Wood Ducks split 4-game series
The Down East Wood Ducks split the 4-game series with the Myrtle Beach Pelicans this weekend due to a bad series from the pitching staff.
Coming into the series, pitching was considered the strength of the team. In their first two series, the Wood Ducks (5-6) allowed only 24 runs in 7 games. The pitching staff for the DEWDs allowed 41 runs in their 3 games with the Pelicans (3-9).
“I’m not concerned about it,” manager Spike Owen said. “I know those guys can pitch. We’ll get things back on track.”
A big concern is the starters in the rotation. In the last 7 games, the starter was chased in less than 5 innings in 5 of the games. In those 5 games, the Woodies are 1-4 with 54 runs allowed. The DEWDs have also dropped to 9th in the Carolina League in runs allowed.
Starters getting chased early has created a heavy workload on the bullpen. The workload has been so heavy, that Friday night, Spike Owen called on a position player to pitch in a one-run game while the bases were loaded.
“They’re settling in, they’re good,” Owen said about his starters. “It’s been a little bit of a hiccup for sure, but we just need to go back to - and they will - refocus on pounding the strike zone. Some of that early on has had to do with our defense not catching the ball, and forcing the pitcher to throw extra pitches.”
In the 5 games that the starters were chased, the defense committed 13 errors. In the 5 games the Wood Ducks have won this year, the defense has committed 3 errors in total.
The silver lining for the Wood Ducks is the offense showed a lot of promise. The Wood Ducks had scored just 24 runs in their first 7 games, including 2 shutouts. In the 4 game series, the DEWDs scored 32 runs.
“We swung the bats well,” Owen said. “Sometimes you’re going to get shutdown by good pitching. But for the most part our guys are battling up there, and putting together some good at-bats, if they continue that, we’ll be okay.”
The two guys off to the hottest starts on the team, Charles Leblanc and Preston Scott, shined all series with a combined 14-34 at the plate with 2 homers, 12 RBIs, and 8 runs. Among guys with at least 9 games played this season, they are the top 2 in batting average. Leblanc leads the team in RBIs, while Scott is fourth. Owen said he is pleased with his 5th and 6th hole hitters.
“That’s been huge,” Owen said. “Those guys being back-to-back in the order, and really putting together some quality at-bats. Very consistent, and being able to deliver in the clutch as well.”
The Wood Ducks will welcome in tied for first place Winston-Salem (7-4) Monday with the last of their 7-game homestretch. The Dash come in allowing just 38 runs in 11 games, third in the Carolina League. Winston-Salem also leads the league in batting average.
Owen made Wood Ducks history on Sunday with the first managerial ejection in the history of the team. After a strikeout of left fielder LeDarious Clark, Owen yelled at the ump, because he thought it was a bad call. Owen was then hit with what he called, “the quick hook.”
Kai Jones can be contacted via email @ firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 252-559-1078.