Welcome to the 10th 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…
If anything, Mother Nature was the winner of this past week of baseball in the Carolina League.
This holds specifically true for the Myrtle Beach Pelicans, which saw its series finale against Winston-Salem rained out and the opener of the following series suspended before it was completed the following day.
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But on a more positive note, the Chicago Cubs’ Class A-Advanced affiliate finished its recent road trip with a .500 record, losing two of three to the Winston-Salem Dash before taking the final pair of a three-game set from Buies Creek.
As a result of this past week of baseball, Myrtle Beach is 10-14 in the second half of the Carolina League season, last place in the circuit’s Southern Division. Currently, the Pelicans sit six games behind Buies Creek.
Player of the week
First baseman Tyler Alamo: Though listed as a catcher in most media guides, the 22-year-old from Cypress, Calif., has proven most effective as the club’s everyday first baseman — particularly with the departure of Matt Rose, who was traded last week to the Chicago White Sox organization. He rewarded the team’s trust in him with a solid week at the dish, hitting .318 with three RBIs. In three of his past four games, he’s had more than one hit.
Pitcher of the week
Right-hander Mike Rucker: The Carolina League didn’t debate it … so why should we? After flirting with a no-hitter last Thursday, the pitcher from Columbus, Miss., had another solid outing on Monday, pitching eight innings of two-hit ball while striking out 10 Buies Creek batters. After being brought up from Low-A South Bend as a reliever, each of Rucker’s past eight appearances have come in a starting role — which he has grown accustomed to in short order. Other than a pair of rough outings against Down East and Buies Creek in late June and early July, respectively, he has been lights out, earning a 2.04 ERA since leaving the bullpen. For his work, Rucker was named Carolina League Pitcher of the Week for July 10-16.
Trade aftermath: Guess it’s fair to say losing a top prospect and two of the Pelicans’ more beloved players in second baseman Bryant Flete and first baseman Matt Rose was a tough pill for the local club — as well as that of Cubs’ organization — to swallow. Each of them added salt to the wound in their two games as members of the Winston-Salem Dash at TicketReturn.com Field at Pelicans Ballpark, helping to boost their new club to a series win. The group was a combined 6-for-23 at the plate, with two runs scored and five RBIs. While Jimenez will get a large share of the publicity, Flete performed well against the Pelicans last week, going 3-for-8 with a run scored and an RBI.
Quite the early impression: A wise man once said, “you only get one opportunity to make a first impression.” If that’s the case, Pelicans second baseman Vimael Machin should have no problem finding his way to the heart of the team’s fans. After batting .320 with 10 HRs and 57 RBI to go along with 17 doubles at Low-A South Bend this season, the native of Puerto Rico has yet to show any signs of cooling at the High-A level. Machin had two hits in each of his first three games in Myrtle Beach, including a home run in the first game after his call up.
Things not as they seem?: True, hitting has not proven part of the Pelicans’ team DNA much this season, sitting for an extended period earlier in the campaign last in batting average among teams in the Carolina League. But since mid-June, Myrtle Beach has clawed its way up the circuit’s tote board, the club’s .249 average now fifth in the league. The Pelicans currently are second in the league with 77 home runs — 15 behind Frederick’s league-leading total of 92. More importantly, Myrtle Beach is one of the Carolina League’s best in terms of striking out, with 757 on the year.
Three Pelicans moved to help big league Cubs: In an effort to bolster its pitching staff, the Chicago Cubs traded its top prospect in Jimenez, Flete — the leading hitter at the time on its Class A-Advanced affiliate — and Rose to get starter Jose Quintana from the Chicago White Sox. Their departure opened up three roster spots on the Myrtle Beach ball club, two of which were filled by Machin and outfielder Roberto Caro, both getting the call up from Low-A South Bend.
Bloomquist placed on DL: Struggling to a 3-4 record and 7.08 ERA this season, right-hander Casey Bloomquist was placed on the disabled list. Him being put on the shelf allowed a seamless transition for lefty Jordan Minch to return to the Myrtle Beach roster. Minch is 0-1 with a 2.00 ERA this season, giving up nine hits in 18 innings while striking out 15 opposing batters.
On deck: Myrtle Beach hosts Down East in a rare five-game set. The teams will play a doubleheader on Thursday, making up a game postponed June 25. Coming into the series, Down East has lost eight of their last 10 games. However, the Wood Ducks’ last trip to TicketReturn.com Field at Pelicans Ballpark saw them leave with a series victory.
In the hole: The Pelicans will end an eight-game home stand with three against the Carolina Mudcats, which come into Thursday’s action two games under .500.