B-Royals’ Bats Hot to Close Week One

The Burlington Royals (4-3) defeated the Bristol Pirates 10-2 last night and are currently riding a three-game winning streak entering play on June 30. Why? Pitching, defense and timely hitting.

Royal Roots

Flashes of these components were seen the first time the B-Royals stepped onto the field. On Tuesday, June 21, Burlington defeated the Kernersville Bulldogs of the Carolina Virginia Collegiate League, 5-3, in an exhibition game played at Burlington Athletic Stadium. With the score tied 3-3 entering the fourth inning, Burlington’s bullpen of Felix Familia, Walker ShellerAlex Massey, Jose Veras and Michael Silva shutout the Bulldogs for the remainder of the game to guide the B-Royals to a 5-3 victory. SS Nicky Lopez, the 2016 5th round draft pick, went 1-3, with a run scored and an RBI out of the leadoff spot while C Michael Arroyo had a 1-2 night with a double and an RBI. The win gave the B-Royals confidence entering their season opener on Thursday, June 23 against the Princeton Rays. Click here to listen to second year manager Scott Thorman’s thoughts on the win over Kernersville and for his initial reactions to the 2016 roster.

Slow Start

Opening Night for the B-Royals’, though, would be spoiled as the Princeton Rays defeated Burlington 7-4. LF Jonathan McCray’s three run home run in the fifth inning sparked the B-Royals’ offense as Burlington starter Cristian Castillo took the loss surrendering seven earned runs on eight hits through 4.2 innings. The B-Royals’ woes would continue as the Royals dropped the second game of the three game set 16-2. Click here for Burlington pitching coach Carlos Martinez’s thoughts on the loss and his keys for victory.

But, on June 27th, is when fans would see the club start to right the ship. B-Royals’ starter LHP Garrett Davila hurled 5.2 shutout innings in his first professional start, allowing just three hits while striking out five batters guiding the club to their first win of the season, 6-4 over the P-Rays. In front of a B-Royals’ record 3,857 crowd, Davila earned the win. 1B Chris Devito hit his second home run of the year as well to ignite the Burlington offense that would eventually find its rhythm. Listen to highlights of the B-Royals’ first win of the 2016 season here.

B-Royals Find Winning Formula Versus Bluefield

The B-Royals would take their first series victory 2-1 as excellent pitching, defense and hitting led the way. In game one, shades of similar play in the first series was present as Bluefield took the first contest 4-3. B-Royals’ starter RHP Ofreidy Gomez took a no decision throwing 5.2 innings, allowing just two earned runs on six hits and five strikeouts, but it wasn’t enough as Bluefield edged Burlington 4-3 on June 26. Burlington had runners on second and third in the bottom of the ninth with zero outs, but Blue Jays’ reliever RHP Angel Alicea worked out of the jam to log the save.  Listen to manager Scott Thorman’s thoughts on the loss here.cancellll

For the time being, this is where Burlington’s early woes would end. The B-Royals’ offense would ignite in a 9-4 victory over the Blue Jays on the next day as DH Zane Evans went 3-for-4 with a run scored and an RBI. Burlington outhit Bluefield 15-4 to back reliever RHP Geoffrey Bramblett who logged the win allowing just one earned run over three innings pitched.  Listen to game highlights here.

Perhaps, the best all around game the B-Royals would play through the first two series was in the rubber match on June 28. B-Royals’ starter LHP Cristian Castillo improved to 1-1 throwing 5.2 scoreless innings, fanning eight batters to lead Burlington to a 4-0 victory over the Bluefield Blue Jays. Also, the bullpen was spectacular as reliever RHP Justin Camp threw 2.2 shutout innings, while RHP Michael Silva came in to work a scoreless ninth. Listen to game highlights here.

Quick Stats

Currently, the B-Royals are in a three-way tie for first place in the Eastern Division of the Appalachian League with the Princeton Rays and the Pulaski Yankees. 3B Emmanuel Rivera leads the league with his .520 (13-for-25) batting average, 1B Chris Devito is second in the league in home runs with three, and SS Nicky Lopez has four stolen bases through seven games which is also tied for the league lead. Also, Burlington boasts the highest team batting average of .291 while the pitching staff has the lowest earned run average at 4.14 to pace the Appalachian League.

 

*Photo courtesy of http://www.thetimesnews.com

 

Thank You and Good Night

With the 2015 season in the rearview mirror, I wanted to take a few moments to offer another word of thanks to all of the fans who tuned in and read these posts along the way. Without all of you, there would be no reason to do this. I truly appreciate all of the support along the way.

The 2015 Burlington Royals season was one filled with ups and downs. Two long win streaks (of eight and five games, respectively), were certainly the highlights of the campaign. Watching Brandon Dulin’s quick start and subsequent selection to the league’s All-Star team was fascinating.

Congratulations are in order to C Xavier Fernandez and RHP Jacob Bodner, who were named the player and pitcher of the year for Burlington by the Kansas City organization. Both players certainly deserve the recognition.

Thank you again to the entire Royals organization and fans for a memorable season!

Royals Alumni Update: August 28

Last game two of a home series for the Burlington Royals comes your way tonight as the Royals face the Greeneville Astros.

Major League Baseball: RHP Kelvin Herrera (2008)

The Royals have won seven straight appearances by the righty, and he pitched twice against the Baltimore Orioles this week. On Tuesday, he worked 1.1 scoreless innings, working around a hit and striking out two in a 3-2 win. He returned to the mound yesterday, tossing an inning in a 5-3 win. Herrera allowed a solo home run, but limited the damage to just the blast.

AAA Omaha Storm Chasers: INF Angel Franco (2008)

Franco is on the Storm Chasers’ seven-day disabled list, but had hits in his last three games before going on. He was 1-for-4 with an RBI in a 7-3 win at the Salt Lake Bees on August 18, then went 1-for-5 with an RBI a day later in an 8-7 win over the Las Vegas 51s. Most recently, Franco was 1-for-3 against the Sacramento River Cats on August 23, helping Omaha to a 4-3 win. Franco is now batting .286 on the season with 16 doubles, two triples, four home runs and 26 RBI.

AA Northwest Arkansas Naturals: RHP Mark Peterson (2012)

Peterson earned his second save of the season on Wednesday night, tossing a scoreless inning with a strikeout to lock down the Naturals’ 5-3 win over the Springfield Cardinals. The right-hander is now 4-1 with a 2.99 ERA in 35 appearances (1 start) this season. He has tossed 69.1 innings, striking out 43 and walking 27.

A+ Wilmington Blue Rocks: RHP Zach Lovvorn (2013)

Lovvorn worked seven solid innings on Thursday, allowing two runs on seven hits, walking one and striking out three. The Blue Rocks won 3-2 over the Myrtle Beach Pelicans, and Lovvorn improved to 4-4 with the Blue Rocks. He now has a 9-10 overall record with a 4.02 ERA on the season, working 130 innings. Lovvorn has struck out 79 and walked 31 in 2015.

A Lexington Legends: INF Austin Bailey (2015)

Bailey hit his second home run with Lexington on Wednesday evening, one of four Legends homers in a 13-9 loss. Bailey’s Class A average is now up to .286, and he is hitting .301 overall. Bailey has collected 13 doubles, a triple, five home runs and 27 RBI between Burlington and Lexington after being a 21st round pick this June.

Will The Stars Align? (Greeneville Series Preview)

The Burlington Royals are still alive. Facing elimination for four consecutive days, the Royals have reeled off a four-game win streak, their longest since early July, and sit five games back of the playoffs with six to go. Obviously, the postseason is still a long shot, but, hey, you’re telling me there’s a chance, right?

As long as the Royals keep winning, they cannot be eliminated until Princeton wins as well. For Burlington, the task of keeping the streak going will now transfer over to a new opponent: the Greeneville Astros. Burlington has already taken two of three at Pioneer Park in Greeneville in late July, their only road series win of the entire season. The Royals took an 11-inning thriller 9-7 on July 24, and followed that up on July 25 with a 3-1 win in 10 innings. The Astros won the finale 5-4.

As big as this series is for Burlington, it’s even bigger for Greeneville. The ‘Stros are tied for second place in the Appalachian League West, 3.5 games back of first-place Kingsport. If the Royals are a postseason long shot, Greeneville is squarely on the bubble.

The Astros come in at 31-30 with a team batting average of .251, ninth in the league and last in the Western Division. They are also ninth in homers with 29, with only Danville’s 20 lagging behind. The team’s average leader is 3B Connor Goedert, named an Appalachian League All-Star at the position. Goedert’s five home runs also lead the team among active players.

On the mound, Greeneville has a team ERA of 3.35, second in the league, and tops in the Western Division. It is clear that this is a pitching-dominant team, that happens to run into the Royals at a time when they are on an offensive uptick.

Who’s Hot

For the first time in awhile, we can give this nod to 1B Brandon Dulin. Dulin had a two-hit game last night with a pair of doubles, his fourth multi-hit game in the last five.

Probable Pitchers

Thursday, 7:00 p.m.: Royals RHP Igol Feliz (2-6, 4.03) vs. Astros RHP Albert Abreu (2-2, 3.03)

Friday, 7:00 p.m.: Royals RHP Ashe Russell (0-2, 4.31) vs. Astros RHP Diogenes Almengo (2-1, 2.45)

Saturday, 7:00 p.m.: Royals LHP Enmanuel Camacho (2-3, 6.20) vs. Astros LHP Carlos Hiraldo (1-0, 3.00)

Follow The Series

All three games will be aired on the Burlington Royals Broadcast Network, 104.5 FM/1200 AM and worldwide on the Royals’ website and TuneIn.

Follow @BRoyals_Radio on Twitter for all of your updates, and check http://www.burlingtonroyals.com for nightly recaps.

Up Next

The Royals will head on the road to Bluefield to close the 2015 regular season with a three-game series.

Royals Alumni Update: August 26

We’re all confused today. The Royals played the Princeton Rays on the road yesterday to close out a three-game series, and open a home series against the Greeneville Astros tomorrow. Yet today is not an off day. The Royals welcome in the Danville Braves for a single game, a rarity in professional baseball.

That being said, let’s all enjoy this bonus version of the Royals Alumni Update.

Major League Baseball: C Salvador Perez (2008)

Perez has hits in two of his last three games. The All-Star was 1-for-3 with a three-run home run in Saturday’s game, a 6-3 Kansas City win over the Boston Red Sox. He followed that up with a 1-for-4 game that included a run scored on Monday against the Baltimore Orioles. Perez is now batting .251 on the season with 18 home runs and 53 RBI.

AAA Omaha Storm Chasers: RHP Andy Ferguson (2011)

Ferguson was dominant on Monday, logging his longest start of the season. Over 6.2 innings, he held the Sacramento River Cats scoreless, scattering four hits without walking a batter. He struck out two as Omaha rolled to a 6-0 home win. Ferguson is now 9-3 with a 2.39 ERA on the year, striking out 97 and walking 23 in 94.1 innings pitched.

AA Northwest Arkansas Naturals: OF Jorge Bonifacio (2011)

Bonifacio went 2-for-3 with an RBI and a run scored in the Naturals’ 7-4 win over the Springfield Cardinals last night. The effort helped Bonifacio bounce back from a pair of 0-for-4 games in the Naturals’ last two contests. He is now hitting .236 on the season with 28 doubles, two triples, 16 home runs and 60 RBI.

A+ Wilmington Blue Rocks: OF Alfredo Escalera-Maldonado (2013)

Escalera-Maldonado hit his second home run of the season last night for Wilmington in their 7-4 loss to the Carolina Mudcats. The blast was part of a 2-for-4 night for Escalera-Maldonado, who was serving as the designated hitter. He is now batting .271 between Wilmington and Class A Lexington on the season, accumulating 17 doubles, five triples, 10 home runs and 44 RBI.

A Lexington Legends: C Chase Vallot (2014)

Vallot hit his ninth home run of the season last night as the Legends’ 3-0 shutout of the Rome Braves. He also walked and scored two runs in the triumph. The homer was Vallot’s first hit since August 15. He is batting .207 on the season, with 11 doubles, three triples, nine home runs and 31 RBI.

A Ray of Hope? (Princeton Series Preview)

The Burlington Royals enter their final 10 games of the season with their backs against the wall. The Royals are nine games behind the Princeton Rays with 10 games to go, meaning nothing short of the miraculous will get them into the postseason. As fate would have it, the Royals’ opponent for the next three games happens to be the Princeton Rays. To simplify all of that, the Royals need to sweep the series to even be mathematically alive when they come back home on Wednesday.

Burlington seemed to play better in their series against Johnson City, but still dropped two of three. The Royals have not won a series since August 4-6 against Pulaski.

Princeton, on the other hand, comes off of a series in which they won two of three against the Bristol Pirates. Unfortunately for them, the Pulaski Yankees are still red-hot, having won nine in a row. Princeton trails Pulaski by four games in the Appalachian League Eastern division, but enjoys a comfortable six-game lead over Danville for the second playoff spot.

Princeton is batting .256, sixth in the league. The Royals are seventh at .252. With a 3.98 ERA, Princeton is fifth in the league. Burlington, at 4.90 is last in the Appalachian League in team ERA. RF Angel Perez bats .291 to lead the Rays. Their team leader in home runs is 3B Brett Sullivan, who has nine. He hit a three-run homer in Princeton’s August 9 win at Burlington Athletic Stadium. So far this year, the Rays have won four of the six meetings with the Royals.

Who’s Hot

No one can seem to stop C Xavier Fernandez. He was 2-for-3 on Saturday with his fourth home run of the season. Fernandez is now batting .349 on the year.

Probable Pitchers

Sunday, 5:00 p.m.: Burlington LHP Enmanuel Camacho (1-3, 7.11)

Monday, 7:00 p.m.: Burlington RHP Nolan Watson (0-2, 4.07)

Tuesday, 7:00 p.m.: Burlington RHP Alex Luna (1-2, 4.78)

Follow The Series

There will be no broadcasts of these games, but you can follow live stats at http://www.burlingtonroyals.com. Also, check @BRoyals_Radio for updates, and the website for nightly in-depth recaps.

Up Next

The Royals return home to face the Danville Braves at 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday in a single-game series.

Royals Alumni Update: August 21

It’s that time again, as we look at the happenings of former Burlington Royals.

Major League Baseball: LHP John Lamb (2009)

He finally played in a game! Lamb, who has been dominating at the AAA level this season, was called up by Kansas City on July 17 for a doubleheader, yet he did not appear and was sent down the next day. Shortly after, he was traded to the Cincinnati Reds. After a few starts at Class AAA Louisville, Lamb was promoted on August 14 and made his debut against the Los Angeles Dodgers. In six innings, he took the loss by allowing five runs on eight hits while walking two and striking out seven. Lamb took the loss as the Reds fell 5-3. Lamb returned to the mound last night to face the Arizona Diamondbacks. He tossed 5.1 innings, allowing three runs on nine hits. He did not walk a batter and struck out eight, taking a no-decision in Cincinnati’s 5-4 loss.

AAA Omaha Storm Chasers: INF Angel Franco (2008)

Franco was 1-for-5 in Wednesday’s 8-7 Omaha win at the Las Vegas 51s. His hit drove in a run, helping the Chasers take the series opener. Just a night before, he was 1-for-4 in a game against the Salt Lake Bees. Franco is now batting a combined .285 between Omaha and Class AA Northwest Arkansas on the season. He has 16 doubles, two triples, four home runs and 26 RBI.

AA Northwest Arkansas Naturals: OF Bubba Starling (2012)

Starling was 2-for-5 on Thursday evening for the Naturals, collecting a double in a 3-2, 13-inning win over the San Antonio Missions. That effort followed a 3-for-4 game with an RBI and three runs scored on Wednesday in a 12-2 Naturals romp. Starling now bats .285 with 21 doubles, three triples, 10 home runs and 40 RBI.

A+ Wilmington Blue Rocks: LHP Jake Junis (2012)

Junis might be the best 4-11 pitcher in all of Minor League Baseball. Yes, he allowed four runs on nine hits while taking the loss in a 4-2 defeat to the Potomac Nationals on Tuesday, but struck out eight more. Junis is now 4-11 with a 3.86 ERA, and has 108 strikeouts to just 22 walks. He also eats innings, having worked 137.2 in 23 games.

A Lexington Legends: LHP Matt Tenuta (2013/2015)

Tenuta, who appeared in Burlington for the early part of the season on a rehab assignment, started for Lexington in the finale of a series at the West Virginia Power on Wednesday. Working six innings, he allowed two runs on five hits, walking two and striking out one. He took the loss as Lexington was defeated 6-2. Tenuta is 1-6 in Class A starts this year, carrying a 5.44 ERA. He has struck out 29 in 41.1 innings. Overall, Tenuta is 2-7 with a 4.59 ERA between Lexington, Burlington and the AZL.

Headin’ Down South to the Land of the Pines (Johnson City Series Preview)

Ah, yes, the annual visit by the Johnson City Cardinals to Burlington Athletic Stadium. The simple mention of “Johnson City” makes the Old Crow Medicine Show tune Wagon Wheel (recently covered by Darius Rucker) get stuck in your head. Unfortunately, that’s the song that plays in Burlington Athletic Stadium immediately after the Royals lose at home, and we’ve been hearing that tune a lot recently. The Royals are on a five-game slide for the first time this season, having run into a buzz saw in the Pulaski Yankees. Pulaski came into Burlington, running roughshod all over the Royals with a three-game sweep. The Yankees took wins 15-3, 14-4 and 10-1, all three coming in dominating fashion.

Now, rested up with an off day, the Royals are primed to get back on the winning track. Burlington welcomes in the Johnson City Cardinals for a three-game series beginning tonight. Johnson City sits in last place in a tight Western Division at 24-28. Even with that mark, the Cardinals are just four games out of the second playoff spot, so they certainly have something to play for. Johnson City has had success against Burlington already this season, winning two of three games in June at Howard Johnson Field. The Cardinals took the opener 10-0 before rallying to win game two 8-7 after the game was suspended. The Royals snagged a 6-1 win in the series finale thanks to a strong start from RHP Julio Pinto.

Now, the Cardinals have this series as a must-win set of games to claw back into striking distance. Every game is a must-win for the Royals, who see their “negative magic number” at six. Nothing short of a miraculous turnaround will send Burlington to the playoffs. There’s still plenty to play for, though.

Johnson City enters this series with a team batting average of .271 (tied for first in the Appalachian League with…those Pulaski Yankees). Burlington’s .252 is eighth best in the league. At 40 homers on the year, the Cardinals are second to the Yankees. The Royals still hold tough in this category, hitting 34 bombs (fifth best) on the year.

Johnson City’s 4.37 team ERA is only sixth best in the league, but Burlington is last at 4.84.

Who’s Hot

While the Royals have struggled of late, C Xavier Fernandez has been locked in. He has back-to-back multi-hit games and is hitting .353 on the season.

Probable Pitchers

Thursday, 7:00 p.m.: Royals RHP Julio Pinto (2-2, 4.31) vs. Cardinals RHP Brennan Leitao (0-1, 2.08)

Friday, 7:00 p.m.: Royals RHP Igol Feliz (2-5, 4.37) vs. Cardinals RHP Ryan Helsley (0-0, 2.20)

Saturday, 7:00 p.m.: Royals RHP Ashe Russell (0-2, 4.55) vs. Cardinals RHP Ronnie Williams (3-1, 3.00)

Follow The Series

All three games will be carried live on the Burlington Royals Broadcast Network (104.5 FM/1200 AM WSML). Catch the action online at bit.ly/broyals or search “Burlington Royals” on TuneIn. Coverage begins 30 minutes prior to each game.

Also, follow @BRoyals_Radio on Twitter for live updates, and visit http://www.burlingtonroyals.com for nightly recaps.

Up Next

The Royals head out on the road to Princeton for a three-game set with the Rays beginning Sunday at 5:00 p.m.

Royals Alumni Update: August 17

Well, here we are once more, with the Royals at the midpoint of another series. Our apologies for not getting a series preview out yesterday, I had a few personal matters to tend to before the game. That being said, let’s get caught up on former Burlington Royals.

Major League Baseball: RHP Kelvin Herrera (2008)

Herrera has logged three straight scoreless appearances out of the Royals’ bullpen. He appeared in Friday and Sunday’s games against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, and did not allow a hit either time. He struck out one batter in both innings, helping the Royals to two wins. Kansas City won 4-1 on Friday and 4-3 on Sunday. Herrera is now 4-2 on the season with a 2.03 ERA. In 53.1 innings, he has 48 strikeouts.

AAA Omaha Storm Chasers: LHP Buddy Baumann (2009)

Baumann tossed two scoreless innings for Omaha in an 11-4 win over the Salt Lake Bees on Sunday afternoon. He did not allow a hit in the outing, walking two and striking out three. The southpaw is 1-3 on the season, but carries a 2.80 ERA. In 61 innings, he has struck out 69 and walked just 21.

AA Northwest Arkansas Naturals: LHP Daniel Stumpf (2011)

Stumpf threw 1.1 innings on Saturday in the Naturals’ 7-2 loss to the Corpus Christi Hooks. He allowed one run on two hits in the outing, striking out one without walking a batter. Stumpf is now 4-4 with a 4.13 ERA on the season. In 61 innings, he has struck out 62 and walked 29.

A+ Wilmington Blue Rocks: LHP Estarlin Cordero (2014)

Cordero saved his eighth ballgame of the season for the Blue Rocks on Sunday in their 4-1 win over the Potomac Nationals. He worked two shutout innings, and did not allow any hits or walks. The southpaw fanned one in the effort. Overall, Cordero is now 4-2 with a 2.44 ERA on the season. In 29 games, he has worked 48 innings, allowing 34 hits and 14 runs (13 earned). He has struck out 38 and walked 20.

A Lexington Legends: INF Austin Bailey (2015)

Bailey was 2-for-4 for Lexington in their 3-1 loss to the Rome Braves on Sunday. Since his call-up from Burlington two weeks ago, Bailey is hitting .281 with a double and two RBI. Overall, the 21st round pick from the University of San Diego is batting .303 with nine doubles, a triple, three home runs and 21 RBI.

Royals Alumni Update: August 14

Is it really the middle day of a series again? Yes, it is. Time flies when you’re having fun, I guess. Here’s a little reading to get you set for the Royals’ twinbill in Danville (5:00 p.m. tonight).

Major League Baseball: C Salvador Perez (2008)

Perez has a small four-game hit streak going. He was 2-for-4 on Saturday against the Chicago White Sox, then has gone 1-for-4 and 1-for-3 (twice) in his last three games. Perez has not played in the last two Royals contests, as he is day-to-day with a wrist injury. The All-Star bats .251 on the season with 16 home runs and 48 RBI.

AAA Omaha Storm Chasers: INF Angel Franco (2008) 

Franco has been a regular in the Chasers’ lineup of late, and has hit .231 in 21 games at the AAA level this season. He had a back-to-back two-hit games on August 1 and 2 against the Nashville Sounds, going 2-for-4 both nights. Franco has four doubles and three RBI single being called up. Overall, he bats .291 on the year with 16 doubles, two triples, four home runs and 23 RBI.

AA Northwest Arkansas Naturals: OF Jorge Bonifacio (2011)

Bonifacio hit a solo home run on Thursday night in Northwest Arkansas’ 3-1 win over the San Antonio Missions. The shot was his 16th of the season for the playoff-bound Naturals. Bonifacio now is hitting .235 with 27 doubles, two triples and 57 RBI to go with the 16 homers.

A+ Wilmington Blue Rocks: RHP Jake Junis (2012)

Junis allowed two runs in six innings of work against the Carolina Mudcats last night. He walked just one and struck out five, taking a no-decision as the Blue Rocks eventually fell 4-3 in 10 innings. Junis is now 4-10, but has a 3.76 ERA in 22 starts. Over 131.2 innings pitched, he has struck out 98 and walked 21, holding opponents to a .253 average.

A Lexington Legends: OF Anderson Miller (2015)

Miller was 2-for-4 in the Legends’ 12-10 loss to the Charleston RiverDogs on Thursday evening. The game was his third straight two-hit contest, as he reached the mark in both the first and second games of the series against Charleston as well. Miller is hitting .271 for his hometown team, and .294 overall. He has seven doubles, a triple, three home runs and 19 RBI on the season since Kansas City picked him in the third round of the June draft.

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