THANKS TO COMPLETING a pair of suspended games, Winston-Salem played eight times in the past seven days, scuffling to a 2-8 mark, which can be considered representative of its season to date.
The Dash sit in the cellar of the Carolina League’s Southern Division with a 13-22 mark, 9 ½ games behind leader Myrtle Beach. The Pelicans were one of the teams victimizing the Dash, thanks in no small part of uber-slugger Joey Gallo, who fueled a 5-4 victory on the strength of a pair of home runs.
Frederick piled on by winning both of the suspended games and three of four contests over the weekend.
The Dash’s woes are born primarily out of inconsistency at the plate and on the mound. For every player who gets hot, two others seem to go ice-cold. This week also was indicative of that trend.
Nick Basto, batting in the lower half of the lineup, hit .400 (10 of 25) and drove in seven runs during the week that ended with Monday’s games. Adam Heisler, who moved into the Dash’s leadoff spot due to the struggles of Tim Anderson and Jacob May, maintained a 10-game hitting streak with a .333 turn at the plate (7 of 21).
May has sparked to life after a brutal April. He owned a six-game hitting streak going into Tuesday’s games and is swatting .333 (8 of 24) over his past seven games.
On the mound, Mike Recchia started off the Frederick series with a bang, getting the Dash a win with seven innings of 3-hit work, allowing two runs and walking none while striking out 9 to move into the Carolina League lead with 43.
So, what went wrong? The Dash’s Nos. 2 and 3 hitters fell into a deep funk. Joey DeMichele and Courtney Hawkins were a combined .132 (7 of 53) at the played. Hawkins did homer twice, but those were the only extra-base hits the duo produces. Neither is striking out very much, so that’s a silver lining.
Who else was hot and who else was not? Read on.
Randolph Oduber (Potomac) – This 32nd-rounder out of Oklahoma State (pictured above) has found himself the past couple of years in a purgatory between high-A and Double-A. After this past week, that rollercoaster appears as if it’s going to loop again. Oduber led the league with 13 hits this past week, good for a .433 clip that has raised his season mark to .328. They haven’t been cheap hits, either. More than half (7) were doubles.
Joey Gallo (Myrtle Beach) – Our weekly check-in with the minor leagues’ home run leader finds him sitting on 13 bombs after a 3-homer week. In all, he batted .321 and scored nine runs while driving in five.
Jorge Alfaro (Myrtle Beach) – Lest we forget the man who protects Gallo in the Pelicans’ lineup, Alfaro hit a cool .300 (9 of 30), scored eight runs and drove in seven to goose a recent hot streak that has seen him hit safely in 10 of his past 11 games. He hit two doubles, a triple and two home runs during the week.
Anthony Gallas and Jerrud Sabourin (Carolina) – What a terror Gallas and Sabourin have been this past week. Gallas boosted his season average to .339 with a week that saw him hit a whopping .448 (13 of 29) with five doubles and a home run. Sabourin, who is making the best of his demotion from the Eastern League, hit .400 (12 of 30) with three doubles.
Matty Johnson (Salem) – The 26-year-old organizational vagabond has settled in quite nicely atop the Salem lineup. While the .275 batting average is in line with his .277 career mark, Johnson has put together a couple of strong weeks of late. This past week, he scored five runs and drove in five more while batting .344 (10 of 29). A streaky base thief, Johnson picked of three in one game this past week.
Jose Peraza (Lynchburg) – This Hillcat has been as much a staple of this feature as Gallo this season. This past week, the leadoff man hummed along at a .313 clip (10 of 32) and stole five bases to increase his league-leading total to 19.
Chris Garia (Myrtle Beach) – While Gauria didn’t play every game this past week, his 9 of 17 performance stands out due to the four triples he delivered, the top such weekly performance in the minor leagues this season.
Matt Taylor (Frederick) – The Carolina League’s earned-run average leader dropped his mark to 1.09 with a season-high 7 1/3 scoreless innings on May 9 against Winston-Salem. His numbers are a bit wonky. Though he walked one and fanned three, he continues to have more walks (19) than strikeouts (14) this season. He also worked around nine hits against the Dash.
Bubba Starling and Zane Evans (Wilmington) – We’ll have more on the mercurial Wilmington lineup later this week but for now, the week this duo put together is indicative of the talented Blue Rocks’ lineup and its season-long struggles. Batting second in the order, Starling mustered just two hits in 20 at-bats this past week after a promising start to the month. Evans, batting cleanup, mustered a .130 average (3 of 23). They combined for five runs scored and one extra-base hit (a double by Evans) and one run batted in.
Branden Kline (Frederick) – Kline has been part of a very stout tandem with Taylor this season, but this past week, Kline was blown up by Potomac. In four innings, Kline allowed four runs on six hits and walked three. Though he avoided a loss, he saw his ERA climb to a still-sparkly 2.64.
LINE OF THE WEEK
Corey Littrell struggled through a bit of an odyssey against Carolina on May 10. Salem’s de facto staff ace (after the promotion of Brian Johnson and until recent arrival Cody Kukuk gets settled in) failed to get out of the third inning against the Mudcats, coughing up four runs on three hits and six walks.