Results tagged ‘ Myrtle Beach Pelicans ’
We have reached the halfway point of our 2014 Carolina Countdown. Three down, and three more to go after we break down the Birds on the Beach.
INTRODUCTION: The Myrtle Beach Pelicans have been Carolina League members since their 1999 inaugural season. Originally affiliated with the Atlanta Braves, the Pelicans have been in the Texas Rangers system since 2011. They were declared Carolina League co-champions in 1999 and won the title outright in 2000.
LAST SEASON: The Pelicans finished 2013 at the top of the Southern Division, going 77-62 overall. It was a short stay in the playoffs, however, as they were swept by second-place Salem in the best-of-three Mills Cup Semifinal series. However, the Birds are the only team in the CL to qualify for the postseason in three consecutive seasons.
Second baseman Rougned Odor, one of the Rangers’ top prospects, ranked third in the Carolina League in batting (.305), while infielder Trever Adams was fourth in the league in RBI (82). On the mound, Myrtle Beach boasted a pair of standout starters. Nick Martinez went 10-7 and sported the league’s third-best ERA (2.87), while Alec Asher went 9-7 and finished fourth in ERA (2.90).
MANAGER: Joe Mikulik will guide the Pelicans in 2014. The 50-year-old was a roving outfield instructor for the Rangers organization in 2013 after spending 13 years as the Asheville Tourists’ manager in the Colorado minor league system. Mikulik started his managing career with the Burlington Indians in 1997-98. During his playing days, Mikulik enjoyed an 11-year minor league career in the Astros organization. Joining him in the Myrtle Beach dugout this season will be Josue Perez as hitting coach and Steve Mintz as pitching coach, both of whom were on the Pelicans’ staff in 2013.
SYSTEM: The Rangers have won at least 90 games in each of the last four seasons and have qualified for the Major League postseason in three of the last four years. While some members of the farm system have matured into MLB-ready players, experts and publications say the pipeline of prospects remains solid as well.
Catcher Jorge Alfaro is rated by Baseball America as the second-best prospect in the Rangers’ system, and he could start the season with the Pelicans. The 20-year-old spent most of 2013 with Low-A Hickory, hitting .258 with 22 doubles, 16 home runs and 53 RBI in 104 games.
Outfielder Nick Williams may also help Myrtle Beach in 2014. The 20-year-old, ranked by Baseball America as the Rangers’ fourth-best prospect, batted .293 with 17 home runs and 60 RBI in 95 games with Hickory last season.
BEST PROMOTION: On Saturday, July 12, the Pelicans will host “Disco Demolition Night” for their game against Lynchburg, celebrating the 35-year anniversary of one of the most dubious promotions in Major League history.
On July 12, 1979, the White Sox staged Disco Demolition Night at Comiskey Park in Chicago, where a crate filled with disco records was blown up on the field between games of a doubleheader against the Detroit Tigers. After the explosion, the fans in attendance rushed the field and rendered it unplayable, resulting in a White Sox forfeit of the second game. Let’s hope the anniversary celebration is more civil!
FUN FACT: The Rangers’ Low-A club in Hickory had no shortage of power in 2013, slugging 178 home runs to comfortably lead the South Atlantic League. The second-best team in that category could only muster 108. It will be interesting to see whether that type of production continues this season in the CL as some of those Hickory players graduate to the Myrtle Beach roster.
PELICANS IN WINSTON-SALEM: The Pelicans pay their first visit to BB&T Ballpark on May 5-7 for a three-game series. They will also be in Winston-Salem on July 7-10 and from July 16-18.
The Dash’s 2014 schedule was made public Tuesday, and the 140-game journey will be an exciting one. However, all schedules feature some games that soar above the rest. Here are the top five games of the upcoming slate, which begins in 154 days.
1. Opening Day – April 3 vs. Wilmington
For the first time in BB&T Ballpark history, the Dash will begin their season at home. Winston-Salem meets the Wilmington Blue Rocks in the first of a four-game set on Thursday, April 3. This franchise has not begun a season with a home game since the Warthogs kicked off the 2007 campaign with a seven-game homestand.
Opening Day is always special in the Triad, but it will be even more unique to see the season begin here at BB&T Ballpark. Over the last two seasons, the Dash suffered consecutive nine-run defeats at Carolina to begin the season. This year, the club will enjoy a fresh start in the friendly confides of BB&T Ballpark.
2. Fourth of July game – July 4 vs. Wilmington
The Blue Rocks will be back in town for the other landmark game of the Dash’s schedule. The Fourth of July always attracts one of the best crowds of the season, and this year’s game promises to be huge because it lands on a Friday night.
In 2013, the Dash set a BB&T Ballpark record with a crowd of 7,576 on July 4. Can Winston-Salem top this impressive number next summer? If one game can draw that type of crowd, it is this one. You will not want to miss it.
3. The champs come to town – April 18 vs. Salem
The Salem Red Sox climbed to the top of the Carolina League in 2013 with a strong second-half surge. Winston will have quite a say in how Salem’s repeat bid begins. The Dash and Sox will meet 11 times in the first 27 days of the campaign.
Salem’s first trip to Winston comes in the form of a four-game wraparound weekend set from April 18-21. This series also includes Easter Sunday, so it should be a jam-packed four days as the Dash attempt to reclaim their hold on the Southern Division’s top spot.
4. Southern Division rivalry week begins – July 7 vs. Myrtle Beach
Since Winston-Salem’s nickname change prior to the 2009 season, the two best teams in the Southern Division have been the Dash and the Myrtle Beach Pelicans. Myrtle is the only CL club that has qualified for the postseason in three straight seasons.
From July 7-18, the Dash will host the Pelicans seven times, while the full month of July features 10 battles between two squads that always seem to be contenders. The second half race will start to take shape when the Birds and Dash get comfortable with each other in the Triad in July.
5. First-half finale – June 15 at Potomac
Over the last five seasons, Winston-Salem has claimed three first-half division crowns, while last year’s Dash bunch had a chance at the title until the second-to-last day of the half.
If Winston wants to clinch a playoff spot in June, the squad may need to go through Potomac, who was the best team on the circuit in the regular season a year ago. Meaningful baseball is the best kind of baseball, and we are hoping for some in Woodbridge next June.
For a printable version of the Dash’s 2014 schedule, click here. Hope you have a happy Halloween tonight! Enjoy the candy.
#10: Dash clinch winning record
#9: Comeback in Delaware
#8: 17 runs in six innings
#7: Buckner sets RBIs record
#6: Attendance record on July 4
#5: Beck, Blough toss gems
#4: Four alumni jump to MLB
#3: Curley named CL’s MVP
Moment #2 – August 24
DeMichele’s walk-off grand slam
A walk-off grand slam is the royal flush of a baseball plate appearance. Consider all of these factors:
- The game has to be in the ninth inning or later.
- The score must be tied, or the visiting team must be facing a save situation.
- In the 42,107 total plate appearances in the Carolina League this season, only 15 resulted in a grand slam. This calculates to a 0.035% chance of a grand slam in the CL this season.
However, everything came together on a Saturday night in Winston-Salem. Myrtle Beach, who had controlled the season series with the Dash for much of 2013, enjoyed a 4-2 lead entering the bottom of the ninth at BB&T Ballpark.
Winston-Salem certainly benefited from some Myrtle miscues to set up the ninth-inning opportunity. Former Pelican Josh Richmond led off the inning with a walk and advanced to second on a throwing error. Following a flyout, Grant Buckner reached on a fielding error.
A fielder’s choice at the plate pushed the Dash to the brink of defeat, but Joe De Pinto worked a walk to load the bases with two away. Then, walk-off king Joey DeMichele stepped to the dish.
Before this at-bat, DeMichele already boasted two walk-off hits in 2013. In early May, the former Arizona State star launched a three-run homer to stun Frederick in extra innings. A couple of weeks later, his 10th-inning RBI single completed a comeback win over Potomac.
This performance would trump those two game-winning hits and most, if not all, moments in his baseball career. He cracked an 0-1 hanger to the home run porch in right field, setting off a home plate mobbing after he rounded the bases.
Here is the play in its entirety, along with his on-field interview just moments after the game-winning slam.
It does not get much better than a walk-off grand slam, and this was the first in BB&T Ballpark history. Based on the rare nature of them, who knows when the next walk-off grand slam will be?
Stay tuned for our top moment from 2013, which comes up Tuesday! Talk to you then.
The 2013 season is over, but there were plenty of memorable moments. Over the next two weeks, we will count down the Top 10 moments of the Dash era’s fifth season.
Moment #5 – June 7 & August 26
Beck, Blough make history with gems
In Minor League Baseball, development trumps winning. Most pitchers, especially starters, are monitored with pitch counts, which means lengthy outings are the exception.
Among the 16 stateside minor leagues, only 67 pitchers logged at least two complete games in 2013, while no minor league hurler posted more than four. Many of these complete games are a bit different than the ones commonly seen in the big leagues because of the different doubleheader format in the minors (a pair of seven inning games).
Entering this season, the only nine-inning complete game shutout in the Dash era (2009-present) belonged to Matt Heidenreich, who befuddled Salem on June 25, 2012.
So, 556 games played. 1 complete game shutout of nine innings.
To put it into perspective, Winston-Salem has as many walkoff grand slams, no-hitters and 17-run offensive outputs as nine-inning complete game shutouts since the nickname change five years ago.
However, the 2013 season brought about two such outings, which just does not happen often in A-ball. Also, Winston-Salem had not recorded more complete games (6) as a team since 2001 (10).
Within the Carolina League, Chris Beck was a midseason All-Star and finished fifth among qualifiers in earned run average. During this breakout season for the former second-round pick, no start was better than his sterling effort on June 7 against Wilmington.
Beck scattered five hits over nine dominant innings, during which he only needed 90 pitches. He matched a career high with seven strikeouts and stretched his scoreless streak against the Blue Rocks to 17 innings in the 5-0 victory during a crucial time in the first half playoff hunt.
While Beck’s outing was tough to match, Bryan Blough did just that during the final homestand of the 2013 season. With a sweep on the line, Blough tossed an even 100 pitches and allowed just six hits during his nine-inning complete game shutout against Myrtle Beach on August 26. He did not walk a single Pelicans hitter in his fantastic outing.
This was Blough’s penultimate outing during his banner year. In his first full season as a starter, Blough finished second in all of Minor League Baseball with 172.2 innings pitched, and he clearly did not slow down in the dog days of the season.
There was no way to distinguish between these two tremendous starts, so they share the fifth-best moment of 2013. Four players fittingly combined to make our fourth-best moment of the year, and we will unveil that tomorrow.
The 2013 season is over, but there were plenty of memorable moments. Over the next two weeks, we will count down the Top 10 moments of the Dash era’s fifth season.
Moment #6 – July 4
New BB&T Ballpark attendance record
It was another huge season at the gate for the Dash. For the fourth time in as many years at BB&T Ballpark, Winston-Salem’s total attendance eclipsed 300,000 fans. The Dash even welcomed BB&T Ballpark’s one millionth fan in mid-May. However, the most remarkable moment of 2013 by the Dash’s loyal fan base came on summer’s best holiday.
The Fourth of July is a special day in Winston-Salem, and BB&T Ballpark has become the best spot in the Triad for fireworks. Each year, no show is more spectacular than the one on July 4, so the Dash were ready to host a huge crowd.
However, Mother Nature tried to put a damper on the festivities. The forecast called for rain throughout the weekend, and a storm came through less than an hour before the scheduled first pitch time. Water from the downpour engulfed the field, and the game was very much in jeopardy.
“We’ve got a really good field here, but it can only take so much water,” Dash Head Groundskeeper Doug Tanis said after the game. “We reached that tipping point around 6:30 when that storm came through.”
Thanks to the work of the Dash’s grounds crew and many front office team members, the field was slowly but surely prepared for play. Most teams in Minor League Baseball would not have been able to play, but the effort from the staff and the quality of the field allowed the Dash and Myrtle Beach Pelicans to take the field.
Because the weather cleared up after the late-afternoon thunderstorm, plenty of fans decided to make a last-minute decision to join the fun at BB&T Ballpark. By the end of the night, the Dash announced the largest single-game attendance in BB&T Ballpark history, as 7,576 fans enjoyed a tremendous game and a spectacular postgame fireworks display.
Even though the Dash fell to the Birds in 11 innings, the crowd was a special one. BB&T Ballpark has hosted 13 crowds of 7,000-plus fans, but none was better than the Dash’s Fourth of July showing this season.
We thank all of you for braving the weather and the extra innings to enjoy Independence Day at BB&T Ballpark. Every person in the stadium that night helped us set a record.
For tomorrow’s moment, we go from a high number to a low number. More specifically, the lowest number: zero. Find out how this pertains to our fifth-best moment of 2013 then.
Game #132 – Home Game #65
Winston-Salem Dash (28-33, 66-65) at Myrtle Beach Pelicans (34-28, 74-57)
Sunday, August 24 – 2 p.m.
BB&T Ballpark (Winston-Salem, N.C.)
Thanks to Joey DeMichele’s walk-off grand slam Saturday, the Dash have won a season-high six in a row entering Sunday’s 2 p.m. game against Myrtle Beach. Winston collected its 25th walk-off win at BB&T Ballpark since its opening in 2010.
Joey DeMichele – 2B
Jeremy Farrell – 3B
Chris Curley – SS
Kevan Smith – C
Courtney Hawkins – CF
Mark Haddow – DH
Josh Richmond – RF
Grant Buckner – 1B
Joe De Pinto – LF
Jake Cose – RHP
- Since BB&T Ballpark opened in 2010, Winston-Salem has amassed 25 walk-off victories, but Joey DeMichele turned in the first walk-off grand slam in the four-year history of the facility.
- DeMichele’s bomb was only the second go-ahead grand slam in the Dash’s final at-bat during the BB&T Ballpark era. Drew Garcia hit a grand slam in the eighth inning May 8, 2010, in a 16-13 victory over Salem.
- In his four starts this month, Jake Cose has surrendered just one run over 28 innings, which calculates to a 0.32 earned run average. This mark is the lowest in the minor leagues this month among hurlers with at least 21 innings of work.
- Cose, who has allowed only 14 hits in these four outings, has logged a win in three consecutive decisions for the second time in his professional career. The Stockton, Calif., native struggled in June (7.09 ERA), his first month in High-A, before surging in July (3.93 ERA).
- Chris Curley paces the Carolina League in home runs (23), runs scored (85) and total bases (238), while he is even with Salem outfielder Keury De La Cruz in RBIs (89) and Lynchburg outfielder David Rohm in hits (142).
The Chicago White Sox announced a pair of roster moves affecting the Winston-Salem Dash’s roster. The first move was to place right-hander Jason Van Skike on the seven-day disabled list with a right knee injury.
Van Skike, who boasts a 2.80 earned run average in 30 appearances this season with Winston-Salem, was injured in Friday’s series finale at Potomac. He collided with Nationals infielder Adrian Sanchez while trying to cover home plate after a passed ball in the second inning. The former Indiana State Sycamore was taken out of the game immediately and replaced by Terance Marin.
To fill Van Skike’s spot on the roster, the Dash have received infielder Jake Brown from the Bristol White Sox of the Appalachian League. The Kansas State University product has split this season between Bristol and Kannapolis, hitting a combined .231 in 45 games between the B-Sox and the Intimidators.
A 30th round pick in 2012 by the White Sox, Brown will be playing at the High-A level for the first time in his career. He has seen action at both middle infield spots throughout his young minor league career and will provide depth up the middle for Winston-Salem.
Brown may be needed for a few days after Micah Johnson left Saturday’s game in the ninth inning due to a left shoulder injury. He is day-to-day at this point but is still on the active roster.
After last night’s walk-off grand slam by Joey DeMichele, the Dash will look to make it two straight over the Myrtle Beach Pelicans and seven in a row overall this afternoon. Check back later for a preview of today’s game.
Game #131 – Home Game #64
Winston-Salem Dash (27-33, 65-65) at Myrtle Beach Pelicans (34-27, 74-56)
Saturday, August 24 – 7 p.m.
BB&T Ballpark (Winston-Salem, N.C.)
The Dash have matched their longest winning streak of the season by claiming the final five games of their most recent road trip. Tonight at 7, Winston-Salem return to BB&T Ballpark for the first of three against Myrtle Beach.
Micah Johnson – 2B
Joey DeMichele – SS
Chris Curley – 3B
Mark Haddow – RF
Courtney Hawkins – CF
Josh Richmond – LF
Jeremy Farrell – DH
Grant Bucker – 1B
Martin Medina – C
Mike Recchia – RHP
- Two games into its recent road trip, Winston-Salem was in the midst of an eight-game skid, the longest losing streak in the Dash era (2009-present). Since then, Winston has won a season high-tying five consecutive games, matching the club’s win streak from May 17-23.
- This is the longest streak for the franchise since a six-game run from August 12-17, 2012. The Dash have also claimed five consecutive road games for the first time since April 18 to May 1 of last year.
- Before their 5-2 road swing to Frederick and Potomac, the Dash suffered their first home sweep at BB&T Ballpark in its 82nd regular season series. when Salem took all three from Winston August 14-16. Since August 6, Winston has also lost five home games in a row for the first time in the stadium’s history. Those five games have been decided by just seven runs.
- The bullpen trio of Terance Marin, Brandon Hardin and Jeremy Erben combined to blank the P-Nats over nine and two-thirds frames Friday. Marin logged five and two-thirds innings, which is good for the longest appearance by a Winston reliever since Stephen McCray’s six-inning effort April 22, 2012.
- Winston-Salem catcher Kevan Smith enjoyed a huge road trip. In his six starts, Smith went 12-for-23 (.522) with two homers, seven RBIs and six runs scored. Smith is seventh in the CL with 67 RBIs, and he enjoys a 17-RBI lead on every other catcher. He trails only Frederick’s Michael Ohlman (13) among backstops in homers (11).
With less than four weeks remaining in the 2013 regular season, the race for the 2013 Carolina League MVP is heating up. With that in mind, it is time to break down some of the leading candidates as we head down the stretch:
INF Chris Curley (Winston-Salem)
Unlike a few of the other candidates, Chris Curley has been in the CL for the entire 2013 campaign. In 109 games with the Dash, Curley is leading the circuit in several offensive categories, including home runs (22), RBIs (82), hits (127), runs (78) and total bases (219). He has also been valuable from a defensive standpoint, playing in 68 games at shortstop and 30 at third base.
While other parts of the Winston-Salem lineup have been hit by injuries or slumps, Curley has been extremely consistent. Manager Ryan Newman can pencil him in to the number three spot in his lineup everyday and expect offensive production and solid defense.
That consistency could be what pushes him past others in the running who have been moved up to Double-A or have not had as many opportunities to help their team. It also helps that Curley plays on the team with the best offense on the circuit, with the Dash averaging 5.3 runs per contest. If Curley wins, it would make him the third straight Dash swinger to collect the honor after Ian Gac (2011) and Dan Black (2012) won the CL MVP over the past two seasons.
RHP Cody Anderson (Carolina)
While some more well-known names like Francisco Lindor and Tyler Naquin have put up some big numbers for the Mudcats this year, Anderson gives his team a very good chance to win every time he takes the mound. The righty has posted an 8-4 record with a 2.84 ERA, good for second among qualifying starters in the league this year. Anderson is in the hunt for the Carolina League Pitcher of the Year award with the likes of former Winston-Salem’s Chris Beck and Myrtle Beach’s Luke Jackson.
Carolina is also 12-10 in Anderson’s 22 starts, which isn’t overly impressive until you see that their record in games he doesn’t start is just 34-56. Lindor and Naquin are great players in their own right, but Anderson is a major reason the Muddies are in pole position for the second playoff spot in the Southern Division.
OF Robby Hefflinger (Lynchburg)
In the first half, Hefflinger was arguably this league’s most feared hitter. The former seventh rounder was hitting .286 and led all of the CL in homers with 21 when he left for Double-A Mississippi near the end of June. His slugging average (.579) is more than 40 points higher than the next-closest Carolina League swinger.
However, he has not played a game for Lynchburg in more than a month. Still, one could make a compelling case that his departure has shown just how valuable he was. The Hillcats finished in second place in the first-half Northern Division standings and now find themselves in the basement in half two.
INF Rougned Odor (Myrtle Beach)
Odor has put up some very good numbers by any standards in 2013, but when you factor in that he’s just 19 years old and was playing in High-A for the first time this season, those numbers look even better. The Venezuela native hit .303 in 99 games for the Pelicans and formed the best defensive middle infield duo in the league with shortstop Luis Sardinas before they were both promoted to Double-A Frisco last week.
Odor leads the CL with 33 doubles and remains in the top five in stolen bases (27), extra-base hits (42) and total bases (170). While he may not quite have the numbers of Curley, it definitely does not hurt his case that Myrtle Beach has the best overall mark in the Southern Division this year and is just 1-5 since he was promoted on August 1.
Winston-Salem begins a six-game road trip tonight at LewisGale Field against the Salem Red Sox. Check back later for our preview of this evening’s series opener.
Last night, the Dash and the Carolina Mudcats played the longest game for either team this season, with the Mudcats taking it 5-2 in 14 innings on a walk-off home run by Bryson Myles. Last night’s game was tied for the second-longest game in terms of innings in the Dash era (2009-present). Here are the top three:
- The longest game played by the Dash came less than two months after BB&T Ballpark opened, a 20-inning marathon against Myrtle Beach on May 19, 2010. Winston-Salem prevailed 4-3 over the Pelicans that night, during the back end of a day-night doubleheader. Kyle Shelton, who started the game at second base, ended up coming on to pitch the 20th, throwing a scoreless frame in his professional pitching debut to earn the win.
- Last night’s contest between the Dash and the Muddies was the second time that Winston-Salem has played a 14-inning contest since 2009. Winston did not score after tallying an unearned run in the sixth to take a 2-1 lead they would hold until the bottom of the ninth. This was the first time that the Dash and Mudcats have played an extra inning affair since Carolina joined the CL. It was also the longest road game in the Dash era.
- Winston had one other game that took 14 frames to decide, a 4-3 win over the Salem Red Sox on August 17, 2010, at BB&T Ballpark. On that night, a walk-off sacrifice fly by Andrew Garcia gave current White Sox hurler Hector Santiago the win in relief. This game was completed on August 18, as it had been suspended by rain in the fourth inning the night before.
Winston has also played in seven 13-inning contests since 2009, including five such games in 2012. After winning their first five contests of at least 13 innings, the Dash have now dropped six straight such games.
Winston-Salem and Carolina continue this week’s four-game set tonight at Five County Stadium. Check back later for a preview of tonight’s contest.