Series Preview: Lexington (Ky.) Legends at Hickory Crawdads May 21-24
Lexington Legends (Kansas City Royals) (21-22, third place, South Atlantic League Southern Division)
Hickory Crawdads (Texas Rangers) (28-15, third place, South Atlantic League Northern Division)
The Hickory Crawdads begin their longest homestand of the season with four games against the defending South Atlantic League champions
IF YOU PLAN TO GO:
WHERE IS IT?: 2500 Clement Blvd., 1 mile west of U.S. Hwy 321, near entrance to Hickory Airport.
GAME TIMES/ PROMOTIONS:
Tuesday: Lexington at Hickory, 6:30 p.m. Dollar Dog Tuesday ($1 hot dogs, dogs admitted for $1)
Wednesday: Lexington at Hickory, 6:30 p.m. Kids Win Wednesday (All kids 12 and under receive a free ticket, free meal voucher, and free bounce house, speed pitch and carousel voucher every Wednesday night game); Wine Wednesday.
Thursday: Lexington at Hickory, 7:00 p.m. Thirsty Thursday; Thanksgiving in May.
Friday: Lexington at Hickory, 7:00 p.m. Postgame Fireworks; British Invasion Night.
TICKETS: $9 tickets in advance, $10 at the gate. Children (12 and under) and seniors $8, $15 for VIP section.
PARKING: All parking is $3.
RECENT SERIES HISTORY:
Hickory and Lexington played just three games last season and the Crawdads swept them in a series at L.P. Frans in April. Since 2013 and the start of the Legends current affiliation with the Royals, Hickory holds a 24-19 advantage with a 15-13 mark at L.P. Frans.
PROBABLES (Lexington/ Hickory)
Tuesday: RHP Jonathan Bowlan vs. RHP Ronny Henriguez
Wednesday: RHP Austin Cox vs. RHP Cole Winn
Thursday: RHP Charlie Neuweiler vs. RHP Tyree Thompson
Friday: RHP Jon Heasley vs. RHP Tim Brennan
The Crawdads continue to win more than they lose but are getting no help in the Northern Division standings. Sitting with the third-best record in the league, they are 6-4 over the last 10 but have fallen to 5.5 games behind first-place Delmarva (Md.) and now are a game behind Greensboro for second.
Hickory returns home after a 4-3 road trip, which was capped by a win at Hagerstown (Md.) Monday to salvage a split of the four-game series. The Crawdads have actually been pretty ordinary at home with just an 11-8 record. However, they have lost just one series at L.P. Frans, that coming against Asheville during the previous homestand.
Manager: Matt Hagen (2nd season)
Prospects – (team rankings are by MLB.com):
RHP Hans Crouse No.1 (No. 80 in top-100)
RHP Cole Winn No. 2
IF Jonathan Ornelas No. 18
3B Sherten Apostel No. 22
RHP Ronny Henriquez No. 30
Possible lineups: C: Matt Whatley (.181/.314/.228) or Melvin Novoa (.287/.333/.444); 1B Curtis Terry (.263/.321/.572); 2B Frainyer Chavez (.252/.336/.270); 3B Sherten Apostel (.217/.290/.355); SS Jonathan Ornelas (.316/.375/.478); LF: Miguel Aparicio (.253/.318/.326); CF: Pedro Gonzalez (.235/.292/.447); RF: Jose Almonte (.183/.222/.310)
Frainyer Chavez – Tied for 10th stolen bases (11)
Pedro Gonzalez – Tied for 5th homers (7), tied for 9th runs scored
Jonathan Ornelas – 5th batting avg. (.316), 10th OPS (.853)
Curtis Terry – 1st doubles (20), 2nd total bases, 3rd RBI (34), 3rd slugging pct. (.572), 4th home runs (9), 5th OPS (.894).
Matt Whatley – 3rd walks, tied for 8th stolen bases (12)
Grant Anderson – Tied for 5th wins (4), tied for 9th saves (3), tied for 10th games pitched (14)
Scott Engler – Tied for 9th saves (3)
Yerry Rodriguez – 3rd ERA (1.95), tied for 5th wins (4), 10th strikeouts (51).
Slash line (BA. OBP/ SLG/ OPS):.244 (5th)/ .309 (10th)/ .414 (1st)/ .723 (2nd).
Other key rankings: 1st total bases, 2nd runs, 2nd home runs, 2nd stolen bases, 4th triples
fewest hit batters, 2nd ERA (3.15), 3rd WHIP (1.16), 3rd fewest runs allowed, 3rd fewest earned runs allowed, 4th fewest earned runs allowed, 4th fewest hits allowed
Hitting (Last 10 games): Miguel Aparicio (.333/.389/.400, 2 doubles, 4 walks, 2 steals); Sherten Apostel (.314/.366/.571, 4 doubles, 1 triple, 1 HR, 7 RBI); Melvin Novoa (.278/.333/.444. 3 doubles 1 HR)
Pitching (May): Scott Engler (6 games, 1.84 ERA, .157 OBA, 14.2 IP, 8 H, 3 BB, 23 K); Yerry Rodriguez (3 starts, 2.25 ERA, .161 OBA, 16 IP, 9 H, 6 R, 4 ER, 8 BB, 27 K).
The Legends are the defending South Atlantic League champions, taking their first title since 2001, which was an abbreviated series after the attacks on 9/11. Lexington returns to the road after splitting a four-game series at home with Asheville. The Legends will be road warriors for much of the remainder of the first half. Entering this series, they have played the fewest road games of any SAL with a 9-7 record. Heading into the all-star break, 19 of the next 26 for the Legends will be away from home.
Manager: Brooks Conrad (1st season)
Prospects – Lexington (rankings by MLB.com):
CF Mike Gigliotti No. 13
LHP Austin Cox No. 22
SS Jeison Guzman No. 24
RHP Jonathan Bowlan No. 29
Possible Lineups: C: Freddie Fermin (.286/.318/.419); 1B: Reed Rohlman (.240/.282/.338); 2B: Rubendy Jaquez (.223/.287/.338); 3B: Nathan Eaton (.252/.353/.392); SS: Jeison Guzman (.204/.259/.336); LF: Jackson Lueck (.133/.211/.194); CF: Michael Gigliotti (.248/.346/.328); RF: Juan Carlos Negret (.169/.282/.338)
Eric Cole – Tied for 6th triples (3)
Mike Gigliotti -1st stolen bases (17)
Jeison Guzman – Tied for 3rd caught stealing (5)
Nick Hutchins – Tied for 7th doubles (12)
Rubendy Jaquez – Tied for 6th triples (3), tied for 10th stolen bases (11)
Juan Carlos Negret – Tied for 10th strikeouts
Chase Vallot – 7th strikeouts, 10th slugging pct. (.486)
Jonathan Bowlan – 7th WHIP (0.94)
Jon Heasley – 2nd WHIP (0.82), 5th ERA (2.04), tied for 5th wins (4)
Kyle Hinton – Tied for 9th saves (3)
Charlie Neuweiler – 4th walks allowed, 9th innings pitched, tied for 9th hit batters (5), tied for 10th home runs allowed (5)
Slash line (BA. OBP/ SLG/ OPS): .224 (12th) / .293 (12th)/ .353 (11th)/ .645 (11th).
Other key rankings: 1st stolen bases, 4th strikeouts, tied for 11th walks, 12th runs scored
1st WHIP (1.08), fewest walks allowed, 4th strikeouts, 5th ERA (3.31),
Hitting (Last 10 games): Jeison Guzman (.303/.343/.576, 2B, 3B, 2 HR, 8 RBI, 3 SB); Chase Vallot (.200/.407/.500, 2 HR); Freddie Fermin (.364/.382/.485. 2B, HR).
Pitching (May): Austin Lambright (5 games, 1.29 ERA, 7 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 11 K, .120 OBA); Jon Heasley (4 starts, 2.11 ERA, 21.1 IP, 14 H, 7 R, 5 ER, 2 HR, 4 BB, 26 K, .182 OBA)