The Week in Winston: Dash update, June 2-8

When the White Sox system needed a hero*, the Winston-Salem Dash stepped up. After going 5-1 this week, they are now the only Sox team from the bigs to the very smalls with a record above .500, excluding the DSL Sox and their 3-0 to start the season. They are 28-25.

*team fewer than 10 games under .500

Top pitching performances

Chase Solesky (two starts): 6.2 IP, 8 H, 3 R, 0 BB, 7 K, HBP (season: 45.1 IP, 23 R (21 ER), 14 BB, 35 K, 4.17 ERA, 1.57 WHIP)

Drew Dalquist (June 3): 6 IP, 4 H, 0 R, BB, 4 K, 2 balks (season: 42.2 IP, 32 R (28 ER), 28 BB, 32 K, 5.91 ERA, 1.69 WHIP)

Jordan Mikel (June 4): 5 IP, 3 H, R (0 ER), 2 BB, 6 K (season, two levels: 38.1 IP, 19 R (18 ER), 12 BB, 36 K, 4.23 ERA, 1.12 WHIP)

Matthew Thompson (June 8): 6 IP, 2 H, 0 R, BB, 8 K (season: 51 IP, 32 R (24 ER), 20 BB, 43 K, 4.24 ERA, 1.24 WHIP)

Vince Vanelle (relief): 3 IP, H, 0 R, 0 BB, K (season, two levels: 21.2 IP, 5 R (4 ER), 5 BB, 28 K, 1.66 ERA, 0.88 WHIP)

Top hitting performances

Oscar Colás (CF): 11-for-25, 6 R, 2 2B, 3B, 4 RBI, 0 BB, 7 K (season: .286/.340/.476)

Bryan Ramos (DH/3B): 6-for-17, 3 R, 2B, HR, 6 RBI, 2 BB, 3 K (season: .282/.345/.475)

Tyler Osik (C/DH): 6-for-13, R, 2 2B, HR, 3 RBI, 3 BB, 2 K, SB (season: .319/.395/.464)

Honorable mentions: Luis Mieses went just 3-for-17, but two of those three hits left the park and one was a a grand slam. Alsander Womack was 4-for-14, but those hits were a double and, like Mieses, two home runs. Terrell Tatum only played in three games but went 3-for-8 with four walks (all four on June 8). Jason Matthews played in three games as well and was 3-for-9 with a walk.

Weekly rundown

Chase Solesky only got two innings deep into his start against the Greenville Drive on June 2 before it was postponed to the next day due to rain. It was a scoreless two innings, at least, and the rains came with the score tied at zero. Jesus Valles picked it up in long relief when the game resumed and gave up five runs on two home runs over the next two innings, putting the team in tough spot at 5-0 in the fourth.

It ended up not being too tough a spot, though, with a two-run Bryan Ramos home run and Harvin Mendoza RBI single in the bottom of the fourth cutting the lead to 5-3. The score was all tied just one inning later when the red-hot Tyler Osik hit his seventh double of the year, scoring Oscar Colás from a walk and Ramos from a single.

With their own bullpen indomitable, a five-run seventh decided the game in the Dash’s favor. Ivan González, Colás, and Ramos each singled to load the bases with nobody out for doubles machine Luis Mieses, owner of a league-leading 19 doubles to that point and three home runs. He hit a home run.

Mieses’ grand slam was immediately followed by an Osik one-run-slam to make it 10-5, where scoring would remain. Cooper Bradford got the win with three scoreless innings and Vince Vanelle was perfect in the ninth. Dash win 10-5.

There was barely any offense for doubleheader game two on June 3, but what existed was enough thanks to one of the best starts of Drew Dalquist’s career.  The 21-year-old righty is still struggling in his second full year of pro ball, but it’s hard to argue with a line of 6 IP, 4 H, 0 R, BB, 4 K (and two balks, possibly a result of the pitch clock rules). Minor league doubleheaders are still seven innings, so the bullpen only had to handle one inning to complete the shutout, which Isaiah Carranza did ably.

This game could have ended after the Duke Ellis Special in the very first inning: Ellis led off with a walk, stole second base (his 21st), was balked to third, and scored on a Moisés Castillo ground out, that one run enough to eventually beat the Drive. For good measure, though, the slowly-resurrecting Ramos hit a two-out, two-run double in the third inning, knocking in Jason Matthews and Colás from base hits. Dash win 3-0.

A lot of close games the week before didn’t go the Dash’s way, but the game on June 4 did. Jordan Mikel was signed as an undrafted free agent in 2020 and spent all of 2021 pitching out of the bullpen in Kannapolis or Winston. This year, the 6’5” righty began in that role back down in Kannapolis, but after he was promoted back up in mid-April, he’s been slotted as a starter. He’s been doing fairly well, too, only giving up more than two runs in an outing once in 13 games. On Saturday, he put down five innings of three-hit ball, the one run he allowed unearned on Castillo’s error at short; he walked two and struck out six.

Wilber Perez then entered with a one-run lead and blew it, handing it to the Drive with one run scoring in the sixth and another in the seventh. That was it, though; Trey Jeans struck out four over 1⅔ scoreless innings and Karan Patel got the save, pitching around two baserunners in a two-strikeout ninth.

This was a big Alsander Womack game. Womack, son of Tony, tied it at one in the third with a solo blast to lead off the inning. He then gave the Dash the lead in the fifth with a solo blast to lead off the inning. In the seventh, Dash trailing 3-2, he hit a double to lead off the inning and scored when Terrell Tatum hit a single, tying it at three. Tatum ran into an out at third base after a Castillo base hit, but Colás tripled to bring in Castillo and the score of 4-3 held for a Dash victory.

Their one loss of the week came on June 5, the last game of the Drive series and saving Greenville from the indignity of a six-game sweep. Solesky pitched on what was technically short rest, given that his two-inning stint was three days earlier. While he did give up three runs over 4⅔ innings, he also kept his control under… control by walking none (five strikeouts).

Luis Amaya finished Solesky’s fifth inning and pitched a scoreless inning of his own. He was replaced by Carranza, who’s had something of a string of bad outings and did indeed give up two runs in one inning on a walk, double, and wild pitch. Vannelle and Ty Madrigal were not scored upon in their sole innings of work.

The Dash walked twice as many times as they reached via hit, eight walks (three to Ellis, two to Osik) to four hits. Those four hits all came in the sixth, along with their two runs: Ellis, Castillo, and Colás singled to start the inning, a familiar story only differing from June 2 in that Ellis scored on Colás’ hit, so the bases were not loaded when Mieses stepped to the plate. Unable to hit a grand slam, he grounded into a double play, which did serve the function of getting Castillo to third. He scored when Womack singled him in. That wrapped up scoring for the team, Dash lose 5-2.

Another close one went the Dash’s way on June 7. Ellis dispensed with the Duke Ellis Special in the first inning and instead homered to lead the inning off, his fifth long ball of the year. Colás hit a double in that inning but didn’t score, a stark contrast to the third inning, when he hit a double (his 10th) to lead off and did score, coming around on another Mieses home run. It was Mieses’ fifth dong and put the Dash up 3-0, where they would stay for good.

Luis Moncada, who does not play one of the twin brothers in Breaking Bad/Better Call Saul, has had a few rough outings this year, and with four walks, this narrowly avoided being one of them. He got through four innings with only one run allowed, unearned on Shawn Goosenberg’s error at second base. With a walk to lead off the fifth, Moncada was removed in favor of Everhett Hazelwood, who has been having one hell of a time since his promotion to the Dash; in five appearances leading up to this one, he’d either given up at least one run, allowed inherited runners to score, or only pitched to one batter. 

The curse was not quite lifted here—Moncada’s lead-off walk did come around to score after a single, wild pitch, and sacrifice fly—but Hazelwood backed it up with 2⅔ innings of otherwise scoreless ball. He struck out four and walked one, with that single being the only hit allowed.

Jeans, meanwhile, has been dealing out of the bullpen this year and he set a season high in innings pitched in one game with 2⅓ scoreless; other than the number of innings, his line was identical to his June 4 outing: 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K.

June 8 was the opposite of a heartbreaker as the Dash walked it off 4-3, preparing Matthew Thompson for the majors by leaving his stellar start without the decision. One week after a 5⅔-inning outing in which he allowed one hit and no runs, Thompson pitched six innings—tying his career high—allowing two hits and no runs (with the help of Tatum). In last week’s start, Thompson walked three and struck out two; yesterday, he walked one and struck out eight, a new career high.

Unfortunately, as soon as he exited, Carranza gave up a double and two home runs, breaking a scoreless tie to put the Greensboro Grasshoppers up 3-0. Valles and Vannelle made sure that was all the Grasshoppers would get, but the Dash trailed entering the eighth.

In that inning, Castillo and Colás singled to lead off, both advanced on a wild pitch, and both scored on a Ramos base hit. Then the ninth, trailing only 3-2, Goosenberg walked. Ellis walked. Castillo walked. There was a pitching change because the Grasshoppers were still capable of feeling the emotion “hope,” having watched the big league Sox enough times in the same situation. However, it absolutely did not work out for them, and Colás dumped a single into left field for two runs and the walk-off. Dash win 4-3.

Looking ahead, the Dash hope to continue dismantling the Grasshoppers throughout the rest of the series, then travel to Bowling Green, Ohio to face the first-place Hot Rods. Currently, the Dash are solidly in the middle of the pack in their division, fourth place and 4.5 back.

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