

Frederick plated seven runs in the bottom of the eighth to rally for a 12-7 win over Winston-Salem in Thursday night’s rubber match at NYMEO Field. The Dash begin their final home series of the season on Friday at 7 p.m. against the Carolina Mudcats, the Braves’ High-A club.

STARTING LINEUP:

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Gerson Montilla drove in five runs on Thursday, one shy of his career high (Jody Stewart/W-S Dash).

Landon Lassiter – LF
Michael Suiter – CF
Mason Robbins – RF
Nick Basto – DH
Gerson Montilla – 3B
Marcus Davis – 1B
Toby Thomas – 2B
Daniel Gonzalez – C
Cleuluis Rondon – SS
Zach Thompson – RHP

DASH DOTS:

  • The Dash scored all but one of their seven runs on Thursday thanks to the long ball. Gerson Montilla leveled a grand slam in the first frame, marking the Dash’s second four-run homer of the year (Mason Robbins, July 19 vs. Myrtle Beach). Then, in the fourth, Michael Suiter and Dante Flores went back-to-back against Keys right-hander Franderlin Romero, the third such instance of the season. It marked the first time Winston-Salem clubbed consecutive home runs since Nick Basto, Marcus Davis and Telvin Nash hit three straight on July 27, which also came against Romero.
  • Montilla’s grand slam was a big part of his five-RBI performance on Thursday. The only other five-RBI showing by a Winston-Salem hitter also came from Montilla, who accomplished the feat as part of a cycle on April 22 at Salem. Montilla paces all Dash hitters with 70 RBIs. Three others (Davis, Basto and Robbins) have at least 58.
  • Due to their loss and Myrtle Beach’s victory at Carolina on Wednesday night, the Dash were officially eliminated from the postseason picture. This marks just the fourth time in the Dash era (2009-present) that Winston-Salem will not suit up in the Carolina League playoffs. The Pelicans will meet first-half champion Salem in the best-of-three Southern Division Championship Series.
  • The Dash boast the two best qualified hitters in the Carolina League. Even though he is mired in a 4-for-27 slump, Robbins paces the circuit with a .314 average. Basto stands second at .309, though he is also limping a bit as of late (1-for-14 in his last four games). The next-closest competitor is Frederick’s Aderlin Rodriguez, who has a .304 average. If Robbins and Basto maintain their hold on the top two spots, it would be the second time in five years that a Dash duo would finish one-two in batting average. Carlos Sanchez and Dan Black finished with .315 marks in 2012, the last year the Dash reached the Mills Cup Championship Series.
  • Friday begins the Dash’s final home series of the 2016 season. No matter what the result is of this three-game set with Carolina, Winston-Salem will record its worst home record since moving to BB&T Ballpark in 2010 (currently 30-37). The Dash’s only other losing season at home came in 2014, when the club was 34-35. The Dash’s 37 home losses are tied for the most in the Carolina League with Wilmington.
  • Two White Sox affiliates have a chance to clinch a postseason spot. Triple-A Charlotte has won five in a row to claim a half-game lead on the Gwinnett Braves in the tremendously competitive South Division within the International League. Rookie-level Great Falls has rattled off six wins in its last seven games to claim a two-game edge in the second half. The Voyagers have reached the Pioneer League postseason in eight of the last nine seasons.

BROADCAST INFORMATION:

Friday’s contest will be broadcast live on wsdash.com/broadcast and the TuneIn Radio app. The Pregame Dash will begin at 6:45 p.m., with the first pitch set for 7:00 p.m.

-Joe

Specialized coach helped Collins take game to next level

In Zack Collins’ High-A debut on July 15, he went 3-for-4 with a three-run homer at BB&T Ballpark. It marked the beginning of another step in his whirlwind baseball career, which has been on warp speed over the last few months.

A few weeks earlier, before the White Sox drafted him 10th overall, Collins had a University of Miami logo on his chest while competing in the College World Series. While with the Hurricanes this season, he hit .363 with a team-leading 16 home runs, 59 RBIs and 78 walks. Two years before, the ACC named him the Freshman of the Year, as he ranked near the top of the league in many offensive categories.

Up until his junior year at Miami, Collins’ name in a lineup primarily represented explosive offensive numbers. His sophomore year, he played 66 of the 67 games, but only caught half of them (32). He was the designated hitter the rest of the time.

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Dash catcher Zack Collins turned himself into a first-round pick after his junior season with Miami (Joel Auerbach/Getty Images).

Only a year later, Collins became the first Miami baseball player to win the Johnny Bench Award, which honors the nation’s top collegiate catcher.

Enter Norberto Lopez, the volunteer assistant the Hurricanes hired before Collins’ third year to specifically assist the future White Sox draft pick and other Miami catchers.

“I wouldn’t be in the situation I’m in now without him,” Collins said. “[The Miami coaching staff] told me they were going to look for a good catching coach for me because that was pretty much my main problem–catching.”

•••

Collins played shortstop and third base in high school. No one put him behind the plate until he suggested it himself.

“I was the kid who kicked around the dirt at shortstop,” Collins said. “I wanted to be in the action.”

Growing up, Collins’ dad taught him most of what he knows about hitting, but catching was new territory. He had never been involved with a catching coach until Lopez, who would become his first influential catching instructor.

“Anybody can hit ground balls to someone and tell them to field the ball right,” Collins said. “Catching is totally different.”

Lopez brought three years of professional catching experience in the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim organization, as well as 10 years of coaching.

This was the issue in Miami’s search for a catching instructor: find a coach with the experience to help Collins who would also accept an unpaid volunteer position, the only spot available on the staff.

“It was tough for Miami because most [volunteer assistants] are right out of college, and they are not going to come in and tell another college player what to do because they don’t want to ruin anybody,” Collins said.

Lopez was with the University of Texas-Pan American in Edinburg, Texas, when Miami offered him the job. He had family in Miami and wanted to move back. He enters his second season with the Hurricanes this fall.

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Miami’s catching coach Norberto Lopez was tasked with job to help Collins improve behind the plate.

He was the “veteran catching coach” who became “by far one of the best coaches I’ve ever had,” Collins said.

Lopez motivated the man known for his offensive exploits to find success behind the plate. He instituted specific time for catchers at practice, which did not exist before Lopez’s arrival, an idea that allowed Collins to spend time on his craft.

“Catching is a position where you have to be pushed a lot because it’s pretty much a grind every day,” Collins said. “It’s catching bullpens every day and stuff like that. When you do all that stuff, you’re not really working on anything.”

Collins’ junior year at Miami, he caught 59 games, a much higher number than his previous two collegiate seasons. He still speaks with Lopez while with the Dash. When news of Collins’ trip to the disabled list broke earlier this season, his former catching coach called within a half hour.

“It’s not because of what he taught me but because he was all about creating a friendship, something that’s not going to be ‘I’m going to be your coach for one year and that’s it.’ I’ll go visit him with his kids,” Collins said.

-Jackie

Game #129 Preview – Dash at Frederick

Game #129– Away Game #62
Winston-Salem Dash (25-33, 53-75) at Frederick Keys (28-30, 64-64)
Thursday, August 25 – 7:00 p.m. 
NYMEO Field (Frederick, Md.)

GAME BACKGROUND:

Despite a 10-strikeout performance from Jordan Stephens, Winston-Salem dropped the middle match of its three-game series at Frederick, 2-0 the final from NYMEO Field. Stephens permitted a two-run blast off the bat of Aderlin Rodriguez in the first inning before cruising through five, during which he whiffed a career-high 10 Keys, including seven of the final nine he encountered. These two teams meet for the final time in 2016 in Thursday night’s rubber match.

STARTING LINEUP:

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Jordan Stephens logged a career-high 10 strikeouts on Wednesday (Jody Stewart/W-S Dash).

Michael Suiter – CF
Dante Flores – 2B
Mason Robbins – RF
Nick Basto – LF
Zack Collins – DH
Toby Thomas – 3B
Marcus Davis – 1B
Brett Austin – C
Cleuluis Rondon – SS
Tanner Banks – LHP

DASH DOTS:

  • Because of the Dash’s loss at Frederick and Myrtle Beach’s 2-1, 10-inning victory at Carolina, the Pelicans eliminated Winston-Salem from the postseason conversation on Wednesday night. This marks just the fourth time in the Dash era (2009-present) that Winston-Salem will not suit up in the Carolina League playoffs. The Pelicans will meet first-half champion Salem in the best-of-three Southern Division Championship Series, which begins Wednesday, September 7.
  • For the first time this season, a Winston-Salem pitcher not named Matt Cooper registered a double-digit strikeout performance. Cooper, who led the Minors in strikeouts after his final start with the Dash on June 13, struck out 12 on May 27 at Potomac and followed that up with 11 punchouts on June 2 at home against Carolina. Otherwise, the Dash had not seen a double-digit strikeout showing since Yency Almonte whiffed 12 on August 30, 2015, against Frederick.
  • Stephens had been close to a 10-strikeout effort, as he had nine on both June 15 at Wilmington and July 4 vs. Myrtle Beach. The former Rice University star leads the CL with 136 strikeouts, 14 more than second-place Trevor Clifton of Myrtle Beach. Stephens is also second to Clifton (2.87) in earned run average at 3.71.
  • The Dash boast the two best qualified hitters in the Carolina League. Even though he is mired in a 3-for-22 slump, Mason Robbins paces the circuit with a .315 average. Nick Basto stands second at .309, though he is also limping a bit as of late (0-for-11 in his last three games). The next-closest competitor Frederick’s Rodriguez, who has a .301 average. If Robbins and Basto maintain their hold on the top two spots, it would be the second time in five years that a Dash duo would finish one-two in batting average. Carlos Sanchez and Dan Black finished with .315 marks in 2012, the last year the Dash reached the Mills Cup Championship Series.
  • Following Thursday’s finale in Maryland, the Dash will return to BB&T Ballpark for their final three home games of 2016. Winston-Salem will welcome the Carolina Mudcats, the Braves’ High-A club, for a three-game set that begins on Friday. The Dash claimed all three clashes with Carolina during the Mudcats’ last visit to the Triad from August 9-11.
  • When the Dash head back home, they will try to finish the BB&T Ballpark slate strongly after an uncharacteristically tough year at the downtown facility. Winston-Salem will record its worst home record since moving to BB&T Ballpark in 2010. The Dash’s only other losing season at home came in 2014, when the club was 34-35. The Dash’s 37 home losses are tied for the most in the Carolina League with Wilmington.

BROADCAST INFORMATION:

Thursday’s game will be broadcast live on 600 AM-WSJS in the Winston-Salem area, as is the case with every Thursday game throughout the season. The game is also available on wsjs.com, as well as wsdash.com/broadcast and the TuneIn App. The Pregame Dash will begin at 6:45 p.m, with the first pitch at 7:00 p.m.

Game #128 Preview – Dash at Frederick

Game #128– Away Game #61
Winston-Salem Dash (25-32, 53-74) at Frederick Keys (27-30, 63-64)
Wednesday, August 24 – 7:00 p.m. 
NYMEO Field (Frederick, Md.)

GAME BACKGROUND:

Behind White Sox first-rounder Zack Collins‘ first professional multi-homer game, Winston-Salem snapped its seven-game slide by trouncing Frederick 9-5 on Tuesday night at NYMEO Field. The Dash go for a series win over the Keys on Wednesday.

STARTING LINEUP:

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Dash catcher Zack Collins has hit three home runs in his last three games (Jody Stewart/W-S Dash).

Landon Lassiter – CF
Gerson Montilla – 3B
Mason Robbins – RF
Nick Basto – LF
Zack Collins – DH
Toby Thomas – 2B
Marcus Davis – 1B
Brett Austin – C
Cleuluis Rondon – SS
Jordan Stephens – RHP

DASH DOTS:

  • Collins, who won the 2016 Johnny Bench Award while with the University of Miami, has been red-hot at the plate. Thanks to his two bombs on Tuesday, the 21-year-old has three home runs and four RBIs in his last three contests. During this short span, Collins is slashing a line of .400/.500/1.300. Prior to this stretch, the Dash backstop had a homerless drought spanning 15 games from August 1-August 20. His effort against the Keys marked the 40th time in the Dash era (2009-present) that a player has hit two homers in the same contest. The last player to accomplish the feat was Telvin Nash, who also hit two against Frederick on July 10.
  • While Winston-Salem picked up the win, its playoff hopes became slimmer. The team is still 11.0 games back of the Pelicans for the Southern Division’s final playoff spot after Myrtle Beach won 7-0 against Carolina at Five County Stadium. Thus, the Dash’s elimination number is two with 12 games remaining for both clubs. Any combination of Dash losses or Pelicans wins that reaches two will eliminate Winston-Salem from playoff contention. In the Dash era (2009-present), Winston-Salem has reached the postseason four times, with its most recent appearance coming in 2015.
  • The Dash boast the two best individual batting averages in the Carolina League. Mason Robbins, who registered his league-leading 145th hit on Tuesday, paces the circuit with a .317 mark. Nick Basto stands second, just .006 behind with a .311 average. The next-closest competitor is Aderlin Rodriguez of Frederick, who has a .301 average. If Robbins and Basto maintain their hold on the top two spots, it would be the second time in five years that a Dash duo would finish one-two in batting average. Carlos Sanchez and Dan Black finished with .315 marks in 2012, the last year the Dash reached the Mills Cup Championship Series.
  • Dash starter Jordan Stephens will look to add to his Carolina League-leading strikeout total tonight against the Keys. The former Rice Owl leads the league with 126 punchouts, four more than the next highest competitor in Myrtle Beach’s Trevor Clifton. The right-hander turned up the notch in the strikeout department during a four-start stretch from June 15-July 4. In that span, Stephens struck out 32 batters in 24.2 innings.
  • Winston-Salem’s win against the Keys snapped a season-high seven-game slide that dated back to August 14. Prior to the team’s recent funk, the Dash had not dropped seven in a row since an eight-game slump in mid-August of 2014. While Winston-Salem scored an aforementioned nine runs Tuesday, the team had mustered just 14 runs in its previous seven games.

BROADCAST INFORMATION:

Wednesday’s contest will be broadcast live on wsdash.com/broadcast and the TuneIn Radio app. The Pregame Dash will begin at 6:45 p.m., with the first pitch set for 7:00 p.m.

-Joe

Game #127 Preview – Dash at Frederick

Game #127– Away Game #60
Winston-Salem Dash (24-32, 52-74) at Frederick Keys (27-29, 63-63)
Tuesday, August 23 – 7:00 p.m. 
NYMEO Field (Frederick, Md.)

GAME BACKGROUND:

Dash first baseman Marcus Davis homered early, but a six-run fourth inning propelled Salem to a dominant 12-1, sweep-clinching victory over Winston-Salem at BB&T Ballpark. Winston-Salem will try and snap its season-high seven-game losing streak in the first of three at Frederick on Tuesday.

STARTING LINEUP:

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Marcus Davis stroked his seventh home run of the season on Sunday (Jody Stewart/W-S Dash).

Landon Lassiter – LF
Gerson Montilla – 3B
Mason Robbins – RF
Nick Basto – 1B
Zack Collins – C
Toby Thomas – 2B
Marcus Davis – DH
Michael Suiter – CF
Cleuluis Rondon – SS
Robinson Leyer – RHP

DASH DOTS:

  • The Dash are 11.0 games back of the Pelicans for the Southern Division’s final playoff spot. Myrtle Beach won 7-6 in extras at home to Lynchburg on Sunday. Thus, the Dash’s elimination number is three with 13 games remaining for both clubs. Any combination of Dash losses or Pelicans wins that reaches three will eliminate Winston-Salem from playoff contention. In the Dash era (2009-present), Winston-Salem has reached the postseason four times.
  • Not only is this the last series for Winston-Salem against Frederick, but it will also be its final set versus any Northern Division team. After this three-game series, the Dash round out their schedule with ten contests against Southern Division foes. Winston-Salem is 28-36 against the Northern Division this season and 7-10 against Frederick.
  • Tuesday will mark Robinson Leyer’s fourth outing against Frederick this season. The 23-year-old struggled in his first appearance against the Keys in 2016, allowing three earned runs in 1.2 frames. However, in two starts versus Frederick, the Dominican Republic native has combined to post a 1.42 ERA in 12.2 innings.
  • The Dash boast the two best qualified hitters in the Carolina League. Even though he is mired in a 2-for-14 slump, Mason Robbins paces the circuit with a .319 average. Nick Basto stands second, just .004 behind with a .315 mark. The next-closest competitor is Aderlin Rodriguez of Frederick, who has a .304 average. If Robbins and Basto maintain their hold on the top two spots, it would be the second time in five years that a Dash duo would finish one-two in batting average. Carlos Sanchez and Dan Black finished with .315 marks in 2012, the last year the Dash reached the Mills Cup Championship Series.
  • With Salem’s two wins in Saturday’s twin bill, the Dash have clinched just their second losing home record in the seven seasons at BB&T Ballpark. Winston-Salem went 34-35 at home in 2014, meaning that this year’s club will record the worst home mark since the move downtown. Winston-Salem had not lost 37 home games in a single season since 2007, when the Warthogs went 32-37 at Ernie Shore Field.
  • Winston-Salem is in the midst of its longest losing streak of the season, a seven-game run that started last Sunday at Lynchburg. A five-game winning streak, tied for their longest of the year, preceded this skid. The Dash had not dropped seven in a row since an eight-game slump in mid-August of 2014. During this stretch, Winston has mustered just 14 runs (2.0 per game).

BROADCAST INFORMATION:

Tuesday’s contest will be broadcast live on wsdash.com/broadcast and the TuneIn Radio app. The Pregame Dash will begin at 6:45 p.m., with the first pitch set for 7:00 p.m.

-Joe

Game #126 Preview – Dash vs. Salem

Game #126 – Home Game #67
Winston-Salem Dash (24-31, 52-73) vs. Salem Red Sox (34-21, 77-47)
Sunday, August 21 – 2:00 p.m. 
BB&T Ballpark (Winston-Salem, N.C.)

GAME BACKGROUND:

Salem pushed its winning streak to nine, while the Dash dropped their fifth and sixth straight games during Saturday’s doubleheader inside BB&T Ballpark. The Red Sox broke a 2-2 tie with two in the sixth inning en route to a 4-2 victory in the opener. Salem mustered a come-from-behind 3-2 triumph in the nightcap behind a pair of runs in the seventh–a Jordan Betts solo shot and a Rafael Devers RBI triple. Winston and Salem will meet (and likely complete) their third game in 24 hours on Sunday at 2 p.m. from the Triad.

STARTING LINEUP:

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Zack Collins crushed his fourth home run of the season in Saturday’s twin bill finale (Jody Stewart/W-S Dash).

Landon Lassiter – CF
Gerson Montilla – 2B
Mason Robbins – RF
Nick Basto – LF
Zack Collins – DH
Marcus Davis – 1B
Toby Thomas – 3B
Brett Austin – C
Cleuluis Rondon – SS
Kelvis Valerio – RHP

DASH DOTS:

  • The Dash are 10.0 games back of the Pelicans for the Southern Division’s final playoff spot. Myrtle Beach lost at home to Lynchburg on Saturday. Thus, the Dash’s elimination number remains at five with 14 games remaining for both clubs. Any combination of Dash losses or Pelicans wins that reaches five will eliminate Winston-Salem from playoff contention. In the Dash era (2009-present), Winston-Salem has reached the postseason four times.
  • For a moment, it looked like Winston-Salem had momentum during Saturday’s finale. With the game tied at one apiece in the sixth, Zack Collins clubbed a mammoth blast beyond the home run porch in right, his first home run since July 24 at Potomac. Collins, the 10th-overall pick in this June’s MLB Draft, has reached safely in 20 of his first 25 games at the High-A level and owns a .247 average with four homers and 15 RBIs. However, Salem responded to Collins’ homer with the aforementioned two-run seventh, thus clinching its Minor League-leading 31st one-run win of the season.
  • Southpaw Tanner Banks, the Dash’s game one starter, spun his second professional complete game and the sixth by a Winston-Salem hurler in 2016. His first came with Low-A Kannapolis in a nine-inning effort at West Virginia on April 20.
  • The Dash boast the two best qualified hitters in the Carolina League. Even though he is mired in a 1-for-11 slump, Mason Robbins paces the circuit with a .318 average. Nick Basto stands second, but he is less than a point away from Robbins (.3184 to .3178). The next-closest competitor isAderlin Rodriguez of Frederick, who has a .304 average. If Robbins and Basto maintain their hold on the top two spots, it would be the second time in five years that a Dash duo would finish one-two in batting average. Carlos Sanchez and Dan Black finished with .315 marks in 2012, the last year the Dash reached the Mills Cup Championship Series.
  • With Salem’s doubleheader sweep on Saturday, the Dash have clinched just their second losing home record in the seven seasons at BB&T Ballpark. Winston-Salem went 34-35 at home in 2014, meaning that this year’s club will record the worst home mark since the move downtown. Winston-Salem has not lost more than 36 home games in a single season since 2007, when the Warthogs went 32-37 at Ernie Shore Field.
  • Winston-Salem is in the midst of its longest losing streak of the season, a six-game run that started last Sunday at Lynchburg. A five-game winning streak, tied for their longest of the year, preceded this skid. The Dash had not dropped six in a row since an eight-game slump in mid-August of 2014. During this stretch, Winston has mustered just 13 runs (2.2 per game).

BROADCAST INFORMATION:

Television coverage of Sunday’s contest will be available on My48 at 2 p.m. A full channel guide is available here. The game will also be broadcast live on wsdash.com/broadcast and the TuneIn Radio app. The Pregame Dash will begin at 1:45 p.m., with the first pitch set for 2 p.m.

-Joe

Game #124 & #125 Preview – Dash vs. Salem

UPDATE – 7:10 p.m.

Dash’s game two lineup:

Landon Lassiter – CF
Gerson Montilla – 2B
Mason Robbins – RF
Nick Basto – LF
Zack Collins – DH
Toby Thomas – 3B
Marcus Davis – 1B
Daniel Gonzalez – C
Cleuluis Rondon – SS
Zach Thompson – RHP

Game #124/#125 – Home Game #65/#66
Winston-Salem Dash (24-29, 52-71) vs. Salem Red Sox (32-21, 75-47)
Saturday, August 20 – 5:00 p.m. 
BB&T Ballpark (Winston-Salem, N.C.)

GAME BACKGROUND:

After rain forced the cancellation of the Dash’s road trip finale at Myrtle Beach on Thursday, the opener between Winston-Salem and the Salem Red Sox was postponed due to rain on Friday night at BB&T Ballpark. The Dash will play a doubleheader against Salem on Saturday, with the first contest starting at 5 p.m.

STARTING LINEUP (Game one):

Thompson640_0728_3

Tanner Banks and Zach Thompson (above) will start game one and two, respectively (Jody Stewart/W-S Dash).

Landon Lassiter – LF
Gerson Montilla – 2B
Mason Robbins – RF
Nick Basto – 1B
Zack Collins – C
Toby Thomas – 3B
Brett Austin – DH
Michael Suiter – CF
Cleuluis Rondon – SS
Tanner Banks – LHP

DASH DOTS:

  • The Dash are 9.5 games back of the Pelicans in the Southern Division’s standings. Myrtle Beach lost at home to Lynchburg on Friday night. Thus, the Dash’s elimination number remains at seven with 31 combined games remaining for the Dash (16) and Pelicans (15). Any combination of Dash losses or Pelicans wins that reaches seven will eliminate Winston-Salem from playoff contention. In the Dash era (2009-present), Winston-Salem has reached the postseason four times.
  • Winston-Salem has played three doubleheaders in the second half, and all three have resulted in sweeps. Most recently, the Dash took a pair from Carolina on August 11, including a Marcus Davis walk-off single in the finale. The first two twin bills of the second half went the other way, with Myrtle Beach sweeping Winston-Salem at BB&T Ballpark on July 6 before Potomac earned a couple of wins on July 23 at Pfitzner Stadium.
  • Winston-Salem returns home for the first time since last Thursday. After enduring a 5-19 (.208) start at home through May, the worst mark in Minor League Baseball at the time, the Dash have bounced back with a 25-15 (.625) record at BB&T Ballpark. However, the Dash have been unable to make up ground in the playoff race due to an 8-23 record on the road since June 1.
  • The Dash boast the two best qualified hitters in the Carolina League. Even though his eight-game hitting streak ended on Wednesday at Myrtle Beach, Mason Robbins paces the circuit with a .321 average. He also leads the way with 142 hits. Fellow outfielder Nick Basto stands second at .315, 11 points better than third-place Aderlin Rodriguez of Frederick. If Robbins and Basto maintain their hold on the top two spots, it would be the second time in five years that a Winston-Salem duo would finish one-two in batting average. Carlos Sanchez and Dan Black finished with .315 marks in 2012, the last year the Dash reached the Mills Cup Finals.
  • In Saturday’s opener, the Dash turn to southpaw Tanner Banks, who has punched out 22 in his last four outings spanning 22.0 innings. In his last five outings, the Utah native has allowed just five earned runs over 27.1 innings (1.65 ERA). Before this surge, Banks owned a 6.00 ERA in his first seven starts at the High-A level. Righty Zach Thompson gets the call in game two. Thompson is 2-1 with a 4.32 ERA in three starts at BB&T Ballpark (0-3, 9.90 ERA in four road efforts).
  • The White Sox announced Friday that righties Thad Lowry and Connor Walsh have earned their first promotions to Double-A Birmingham. Lowry leads the CL with 135.1 innings of work, during which he is 8-8 with a 4.06 ERA. Walsh leads the Dash with five saves and posted a 3.40 ERA in 25 relief appearances. The Dash did receive one new pitcher, southpaw Aaron Bummer from rookie-level Great Falls.

BROADCAST INFORMATION:

Coverage for the suspended game on Saturday will begin at 4:45 p.m on wsdash.com/broadcast, MiLB.tv, or the TuneIn App. First pitch is schedule for 5:00 p.m. Saturday’s regularly scheduled contest will begin thirty minutes after the suspended game ends.

-Joe

Game #124 Preview – Dash vs. Salem

Game #124 – Home Game #65
Winston-Salem Dash (24-29, 52-71) vs. Salem Red Sox (32-21, 75-47)
Friday, August 19 – 7:00 p.m. 
BB&T Ballpark (Winston-Salem, N.C.)

GAME BACKGROUND:

Steady rain in the Myrtle Beach area prompted the cancellation of Thursday night’s series finale between Winston-Salem and the Pelicans from TicketReturn.Com Field. Because this game marked the final scheduled regular season matchup, it will not be made up. The Dash now begin a three-game home series against the Salem Red Sox on Friday.

STARTING LINEUP:

Lowry640_0626_3

Dash right-handers Thad Lowry (above) and Connor Walsh were called up to Double-A on Friday (Jody Stewart/W-S Dash).

Landon Lassiter – LF
Gerson Montilla – 2B
Mason Robbins – RF
Nick Basto – 1B
Zack Collins – DH
Toby Thomas – 3B
Michael Suiter – CF
Daniel Gonzalez – C
Cleuluis Rondon – SS
Tanner Banks – LHP

DASH DOTS:

  • The Dash followed consecutive impressive wins at Lynchburg with four straight losses (three at Myrtle Beach), thus ending their road trip at 2-4. The Pelicans’ rain-shortened three-game sweep over the Dash featured a margin of just five runs, including two one-run Pelicans victories. Last year, Winston-Salem went 17-3 in one-run games en route to the Southern Division’s second half championship. This year, the Dash have been unable to continue their magic in close games. The club is 21-37 (.362) in games decided by one or two runs.
  • The Dash find themselves 10 games back of the Pelicans in the Southern Division’s standings. Only 16 games remain for both clubs, which means that Myrtle Beach’s magic number to clinch a spot in the Carolina League playoffs is seven. Any combination of Dash losses or Pelicans wins that reaches eight will eliminate Winston-Salem from postseason contention. In the Dash era (2009-present), Winston-Salem has reached the playoffs four times.
  • Winston-Salem returns home for the first time since last Thursday. After enduring a 5-19 (.208) start at home through May, the worst mark in Minor League Baseball at the time, the Dash have bounced back with a 25-15 (.625) record at BB&T Ballpark. However, the Dash have been unable to make up ground in the playoff race due to an 8-23 record on the road since June 1.
  • The Dash boast the two best-qualified hitters in the Carolina League. Even though his eight-game hitting streak ended on Wednesday at Myrtle Beach, Mason Robbins paces the circuit with a .321 average. He also leads the way with 142 hits. Fellow outfielder Nick Basto stands second at .315, 11 points better than third-place Aderlin Rodriguez of Frederick. If Robbins and Basto maintain their hold on the top two spots, it would be the second time in five years that a Winston-Salem duo would finish one-two in batting average. Carlos Sanchez and Dan Black finished with .315 marks in 2012, the last year the Dash reached the Mills Cup Finals.
  • In Friday’s series opener, the Dash turn to southpaw Tanner Banks, who has punched out 22 in his last four outings spanning 22.0 innings. In his last five outings, the Utah native has surrendered just five earned runs over 27.1 innings (1.65 ERA). Before this surge, Banks owned a 6.00 ERA in his first seven starts at the High-A level.
  • After playing 20 times in the first half, the Dash and Red Sox have yet to lock horns since the All-Star break. This will change on Friday, which marks the first of six meetings in the second half (also, August 30 to September 1 at LewisGale Field). Salem owns a 12-8 edge in the season series, including nine wins in 12 tries in the Triad.
  • The White Sox announced Friday that righties Thad Lowry and Connor Walsh have earned their first promotions to Double-A Birmingham. Lowry leads the CL with 135.1 innings of work, during which he is 8-8 with a 4.06 ERA. Walsh leads the Dash with five saves and posted a 3.40 ERA in 25 relief appearances. The Dash did receive one new pitcher, southpaw Aaron Bummer from rookie-level Great Falls.

BROADCAST INFORMATION:

Friday’s contest will be broadcast live on wsdash.com/broadcast and the TuneIn Radio app. The Pregame Dash will begin at 6:45 p.m., with the first pitch set for 7:00 p.m.

-Joe

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