The first time I saw the Winston-Dash play this season, it was a chilly doubleheader during the first weekend of the season, and nobody on the team stood out save Dylan Cease.
Today’s game seemed more representative of a Carolina League season, played on an 87-degree day under a cloudless sky, and it was more indicative of the quality of their lineup. They piled on the runs late to pull away from Down East for an 11-3 Mother’s Day victory.
A lot’s been made of the team’s biggest names, Luis Alexander Basabe, Micker Adolfo and Blake Rutherford. They all contributed to the cause:
- Rutherford was 1-for-4 with a walk and had one of the game’s highest-leverage hits, a sliced two-run triple down the left-field line that opened the scoring in Winston-Salem’s seven-run seventh.
- Adolfo drew a pair of walks and scored a run. Both walks came after a swinging strike on the first pitch, and the first one was after he trailed in the count 0-2. Those are the kinds of plate appearances that have boosted his walk rate above 10 percent.
- Basabe had the weakest game of the three, going 1-for-5. He lost a fly in the sun in left and overcharged a single, intending to make a strong throw home but letting it clank off his glove instead. He was also caught stealing.
But Sunday’s game also showcased two of the Dash’s hotter hitters of late.
*Alex Call might’ve had the Dash’s two hardest-hit balls, both of which resulted in extra bases. He blasted a a 407-foot solo shot to left field in the first inning and laced a double to the left-field corner later in the game. He’s hitting .278/.388/491 on the season, thanks in large part to a torrid start to May (.366/.458/.756). He also drew a walk, which was part of his game even when he struggled to start the year. His rate is a healthy 15.3 percent.
*Ti’Quan Forbes, who hit his first homer of the season on Saturday, had his fourth multi-hit game of the week by going 2-for-3 with a bases-clearing triple and a walk today. The 21-year-old is hitting .271/.350/.393 this season, including a .342/.405/.526 start to his May.
When Forbes was selected in the second round by the Rangers in the 2014 draft, Baseball America said he had “arguably the biggest gap between the player he is today and the player he could be at maturity.” He seems to be developing a plate approach this season. His OPS now sits at .743 after it failed to clear .600 in the Carolina League last season.
If Forbes can hold these gains over the course of the season, it gives him some sorely needed demonstrable progress. An uptick in power would also be nice, but at least he’s got something for the home run column, leaving Gavin Sheets as the only Dash starter without one.
- Casey Gillaspie went 1-for-4 with wo strikeouts.
*Jordan Stephens will give Charlotte another brand name, as the Sox promoted him to Triple-A. Matt Tomshaw headed to Birmingham to make the room.
- Zack Collins went 1-for-4 with a strikeout.
- Eloy Jimenez, 3-for-4.
- Matt Rose was 0-for-3 with a walk and two strikeouts.
- Jameson Fisher went 2-for-3 with a double and a walk.
- Spencer Adams: 6 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 4 BB, 2 K
- Luis Alexander Basabe went 1-for-5 with a strikeout, and was caught stealing.
- Alex Call went 2-for-4 with a homer, double, walk and strikeout.
- Blake Rutherford was 1-for-4 with a triple and a walk.
- Micker Adolfo went 0-for-3 with two walks.
- Gavin Sheets, 0-for-3 with a walk and a strikeout.
- Yermin Mercedes went 1-for-3 with a walk and a strikeout.
- Yeyson Yrizarri cleared the bases with a double and was hit by a pitch over his four trips to the plate.
- Ti’Quan Forbes went 2-for-3 with a triple and a walk.
- Bernardo Flores: 6.2 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 2 K
*Flores pitched 89-91, but held his velocity all the way through the seventh. All three runs scored in the sixth inning, during which Flores had to weather two errors and a passed ball.
- Luis Gonzalez went 3-for-4 with a homer, two doubles and an HBP.
- Evan Skoug, 1-for-4 with a double.
- Michael Hickman went 1-for-4 with a strikeout.
- Kade McClure: 0.2 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 0 K
*The last event in the game log before McClure’s departure was a line drive to the pitcher.