Results tagged ‘ Carolina League ’

Carolina Countdown – Myrtle Beach Pelicans

The Carolina Countdown previews the rest of the Carolina League in advance of the season. We will take a look at each club, both on and off the field. The countdown will progress alphabetically, and a new post will go up every weekday until it is over.

March 26: Carolina Mudcats
March 27: Frederick Keys
March 28: Lynchburg Hillcats

Introduction: The Myrtle Beach Pelicans have been members of the Carolina League since their 1999 inaugural season. Myrtle Beach split the 1999 Mills Cup with Wilmington but won the 2000 championship outright. Since then though, the team has yet to win a title, although they are the only Carolina League team to have made a postseason appearance in four straight seasons. The 2015 season is Myrtle Beach’s first in affiliation with the Chicago Cubs, after four seasons with Texas.

Last Season: Myrtle Beach dominated throughout the 2014 campaign, finishing a full 13.0 games better than any other Southern Division team with an 82-56 overall record. The Pelicans scored the most runs (683) and allowed the second-fewest tallies (550) in the Carolina League. Myrtle boasted a circuit-high 13 players on the Midseason and/or Year-End All-Star teams en route winning the Southern Division in both the first half (44-24) and second half (38-32). In the postseason, the Pelicans took the final two games of a Best-of-3 to knock off Salem in the SDCS and won Game 1 of the MCCS against Potomac before the Nationals won the next three to win the Carolina League championship.

Joey Gallo drove in 50 runs in 58 games with Myrtle Beach in 2014. (Robert Gurganus/Myrtle Beach Pelicans)

Joey Gallo drove in 50 runs in 58 games with Myrtle Beach in 2014. (Robert Gurganus/Myrtle Beach Pelicans)

Chicks likely dug the Pelicans in 2014. Myrtle Beach slammed 111 home runs; no team was within 24 bombs. Infielder Joey Gallo won the Carolina League’s Most Valuable Player award, smashing a circuit-high 21 home runs and posting a .463 on-base percentage and .735 slugging percentage for a ridiculous 1.199 OPS in 58 games before getting promoted to Double-A Frisco. Outfielder Nick Williams added a .292/.343/.491 line with 28 doubles, 13 home runs and 68 RBIs. On the pitching side, Andrew Faulkner went 10-1 with a 2.07 ERA, 100 strikeouts and 31 walks in 104.1 innings.

Manager: In conjunction with Myrtle Beach’s move to the Cubs organization, Mark Johnson will become the Pelicans’ sixth manager in team history in 2015. Johnson spent the previous two campaigns with Low-A Kane County, earning Baseball America Minor League Manager of the Year and Midwest League Manager of the Year honors last year after guiding the Cougars to a circuit-best 91-49 record and a Midwest League championship after sweeping the postseason with a 7-0 record.

Entering his fifth season with the Cubs, Johnson began managing in the minors immediately after concluding a 17-year professional playing career. Johnson was drafted by the Chicago White Sox in the first round (26th overall) of the 1994 draft and spent the 1997 season with Winston-Salem, batting .253/.420/.379 with four homers and 46 RBIs in 120 games. The Perry, Ga. native reached The Show with the White Sox in 1998 and served as the team’s backup catcher through the 2002 season before getting packaged with RHP Keith Foulke and others in a trade that brought Oakland Athletics RHP Billy Koch to Chicago.

Johnson played 13 games with Oakland in 2003, seven with Milwaukee in 2004 and then spent time in the Cubs, Brewers, Arizona Diamondbacks and St. Louis organizations until his retirement in 2010, only returning to the big leagues for a 10-game cameo with the Cardinals in 2008. Johnson will be joined in the dugout by pitching coach David Rosario and hitting coach Mariano Duncan.

System: The Cubs haven’t had a winning campaign in seven years and have not won a playoff series since 2003. They have finished no higher than fifth in the National League Central in each of the past five seasons. Amazingly, they haven’t had consecutive 90-win campaigns since 1930. You also might have heard they have the longest championship drought in American professional sports, with their last World Series title coming in 1908.

Kris Bryant has the highest slugging percentage of any minor league over the last 30 years. (Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports)

Kris Bryant has the highest slugging percentage of any minor league over the last 30 years. (Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports)

But the future appears to be bright for the Cubs. Infielder Javier Baez (2014 MLB.com No. 7 overall prospect) and outfielders Jorge Soler (No. 49) and Arismendy Alcantara (No. 89) made up the first wave of a talented battalion of prospects to trickle through Wrigley Field last summer. But knowing that the levee on Baseball Prospectus‘ top farm system will break in 2015, president Theo Epstein and general manager Jed Hoyer spent the winter making sure that the time for baseball’s perennially hibernating bear is right now.

First, the Cubs hired manager Joe Maddon, who had led the Tampa Bay Rays to 90+ wins in four of the last six seasons and the 2008 American League pennant. That gave the Cubs the relevance they needed to convince LHP Jon Lester to come to the north side of The Windy City and lead the starting rotation.

Epstein and Hoyer then went out and made two key trades to shore up the middle of the defense, acquiring switch-hitting catcher Miguel Montero from Arizona and centerfielder Dexter Fouler from Houston. Combine all that activity with the expected MLB debuts of infielder/outfielder Kris Bryant (MLB.com’s No. 2 overall prospect), who led all of Minor League Baseball with 43 home runs in 2014 and who’s .666 slugging percentage as a pro is higher than any minor league of the last 30 years, and infielder Addison Russell (No. 5 overall), who batted .295/.350/.508 last year in Double-A, this season, even more talented prospects are on the way.

Best Promotion: When Winston-Salem visits Myrtle Beach for a four-game series from April 23-26, the Dash will witness the Pelicans’ first-ever “Geekend.” The Dash will battle the Pelicans on Hunger Games Night to open the series on the 23rd before the two teams try to use the Force to bring them victory on Star Wars Night on Friday, the 23rd. Myrtle Beach will host Superhero Night with special jerseys auctioned off to benefit the Special Olympics of South Carolina on Saturday before Retro Game Night will close out the series on Sunday the 24th.

Adam Wainwright was traded to the Cardinals on the same day he got engaged. (Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

Adam Wainwright was traded to the Cardinals on the same day he got engaged. (Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

Fun Fact: Future St. Louis Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright pitched for the Myrtle Beach Pelicans in 2002, going 9-6 with a 3.31 ERA. In 2003, Wainwright advanced to Double-A Greenville and, following the season, decided to propose to his longtime girlfriend Jenny Curry. However, on that fateful day in December, every time Wainwright was about to get down on one knee to pop the question, his phone would ring. Wainwright kept ignoring multiple calls from the unknown number until finally his mother’s number came up. He answered it, only for his mother to inform him that he had been traded from the Atlanta organization to St. Louis. Wainwright, slightly stunned, hung up the phone, got down on one knee and finally completed his proposal, to which Curry said, “Yes.” The two were married in 2004.

Pelicans in Winston-Salem: The Dash will host Myrtle Beach for a record 17 home games in 2015. Winston-Salem and Myrtle Beach will open up the sixth season of BB&T Ballpark on April 16 to start a four-game series. The Pelicans will come back to Winston-Salem for another four-game series from May 8-11 before returning for a pair of three-game sets in June (15-18 and 28-30). The Dash’s penultimate homestand of the 2015 campaign begins with three games against Myrtle Beach from August 18-20.

Thanks so much for reading! We’ll get to the defending champion Potomac Nationals tomorrow.

– Scott

Carolina Countdown – Lynchburg Hillcats

The Carolina Countdown previews the rest of the Carolina League in advance of the season. We will take a look at each club, both on and off the field. The countdown will progress alphabetically, and a new post will go up every weekday until it is over.

March 26: Carolina Mudcats
March 27: Frederick Keys

Introduction: Founded in 1963, Lynchburg joined the Carolina League in 1966, making the Hillcats the second-oldest continuously operating team on the circuit, behind only the Winston-Salem franchise. The 2015 season marks the 40th that Lynchburg will spend in the Carolina League and their first in affiliation with the Cleveland Indians. The Hillcats have now been affiliated with 10 MLB teams over their history, but have normally been very successful; their seven Carolina League titles leave them behind only Winston-Salem for the most in league history.

Last Season: While certainly no juggernaut, the Hillcats were nothing if not consistent, following up a 34-36 first half of the 2014 campaign with a 34-35 record after the All-Star Break. Despite finishing under .500 overall at 68-71, Lynchburg claimed a playoff spot by virtue of their second place finish in the second half of the season before Potomac swept their Mills Cup semifinals series.

Lynchburg pitchers combined for the worst ERA (4.36) of any team in the Carolina League, but that was no fault of Greg Ross, who had the lowest ERA of any starting pitcher on the club at 3.50 to go along with his 5-3 record in 79.2 innings. Infielder Jose Peraza, MLB.com’s 39th-best prospect, and outfielder Kyle Wren (more on him below) helped charge up the offense, with the former batting .342/.365/.454 with 35 stolen bases and the latter slashing .296/.359/.357 to go along with his 33 swipes.

Manager: The Hillcats will welcome Mark Budzinski into the dugout to lead their club for the first time as an affiliate of the Cleveland Indians. Budzinski earned his first-ever managing experience last year with Class A Lake County of the Midwest League, leading the Captains all the way to the Championship Series before falling to the Kane County Cougars (Chicago Cubs) in three games.

Budzinski played collegiately at the University of Richmond and was selected by the Indians in the 21st round of the 1995 draft. He spent 11 seasons in the Cleveland, Cincinnati, Milwaukee and Philadelphia systems, finally earning that coveted promotion to The Show in 2003 with the Reds. Budzinski’s MLB career was short; it lasted just four games and seven plate appearances before he was sent back down to the minors for good until his retirement following the 2005 campaign. The Severna Park, Md. native will be joined in the dugout by pitching coach Tony Arnold and hitting coach Bobby Magallanes.

Francisco Lindor is the top prospect in the Cleveland Indians organization. (Paul Sancya/Associated Press)

Francisco Lindor is the top prospect in the Cleveland Indians organization. (Paul Sancya/Associated Press)

System: Poised to be one of baseball’s breakout teams in 2015, the Indians have seen much of their enviable young core of talent graduate to the majors to help their big league club try to challenge Detroit, Kansas City and the White Sox for the American League Central crown. All five of Cleveland’s starting pitchers are 29-and-younger and of the team’s nine projected regulars, six are still in their 20s. So the upcoming season could be the first of many that the Indians are a serious threat not just in the Central, but also in the entire American League.

While the Cleveland farm system may not be the strongest top-to-bottom (Baseball Prospectus ranks it 17th overall), there are a couple of high-impact prospects on the way that could help the big league club as early as this summer. The first name that comes to remember is infielder Francisco Lindor, the fourth-best prospect in all of baseball. Still just 20 years old, Lindor was the youngest player in the Eastern League (Double-A) on Opening Day last season and became the youngest position player in the International League (Triple-A) after a midsummer promotion. Along the way, he played in his third consecutive All-Star Futures Game, batting .276/.338/.389 across the two levels with 11 home runs and 28 stolen bases in 126 games.

The other Indians prospect ranked among the minors’ best is outfielder Clint Frazier (54th overall). Cleveland made Frazier the first high school position player selected in the 2013 Draft (5th overall), gave him a franchise-record $3.5 million signing bonus and watched him slash .266/.349/.411 with 13 bombs and 50 RBIs with Low-A Lake County in 2014, his first professional campaign. Frazier could see time at High-A Lynchburg in 2015.

Best Promotion: On Saturday, May 3, the Hillcats will host “Kentucky Derby Night” against the Myrtle Beach Pelicans. Fans who wear a seersucker, fancy hat and/or a bow tie will receive discounted admission to the game.

Outfielder Kyle Wren was a Midseason All-Star for the Hillcats last year, but was traded to the Brewers in the offseason. (Photo courtesy of Baseball America.)

Outfielder Kyle Wren was a Midseason All-Star for the Hillcats last year, but was traded to the Brewers in the offseason. (Photo courtesy of Baseball America.)

Fun Fact: Outfielder Kyle Wren was named the Braves’ Single-A Player of the Year after his strong performance for Lynchburg last season. However, after Atlanta fired his father, Frank, as the team’s general manager and his uncle, Jeff, a scout in the organization, the team shipped Kyle to the Milwaukee Brewers in exchange for minor league pitcher Zach Quintana.

Hillcats in Winston-Salem: Lynchburg makes its first appearance at BB&T Ballpark for the 2015 season for a three-game series from May 27-29. The Hillcats will also come south two times after the All-Star Break, for a set from July 19-21 and then again for a weekend series from July 31-August 2.

We’ll come back into the Southern Division tomorrow to talk about the Myrtle Beach Pelicans. Have a wonderful day!

– Scott

Coats’ MVP case

Jason Coats (right) is a contender to win Winston's fourth straight MVP award (Jody Stewart/W-S Dash).

Jason Coats (right) is a contender to win Winston’s fourth straight MVP award (Jody Stewart/W-S Dash).

Outfielder Jason Coats has earned a well-deserved promotion to Double-A Birmingham after turning in one of the best seasons by an offensive player in the Carolina League this season.

Even though he will spend his final few weeks in the Southern League, Coats is on a short list of MVP contenders here in the CL. He is likely the Dash’s best chance to continue an incredible streak. Winston-Salem has claimed the league’s Most Valuable Player award in each of the previous three seasons.

No team had accomplished this feat since Lynchburg rattled off four consecutive MVPs from 1983-86. Here is how Coats’ numbers compare to those of the last three MVPs in the Dash purple:

2011 – Ian Gac: .279, 33 HR, 96 RBIs
2012 – Dan Black: .315, 17 HR, 88 RBIs
2013 – Chris Curley: .280, 24 HR, 92 RBIs
2014 – Jason Coats: .291, 15 HR, 72 RBIs

Coats’ promotion is a huge step for a tremendous player, and it is what Minor Leagues ultimately want. However, this jump to Double-A prevents Coats from logging 20 more games in Winston-Salem. Gac, Black and Curley all started and finished their MVP seasons in High-A.

If you extrapolate Coats’ numbers out over these final 20 games, you would get 18 homers and 85 RBIs, which are both right in the range of the MVP trio listed above.

Fortunately, though, Coats is not fighting against those numbers and players. He is competing with the current crop of Carolina Leaguers. The Allen, Texas, native leaves the Carolina League while still leading the way in hits (125), doubles (35), total bases (209), and games played (115).

He is currently in the top 10 in the three triple crown categories listed above: ninth in batting average, tied for fourth in home runs and second in RBIs.

Coats has superior numbers to most players in the Carolina League. His main competition figures to come against Myrtle Beach’s Joey Gallo, who dominated this league, but only for two months. He hit .323 with 21 homers and 50 RBIs in just 58 games, leading the Pelicans to an emphatic first-half Southern Division title.

However, Coats has a tremendous case, and one that could lead Winston-Salem to history. For now, we thank the former TCU star for all he brought to the Dash. Maybe he will leave us with a parting gift in a few weeks when the MVP award is announced.

– Brian

Familiar face rejoins Winston-Salem

The newest member of the Dash summed up the news pretty well on Twitter.

Indeed, right-hander Terance Marin is back with Winston-Salem, the White Sox announced Friday morning. Originally signed by Chicago as a non-drafted free agent in 2010, Marin was in the system until April 9 when he was released from the Dash’s roster. Less than three months later, Marin is back in the system and in the Dash’s rotation. He will start for Winston in its middle match against Salem on Friday.

Marin did not give up on his professional aspirations. The Newman, Calif., native signed with the Evansville Otters of the independent Frontier League, and he dominated to the tune of a 4-1 record and a 2.05 earned run average in six starts.

His short stint in Evansville was stellar. Check out some of these numbers, courtesy of Evansville broadcaster Mike Radomski:

  • Marin took a no-hitter into the fifth inning in three of his six outings with the Otters.
  • The righty whiffed 11 batters in back-to-back outings on May 24 and May 30.
  • Marin averaged more than six and a half innings per start. His affiliated career high is 6.2 frames, though he did not start many games in the Minors.

With Marin’s addition, the Dash’s roster is at the Carolina League maximum of 25. He will be the 11th hurler to start a game for Winston-Salem this season.

Stay tuned for a full preview of Friday’s clash against Salem here on the Dash Board.

– Brian

Unlucky 15 for Dash, Keys

Trends are an important part of baseball. Managers and coaches rely on them to set up strategy, while players use them to determine their approach on the mound, in the field or at the plate.

Generally speaking, weather can be extremely unpredictable. Forecasts can change from hour-to-hour, giving meteorologists nightmares whenever their predictions are wrong. But a trend has even emerged among Mother Nature during this baseball season: the Winston-Salem Dash and Frederick Keys will have their game postponed if it is scheduled on the 15th of the month at BB&T Ballpark.

Tarp covers the field at BB&T Ballpark on Thursday, May 15.

Tarp covers the field at BB&T Ballpark on Thursday, May 15.

On Tuesday, April 15, the Dash and Keys were slated to begin a three-game series in the Triad, but rain disrupted those plans, causing a doubleheader for that Wednesday. It was the first of three times in April where weather altered Winston-Salem’s schedule.

Fast-forward to Thursday, May 15, with the Dash and Keys set to begin a four-game series at BB&T Ballpark. Once again, Mother Nature got in the way, leading to this evening’s doubleheader.

It’s purely coincidence that Frederick was the scheduled opponent on both occasions, and that both postponements were on the 15th of the month. Still, we couldn’t help but look at the remaining schedule to see if the Dash and Keys will play on the 15th during the rest of the season.

Thankfully, they don’t. All of the remaining series with Frederick occur after the All-Star Break: June 25-27 and July 19-21 in Maryland, as well as July 29-31 at BB&T Ballpark.

Even with something as volatile and unpredictable as weather, baseball has a strange and fascinating way of producing trends. Remember last year when we discovered the key to quick baseball games? Simply offer all-you-can-eat food!

Since it’s the 16th of the month, the Dash and Keys will be able to play baseball. Two games, in fact. Stay tuned later for a preview of Friday’s doubleheader.

– Dave

Game #22 Preview – Dash at Salem

Game #22 – Road Game #11
Winston-Salem Dash (7-14) at Salem Red Sox (13-9)
Sunday, April 27 – 4:05 p.m.
LewisGale Field (Salem, Va.) 

GAME BACKGROUND:

The Dash rolled to a 7-1 victory over Salem on Saturday in the opening tilt of their four-game series. Winston-Salem has now won two out of its last three contests.

Courtney Hawkins drove home a career high-tying five runs on Saturday (Jody Stewart/W-S Dash).

Courtney Hawkins drove home a career high-tying five runs on Saturday (Jody Stewart/W-S Dash).

STARTING LINEUP:

Tim Anderson – SS
Joey DeMichele – DH
Courtney Hawkins – LF
Keon Barnum – 1B
Jason Coats – RF
Martin Medina – C
Grant Buckner – 3B
Michael Johnson – 2B
Jacob May – CF
J.B. Wendelken – RHP

DASH DOTS:

  • Prior to the game, the White Sox announced that right-handed reliever Brandon Hardin has been activated off the disabled list. Hardin has made four appearances thus far with Winston-Salem. He has allowed just one run on three hits in three and a third innings. He is eligible to play in Sunday’s game.
  • Outfielder Courtney Hawkins tied a career-high with five RBIs in Saturday’s contest. It’s the third time he has reached that mark in his career (all at Salem). The 20-year-old also drove in five against the Red Sox on April 8 in a 12-11 defeat.
  • With his five-RBI performance Saturday, Hawkins reclaimed the Carolina League’s lead for RBIs. He now has 25 this season, three more than Myrtle Beach’s Joey Gallo. His total is tied for second in all of Minor League Baseball. Hawkins ranks second in the circuit to Gallo in home runs, with six (Gallo has nine).
  • Hawkins has tormented Salem this season. In eight games against the Red Sox, the former first-round draft pick is batting .303 with four home runs and 17 RBIs. He has driven in 39.5% of the 43 runs the Dash have scored against Salem in 2014.
  • With his seventh-inning single on Saturday, outfielder Adam Heisler now has at least one hit in all six games he has played against Salem this season. The 25-year-old is batting .571 (12-for-21) against the Red Sox in 2014.
  • Shortstop Tim Anderson went 2-for-5 on Saturday, with two singles, two runs scored and a stolen base. The 20-year-old has now recorded multi-hit games in seven of 20 Dash contests this season, including two straight games.
  • The Dash are now 5-1 this season in games where they score first. Winston-Salem has tallied the opening run in each of their last three affairs.
  • Starting pitcher J.B. Wendelken will try to extend his personal winning streak to three straight decisions. During his most recent outing last Sunday against Salem at BB&T Ballpark, the 21-year-old allowed four runs and nine hits in five innings, but earned the win in a 10-8 Dash triumph. Wendelken is 2-1 with a 3.63 ERA this season.

BROADCAST INFORMATION:

Today’s game is available live on wsdash.com/broadcast. The Pregame Dash begins at 3:50 p.m., with the first pitch scheduled for 4:05.

– Dave

A rare sight at BB&T Ballpark

The Dash have done plenty of high-fiving at BB&T Ballpark (Jody Stewart/W-S Dash).

The Dash have done plenty of high-fiving at BB&T Ballpark (Jody Stewart/W-S Dash).

Since moving into BB&T Ballpark for the 2010 season, the Dash have quickly made the downtown facility one of the most-feared destinations for opposing teams.

Winston-Salem has posted the fourth-best home record in full-season Minor League Baseball during the BB&T Ballpark era, entering tonight with a 173-115 (.601) mark. Only the Savannah Sand Gnats (Low-A, San Francisco) of the South Atlantic League (172-110, .610), the Durham Bulls (Triple-A, Tampa Bay) of the International League (181-116, .609) and the Hagerstown Suns (Low-A, Washington) of the South Atlantic League (170-112, .603) have better winning percentages at home during that span.

While all teams will have the occasional hiccups at their ballpark, the Dash have done an incredible job of bouncing back from lackluster performances. In BB&T Ballpark’s history, Winston-Salem has only been swept twice in 86 previous series!

Unfortunately, one of those sweeps just occurred this week. The Frederick Keys won three straight in the Triad, capturing both ends of Wednesday’s doubleheader, 5-3 and 2-0, before leaving town with a 7-3 victory Thursday night.

The only other sweep came at the hands of the eventual Carolina League champion Salem Red Sox on August 14-16, 2013. The Dash put up a great fight in all three games, losing 5-4 in 10 innings during the opener before being dealt consecutive 2-1 setbacks. This first sweep did not take place until the 82nd series in the facility’s history.

There have been eight other attempts to sweep Winston-Salem within their home confines, and the Dash have emerged victorious on each occasion. In those contests, Winston-Salem outscored their opponents by a 58-31 margin.

For comparison’s sake, the Dash have successfully swept their opponent 18 times at BB&T Ballpark. 18-2 is still quite a lopsided score!

The Dash will look to get back to their winning ways tonight, with the beginning of a four-game series against the Salem Red Sox. We will have a preview of tonight’s game later on the blog.

– Dave

Game #5 Preview – Dash at Salem

Game #5 – Road Game #1
Winston-Salem Dash (2-2) at Salem Red Sox (4-0)
Tuesday, April 8 – 7:05 p.m.
LewisGale Field (Salem, Va.)

GAME BACKGROUND:

The Dash earned a four-game series split with the Wilmington Blue Rocks, winning 7-1 on Sunday afternoon. Winston-Salem now hits the road for the first time this season, meeting a Red Sox team that swept four games from the Myrtle Beach Pelicans on Opening Weekend. This is Salem’s home opener.

STARTING LINEUP:

Jacob May – CF
Tim Anderson – SS
Courtney Hawkins – LF
Keon Barnum – 1B
Jason Coats – RF
Joey DeMichele – 2B
Martin Medina – C
Nick Basto – 3B
Michael Marjama – DH
Mike Recchia – RHP

DASH DOTS:

  • Dash outfielder Courtney Hawkins has a four-game hitting streak to start the season. It’s his longest since August 5-10, 2013, when he hit in six straight games. Hawkins is the only Winston-Salem player to have at least one hit in all four games in 2014, and he leads the Carolina League with six RBIs.
  • Dash infielder Nick Basto tied a career-high in hits on Sunday, going 3-for-4 with two singles, a double and two RBIs. The 20-year-old achieved a three-hit day five other times in his pro career, most recently on August 3, 2013, when he was with Low-A Kannapolis against Hagerstown.
  • Last season, the Dash posted a 34-36 mark away from BB&T Ballpark. Since becoming the Dash in 2009, the franchise has a 169-176-1 (.490) all-time road record.
  • Salem boasts a 10-game regular season winning streak dating back to last year, and if you include their 2013 playoff games, the Red Sox have won 15 straight. The all-time Carolina League record for consecutive regular season victories is 16, set by the 1950 Winston-Salem Cardinals.
  • Through four games, Winston-Salem has the second-best earned run average in the Carolina League (2.50). The Dash pitching staff allowed just 10 earned runs in the opening series against Wilmington.
  • Probable starting pitcher Mike Recchia made five starts with the Dash last season, going 1-0 with a 4.88 ERA. He has made 13 starts during his affiliated minor league career (69 appearances) but led the Frontier League in innings pitched, complete games and shutouts with the independent Windy City ThunderBolts in 2012.

BROADCAST INFORMATION:

Tonight’s game is available live on wsdash.com/broadcast. The Pregame Dash begins at 6:50 p.m., with the first pitch scheduled for 7:05.

– Dave

Reflecting on a 16-game winning streak

Earl Weaver was the star of the Carolina League's best team of all time--the 1950 Winston-Salem Cardinals. He is remembered at BB&T Ballpark with this plaque.

Earl Weaver was the star of the Carolina League’s best team of all time–the 1950 Winston-Salem Cardinals. He is remembered at BB&T Ballpark with this plaque.

Tonight, the Dash begin a three-game series against the Salem Red Sox, the defending champions of the Carolina League. They are 4-0 to start the 2014 season after wrapping up last year’s regular season with victories in their last six contests.

The 10-game regular season winning streak is incredibly impressive, and if you include their playoff run to the 2013 Mills Cup Championship, the Red Sox have come out on top in 15 straight games.

The Carolina League record for consecutive regular season wins is 16, and it resides in the Triad! Today, we reflect on one of the great teams in Minor League Baseball history: the 1950 Winston-Salem Cardinals.

(NOTE: Because postseason wins are involved with this consecutive streak, we are not sure if, by the Carolina League record books, Salem’s streak is 10 games or 15 games. We have an e-mail into league president John Hopkins about this. However, our guess is that the postseason wins will not count because postseason stats are not added to a player’s overall line).

The Cardinals were the first Carolina League team to crack the century-mark for wins in a season, going 106-47 in 1950. They finished a whopping 19 games ahead of the second-place Danville Leafs. In the playoffs, the Cardinals defeated the Reidsville Luckies and Burlington Bees to complete their championship year.

While Winston-Salem’s offensive numbers weren’t eye-popping individually, they collectively led the league in runs-per-game. They also featured the best pitching in the Carolina League and tied for the league lead in fielding percentage.

During a two-week stretch in June, the Cardinals bulldozed the competition, breaking the consecutive wins record set by Burlington in 1948 (13 games). When it was all said-and-done, the 16-game winning streak became the new standard for Carolina League success.

Among players, Wilmer “Vinegar Bend” Mizell had the most successful Major League career of anyone on the Winston-Salem roster. He pitched for nine seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals, Pittsburgh Pirates and New York Mets, compiling a 90-88 record and 3.85 ERA.

The most famous man on that 1950 Cardinals team, however, never played a day in the Majors. Earl Weaver was Winston-Salem’s second baseman that season, hitting .276. He later rose to prominence as manager of the Baltimore Orioles, leading that squad for 17 years. During his time in Baltimore, Weaver won 1,480 games, four American League pennants and the 1970 World Series. One of the most colorful skippers in baseball history, Weaver was inducted to the Hall of Fame in 1996.

Since that historic Winston-Salem winning streak was established, it has only been challenged a couple of times. The 1959 Raleigh Capitals rattled off 15 straight wins, and the 2006 Salem Avalanche won 14 in a row. But the 1950 Cardinals remain atop the mountain, and this year’s Dash squad will look to defend Winston-Salem’s honor and halt the latest challenge.

– Dave

Game #4 Preview – Dash vs. Wilmington

Game #4– Home Game #4
Winston-Salem Dash (1-2) vs. Wilmington Blue Rocks (2-1)
Sunday, April 6 – 2 p.m.
BB&T Ballpark (Winston-Salem, NC) 

GAME BACKGROUND:

The Dash earned their first win of the season Saturday night, 3-2 over the Blue Rocks. Outfielder Courtney Hawkins slugged a home run for the second straight game, and also drove in the winning run with a sacrifice fly in the eighth inning. Jarrett Casey pitched two scoreless innings in relief to notch his first win of 2014.

Courtney Hawkins is 4-for-10 with five RBIs in the first three games (Jody Stewart/W-S Dash).

Courtney Hawkins is 4-for-10 with five RBIs in the first three games (Jody Stewart/W-S Dash).

STARTING LINEUP:

Jacob May – CF
Tim Anderson – SS
Courtney Hawkins – RF
Keon Barnum – 1B
Jason Coats – RF
Martin Medina – C
Grant Buckner – DH
Nick Basto – 3B
Michael Johnson – 2B
Braulio Ortiz – RHP

DASH DOTS:

  • Dash outfielder Courtney Hawkins hit a home run for the second consecutive game Saturday night. The last time he went deep in back-to-back tilts was June 3-4, 2013, when he hit three dingers in two games at Salem. Including the postseason, Hawkins has hit a homer in two straight games three times in his minor league career.
  • Shortstop Tim Anderson fell a home run short of the cycle on Saturday night, going 3-for-4. His three hits tied a career-high, which he achieved three times at Low-A Kannapolis in 2013.
  • Today marks the first day game of the season for the Dash. Last season, Winston-Salem went 13-11 in matinee contests. That includes a 7-7 record at BB&T Ballpark.
  • Winston-Salem will play its 700th regular season game as the Dash on Sunday afternoon. Since changing its nickname from Warthogs to Dash prior to the 2009 season, Winston boasts a 382-316-1 (.547) record, which is the best in the Carolina League over that span.
  • Probable starting pitcher Braulio Ortiz has the most professional starts of any man in the Dash rotation, with 23. The next-highest total among Winston-Salem starters is Tony Bucciferro, who tossed the opening pitch for the 16th time in his career Saturday night.

BROADCAST INFORMATION:

Today’s game is available live on wsdash.com/broadcast, with Brian Boesch and Dave Polaski providing play-by-play. Every Dash game is also available on MiLB.tv.

– Dave

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