The Wilmington Blue Rocks return home after a short weekend road trip that did not go as they hoped. They were swept by Winston-Salem, which dropped them into third place in the Northern Division of the Carolina League.
The Blue Rocks begin their final homestand of the first half (a seven-game homestand), as they welcome Salem into town for three games. The Red Sox also struggled a bit this weekend and fell to three games back of the Dash in the Southern Division.
The Blue Rocks have the chance to be spoilers for both Salem and the Dash (who they play in their final four games of the first half). The Red Sox are a tired bunch, with playing five games in three days (they played two days of doubleheaders this past weekend).
The Carolina League finally announced their All-Star team for next Tuesday’s game versus the California League All-Stars in Winston-Salem. The Blue Rocks have two honorees: pitchers Sugar Ray Marimon (4-1 with a 2.05 ERA) and Yordano Ventura (3-5 with a 3.21 ERA in 12 starts). Marimon’s ERA is second in the league. Ventura is second in the league in strikeouts with 70. For Salem, they garnered three starters: outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr, shortstop Xander Bogaerts, and first baseman Travis Shaw. Pitcher Mike Olmstead also was named to the team (he leads the league in saves with 12). Bradley leads the league in hitting at .377. Shaw is fourth in the league in hitting at .322 and is second in RBIs at 44.
Starting tonight for Wilmington is Tyler Sample, who has struggled much of his return trip to the CL (1-6 with a 5.04 ERA). He was solid in his last start, but picked up a no-decision. He lost 2-0 to Salem back on May 2nd.
The Red Sox are sending Miguel Celestino to the mound. He is 4-2 with a 2.84 ERA. He beat the Blue Rocks back on April 26th (4-1).
Red Sox: Jackie Bradley Jr (CF), Shannon Wilkerson (RF), Travis Shaw (1B), Brandon Jacobs (LF), Xander Bogaerts (SS), Michael Almanzar (3B), Christian Vazquez (C), Heiker Meneses (2B), and Adalberto Ibarra (DH).
It is overcast and a bit windy here at the ballpark and with about a half hour to game time, the crowd is very thin. I’ll keep you posted throughout of the goings on here in Wilmington.
Errors have been the name of the game for the Blue Rocks through three innings. The speedy Bradley singled to lead off the game. Knowing his speed, Sample through over to first base, throwing it away. Bradley raced all the way to third base and scored on Wilkerson’s sac fly. In the 3rd inning, Salem scored on Wilkerson’s RBI single. He then stole second base, stole third base, and scored on David’s errant throw down the left field line.
Meanwhile, the Blue Rocks had runners at second and third base and one out in the bottom of the first inning and did not score. Eibner popped up on the infield and Cuthbert weakly grounded out to third base to end the threat.
Sample’s struggles continue tonight, as he walked three around a Bradley single in the 5th inning to end his night. He walked five in 4.1 innings. Salem had four hits, but did not strike out.
Cole White entered with the bases loaded and just one out with Jacobs coming to the plate. White hit Jacobs with a pitch to drive in a run (Jacobs was done 1-2) and then walked Bogaerts to force in another run (he was also ahead in the count). White rebounded to get Almanzar to ground into an inning-ending double play. Salem leads 6-0 in the bottom of the 5th inning.
White allowed two more runs in the 6th inning, as he walked two and allowed a single. Ibarra has walked three times and scored twice. It is 8-0 Salem and they are only out-hitting Wilmington 5-3. However Sample and White have walked nine and hit one. There is bullpen action for the Blue Rocks, so White’s night is most likely over.
Edwin Carl was the new pitcher in the 8th inning, and the walks continued. He struck out Meneses for the Blue Rocks first K of the night. He then walked the next two hitters. Carl walked another but did not allow a run.
Celestino was done after seven scoreless innings. He scattered three singles and walked two, while striking out five. Ruben Flores was the new Red Sox pitcher. He walked around two walks to send the game to the 9th inning with Salem leading 8-0.
Carl set Salem down in order in the top of the 9th inning on just seven pitches. It was just the third 1-2-3 inning of the night for Blue Rocks pitchers and the first since the 4th inning.
Can the Blue Rocks mount the epic comeback?
Flores remained in the game for Salem and got Beltre to ground out on one pitch. David flied out to right field on the very next pitch (he had struck out three times). Kuebler popped up to the catcher at the netting behind the plate on the third pitch of the inning.
Blue Rocks lose 8-0 and their sixth in a row.
*For those who remember the back in the day Blue Rocks teams, former pitcher Junior Guerrero is at the ballpark tonight. It’s nice to see an old friend at the park.