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Carolina Notebook: Merritt, Plutko lead the Mudcats rotation

Carolina Notebook: Merritt, Plutko lead the Mudcats rotation
August 20, 2014
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Even though the week was bookended by victories, the Carolina Mudcats had another difficult week.

The team began the week with a double header sweep of the Myrtle Beach Pelicans and ended the week by taking out the Frederick Keys. However, once you figure in the sweep of the Potomac Nationals, the Mudcats week couldn’t have been less pleasant.

Carolina looks to finish the season strong as they take on the Keys for the last two times in 2014 before facing the Lynchburg Hillcats and Winston Salem Dash. With 13 games left, the Mudcats sit in fourth place in the Southern Division. However, they are just 3.5 games out of first place, making a playoff spot still well within their reach.

Player of the Week

Ryan Merritt (LHP): 2 GS, 2-0, 14.0 IP, 9 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 9 K

Merritt’s masterful season continued this week, as he churned out two more unbelievable performances. Pitching seven innings in both starts, Merritt allowed only two earned runs on the week, lowering his ERA to just 2.49. The stat that jumps off the page is the nine strikeouts accompanied by zero free passes, showing just how good Merritt can be when he is hitting his spots.

Swimming Pretty

Adam Plutko (RHP): 1 GS, 0-1, 7.0 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 4 K

Generally, when a pitcher goes seven innings and allows just one run, he can be expected to be in line for the win. However, Plutko received the hard-luck loss after a gem when his team struggled to just get a hit, much less push a run across. That doesn’t diminish from Plutko’s outing, which was one of his best starts of the season.

Eric Haase (C): 4-19, 2 R, 2 2B, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 1 BB, 7 K

While his stat line might not look the best, Haase’s first week in Advanced-A was pretty solid. In just his second game, he launched a long, three-run homer. He finished with more RBI’s than hits for the week, with three of his hits being for extra bases. Even though his strikeout numbers were high, Haase showed he has a lot of potential at this level.

Jerrud Sabourin (1B/LF): 9-24, 4 R, 2 2B, 1 HR, 9 RBI, 6 BB, 7 K

Even though Sabourin hasn’t been where he wanted to be in the Indians’ organization this season, he hasn’t stopped playing hard every day. This week was a great example of that, as he has nine hits and matched that total in RBIs. He also recorded three extra base hits and scored four runs, all while playing the outfield, which is a new every day position for him.

On the Hook

LeVon Washington (OF): 3-15, 2 R, 1 2B, 0 RBI, 2 BB, 4 K, 1 SB

The once promising prospect just can’t seem to make it all work in his limited playing time this season for the Mudcats. In five games this week, Washington managed to get on base just five times on three hits and two walks. He failed to drive in a single run this week and struck out twice as many times as he walked.

Cole Sulser (RHP): 1 GS, 0-1, 3.0 IP, 3 H, 4 ER, 1 HBP, 2 BB, 3 K

The big innings have been a problem for Sulser all season and this week was no different. A four-run third inning chased him from Sunday’s game after he hadn’t give up a run prior to that inning. The free passes also hurt him, as he gave up three free bases in just three innings. If Sulser wants to move up in the Indians’ farm system, he has to solve his consistency issues.

Logan Vick (OF): 3-20, 2 R, 2 2B, 4 BB, 4 K

A week after being named the Carolina League hitter of the week, Vick fell back into his old ways, where he struggled to get on base. Even though he didn’t manage to get on base much this week, he did score over half of the time he reached and two of his three hits this week went for extra bases.

Fish Swimming Around

Catcher Eric Haase was promoted to Carolina from Lake County as the only roster transaction that affected the Mudcats this week.

Fish on the Hook

There were no new players added to the disabled list this week, but the team currently carries three on the list. Reliever Rob Nixon, catcher Jeremy Lucas and utility man Todd Hankins are all out with various injuries.

Zachary is a senior at NC State where he is majoring in communication-media, with minors in journalism and theatre.  You can follow him on Twitter @RealZachFrancis.

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