Following a series sweep of the Bellingham Bells at home to close out the 2019 season’s first half, the Pippins hit the road again to the south as they travel to Walker Stadium in Portland to open up a weekend series with the Portland Pickles. First pitch for the first game of the second half is set for 7:05 PM PT, with pregame coverage at pippinsbaseball.com/live set to start at 6:50 PM. Right-hander Ryan Jameson will start for the Pippins opposite Portland’s Brad McVay.
PIPPINS BREAK OUT OFFENSIVELY, SWEEP BELLINGHAM: The Pippins collected a season-high 13 runs in an offensive outburst to top Bellingham, 13-4 and complete the sweep on Thursday to close out the first half of the 2019 season. Nearly everyone contributed for the Pippins, with six different players scoring runs and six different players driving in runs. The Pippins struck early for 3 runs off of Bells starter Cole Tucker in the 3rd inning and never trailed from there, plating 6 more in the 4th inning off of the Bellingham bulllpen. Pippins reliever Darius Garcia picked up the win in relief, tossing 2.2 scoreless innings to improve to 1-3 on the year. With the win, the Pippins conclude the first half with an 11-15 record.
FOR THE PIPPINS: Right-hander Ryan Jameson will make his third start of the season for the Pippins to open up the second half in Portland. The 6-foot-2, 180-pound native of Hollister, California, lost his last start last Friday in Corvallis, allowing four earned runs over 5.1 innings, while striking out 6. In 3 appearances this year, including two starts, the righty from Cal Poly has struck out 17 batters in 10.1 innings, but his record is 0-2 and his ERA sits at 5.22. Opponents have hit .302 off of Jameson this season.
FOR THE PICKLES: Left-hander Brad McVay, a Portland-area native and sophomore at the University of Portland, will get the start for the Pickles in the series opener on Friday. A 6-foot-2, 190-pound southpaw from the Portland suburb of Milwaukie, McVay has made 4 appearances this summer, including a pair of starts, in which he has pitched to a 2-2 record and 3.44 ERA. He last pitched on June 21 against Victoria at home, earning the win in relief with 4 innings of 1-run ball, striking out 6 against the league’s best offense. In 15.2 innings of work this season, McVay has struck out 19 batters and walked 11.
A LOOK AT THE PICKLES: While the Pippins closed out the first half with plenty of momentum, the Pickles slumped to the finish, losing their last five games to close out the half with a 9-17 record, 2nd-worst in the West Coast League’s South Division, and 3rd-worst in the league. The main culprit for the Pickles’ struggles has been the team’s offense, which ranks last in the league in batting average (.193) and OPS (.575) and 2nd-to-last in runs scored (98). On the pitching side, the Pickles’ tandem starter system has not been as effective as last season, sitting in the middle of the pick in the league in ERA (4.92, tied for 7th).
THIS GUY IS-REALLY GOOD: Nick Israel collected a season-high 3 hits on Thursday, continuing a recent stretch of success at the plate. The switch-hitting infielder has collected all 7 of his hits this season in his last 5 games after going hitless in his first 6 Pippins at-bats, serving largely as the designated hitter. As the DH this year, Israel is hitting .538 (7-for-13). Also on Thursday, Israel singled from both sides of the plate in the Pippins’ 6-run fourth inning.
A LOT OF DUDES: The Pippins had another new addition to the starting lineup on Thursday against Bellingham, with outfielder Eddy Pelc becoming the 43rd different player to appear in a Pippins uniform so far this season through 26 games. Pitcher Luke Turner, who will join the team in Portland, will become the 44th player to debut when he appears. A litany of injures has led to larger-than-expected roster turnover early in the season.
ODDS & ENDS: The Pippins won on a Thursday for the first time all year yesterday, and have now won at least one game on each day of the week in 2019…the Pippins drew a season-high 9 walks at the plate on Thursday…Owen Cobb scored 4 runs on Thursday, the first Pippin to do so since Cole Pofek on 7/15/18.