Welcome to the sixth installment of the Myrtle Beach Pelicans’ baseball Week in Review. Each week, I will take a look back at the Pelicans’ performances, pull out some of those who stood out from the rest and provide a preview for the following week of baseball in the Carolina League.
The week that was…
To borrow a line from famed rap artists Too $hort and Jay-Z, things seemed “all good just a week ago” for the Myrtle Beach Pelicans.
A mere game out of first place in the Carolina League’s Southern Division, they welcomed division-leading Buies Creek for a four-game set. Immediately after the conclusion of that series, Myrtle Beach had another opportunity to make a statement, battling the Carolina League’s top team, Salem.
Solid opportunity, huh? For the Pelicans, it proved to be an opportunity wasted, the club losing 6 of 8 games against the circuit’s top two clubs, dropping them to 23-22 this season.
It also pushed Myrtle Beach to third in the Carolina League’s Southern Division, four games behind Buies Creek.
A lackluster home stand against Buies Creek preceded one chock full of frustration for the Pelicans in Salem, where the club saw leads of three runs or more disappear twice during the weekend.
Friday night’s three-run flurry in the ninth preceded a walk-off win by Salem in the 10th that set the tone for the series. Still, the Pelicans had an opportunity to salvage a split in the four-game set, up 4-0 through five innings on Monday.
In their final three at bats, Salem proved why it is the Carolina League’s top club, scoring 10 runs to overwhelm Myrtle Beach and take the series.
Player of the week
Tyler Alamo, catcher/designated hitter: Last week didn’t offer much in the way of fireworks for the Pelicans. If any were to occur, however, it was likely Alamo provided them.
In the Pelicans’ seven games last week against Buies Creek and Salem, Alamo hit .286 (8-for-28) with a pair of home runs and four RBIs. He also scored six runs.
For the season, Alamo is batting .250 with six home runs and 17 RBIs. Of his 32 hits during the 2017 campaign, 15 have gone for extra bases.
Pitcher of the week
Right-hander Adbert Alzolay: Even in a losing effort, the Pelicans’ righty has done his part to give the club a chance to win.
Last Tuesday, Alzolay went seven innings, giving up four runs on three hits while striking out seven batters. However, with run support lacking, he wound up on the wrong side of a 5-1 decision in favor of Buies Creek.
Alzolay would make amends on Sunday, however, striking out eight Salem batters in six innings Sunday, leading Myrtle Beach to a 5-1 victory. A home run in the fourth inning was the only hit he allowed, while walking one.
Among the team’s starting pitchers, Alzolay leads the team in wins and innings pitched (47), while second only to Justin Steele in terms of ERA (2.68).
Finding roles reversed: Early on, the worry for the Pelicans coaching staff was the inability of the team’s starters to work into the sixth inning of ballgames. Over the course of the past week, however, the Myrtle Beach starting rotation has done its job, only asking its friends in the bullpen to work more than three innings twice. Conversely, it was the bullpen that was the weak link, surrendering 22 runs — 21 earned — on 26 hits against Salem over the weekend.
Swinging at air: Myrtle Beach again finds itself near the bottom in the Carolina League in hitting. The Pelicans went into Tuesday night’s game against Winston-Salem with a .242 average, second-worst in the league — ironically — to the visiting Dash. While second only to Potomac in terms of home runs, the club is last in on-base percentage (.300) and stolen bases (14), making runs that much harder to come by.
Stiff competition: Over the course of the past 11 days, the Pelicans have matched wits with the top three clubs in the Carolina League. While able to take two of three from Lynchburg, Myrtle Beach managed that many wins in two series against the like of Buies Creek and Salem. If there is a morsel of good news, it is the Pelicans only have a combined three series left against those teams — two against Buies Creek, while the team will not see Salem again till a four-game set in August. Myrtle Beach has completed its season series with Lynchburg, taking it 8-6.
The week ahead
On deck: Myrtle Beach welcomes Winston-Salem to TicketReturn.com Field at Pelicans Ballpark for a three-game series starting on Tuesday. This is the second series of the season between the clubs, the Pelicans taking two of three from the Dash two weeks ago. Steele, along with Oscar De La Cruz and Ryan Kellogg, are expected to get the start for Myrtle Beach during the series.
In the hole: The Pelicans make their first trip to Zebulon, N.C., this season to take on the suddenly surging Carolina Mudcats. Coming into Tuesday’s action, the Milwaukee Brewers’ affiliate had won 8 of its last 10 to pull past Myrtle Beach into within striking distance of Buies Creek’s perch atop the Carolina League’s Southern Division.