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Game #108 Preview – Dash vs. Lynchburg

Game #108 – Home Game #57
Winston-Salem Dash (23-13, 53-53) vs. Lynchburg Hillcats (20-17, 53-54)
Sunday, August 2 – 2 p.m.
BB&T Ballpark (Winston-Salem, N.C.)

GAME BACKGROUND:

Winston-Salem whittled a 10-0 deficit to 10-9, but couldn’t get any closer in Saturday’s contest. Sunday’s game will be the rubber match of a three-game set between the Dash and Hillcats.

Nick Basto clubbed a two-run home run to bring the Dash within one in Saturday's contest. (Jody Stewart/W-S Dash)

Nick Basto clubbed a two-run home run to bring the Dash within one in Saturday’s contest. (Jody Stewart/W-S Dash)

STARTING LINEUP:

Eddy Alvarez– 2B
Jake Peter – CF
Trey Michalczewski – 3B
Keon Barnum – 1B
Nick Basto – LF
Jeremy Dowdy – C
T.J. Williams – DH
Nolan Earley – RF
Cleuluis Rondon – 2B
Jordan Guerrero – LHP

DASH DOTS:

  • Had Winston-Salem completed the comeback and won Saturday, the club would have earned the biggest come-from-behind win in the Dash era (2009-present). The largest comeback victory took place on May 22, 2009, when the Dash bounced back from a 7-0 hole against Salem to win 8-7. To put it into perspective, the largest deficit overcome in a Major League game is 12, and it has taken place three times. The most recent occurrence was August 5, 2001, when Cleveland overcame a 14-2 deficit through six innings to stun Seattle 15-14 in 11.
  • The club’s six-game winning streak, its longest of the season, came to an end. Winston has not won more than six in a row since its 10-game surge from August 19-29, 2013. The Dash had also rattled off six consecutive home wins. This home surge is the club’s longest of the season and matches its best such spurt in both 2013 and 2014. The Dash have not claimed more than six straight home games since a nine-game run from August 2-25, 2012.
  • Winston-Salem’s nine-run output on Saturday represents its best such effort of the second half. The Dash had not posted a better offensive showing since May 17, a 12-1 home triumph over Salem. Saturday marked the first time at home and the fifth time overall that the Dash lost a game in which they scored six or more runs.
  • The Dash’s five-run eighth was the club’s largest offensive inning since a six-run seventh against these Hillcats on June 6 in Virginia. All nine starters collected at least hit, while seven logged multi-hit contests. In all, the Dash’s 17 hits set a new high-water mark for 2015. Basto leveled his third homer with Winston-Salem this season, helping him to a season-high four RBIs. Keon Barnum extended his RBI streak to five games, while Adam Engel matched a personal best for the season by pushing his hit streak to eight.
  • Winston-Salem was in last place in the Southern Division for the final 50 days of the season’s first half. However, the Dash have enjoyed at least a share of first place for the first 38 days of half two. In their previous five halves (2013 first half to 2015 first half), the Dash were in first for a combined 33 days. The squad’s current first-place streak represents the third-longest since Winston-Salem became the Dash in 2009.
  • Winston-Salem and Lynchburg will square off in a matinee rubber match, which marks the final meeting of the regular season. Winston can clinch the 16-game season series with a victory. The Dash will also put their four-series win streak on the line, which dates back to July 19. Winston-Salem is 5-4 in rubber matches in 2015.
  • Adam Engel (48) and Eddy Alvarez (46) are fourth and fifth, respectively, in stolen bases in the Minor Leagues.
  • The Dash’s bullpen recorded six innings and did not permit an earned run, which lowers its second-half earned run average to 1.89 (23 ER in 109.1 IP). Jake Cose whiffed four in three frames, while Brad Goldberg tied a season-high for a Dash reliever with five whiffs over his three hitless innings.

BROADCAST INFORMATION:

Television coverage of Sunday’s contest will be available on My48 at 2 p.m. For a channel guide, please visit the Dash Broadcast Corner. 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.

– Scott

Game #107 Preview – Dash vs. Lynchburg

Game #107 – Home Game #56
Winston-Salem Dash (23-12, 53-52) vs. Lynchburg Hillcats (19-17, 52-54)
Saturday, August 1 – 6:30 p.m.
BB&T Ballpark (Winston-Salem, N.C.)

GAME BACKGROUND:

The Dash stunned Lynchburg on Friday with a four-run eighth inning to overtake the Hillcats 7-6. Winston-Salem bids for its seventh win in a row on Saturday.

Keon Barnum finished July with the most RBIs of any player in High-A. (Jody Stewart/W-S Dash)

Keon Barnum finished July with the most RBIs of any player in High-A. (Jody Stewart/W-S Dash)

STARTING LINEUP:

Adam Engel – CF
Eddy Alvarez – SS
Jake Peter – LF
Trey Michalczewski – 3B
Keon Barnum – 1B
Nick Basto – RF
Omar Narvaez – C
T.J. Williams – DH
Cleuluis Rondon – 2B
James Dykstra – RHP

DASH DOTS:

  • The club’s current six-game winning streak is its longest of the season. Winston has not won more than six in a row since its 10-game surge from August 19-29, 2013. The Dash have also rattled off six consecutive home wins since July 23. This home surge is the club’s longest of the season and matches its best such spurt in both 2013 and 2014. The Dash have not claimed more than six straight home games since a nine-gamer from August 2-25, 2012.
  • Most of the Dash’s victories during this season-long streak have been narrow. All but one have been decided by one or two runs, with the total run differential amounting to +12 (30-18). The offense has racked up four home runs and matched its second-half high in runs in back-to-back games (seven), while the bullpen has recorded five saves. Winston-Salem’s lone loss in its last nine games came in 11 innings at Frederick on Saturday; thus, the Dash have not lost a game in regulation since July 22.
  • Thanks to a 23-12 mark in the second half, the Dash have climbed above the .500 mark overall for the first time since April 29 (10-9). The Dash, who had been mired in the basement of the CL for much of the season, are now tied with Carolina for the second-best overall mark, nine games behind Myrtle Beach (62-43).
  • Winston-Salem was in last place in the Southern Division for the final 50 days of the season’s first half. However, the Dash have enjoyed at least a share of first place for the first 37 days of half two. In their previous five halves (2013 first half to 2015 first half), the Dash were in first for a combined 33 days. The squad’s current first-place streak represents the third-longest since Winston-Salem became the Dash in 2009.
  • Keon Barnum capped a tremendous month of July with three more RBIs on Friday. His 27 RBIs are four more than any other High-A hitter, and he still is owed a pair from the suspended game on July 13 against Potomac. That contest will be completed August 11. On the homestand, Barnum is 8-for-13 (.615) with eight RBIs, which pushed his July average to .299. From July 1 to August 1, Barnum’s overall average jumped 25 points to .260, its highest point since April 26.
  • Lynchburg’s six runs on Friday were the most that Winston-Salem’s staff has permitted since July 22 (seven). The Dash’s 3.30 team ERA is third-best on the circuit. At the All-Star Break, the Dash owned a 3.62 ERA, but their second-half mark is almost a full run lower (2.65). The Dash’s bullpen has only allowed 23 earned runs in 103.1 innings in the second half (2.00 ERA).
  • Adam Engel (47) and Eddy Alvarez (46) are fourth and fifth, respectively, in stolen bases in the Minor Leagues.
  • Dash starter James Dykstra snapped a nine-decision losing streak in his last outing Sunday in Frederick.
  • Jake Peter matched a career-high and a 2015 high-water mark for a Dash hitter with three runs Friday.
  • The Dash finished July with an 18-11 record, the club’s best single-month effort since June 2013 (17-10).

BROADCAST INFORMATION:

Saturday’s game will be available on wsdash.com/broadcast, along with the TuneIn Radio app. The Pregame Dash will begin at 6:15 p.m., with the first pitch at approximately 6:30 p.m.

– Scott

A unique journey for James Dykstra

It’s not unusual for a child to dream of becoming a professional baseball player. Maybe not even for two siblings to do so. But what is unusual is for both siblings to be drafted within the top 10 rounds of the MLB draft.

James Dykstra and his older brother Allan did just that.

Allan was the first to sign to play professional baseball after he was drafted in the first round of the 2008 draft by the San Diego Padres. James followed in 2013 as a sixth-rounder of the Chicago White Sox.

James Dykstra (Jody Stewart/W-S Dash)

James Dykstra is 4-9 with a 3.90 ERA this season. (Jody Stewart/W-S Dash)

The only problem for someone following in their brother’s footsteps is that they are often placed in their brother’s shadow, but James has never let that discourage him. His story is uniquely his own. Baseball just happened to be the sport that they were drawn to equally.

“Back when I was five or six years old, my dad just put a bat in my hand,” James said. “It was always my dad’s favorite sport. [My brother and I] played every other sport growing up but baseball was just the one that stuck.”

The age difference of the Dykstra’s may have worked in James’ favor. The competitive atmosphere between the two was never unbearable, but rather a driving force for James to continue to improve.

“Since he was older, all the talk with me coming up was, ‘Is he going to be better than is brother, or is he just as good as his brother?’ So that was just one of the things that kept me working hard,” Dykstra recalled. “I didn’t want it to be like, ‘Oh he’s just the younger brother, he’s not as good.’”

Once Allan moved to Winston-Salem to spend time as a Demon Deacon at Wake Forest University, the spotlight fell on James back home.

High school was the time to make decisions for the young James. It was the time to see if professional baseball was his future.

“Our high school coach was really strict on, if you’re playing baseball here, you don’t play any other sport. Your focus is baseball because he’s one of the best coaches in high school baseball. [Others] wanted me to try out and I was like ‘I can’t, sorry I’m playing baseball.’”

Allan Dykstra, right, starred at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem. (Chris O'Meara/AP Photo)

Allan Dykstra, right, starred at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem. (Chris O’Meara/AP Photo)

He was drafted by the Boston Red Sox in the 40th round following his senior baseball season but opted not to sign.

“I didn’t play much my senior year because I had dislocated my left shoulder and I needed surgery on my labrum. The scouts knew that, so they drafted me in the later rounds. And since it was a later round I just opted to get surgery.”

That was not the last time that he was going to get drafted. The following year, after his first season at Yavapai College in Arizona, he was drafted yet again, this time by the Colorado Rockies in the 50th round. Yet again, he decided not to sign.

“My junior year, they knew I had a scholarship to LSU so they just put me in a late round [as if to say], ‘Just if you want to, but we know LSU is hard to turn down.’ So that’s why I turned them down, just because they didn’t really offer me any money and I wanted to go to LSU.”

He did just that. Dykstra was excited to go to Louisiana State University and to be part of a large, well-known Division I baseball program. But it was not all that he expected it to be. Dykstra left LSU in the middle of his junior year and was not drafted that year after he had been the two previous.

“That was the year that I switched from outfield to pitching,” Dykstra said. “At LSU they were just like, ‘You’re here, so you must be good, so go play.’ But as I was making my transfer to pitcher I was just like, ‘I have no idea what I’m doing.’”

While Dykstra struggled with coaching at LSU, he did found quite the opposite to be the case when he transferred to California State University at San Marcos.

“Cal-State San Marcos was probably the best experience for me baseball wise. [Pitching coach, Pat Hause] figured out how to get inside my head and he taught me how to pitch,” Dykstra said. “He taught me that you don’t need to throw hard, you can just hit your spot, and [he taught me] how to throw different pitches.

The good coaching seemed to pay off, and at the conclusion of his senior season the White Sox drafted him in the sixth round; the highest that any baseball player had been drafted in Cal-State San Marcos’ school history.

After signing with the White Sox, he and his brother were now both Minor League Baseball players. Even though they were at different levels in their respective organizations, they were professionals, and Allan knew what James was going to be facing. Allan never hesitated to give him advice when it came to baseball.

James Dykstra uses his past experience as an outfielder on the mound. (Jody Stewart/W-S Dash)

James Dykstra uses his past experience as an outfielder on the mound. (Jody Stewart/W-S Dash)

“This season he taught me my new pitch, the cutter, because I was struggling with lefties last year and he’s a lefty hitter, so he was just telling me what people do against him and what he sees up in Triple-A and the big leagues.”

Both he and his brother have a unique perspective that assists them as well.

“[My brother] was supposed to be the pitcher of the family, but he hurt his elbow. I was supposed to be the position player of the family, but I hurt my shoulder, so we kind of switched roles.”

Even though it has been a little while since James has stepped into the batters box, he still uses his knowledge of hitting to his advantage.

“When I’m on the mound and [when there are] certain counts, I think back to when I was a hitter and what pitch I’d be looking for and what location and I try to manipulate that into what I’m going to throw for that pitch. It’s just a mind game.

“I think me being fresh from a hitting standpoint just helps me a lot. Most people have never hit before, they just pitch their whole life. They don’t know the hitting side of it.”

While James and Allan vie for opportunities at the Major League level, they are always proud of each other regardless of where their careers lead.

“I’m extremely proud of [Allan]. He’s battled through the minors. This year he did get the opportunity to be in the big leagues. He did hit his first home run. He did struggle, but it was his first time up there, what do you expect?”

Hopefully soon, this year or next year, he’ll get picked up and have another shot,” Dykstra said in reference to his brother’s recent release from the Tampa Bay Rays.

One might expect Allan’s shadow to still loom over James, but he seems to be making a name for himself, all on his own.

Just this season, Dykstra has tossed a no-hitter, a seven-inning gem at Potomac on April 15. He was also a Midseason Carolina League All-Star.

With help from his coaches and his brother, James Dykstra has stepped out from his brother’s shadow and is making a name for himself.

– Sarah

Game #106 Preview – Dash vs. Lynchburg

Game #106 – Home Game #55
Winston-Salem Dash (22-12, 52-52) vs. Lynchburg Hillcats (19-16, 52-53)
Friday, July 31 – 7 p.m.
BB&T Ballpark (Winston-Salem, N.C.)

GAME BACKGROUND:

Winston-Salem completed a series sweep of Wilmington with a 7-3 victory on Thursday. The Dash begin a three-game set Friday against fellow first-place squad Lynchburg.

Keon Barnum has driven in a High-A-best 24 RBIs in July. (Jody Stewart/W-S Dash)

Keon Barnum has driven in a High-A-best 24 RBIs in July. (Jody Stewart/W-S Dash)

STARTING LINEUP:

Adam Engel – CF
Eddy Alvarez – SS
Jake Peter – 2B
Trey Michalczewski – 3B
Keon Barnum – DH
Nick Basto – LF
Omar Narvaez – C
T.J. Williams – 1B
Nolan Earley – RF
Matt Heidenreich – RHP

DASH DOTS:

  • The Dash’s sweep of Wilmington was its first at BB&T Ballpark in almost a year. Winston-Salem broomed Lynchburg from August 1-3, 2014. The club’s current five-game winning streak matches its longest of the season. Winston has not won more than five in a row since its 10-game surge from August 19-29, 2013. The Dash have also rattled off five consecutive home wins since July 23, their longest such run in more than a year.
  • Thanks to a 22-12 mark in the second half, the Dash have returned to the .500 mark for the first time since May 2, when the squad was 11-11. Winston-Salem’s low-water mark came on the penultimate day of the first half (June 20) when the Dash dropped to 29-40. The Dash, who had been mired in the basement of the Carolina League for much of the season, are now tied with Carolina and Wilmington for the second-best overall record on the circuit (52-52). Not only is the Dash’s record at .500, but their run differential is even, too (405-405).
  • The Dash have jumped to second in the CL in team ERA (3.28), a mark that trails only Myrtle Beach (3.14). At the All-Star Break, the Dash owned a 3.62 ERA, but their second-half mark is more than a full run lower (2.54). The Dash’s bullpen has only permitted 21 earned runs in 99.1 innings in the second half (1.90 ERA).
  • Winston-Salem was in last place in the Southern Division for the final 50 days of the season’s first half. However, the Dash have enjoyed at least a share of first place for the first 36 days of half two. In their previous five halves (2013 first half to 2015 first half), the Dash were in first for a combined 33 days. The squad’s current first-place streak represents the third-longest since Winston-Salem became the Dash in 2009.
  • Multiple Dash hitters have shined beyond the context of the Carolina League. This month, first baseman Keon Barnum has logged 24 RBIs, which pace all High-A hitters. In the Dash’s sweep of Wilmington, Barnum was 7-for-10 with one homer and five RBIs. Speedsters Adam Engel and Eddy Alvarez have swiped 47 and 45 bases, respectively. Engel, who is tied for second in the Minors with 19 swipes this month, is alone in fourth overall in the Minor Leagues. Alvarez, who collected 42 of his steals with Low-A Kannapolis, owns a share of fifth place.
  • Friday Dash starter Matt Heidenreich hopes to become the sixth Minor Leaguer to earn his 12th victory. He leads all High-A hurlers in wins with 11, while the Coronado, Calif., native stands second in the CL in ERA (2.40) and innings (112.2). In his last four outings, Heidenreich boasts a 1.00 ERA (3 ER in 27.0 IP).
  • Winston-Salem’s bullpen has converted 20 of its last 21 save opportunities. The Dash have claimed seven of their last eight contests, and all of their victories during this span have been accompanied by a save.
  • With seven runs on Thursday, the Dash matched their best offensive effort in a single game this half. They also moved to 15-0 at home when scoring six or more runs.

BROADCAST INFORMATION:

Friday’s game will be available on wsdash.com/broadcast, along with the TuneIn Radio app. The Pregame Dash will begin at 6:45 p.m., with the first pitch at approximately 7 p.m.

– Scott

Game #105 Preview – Dash vs. Wilmington

Game #105 – Home Game #54
Winston-Salem Dash (21-12, 51-52) vs. Wilmington Blue Rocks (14-19, 52-51)
Thursday, July 30 – 7 p.m.
BB&T Ballpark (Winston-Salem, N.C.)

GAME BACKGROUND:

Winston-Salem swept a doubleheader against Wilmington on Wednesday, and thus bids for a series brooming Thursday against the Blue Rocks.

Brian Clark went a career-high 6.1 innings in the second game of Wednesday's twin bill. (Jody Stewart/W-S Dash)

Brian Clark went a career-high 6.1 innings in the second game of Wednesday’s twin bill. (Jody Stewart/W-S Dash)

STARTING LINEUP:

Adam Engel – CF
Eddy Alvarez – DH
Jake Peter – 2B
Trey Michalczewski – 3B
Keon Barnum – 1B
Nick Basto – LF
Jeremy Dowdy – C
Nolan Earley – RF
Cleuluis Rondon – SS
Brandon Brennan – RHP

DASH DOTS:

  • After starting the season 2-6 in doubleheader contests, the Dash have swept back-to-back twin bills, both coming against Wilmington. For the third time this season, the Dash have strung together a four-game home win streak. Winston has not had a longer home surge since a six-game run from June 7-20, 2014. Overall, the Dash have won four straight since Saturday, one shy of a high-water mark for this season.
  • The Dash dropped their overall team earned run average to 3.29, which is third in the CL. (Myrtle Beach, 3.12; Wilmington, 3.23). At the All-Star Break, the Dash owned a 3.62 ERA, but their second-half mark is more than a full run lower (2.53). The Dash’s bullpen has only permitted 21 earned runs in 96.1 innings in the second half (1.96 ERA). Brad Goldberg and Euclides Leyer earned a save Wednesday, meaning the Dash has cashed in on 19 of its last 20 chances.
  • After a dominant Dash debut last Thursday, right-hander Carson Fulmer did give up three runs in a two-inning effort in Wednesday’s doubleheader. Fulmer permitted a pair of homers, Humberto Arteaga in the first and Alfredo Escalera in the second. For the second consecutive outing, he punched out three. Fulmer went 24-3 with a 1.99 ERA in his three-year career at Vanderbilt, with whom he won a National Championship in 2014.
  • Winston-Salem was in last place in the Southern Division for the final 50 days of the season’s first half. However, the Dash have enjoyed at least a share of first place for the first 35 days of half two. In their previous five halves (2013 first half to 2015 first half), the Dash were in first for a combined 33 days. The club’s current first-place streak matches the third-longest since Winston-Salem became the Dash in 2009.
  • With three stolen bases Wednesday, Winston-Salem outfielder Adam Engel passed teammate Eddy Alvarez and seized sole possession of fourth place in the Minor Leagues in stolen bases (46). Alvarez’s 45 steals, 42 of which came with Low-A Kannapolis, are good for a share of fifth place. In all, the White Sox have four of the top 20 base stealers in the Minors in 2015. Birmingham’s Tim Anderson (36, 13th) and Keenyn Walker (31, T-19th) join the Dash duo.
  • Dash slugger Keon Barnum has shined during the month of July. He has posted a .280 batting average, his second-best mark during a month in his two-year Dash career (.333 in 26 games last June). Barnum has also posted a career-best 22 RBIs this month. He trails only High Desert’s Lewis Brinson (23) among High-A hitters in RBIs. Plus, Barnum is still short two RBIs from a suspended game on July 13. Those will be added to his line when the game is completed on August 11.
  • With a victory Thursday, the Dash would corral their third sweep of the year. Both of Winston-Salem’s sweeps have taken place in the second half.
  • Following this contest, the Dash will battle Lynchburg at home. The weekend set marks the last regular season set between the two clubs.

BROADCAST INFORMATION:

Thursday’s game will be broadcast live on 600 AM-WSJS and wsjs.com, along with the TuneIn Radio app. The Pregame Dash will begin at 6:45 p.m., with the first pitch at approximately 7 p.m.

– Scott

Games #103/104 Preview – Dash vs. Wilmington

UPDATE – 1:40 p.m.:

Dash game two lineup:

Adam Engel – CF
Eddy Alvarez – SS
Jake Peter – 2B
Trey Michalczewski – 3B
Keon Barnum – 1B
Nick Basto – LF
Omar Narvaez – C
T.J. Williams – DH
Nolan Earley – RF
Brian Clark – LHP

Games #103/104 – Home Games #52/53
Winston-Salem Dash (19-12, 49-52) vs. Wilmington Blue Rocks (14-17, 52-49)
Wednesday, July 29 – 11 a.m.
BB&T Ballpark (Winston-Salem, N.C.)

GAME BACKGROUND:

Tuesday’s series opener between the Dash and Blue Rocks was postponed due to unplayable field conditions and incoming inclement weather. Thus, Winston-Salem and Wilmington will play a doubleheader beginning at 11 a.m. Wednesday.

Carson Fulmer makes his second High-A start in game one of Wednesday's doubleheader. (Jody Stewart/W-S Dash)

Carson Fulmer makes his second High-A start in game one of Wednesday’s doubleheader. (Jody Stewart/W-S Dash)

STARTING LINEUP (Game 1):

Adam Engel – CF
Eddy Alvarez – 2B
Jake Peter – DH
Trey Michalczewski – 3B
Keon Barnum – 1B
Nick Basto – LF
Jeremy Dowdy – C
Nolan Earley – RF
Cleuluis Rondon – SS
Carson Fulmer – RHP

DASH DOTS:

  • The Dash dropped their overall team earned run average to 3.29, which is third in the Carolina League. (Myrtle Beach, 3.12; Wilmington, 3.23). At the All-Star Break, the Dash owned a 3.62 ERA, but their second-half mark is more than a full run lower (2.52). While the rotation has been on a week-long surge, the bullpen has been electric since the start of the half. Dash relievers have only permitted 20 earned runs in 90.2 innings in the second half (1.99 ERA). Thanks to Euclides Leyer’s successful save conversion on Monday, Winston-Salem has cashed in on 17 of its last 18 chances.
  • The Dash boast two of the top six base stealers in the Minors. Between Low-A Kannapolis (42) and Winston (3), Eddy Alvarez has amassed 45 swipes, which are good for a share of fourth place. Adam Engel’s 43 stolen bases are sixth-best, and they lead all active Carolina Leaguers by at least 18 (Carolina’s Connor Lien, 27).
  • Right-hander Carson Fulmer, the White Sox first-round pick last month, will make his second High-A start and third professional outing in Tuesday’s opener against Wilmington. Fulmer blanked the Mudcats over two innings in his Dash debut Thursday. His Minor League debut came on July 18 with the AZL White Sox. The eighth-overall pick in the MLB Draft this year, Fulmer posted a 24-3 record and a 1.99 earned run in his three-year career at Vanderbilt.
  • Winston-Salem was in last place in the Southern Division for the final 50 days of the season’s first half. However, the Dash have enjoyed at least a share of first place for the first 34 days of half two. In their previous five halves (2013 first half to 2015 first half), the Dash were in first for a combined 33 days. This current first-place streak is Winston’s longest since being in the top spot for the final 35 days of the second half in 2012.
  • The Dash will square off with Wilmington for the first time in the second half. The Blue Rocks, who won the Northern Division’s first half title, went 6-5 against the Dash prior to the All-Star break, though Winston-Salem seized a three-out-of-four take from the Blue Crew in the lone series between the two clubs at BB&T Ballpark. Winston-Salem’s offense has labored in the season series to the tune of a .226 team average and 2.2 runs per contest. Dash hurlers have recorded a 2.79 ERA against Wilmington.
  • Wilmington starter Luis Rico is the fifth straight left-hander that Winston-Salem has faced. The Dash have won three of their last four games after starting 11-11 against southpaw starters.

BROADCAST INFORMATION:

Wednesday’s game will be available on wsdash.com/broadcast, along with the TuneIn Radio app. The Pregame Dash will begin at 10:45 a.m., with the first pitch at approximately 11 a.m.

– Scott

Game #103 Preview – Dash vs. Wilmington

Game #103 – Home Game #52
Winston-Salem Dash (19-12, 49-52) vs. Wilmington Blue Rocks (14-17, 52-49)
Tuesday, July 28 – 7 p.m.
BB&T Ballpark (Winston-Salem, N.C.)

GAME BACKGROUND:

Strong pitching led the Dash to a 3-1 victory and road series win Monday in Frederick. Tuesday’s contest against Wilmington is the first of a six-game homestand.

Jefferson Olacio struck out the side in the eighth inning of Monday's contest. (Jody Stewart/W-S Dash)

Jefferson Olacio struck out the side in the eighth inning of Monday’s contest. (Jody Stewart/W-S Dash)

STARTING LINEUP:

Adam Engel – CF
Eddy Alvarez – 2B
Jake Peter – DH
Trey Michalczewski – 3B
Keon Barnum – 1B
Nick Basto – LF
Jeremy Dowdy – C
Nolan Earley – RF
Cleuluis Rondon – SS
Carson Fulmer – RHP

DASH DOTS:

  • Since posting his shortest professional start on July 17 at Carolina, Jordan Guerrero has given up just three runs and whiffed 14 over two starts spanning 13 innings. In the last six contests, Dash starters have given up two runs or less. During this spurt, the Dash’s rotation boasts a 1.80 ERA (7 earned runs in 35.0 innings). This stat includes both of Guerrero’s recent gems.
  • The Dash dropped their overall team earned run average to 3.29, which is third in the Carolina League. (Myrtle Beach, 3.12; Wilmington, 3.23). At the All-Star Break, the Dash owned a 3.62 ERA, but their second-half mark is more than a full run lower (2.52). While the rotation has been on a week-long surge, the bullpen has been electric since the start of the half. Dash relievers have only permitted 20 earned runs in 90.2 innings in the second half (1.99 ERA). Thanks to Euclides Leyer’s successful save conversion on Monday, Winston-Salem has cashed in on 17 of its last 18 chances.
  • The Dash boast two of the top six base stealers in the Minors. Between Low-A Kannapolis (42) and Winston (3), Eddy Alvarez has amassed 45 swipes, which are good for a share of fourth place. Adam Engel’s 43 stolen bases are sixth-best, and they lead all active Carolina Leaguers by at least 18 (Carolina’s Connor Lien, 27).
  • Right-hander Carson Fulmer, the White Sox first-round pick last month, will make his second High-A start and third professional outing in Tuesday’s opener against Wilmington. Fulmer blanked the Mudcats over two innings in his Dash debut Thursday. His Minor League debut came on July 18 with the AZL White Sox. The eighth-overall pick in the MLB Draft this year, Fulmer posted a 24-3 record and a 1.99 earned run in his three-year career at Vanderbilt.
  • Winston-Salem was in last place in the Southern Division for the final 50 days of the season’s first half. However, the Dash have enjoyed at least a share of first place for the first 33 days of half two. In their previous five halves (2013 first half to 2015 first half), the Dash were in first for a combined 33 days. This current first-place streak is Winston’s longest since being in the top spot for the final 35 days of the second half in 2012.
  • The Dash will square off with Wilmington for the first time in the second half. The Blue Rocks, who won the Northern Division’s first half title, went 6-5 against the Dash prior to the All-Star break, though Winston-Salem seized a three-out-of-four take from the Blue Crew in the lone series between the two clubs at BB&T Ballpark. Winston-Salem’s offense has labored in the season series to the tune of a .226 team average and 2.2 runs per contest. Dash hurlers have recorded a 2.79 ERA against Wilmington.
  • Wilmington starter Luis Rico is the fifth straight left-hander that Winston-Salem has faced. The Dash have won three of their last four games after starting 11-11 against southpaw starters.

BROADCAST INFORMATION:

Tuesday’s game will be available on wsdash.com/broadcast, along with the TuneIn Radio app. The Pregame Dash will begin at 6:45 p.m., with the first pitch at approximately 7 p.m.

– Scott

Game #102 Preview – Dash at Frederick

Game #102 – Road Game #51
Winston-Salem Dash (18-12, 48-52) at Frederick Keys (17-14, 49-52)
Monday, July 27 – 2 p.m.
NYMEO Field at Harry Grove Stadium (Frederick, Md.)

GAME BACKGROUND:

James Dykstra gave the Dash seven strong innings in Sunday’s 6-4 Winston victory. Monday’s contest will be the rubber game of a three-game set between Wisnton-Salem and Frederick.

James Dykstra went seven innings Sunday, allowing just two runs, to earn his first win since April 22. (Jody Stewart/W-S Dash)

James Dykstra went seven innings Sunday, allowing just two runs, to earn his first win since April 22. (Jody Stewart/W-S Dash)

STARTING LINEUP:

Adam Engel – CF
Jake Peter – 2B
Trey Michalczewski – 3B
Keon Barnum – 1B
Nick Basto – LF
Omar Narvaez – C
T.J. Williams – DH
Cleuluis Rondon – SS
Nolan Earley – RF
Jordan Guerrero – LHP

DASH DOTS:

  • Not only had Dykstra waited more than three months for the win he collected on Sunday, but he had endured a nine-game personal losing streak. Entering this season, Dykstra’s longest skid was just three games. To finally end the slide, Dykstra matched season-highs in innings (7.0) and strikeouts (eight). In the process, the righty continued an impressive run by Winston-Salem starters, who have given up two runs or less in each of the last five games. During this spurt, the Dash’s rotation boasts a 1.93 ERA (six earned runs in 28.0 innings).
  • Winston-Salem boasts a 3.31 team earned run average, which is third-best in the CL (Myrtle Beach, 3.12; Wilmington, 3.19). At the All-Star Break, the Dash owned a 3.62 ERA, but their second-half mark is more than a full run lower (2.58). If the season ended today, Winston’s overall ERA would be the best in the Dash era.
  • In particular, Winston-Salem’s bullpen has been tremendous since the start of half two. Dash relievers have only permitted 20 earned runs in 88.2 innings in the second half (2.03 ERA). Thanks to Brad Goldberg’s successful save conversion on Sunday, Winston has cashed in on 16 of its last 17 chances. The Dash lost their save leader Saturday with the promotion of righty Peter Tago, who struck out four in two innings for a save in his Double-A debut on Sunday.
  • Thanks to a recent promotion, Winston-Salem boasts two of the six bast base stealers in the Minors. Infielder Eddy Alvarez, who joined the Dash on Wednesday, ripped off 42 stolen bases for Low-A Kannapolis. He has three thieveries in his first five games at the High-A level. His 45 swipes are tied for fourth-best in the Minor Leagues, while Adam Engel places sixth with 43. No other active player in the Carolina League is within 16 of Engel, who has swiped nine in his last eight games. Also, Jake Peter owns a share of eighth in the CL. Alvarez, Engel and Peter all stole at least one base on Sunday.
  • Winston-Salem was in last place in the Southern Division for the final 50 days of the season’s first half. However, the Dash have enjoyed at least a share of first place for the first 32 days of half two. In their previous five halves (2013 first half to 2015 first half), the Dash were in first for a combined 33 days. This current first-place streak is Winston’s longest since being in the top spot for the final 35 days of the second half in 2012.
  • First baseman Keon Barnum continued his hot stretch with two more RBIs in Sunday’s win. This month, Barnum is hitting .267 (24-for-90) with 19 RBIs, which are tied for fifth in all of High-A baseball. The Tampa, Fla., native is tied with former Myrtle Beach slugger Jacob Rogers for the most RBIs in the CL during this span, which has encompassed 24 games. Overall, Barnum is tied for ninth on the circuit with 42 RBIs.
  • Following Monday’s finale in Frederick, the Dash return to BB&T Ballpark for six games…The first-half Northern Division champion Wilmington Blue Rocks visit the Triad for the second and final time this year before Lynchburg comes calling for the last meeting between the two teams this season.
  • White Sox first-round pick Carson Fulmer is slated to make his second High-A and third Minor League start on Tuesday.

BROADCAST INFORMATION:

Monday’s game will be available on wsdash.com/broadcast, along with the TuneIn Radio app. The Pregame Dash will begin at 1:45 p.m., with the first pitch at approximately 2 p.m.

– Scott

Game #101 Preview – Dash at Frederick

Game #101 – Road Game #50
Winston-Salem Dash (17-12, 47-52) at Frederick Keys (17-13, 49-51)
Sunday, July 26 – 4 p.m.
NYMEO Field at Harry Grove Stadium (Frederick, Md.)

GAME BACKGROUND:

Winston-Salem fell 2-1 Saturday on a walk-off double in the 11th inning. The Dash and Keys will play the middle game of their three-game set on Sunday.

Matt Heidenreich fired eight innings of one-run ball Saturday in a no-decision. (Jody Stewart/W-S Dash)

Matt Heidenreich fired eight innings of one-run ball Saturday in a no-decision. (Jody Stewart/W-S Dash)

STARTING LINEUP:

Adam Engel – CF
Eddy Alvarez – SS
Jake Peter – 2B
Trey Michalczewski – 3B
Keon Barnum – 1B
Omar Narvaez – C
T.J. Williams – DH
Nolan Earley – RF
Michael Danner – LF
James Dykstra – RHP

DASH DOTS:

  • Winston-Salem collected just three hits during Saturday’s loss, and the Dash did not muster a knock after the seventh inning. This marks the 11th time in 2015 that Winston-Salem has logged three hits or fewer. The Dash also dropped to 14-40 when scoring three runs or less. Within the eight-team Carolina League, Winston is in the basement in batting average at .240. 
  • Once again, the Dash were outstanding on the mound. Matt Heidenreich failed in his quest to become the fifth Minor League pitcher to reach 12 wins, but he did spin his second start of eight innings. In his last four outings, the Coronado, Calif., native boasts a 1.00 earned run average over 27.0 innings. In his 18 appearances this season, Heidenreich has worked six or more frames 14 times and posted a quality start 13 times. His 112.2 innings are the most in the CL. However, Mitch Horacek, Frederick’s Sunday starter, is in second place, only 5.1 innings away.
  • Winston-Salem boasts a 3.31 team earned run average, which is third-best in the CL (Myrtle Beach, 3.14; Wilmington, 3.20). At the All-Star Break, the Dash owned a 3.62 ERA, but their second-half mark is more than a full run lower (2.53). The bullpen has only permitted 18 earned runs in 86.2 innings (1.87 ERA) in half two. If the season ended today, Winston’s overall ERA would be the best in the Dash era (2009-now).
  • Thanks to a recent promotion, Winston-Salem boasts two of the six bast base stealers in the Minors. Infielder Eddy Alvarez, who joined the Dash on Wednesday, ripped off 42 stolen bases for Low-A Kannapolis. He has two thieveries in his first four games at the High-A level. His 44 are fifth-best in the Minor Leagues, while Adam Engel places sixth with 41. No other active player is within 14 of Engel in the CL. The White Sox are the only team with more than one prospect in the top 11, and they have three (Birmingham’s Tim Anderson, 11th with 35).
  • Winston-Salem was in last place in the Southern Division for the final 50 days of the season’s first half. However, the Dash have enjoyed at least a share of first place for the first 31 days of half two. In their previous five halves (2013 first half to 2015 first half), the Dash were in first for a combined 33 days. This current first-place streak is Winston’s longest since being in the top spot for the final 35 days of the second half in 2012.
  • The Dash boast the White Sox first-round pick, right-hander Carson Fulmer. In his Dash debut on Thursday, Fulmer blanked Carolina over two frames, during which he logged three strikeouts. He is expected to start for the Dash again on Tuesday at home against Wilmington. During his three-year career at Vanderbilt, Fulmer was 24-3 with a 1.99 ERA. He led the Commodores to the College World Series Finals twice (2014 and 2015) and helped the program win its first baseball national championship in 2014.
  • Within the CL, Jake Peter is tied for second in hits (99) and even in sixth in runs scored (56). Adam Engel shares the top spot in runs (64), while he stands sixth in hits (96).
  • Trey Michalczewski is second to Lynchburg’s Nellie Rodriguez (73) among active Carolina Leaguers in RBIs (56).
  • Jeremy Dowdy’s season-long nine-game hitting streak came to an end on Saturday.

BROADCAST INFORMATION:

Sunday’s game will be available on wsdash.com/broadcast, along with the TuneIn Radio app. The Pregame Dash will begin at 3:45 p.m., with the first pitch at approximately 4 p.m.

– Scott

Game #100 Preview – Dash at Frederick

Game #100 – Road Game #49
Winston-Salem Dash (17-11, 47-51) at Frederick Keys (16-13, 48-51)
Saturday, July 25 – 6 p.m.
NYMEO Field at Harry Grove Stadium (Frederick, Md.)

GAME BACKGROUND:

Keon Barnum went 4-for-5 with three RBIs to lead the Dash to a 7-2 victory in Friday’s rubber match against the Carolina Mudcats. Winston-Salem begins a three-game series Saturday at Frederick.

Keon Barnum has 17 RBIs in his last 20 games. (Jody Stewart/W-S Dash)

Keon Barnum has 17 RBIs in his last 20 games. (Jody Stewart/W-S Dash)

STARTING LINEUP:

Adam Engel – CF
Eddy Alvarez – SS
Jake Peter – LF
Trey Michalczewski – 3B
Keon Barnum – DH
Jeremy Dowdy – C
T.J. Williams – 1B
Cleuluis Rondon – 2B
Nolan Earley – RF
Matt Heidenreich – RHP

DASH DOTS:

  • Winston-Salem slugger Keon Barnum posted one of his best Minor League efforts in Friday’s rubber match. Barnum’s four hits and three RBIs matched career-highs. In his last 20 games dating back to July 3, the Florida native has collected 17 RBIs, including at least one in 11 games. Only Wilmington’s Mauricio Ramos (18) has more RBIs since July 3 than Barnum in all of High-A. During this impressive span, Barnum boasts a .286 (22-for-77) batting average. Before this surge began, the first baseman was hitting just .228 with 23 RBIs in 46 contests.
  • Barnum was not the only Dash hitter to deliver against the Mudcats. Winston-Salem’s seven runs equalled a high-water mark for the second half. The Dash have not scored more than seven runs in a game since their 10-8 loss at Lynchburg on June 6. Winston-Salem’s 14 hits, which were two shy of a season-best, came from seven different men (four multi-hit efforts).
  • Winston-Salem boasts a 3.33 team earned run average, which is third-best in the CL (Myrtle Beach, 3.17; Wilmington, 3.19). At the All-Star Break, the Dash owned a 3.62 ERA, but their second-half mark is more than a full run lower (2.59). The bullpen has only permitted 17 earned runs in 84.1 innings (1.81 ERA) in half two.
  • The Dash’s top two hitters–Adam Engel and Jake Peter–have thrived throughout the season. In the Carolina League, Engel is tied for fifth in hits (95) and alone in second in runs scored (63). Peter owns a share of third in hits (98) and all of sixth in runs (56). Both men are also dangerous on the base paths. Engel leads the CL in stolen bases with 41, which place him sixth in the Minor Leagues. Peter is tied for 11th in the Carolina League with 14. 
  • Winston-Salem was in last place in the Southern Division for the final 50 days of the season’s first half. However, the Dash have enjoyed at least a share of first place for the first 30 days of half two. In their previous five halves (2013 first half to 2015 first half), the Dash were in first for a combined 33 days. This current first-place streak is Winston’s longest since being in the top spot for the final 35 days of the second half in 2012.
  • The Dash boast the White Sox first-round pick, right-hander Carson Fulmer. In his Dash debut on Thursday, Fulmer blanked Carolina over two frames, during which he logged three strikeouts. He is expected to start for the Dash again on Tuesday at home against Wilmington. During his three-year career at Vanderbilt, Fulmer was 24-3 with a 1.99 ERA. He led the Commodores to the College World Series Finals twice (2014 and 2015) and helped the program win its first baseball national championship in 2014.
  • For the first time in his Minor League career, Jake Peter started in left field on Friday. Peter has amassed 125 starts at second base and 24 at shortstop.
  • Eddy Alvarez collected his first High-A stolen base to give him 43, which are fifth-most in the Minors.
  • Winston-Salem has successfully converted 15 of its last 16 save opportunities, including a two-inning save from Euclides Leyer on Friday.
  • Reliever Peter Tago earned a promotion to Double-A Birmingham.

BROADCAST INFORMATION:

Saturday’s game will be available on wsdash.com/broadcast, along with the TuneIn Radio app. The Pregame Dash will begin at 5:45 p.m., with the first pitch at approximately 6 p.m.

– Scott

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