By Brian Hoffman
The Salem Red Sox embarked on a 12 game road trip Tuesday, hoping to still be in the Carolina League pennant race when they return on September 6th.
Salem has six games in Columbia against the Fireflies, a Kansas City Royals farm team, this week. Then, after an off day Monday, they continue on to Augusta for six against the Green Jackets, a Class A team of the Atlanta Braves. Those 12 games will decide how important the seven game series is with Fredericksburg when the Sox return home to close out the regular season.
Salem was six games behind Fredericksburg in the North Division second half standings when the bus pulled out of Salem for Columbia. Making things tougher for the locals is that they’ll have to climb over two other teams to catch Fredericksburg, as Carolina is just two and a half games out and Down East is three and half behind the Nationals.
The Red Sox spun their wheels last week when they hosted Delmarva in a six game series, going 3-3 on the week. The Sox needed to win Sunday’s getaway game, 6-5, to earn the split as Fredericksburg also split a six game series in Lynchburg last week.
The Red Sox used a four run fourth inning in Sunday’s win over the Shorebirds. Johnfrank Salazar, a recent addition to the team, was three for four in the game and had a triple and two runs batted.
Miguel Suero picked up the win with an inning and two thirds of scoreless relief after starter Angel Bastardo left with one out in the fourth inning after giving up three runs. Blake Loubier allowed a run in the top of the ninth but was able to get out of the inning without further damage to pick up his first save of the season in Salem.