Rain, roster moves throw Pelicans playoff curveball

Wednesday’s Game 1 of the Southern Division Championship Series between the Myrtle Beach Pelicans and Down East Wood Ducks has been postponed due to rain. The postseason opener will take place beginning at 6 p.m. on Thursday at Kinston’s Grainger Stadium.

The upcoming weather forecast has also altered the best-of-five series into a best-of-three set. The Pelicans will host Game 2 in a seven-inning contest on Friday at 5:05 p.m. at TicketReturn.Com Field at Pelicans Ballpark. If necessary, a decisive seven-inning Game 3 will be played 30 minutes after the conclusion of Game 2.

Gates will open at 4:30 p.m. for Friday’s potential twin bill. Fans who purchased the Pelicans’ playoff ticket package can enjoy their all-you-can-eat buffet from 4:30-7 p.m.

The best-of-three Southern Division Championship Series now looks as follows:
-Game 1: Myrtle Beach at Down East, Thursday at 6 p.m. in Kinston
-Game 2: Down East at Myrtle Beach, Friday at 5:05 p.m. in Myrtle Beach
-Game 3: Down East at Myrtle Beach, Friday, 30 minutes after the conclusion of Game 2 (if necessary) in Myrtle Beach

In Thursday’s SDCS opener, RHP Mike Rucker (5-5, 2.51 ERA) will make the start against Down East RHP Jonathan Hernandez (3-6, 3.44 ERA).

Roster moves scramble lineup

* The Chicago Cubs have announced the following roster moves affecting the Myrtle Beach Pelicans:

-RHP Oscar De La Cruz has been placed on the 7-day disabled list, retroactive to September 5.
-OF Robert Garcia has been placed on the 7-day disabled list, retroactive to September 5.
-INF Andruw Monasterio has been assigned to Myrtle Beach from Low-A South Bend. He will wear No. 6.
-OF Luis Ayala has been assigned to Myrtle Beach from Low-A South Bend. He will wear No. 34.

De La Cruz left Monday’s start at Carolina after just one inning, and will be making his second trip to the disabled list in 2017. The right-hander has made 12 starts this season for Myrtle Beach, going 4-3 with a 46 ERA. Over 54.2 innings, the La Romana, D.R. native has ceded 55 hits while walking 13 against 47 strikeouts. Originally signed by the Cubs as a non-drafted free agent in 2012, De La Cruz is ranked by MLB.com as the No. 1 prospect in the Chicago Cubs’ organization. In 2016 between Rookie-level Mesa, Short Season Class A Eugene and Low-A South Bend, De La Cruz went 1-3 with a 3.46 ERA in nine starts covering 39.0 innings.

Garcia also left Monday’s game at Carolina early. The switch-hitting outfielder has played in 108 games with Myrtle Beach in 2017, batting .248/.307/.301 with six doubles, three triples, two home runs, 31 RBIs and a team-best 16 stolen bases. A native of Santo Domingo, D.R., was batting .301 (37-for-123) with a .390 on-base percentage over his last 40 games. Originally signed by the Cubs as a non-drafted free agent in 2013, Garcia hit .283/.345/.418 with 13 doubles, three triples, two homers and 19 RBIs with Short Season Class A Eugene in 2016.

Monasterio will be appearing in his second stint with Myrtle Beach. The right-hand batting infielder slashed .241/.313/287 with four doubles and five RBIs in 26 games for the Birds earlier this season. He was assigned on June 26 to Low-A South Bend, where he hit .281/.351/.368 with 13 doubles, two triples, one home run and 23 RBIs. Originally signed by the Cubs as a non-drafted free agent in 2014, the native of Acevedo in Venezuela hit .247/.294/.308 with eight doubles, two triples, one home run and 23 RBIs between South Bend and Eugene in 2016.

Ayala will be playing in his first High-A contests. A native of Choroni in Venezuela, Ayala hit .281/.360/.373 with 17 doubles, five triples, three homers and 42 RBIs with Low-A South Bend this season. He stole 24 bases in 39 attempts. A left-hand hitting outfielder .283/.330/.369 with five doubles, four triples, one home runs, 19 RBIs and 19 stolen bases in 26 attempts with the Rookie-level Mesa Cubs last year. He was originally signed as a non-drafted free agent by the Cubs in 2013.

The Pelicans’ roster sits at 25 active players, with four players on the disabled list.

Photo by Larry Kave/MB Pelicans

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