Results tagged ‘ Michael Lee ’

Game 4 Preview – Winston-Salem at Lynchburg

Mills Cup Championship Series
Winston-Salem Dash at Lynchburg Hillcats
Wednesday, September 12 — 6:05 p.m.
Game 4 — Hillcats lead series 2-1

GAME 4 BACKGROUND:

After more than five months of baseball in the Carolina League, the Mills Cup could be awarded to Lynchburg tonight. However, the Dash are hoping to force a winner-take-all Game 5 Thursday after dropping Game 3 1-0 at Lynchburg City Stadium Tuesday night.

The Mills Cup Championship Series has not seen a Game 5 since 2005, when Frederick bested Kinston to claim the CL championship. The Hillcats last won it all in 2009, while Winston-Salem has not claimed the Cup since 2003.

STARTING PITCHERS:

Winston-Salem — LHP Scott Snodgress (4-0, 1.50 ERA): Snodgress takes to the mound for the second time this postseason, and he is in familiar territory. With the Dash trailing by a game in the best-of-three Southern Division Championship Series, Snodgress worked into the seventh inning for the first time in his Dash career and allowed three runs, only one of which was earned, on three hits. During the regular season, the former Stanford star surrendered just seven earned runs in eight starts. In his only effort against Lynchburg during the regular season, Snodgress blanked the ‘Cats over four innings August 21.

Lynchburg — RHP Aaron Northcraft (10-11, 3.98 ERA): With a chance at a championship, Lynchburg turns to Northcraft after he allowed just one run in six and two-thirds innings Friday in the NDCS-clinching win over Wilmington. Northcraft has twirled four straight quality starts dating back to August 22. The Tucson, Ariz., native has faced off with the Dash five times. He is 1-2 with a 3.77 ERA in those efforts.

DASH DOTS:

  • Winston-Salem has not played in a winner-take-all game in the championship set since 1973. Winston defeated Lynchburg in that series to claim the Mills Cup. Winston’s last MCCS win also came against Lynchburg back in 2003.
  • Lynchburg handed the Dash their sixth shutout of the season Tuesday, but it was the first since June 24 (7-0 v. Salem at home), a span of 70 games.
  • With last night’s shutout, the Dash have only mustered a run in 10 of their 51 offensive innings. Winston has been very dependent on the long ball, too. The Dash have needed the home run for 10 of their 21 postseason runs.
  • Terance Marin’s two scoreless innings in Game 3 lowered the bullpen’s ERA to 0.49 during the postseason. Winston-Salem relievers have only surrendered one earned run in 18.1 frames in the playoffs.
  • Lynchburg starters have befuddled the Dash thus far in the Mills Cup Finals. The trio of Michael Lee, Ryan Weber and Gus Schlosser combined to give up just two runs, one of which was earned, in 18.1 innings.
  • The Dash have scored only six runs over the last three games, which is the lowest number of tallies over a three-game span since May 16-18. This three-game offensive output is tied for the second-lowest this season for Winston-Salem.
  • Despite the loss, Chris Curley continued his hitting streak to begin his Dash career. Curley has hit safely in nine in a row (three regular season and six postseason games). While wearing the Dash purple, Curley is 14-for-29 (.483) with eight runs scored.

AN EYE ON THE WHITE SOX FARM:

The only other White Sox affiliate still alive lost last night, too. Triple-A Charlotte dropped Game 1 of the Governors’ Cup Finals at Pawtucket. Charlotte starter Charlie Leesman left in the first inning due to an undisclosed injury, and the PawSox took advantage by homering three times. Game 2 of this set is set for 7:05 p.m. from Rhode Island before shifting to Charlotte for the final three possible games.

BROADCAST INFORMATION:

Dash fans can catch the club’s quest for a 12th Mills Cup by tuning in here. Fans are encouraged to tweet @WSDashBaseball and use the Dash’s official playoff hashtag: #Dash12. The Pre-Game Dash begins at 5:45 p.m. and features a chat with manager Tommy Thompson and a look ahead to the biggest game of the season.

- Brian

Playoff Perspective – Game 1

Steve McCray kept the Dash in Saturday’s game, but he and Winston-Salem ultimately lost (Jody Stewart/W-S Dash).

One night after an incredible SDCS finale, the Dash stumbled in Game 1 of the Mills Cup Championship Series. Lynchburg led the entire way in a 3-1 win over the Dash Saturday at BB&T Ballpark. Here are a few thoughts before the quick turnaround for Game 2 Sunday at 2 p.m.

PLAYOFF PERSPECTIVE:

  • Big league rehab assignments are always touchy subjects during the playoffs, but I have absolutely no problem with them. If Paul Konerko needed to work back from an injury, and the Dash were the only minor league affiliate playing, you better believe he would be in Winston-Salem. Sure, Andrelton Simmons was a big part of Lynchburg’s win tonight, but he is here to prepare for a return to the big leagues.
  • For the first time this season, Michael Lee did not allow a run in a start with the Hillcats. His off-speed stuff befuddled the Dash over six and a third innings. Lee was the difference in the game.
  • Even though Dash starter Steve McCray did not post his best start of the season, he kept Winston-Salem in the game. The former Tennessee Volunteer stranded seven runners and only allowed two runs in five innings, with one being Simmons’ leadoff homer. It could have been much worse for McCray, but the righty battled to keep his club in the contest.
  • The Dash struggled offensively for seven innings, but this offense has a special aura to it. When Michael Earley, Mike Blanke and Courtney Hawkins strung together three straight hits, it felt like the Dash were going to battle back. Obviously, it didn’t happen, but this is an offense that can strike in a hurry, and I’m guessing it will before this series concludes.
  • Speaking of Hawkins, the 18-year-old has driven in a run in all four playoff games, which is incredible considering the Dash only scored one run in both series openers. This youngster is the real deal.
  • Tomorrow is the 77th and final minor league baseball game at BB&T Ballpark in 2012. This facility has hosted 50 Dash victories, three walk-off wins, an incredible All-Star game and much more. It will be bittersweet to wrap up the home slate, but it is fitting that the Dash are playing in a meaningful game after an incredibly great 2012 campaign here in the Triad.

Keep the faith. The Dash go for a series-tying win tomorrow. Already can’t wait.

- Brian

Game 1 Preview – Lynchburg at Winston-Salem

Mills Cup Championship Series
Lynchburg Hillcats at Winston-Salem Dash
Saturday, September 8  — 7:00 p.m.
Game 1 — Series tied 0-0

GAME 1 BACKGROUND:

Both the Dash and the Hillcats won winner-take-all games Friday night in the Division Championship Series. Winston-Salem plated four in the second and five more in the third en route to a 9-0 win over Myrtle Beach at BB&T Ballpark. Lynchburg nipped Wilmington 2-1 in the NDCS finale thanks to Braeden Schlehuber’s solo shot in the bottom of the eighth inning.

As a result, these two franchises will meet for the Carolina League title for the first time since 2003, when Winston swept Lynchburg in three games for what is the club’s most recent championship. The Dash were last in the Mills Cup Championship Series in 2010 when Potomac won three games to one. The Hillcats’ last trip resulted in a sweep of Salem in 2009.

STARTING PITCHERS:

Winston-Salem — RHP Steve McCray (9-3, 3.30 ERA): McCray faced the Hillcats six times during the regular season. In a team-high 27.2 innings against Lynchburg, McCray boasts a 3-1 mark and a 3.58 ERA. In his final start of the regular season August 31, the former Tennessee star blanked the ‘Cats over seven innings for the victory. McCray, who makes his first playoff start tonight, is currently riding a four-game win streak dating back to August 9, a run that matches a career high.

Lynchburg — RHP Michael Lee (3-3, 3.93 ERA): A former Red Sox farmhand, Lee has made 11 appearances and nine starts for the Hillcats this season. Lee has allowed a run in every game since his scoreless Lynchburg debut, but he did turn in a very solid start against Winston-Salem August 21 in Virginia. He matched a season high with seven innings of work and surrendered three runs, only one of which was earned, on five hits.

DASH DOTS:

  • Winston-Salem has won a record 11 Mills Cup titles since joining the Carolina League as a charter member in 1945. The franchise’s last crown came in 2003 when the Warthogs swept Lynchburg in the championship set. This is Winston’s second trip to the Mills Cup Championship Series since becoming the Dash prior to the 2009 campaign. Potomac downed the Dash three games to one in 2010.
  • The Dash outscored Myrtle Beach 12-1 in the final 12 innings of the Southern Division Championship Series, and Winston only needed three scoring frames to post that crooked number.
  • Winston-Salem’s pitching staff did not need all that support. The Dash posted a 1.67 earned run average in the SDCS. Starter Chris Bassitt was the story Friday because of a career-high seven scoreless innings. Bassitt, who only allowed four Pelicans to reach base, twirled the second-longest start for any hurler thus far in the CL postseason.
  • With his grand slam Friday night, Kevan Smith has plated 27 runs in his 24 High-A games. Between Winston-Salem and Low-A Kannapolis, Smith has 83 RBI in 108 efforts. Smith also hit the Dash’s seventh grand slam, which leads the CL. Smith, who hit a grand slam in his High-A debut July 26, is the only CL hitter with two grand slams in 2012.
  • A couple of key Dash swingers bounced back from a rough start to the playoffs with big games Friday. Both Keenyn Walker and Dan Black went 0-for-8 in Game 1 and Game 2, but the duo combined for four hits Friday. Walker drove in three runs, while Black scored once and reached three times.
  • The Dash and Hillcats split their 20-game season series, with Winston owning the 6-4 edge inside BB&T Ballpark. Winston had the slight advantage in average (.254 to .246), but Lynchburg outscored the Dash 102-96. The Dash won their season set against every other team in the Carolina League.
  • Chris Curley, who joined the Dash eight days ago, went 6-for-10 with three runs scored. Since his promotion from Kannapolis, Curley is 11-for-22 in the CL.

AN EYE ON THE WHITE SOX FARM:

Two other teams are in the playoffs within Chicago’s minor league system. Triple-A Charlotte missed out on a chance to sweep Indianapolis last night. The Indians won Game 3 8-0, but the Knights still lead the best-of-five two games to one. Also, rookie-level Great Falls dropped Game 1 of a best-of-three Pioneer League semifinal to Missoula 8-3.

BROADCAST INFORMATION:

Dash fans can catch the club’s quest for a 12th Mills Cup by tuning in here. Fans are encouraged to tweet @WSDashBaseball and use the Dash’s official playoff hashtag: #Dash12. The Pre-Game Dash begins at 6:40 p.m. and features a chat with manager Tommy Thompson and a look back at the Dash’s SDCS comeback.

- Brian

Playoff Perspective – Game 3

In case you missed any of our coverage following the Dash’s SDCS-clinching win, be sure to check out the game recap, the highlights, two postgame interviews and the twitter updates. Now, it’s time for our Game 3 analysis.

PLAYOFF PERSPECTIVE:

  • The Dash posted the best overall record and home mark in full-season minor league baseball, so this team won on a regular basis throughout the year. This was, in my opinion, the most complete effort of the season, and it came with the season on the line.
  • Myrtle Beach outplayed Winston-Salem during the first 14 innings of this series, but the Dash responded and crushed the Pelicans in the final 13 frames. After Vinny DiFazio’s homer in the top of the seventh inning in Game 2, Myrtle did not score again in the series, while the Dash plated 12 runs and recorded three crooked numbers.

Chris Bassitt twirled the best start of his career Friday (Steve Orcutt/W-S Dash).

  • The offense will steal the headlines because of the nine-run showing, but Chris Bassitt pitched the game of his life. “Absolutely,” Bassitt said when I asked him about it. Considering the importance of the game, I haven’t seen many pitching performances better than the one Bassitt turned in Friday night.
  • Keenyn Walker’s three-run triple in the second inning was a huge hit for the Dash and for Walker personally. The Pelicans were a deflated bunch after Walker slammed a 2-0 fastball to the gap in right-center. Plus, Walker had struggled a bit in the first two games of the series, and hitting coach Gary Ward has been working with him frequently over the last few weeks. Walker credited Ward in my chat with him after the game, and Dash fans saw Walker’s hard work come to fruition.
  • Winston-Salem catcher Kevan Smith put the game away with a grand slam in the bottom of the third. In his 24 games as a member of the Dash, Smith has driven in 27 runs. He has proven that he can truly hang offensively in the Carolina League, and his slam tonight was a bomb to the bullpen bar.
  • Speaking of Smith’s grand slam, tonight’s crowd was not the biggest at BB&T Ballpark, but it may have been the most baseball-savvy one we’ve seen this year thanks to the draw of a playoff elimination game, and the reaction after Smith’s grand slam was tremendous. This crowd went nuts.
  • Now, the scene shifts to the Mills Cup Championship Series, and the Dash have a huge advantage in their rotation for the first two games. Steve McCray will go in Game 1, and Justin Collop will toe the rubber in Game 2. On the flip side, Lynchburg will have Michael Lee for Game 1, but the Hillcats may have to go with multiple relievers in Game 2.
  • Two playoff wins down, and three to go. Enjoy it, Winston-Salem. I can’t wait until tomorrow.

- Brian

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