This will be an important series for the Sox. As of early Tuesday Salem was in first place in the Carolina League’s Northern Division, a half game in front of Lynchburg at 19-11. More importantly, the Sox were four and a half games in front of third place Frederick. Since Lynchburg won the first half, Salem needs to finish in front of everyone but Lynchburg to make the Mills Cup playoffs. Taking at least three of four in this series would give Salem a little more breathing room in the second half race.
The Sox had a Monday game at Wilmington suspended by rain. That was scheduled to be concluded on Tuesday, followed by a regularly scheduled game. The series was slated to wrap on Wednesday.
Also on Monday, Minor League Baseball named Jordan Betts the Carolina League Player of the Week for the period from July 17 to July 23. Betts, a 24-year-old corner infielder from Wilmington, North Carolina, batted .500 with a .593 on-base percentage and 1.045 slugging percentage on the week, including three doubles and three homers. He scored eight runs and knocked in seven more, helping the Sox go 4-2 in a crucial late July stretch.
As of July 24, Betts was batting .283 with 11 homers and 43 RBI in 62 games for Salem. His .514 slugging percentage is highest among current Salem players, and is 61 points higher than that of All-Star first baseman Josh Ockimey.
Betts has split time between first base and third base this season, most often finding himself blocked at each position by an All-Star. Third baseman Michael Chavis was promoted to Double-A Portland after the All-Star Break, and Ockimey remains a mainstay at first base. This is the fifth time a Salem player has earned Player of the Week honors in 2017, as Chavis was recognized twice, Ockimey once, and Betts once (from June 19-25). Since the All-Star Break, Betts has batted an amazing .364 with nine doubles, eight homers, and 24 RBI in 29 games.
Betts split the 2016 season between Salem and Double-A Portland, batting .228 with five homers and 50 RBI over 90 games. He hit .241 in 77 games for Salem, and made his Double-A debut 4/18 after going 7-of-16 (.438) in his previous four games. He hit .302 in 15 games in June, and struck out just five times in 43 at-bats.
Betts attended Duke University, where he was a four-year starter (2011-14) and two-time All-ACC selection (2013-14) before the Red Sox selected him in the 18th round of the 2014 MLB Draft.
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