The Week in Winston: Dash Update, May 25-31

Wes Kath
Wes Kath (Jim Margalus / Sox Machine)

This week wasn’t as bad for the Winston-Salem Dash as last week, mostly because they won at least one game. In fact, they won three, for a 3-3 weekly record and 26-19 overall mark. They are still in first place in their division by three games.

With some notable exceptions, the pitching this week was good, both starting and in relief. Kohl Simas’ third consecutive dark horse season continues with good momentum, and Jerry Burke seems to have found a niche in long relief.

Despite the continuing offensive slumps, the Dash still represent well on the hitting leaderboards. Wilfred Veras still leads the league in doubles and also now in hits, and Terrell Tatum still leads in walks, although he’s slipped to third in stolen bases. He also leads the league in runs scored. DJ Gladney is currently guarding the league’s RBI crown at 37.

They have not homered since Gladney went deep in the first inning on May 21.

Top weekly pitching performances

Kohl Simas, one start: 5 IP, 2 H, R, BB, 7 K

Season, seven starts, one long relief outing: 29.2 innings, 30 hits, 16 runs (15 earned), 17 walks, 41 strikeouts, 4.55 ERA, 1.58 WHIP

Jonathan Cannon, one start: 4.2 IP, 6 H, 2 R (1 ER), 2 BB, 8 K

Season, eight starts: 45 innings, 38 hits, 15 runs (14 earned), 14 walks, 37 strikeouts, 2.80 ERA, 1.13 WHIP

Jared Kelley, one relief appearance: 3 IP, 0 H, R, BB, 6 K, balk

Season, two levels, five starts, one relief appearance: 17.1 innings, 19 hits, 16 runs, 14 walks, 20 strikeouts, 8.31 ERA, 1.90 WHIP

Jerry Burke, two relief appearances: 6.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 4 BB, 8 K

Season, 12 appearances: 17.2 innings, 21 hits, 17 runs (14 earned), 8 walks, 10 strikeouts, 7.13 ERA, 1.64 WHIP

Ernesto Jaquez, one relief appearance: 3 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K

Season, two levels, 15 appearances: 15 innings, 9 hits, 6 runs, 4 walks, 12 strikeouts, 3.60 ERA, 0.87 WHIP

Tristan Stivors, two relief appearances: 3 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 5 K

Season, two levels, 13 appearances: 15.1 innings, 12 hits, 4 runs, 7 walks, 23 strikeouts, 2.35 ERA, 1.24 WHIP

Honorable mention: In a strong week for pitching, Jake Palisch threw 2.1 innings, striking out three, walking none, and allowing no runs on one hit.

Top weekly hitting performances

Wes Kath (3B): 6-for-18, 3 doubles, 3 runs, 3 RBI, 4 walks, 8 strikeouts

Season: 38 games, .215/.278/.336, 7 doubles, 1 triple, 3 home runs, 21 runs,18 RBI, 13 walks, 66 strikeouts, 1-0 steals-caught stealing

Loidel Chapelli Jr. (2B): 7-for-24, 2 doubles, 1 triple, 1 run, 3 RBI, 2 walks, 6 strikeouts, 1 stolen base-0 caught stealing

Season: 38 games, .248/.376/.431, 7 doubles, 3 triples, 4 home runs, 26 runs, 28 RBI, 25 walks, 39 strikeouts, 9-1 steals-caught stealing

Honorable mentions: Terrell Tatum had a down week with just six hits (though they included two doubles and a triple), but also walked five times.

Weekly rundown

May 25

The Dash entered this game in a seven-loss tailspin, including the first two games of this series in Brooklyn against the Mets-affiliated Cyclones. Kohl Simas, Terrell Tatum, and a cast of thousands were able to avoid making it eight straight.

Simas had his first truly bad start of the season on May 17, but he was back to form here, putting down five one-run innings for the third time this year in seven appearances. He struck out seven and walked one; of the two hits he allowed, one was a second-inning solo shot for the only Cyclones run of the day.

He exited with a robust lead. The Dash were up early in the first inning after Tatum walked and stole second (what else is new). A ground out and fly ball later, he was at second base, prime position to be driven in by a Wilfred Veras single to put the team up 1-0.

Tied 1-1 in the third, Tatum was back at it again. He tripled leading off and immediately scored on Loidel Chapelli Jr.’s pop single. Despite a DJ Gladney single putting two on with nobody out, no more runs crossed the plate that inning, still 2-1 Dash.

In the fifth, a player with alliterative initials who shall otherwise remain unnamed for you to guess doubled for the 11th time to open the inning. After a fly ball advanced him to third, Gladney hit an infield single that did not score him, then came a gauntlet of three straight singles that did all score runs: Veras, Wes Kath, and Shawn Goosenberg. When the dust had settled, it was 5-1 Dash.

Tatum was not involved in the final Dash run in the seventh, except to strike out to end the inning. Kath doubled, Goosenberg singled, and Michael Turner’s ground ball force out allowed Kath to score, 6-1 the eventual final score.

In relief, Haylen Green, Chase Plymell, and Tristan Stivors were lights-out, shutting down the ‘Clones over four scoreless innings. As a staff, the Dash walked two and struck out 10 batters. They allowed just four hits.

Tatum and Kath, meanwhile, reached base four times each (double, triple, two walks for Tatum; double, two singles, and a walk for Kath). Goosenberg had three hits and Gladney and Veras had two.

May 26

There were opportunities aplenty but the Dash took few of them, resulting in a close walk-off loss after four and a half innings played at a tie. It was the eighth loss in nine games for Winston. Perhaps this is reaching, but it is likely that only having three hits did not help the Dash in their efforts to win this game.

Starter Jonathan Cannon was actually pretty good on the mound, although his 4⅔ innings were the fewest of any start of his this year. His pitch count ballooned to 96 before he exited, the result of many deep counts and also an error by Loidel Chapelli Jr. at second that led to an unearned run. Cannon issued two walks, striking out eight, and only one of his two runs was earned.

Both Dash runs scored, fittingly, in the second inning. Wilfred Veras singled and stole second, ultimately unnecessarily as Wes Kath walked. Still with nobody out, Shawn Goosenberg came through with a deflected double, scoring Veras. Kath scored on Michael Turner’s ground out, 2-0 Dash at the time.

After Cannon was discharged with the scored tied at two, Jerry Burke took over, escaping a one-on, two-out situation for Cannon in the fifth and pitching three solid, scoreless innings of his own (aided by Turner throwing out Burke’s leadoff walk trying to steal second in the sixth, and by a double play erasing a leadoff bunt single in the seventh). The bunt single was the only hit the Cyclones had off him.

However, Adisyn Coffey, who had been largely dominant all season except for his previous outing, in which he’d allowed two runs, did not so fool any opposing batters. Pitching the bottom of the ninth, he surrendered a triple to the first batter and a walk-off single to the next. Dash lose 3-2.

May 27

Longtime denizens of the L column at this point, the Dash walked once, struck out 15 times, and made five errors to lose their ninth of 10. Drew Dalquist briefly started; he walked two in the first and threw a wild pitch, but got out of it with just a sacrifice fly, trailing 1-0. 

In the second, though, he left with two on and two out, two runs already across the plate after a single, walk, RBI ground out, walk, and two-run single (with the runner, Yes, That Omar Narváez, taking second on Wilfred Veras’ error in right field). Dylan Burns was the substitute, and nearly got out of it with a ball hit to short; instead, shortstop Taishi Nakawake and first baseman Shawn Goosenberg teamed up to make two errors on the play and two runs scored, 5-0 Cyclones.

Burns pitched the third as well, allowing another two runs, both scoring on another Nakawake error, 7-0 Cyclones. One runner had reached via single, one via Wes Kath error at third.

Other than a leadoff double, Burns pitched a clean fourth. Ernesto Jaquez was nearly perfect in three relief innings, walking one, and Jake Palisch struck out three but also allowed a hit, so there’s controversy as to whether he struck out the side or not (locals outraged, special election called).

Because it would have been very embarrassing to make five errors and be shut out, the Dash did score two runs. Loidel Chapelli Jr. tripled, his third, to open the seventh, with DJ Gladney walking behind him. Two strikeouts later, Goosenberg’s double scored Chapelli, Cyclones still leading 7-1.

In the eighth, catcher Keegan Fish singled, then was balked to second and out at third on a fielder’s choice ball off of Terrell Tatum’s bat. Tatum took second in the drama, whence he was able to score when Chapelli doubled. 

Chapelli himself took third on a reflexive sympathy error by Brooklyn, but did not score, putting the final score at 7-2 Cyclones.

May 28

Finally, the Dash freed themselves from New York, but it took them 10 innings before they were released. Both teams scored in the first—it was a bullpen day for the Dash, the rehabbing Johan Dominguez not starting where normally he would be expected to. Instead, 2020 fourth-rounder Kade Mechals made his first career start, and a very shaky first two batters turned into a decent outing. A single, stolen base, and double in the first inning combined to give the Cyclones what ended up being their only run of the day.

This put them into a 1-1 tie with the Dash, who had generated their own run in the top half of the first inning. A Terrell Tatum walk turned into Tatum at second after DJ Gladney’s ground out, which turned into Tatum crossing the plate while Wilfred Veras got himself thrown out at second trying to stretch a single.

And 1-1 is where it remained for most of this game’s two-hour, 27-minute playtime. Wes Kath struck out to end the Dash ninth, so he was the zombie runner on second in the 10th. Shawn Goosenberg hit a ground ball that got him to third, and Michael Turner was able to sac fly him in for the 2-1 lead and victory.

Mechals settled down for three innings total, and Noah Owen, Everhett Hazelwood, Adisyn Coffey shook off their various demons to contribute scoreless efforts. Tristan Stivors, who has not had any demons to shake off in eight straight outings now, struck out four in two innings for the win. He now has 23 strikeouts and seven walks in 15⅓ innings on the season with just four runs allowed.

May 30

This one looked shaky at times—one might even say the entire time—but a win is a win, so the Dash will take it. Brooks Gosswein is still battling the walk bug; after walking none in his first 9⅔ innings this year, he’s walked 23 in 26⅔ innings since, also striking out 23. He’s done a decent job at limiting the damage, but it’s not a tightrope act that can last forever. With a walk rate of 5.7 per 9 innings, his ERA is 3.22 in 36⅓ innings this year, and his WHIP is 1.38.

Here, he walked four in four innings, striking out four as well as the Dash opened a series at home against the hated Greensboro Grasshoppers (Pirates affiliate). A two-walk first resulted in no Grasshoppers runs, but a leadoff walk did score in the third, aided by a stolen base, balk, and single. Another single-steal-single combo gave the ‘Hoppers at the time a 2-1 lead, and Gosswein struck out two in the fourth to wrap up his outing at 72 pitches (44 strikes).

That early Dash run was scored in the first. Terrell Tatum did his thing, opening with a single, balking himself to second, and scoring on Wilfred Veras’ 20th double. 

They didn’t score again until the sixth, still trailing 2-1: Loidel Chapelli Jr. doubled, DJ Gladney walked, and Wilfred Veras’s forceout cut off Chapelli at third. Wes Kath was up with Gladney at second and Veras at first, and he doubled, scoring Gladney to tie it at 2. Goosenberg’s sac fly then drove in Veras for a 3-2 Dash lead.

Tragically, the ballgame re-tied in the top of the seventh, with Jared Kelley almost wrapping up what would have been three absolutely stellar innings of relief. Instead, he had to settle with three very decent innings. In the seventh, his final inning, he struck out the first two batters, then walked the next, who then stole second. After Kelley balked, the runner stole home with two outs before the final batter was called out on strikes. Kelley struck out six total and did not allow a hit; that walk was the only baserunner he allowed.

The Dash, however, did not want a game recap to include the sentence, “The Dash lost their 10th of 12,” and it will not, other than in a hypothetical manner. Caberea Weaver’s single turned into a de facto double after an error in the seventh, and Tatum bunt singled him to third before being picked off/caught stealing, with Weaver scoring on the play to give the Dash a 4-3 advantage. Chapelli struck out, but Gladney singled, Veras walked, and Kath hit his second double of the day to make it 5-3.

Chase Plymell replaced Kelley in the top of the eighth, gave up two runs, and ended up with the win; that inning started nigh-identically to the Dash’s seventh, with a lead-off single, error (Kath’s at third for the Dash) advancing the runner, and a single driving him to third. Instead of baserunning madness, though, the Grasshoppers merely scored on a ground out, then tied it up again with a more traditional single, 5-5.

The Dash came right back with two more in the bottom of the inning. Michael Turner’s leadoff double scored on the classic sac bunt-pitcher error combo involving shortstop Andy Atwood, who ended up at second base with nobody out. After Weaver was thrown out bunting, Tatum walked and Chapelli singled in Atwood, 7-5 Dash.

Adisyn Coffey came out for a redemption ninth and got it; he struck out two and was perfect, securing the save.

May 31

Connor McCullough was excellent for the Cannon Ballers in seven starts this season, including a seven-inning no-hitter earlier this month, but his excellence may still be on the road from Kannapolis; in his first start at the High-A level, the righty walked three and was burned for two separate two-run dongs over the course of four innings.

Between that and a poor outing from Everhett Hazelwood, who walked three en route to allowing two eighth-inning runs, the Dash had no riposte. Jerry Burke did his best; a former starter now being used heavily in long relief, he struck out six over three innings. Jake Palisch also threw a scoreless inning and a third.

The Dash avoided a shutout thanks to back-to-back doubles in the ninth by Shawn Goosenberg and Michael Turner, the 10th in 30 games for Turner. They had seven hits total, two from Tatum and two from Turner.

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Thanks Julie, I think we are beginning to agree that Chapelli’s (lack of) defense is beginning to catch up to him and he just doesn’t hit enough to make up for that.