8/23: Mudcats vs. Hillcats Game Notes

Thursday, August 22, 2019 | 7:00 PM | Game 129, Home Game 64 | Five County Stadium (6,500) | Zebulon, NC

By Carolina Mudcats | August 23, 2019 7:16 PM

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LYNCHBURG HILLCATS (CLEVELAND INDIANS) at CAROLINA MUDCATS (MILWAUKEE BREWERS)
Friday, August 23, 2019 | 7:00 PM | Game 129, Home Game 64 | Five County Stadium (6,500) | Zebulon, NC

RADIO: WDWG, 98.5 FM
STREAMING AUDIO: carolinamudcats.com via TuneIn Radio
STREAMING VIDEO: MiLB.tv

Overall Record: CAR: 62-66; LYN: 58-66
Streaks: CAR: L3; LYN: L1
Last 10 Games: CAR: 2-8, LYN: 3-7

Home Record: CAR: 34-29; LYN: 25-32
Road Record: CAR: 28-37; LYN: 33-34
Division Record: CAR: 24-41; LYN: 21-25

Current Series: First game (of 3)
Season Series: CAR leads 9-5 (of 17)
CAR v. OPP: 5-2 @CAR (10), 4-3 @OPP (7)

UPCOMING PROBABLE STARTING PITCHERS...
FRI, 8/23 vs. LYN, 7:00 PM: Lynchburg RHP Brock Hartson (1-1, 3.25) at Carolina LHP Scotty Sunitsch (1-0, 0.00)
SAT, 8/24 vs. LYN, 5:00 PM: Lynchburg LHP Kirk McCarty (3-5, 5.55) at Carolina LHP Aaron Ashby (2-6, 3.70)
SUN, 8/25 vs. LYN, 2:00 PM: Lynchburg RHP Juan Mota (2-3, 3.98) at Carolina RHP Christian Taugner (5-9, 5.33)

TONIGHT: Having lost three straight, the Mudcats begin their final home stand (seven games) of the 2019 season tonight with game one of a three game series versus the Lynchburg Hillcats at Five County Stadium... Tonight's game is the first in the series and the 15th of 17 total games between the two teams this season. It is also the seventh of nine second half meetings between the two teams. Carolina leads the season series 9-5, while going 5-2 against Lynchburg at Five County Stadium and 4-3 versus the Hillcats in Lynchburg.

ICYMI: Mario Feliciano went 1-for-4 with a RBI triple and a run in the fourth and Wes Rogers went 1-for-3 with a triple and a run as well, but the Mudcats ended up on the bad end of a three game sweep while falling 5-2 to the Pelicans on Thursday night in Myrtle Beach. Carolina led first after taking a 2-0 lead in the fourth when Feliciano brought in a run with a RBI triple to center. Feliciano then scored moments later on a sacrifice fly to right by Payton Henry as Carolina went up 2-0 in the game. Carolina's lead, however, was short-lived as the Pelicans came back with a two-run double by Luke Reynolds to tie the game at 2-2 in the fourth. Reynolds later broke the tie with a run scoring triple in the sixth and Myrtle Beach added two more runs in the eighth with help of a Carolina error while going up 5-2 late in the game.

CAROLINA'S STARTING PITCHER(S)...
Scotty Sunitsch:
1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 G, 4.1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 SO
Last game, 8/18 at LYN: W, 4.1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 SO, 51 p.
Was 5th in Midwest League in strikeouts (123) before promotion to Carolina on 8/14.

TRAGIC NUMBER: Carolina's elimination number to finish in second place (and a potential playoff spot assuming Down East wins the second half) fell to two after night's loss. The Mudcats have failed to reached the playoffs in seven consecutive Carolina League seasons and 10 straight seasons overall.

WHERE THEY RANK: Mario Feliciano is currently 1st in the CL in home runs (19), 2nd in RBI (79), 1st in slugging (.477), 5th in OPS (.802), 7th in hits (118), tied for 1st in runs (61), 1st in extra-base hits (46) and 1st in total bases (206)... Payton Henry is tied for 3rd in the CL in home runs (14) and 3rd in RBI (73)... Matt Hardy is currently tied for 8th in the CL in wins (7) and 10th in games (36)... Cody Beckman, Michael Petersen and J.T. Hintzen are all currently tied for 4th in the CL in games (38)... Noah Zavolas is currently 2nd in the CL in ERA (2.98), 2nd in innings pitched (133.0) and 1st in WHIP (1.14). Zavolas is also 2nd in the CL in FIP (3.21), 1st in xFIP (3.36), 1st in BB/9 (1.56) and 1st in K/BB (4.43)... Matt Smith is currently 4th in the CL in ERA (3.65), 7th in WHIP (1.27) and 3rd in K/BB (2.97).

OF LATE: The Mudcats have gone just 11-28 since 7/10 and since starting the second half at 12-8 over their first 20 games (6/20-7/9) following the All-Star break... The Mudcats have also combined to hit just .208 with 3.1 R/G and a run differential of -36 runs since 7/10. 

HEATING UP: Pat McInerney has hit safely in five straight games and is batting .400/.429/.600 with a 1.029 OPS during the streak (8-for-20, 3 R, 4 2B, 2 RBI). McInerney also went 6-for-12 with three doubles during Carolina's previous three games in Myrtle Beach... Mario Feliciano has hit safely in five straight games and is batting .300/.333/.450 with a .783 OPS during the streak (6-for-20, 1 2B, 1 3B, 1 RBI). He has also hit safely in four straight games since missing five games from 8/12 through 8/17 with hand injury.

MVP: Mario Feliciano was named the 2019 Carolina League Most Valuable Player on 8/22. Feliciano is the first Mudcats player to win the MVP award since the Mudcats joined the Carolina League for the 2012 season. Feliciano, however, is the fifth player overall in team history to be named league MVP as Mark Johnson (1994), Jason Kendall (1995), Gaby Sanchez (2008) and Dave Sappelt (2010) were all named Southern League MVP during Carolina's Double-A and Southern League era (1991-2011). Feliciano also earned post-season All-Star honors at catcher.

P.O.Y.: Noah Zavolas was named the 2019 Carolina League Pitcher of the Year on 8/22. Zavolas is the second Mudcats pitcher in team history to earn the Carolina League's Pitcher of the Year award, joining Cody Anderson who won the same award following the 2013 season. Former Mudcats pitcher Travis Wood was additionally named the Southern League's Most Outstanding Pitcher during his 2009 season with Carolina. Zavolas also earned post-season All-Star honors at starting pitcher.

EXCLUSIVE COMPANY: CL MVP Mario Feliciano currently leads the league in home runs and RBI (tied) this season. The last Mudcats player to finish a season as the league leader (tied with Mobile's Paul Goldschmidt) in homers was Neftali Soto who homered 30 times for the then-Southern League affiliated Mudcats in 2011... Carolina has never had a player finish the season as the league leader in both homers and RBI. However, George Canale led the Southern League in RBI (102) and was second in the home runs (21) in 1995; Mark Johnson led the SL in homers (23) and was third in RBI (85) in 1994.

RECORD SETTING: Payton Henry has totaled a Mudcats franchise record 22 hit by pitches this season. Henry has also tied the team record for double plays hit into (18) this season.

STREAKS OF NOTE: Phil Bickford has pitched through 21.2 consecutive scoreless innings (6 BB, 31 SO, 12.9 SO/9) and 11 straight scoreless appearances from 7/9 through 8/21 (21.0 IP, 6 BB, 31 SO, 13.3 SO/9)... Rob Henry started the season with six home runs over his first 16 games, but has not homered since 4/19 in Salem while going 72 straight games without a home run.

ALL THE Ks: The Carolina offense has combined to total a Carolina League high 1,295 strikeouts this season (5th most in MiLB). The Mudcats are on pace to set both a CL and franchise record for most strikeouts for the third straight season. Carolina has also totaled 351 more strikeouts than hits; the third highest such difference in MiLB.

BEANBALLS: The Carolina offense has combined to total a Carolina League high 97 hit by pitches this season. The Mudcats are also 3rd in MiLB and 3rd in all of baseball in most HBP this season.

BACK STOP SPLITS: Payton Henry and Mario Feliciano have split catching duties this season with Henry starting 63 games behind the plate and Feliciano starting 60 games at catcher... The Carolina pitching staff is 34-29 and has totaled a 3.58 ERA (3.0 BB/9, 8.7 SO/9, 37.6 CS%) in games started by and caught by Henry... Carolina's pitchers are 27-33 with a 4.21 ERA (3.1 BB/9, 8.1 SO/9, 29.0 CS%) in games caught by Feliciano.

THE TOP 30: The Carolina roster currently features five of Milwaukee's Top 30 prospects (as rated by MLBPipeline.com) including No. 1 INF Brice Turang, No. 2 OF Tristen Lutz, No. 8 LHP Aaron Ashby, No. 9 C Mario Feliciano and No. 16 C Payton Henry.

THE MUDCATS HAVE…
... played in Zebulon, NC since 1991 (29th season).
... played in the Carolina League since 2012 (8th season).
... been an affiliate of the Brewers since 2017 (3rd season).
... not made the playoffs since the 2008 season.
... not made the playoffs during their Carolina League era.
... operated under the ownership of the Brewers since Oct. 2017.

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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