When the Triple-A Norfolk Tides host Gwinnett tonight at Harbor Park, Josh Bell will be in the starting lineup in right field, making his first ever professional start in the outfield. Bell did play in one game in left and one game in right field for the Orioles last season, but did not have a ball hit to him and those were not starts. Bell, who is 2-for-15 on the season, made his only other start this year at first base. Zelous Wheeler has made three starts at third base for Norfolk and Matt Antonelli has made two.
The Tides lost 1-0 in their home opener last night in front of 9,022 as they began their 20th season of play at Harbor Park. Jason Berken pitched four shutout innings.
With a win tonight, Norfolk would pull even on the season with a 3-3 mark. The Tides have not had a winning record at any point since April 21, 2010, when Norfolk beat Durham to improve to 2-1. A victory this evening would also pull Ron Johnson’s career managerial record to 1,264-1,265. Johnson entered 2012 with 1,261 wins in 18 seasons as a minor league manager, ninth-most among active minor league skippers.
The 1-4 Double-A Bowie Baysox have lost four in a row, are hitting just .214 as a team and have scored only 15 runs so far, but Manny Machado is off to a good start. He hit a three-run homer last night and is 7-for-20 with two homers, four RBIs and an OPS of 1.081. Tim Bascom, who pitched six scoreless in the Baysox opener, takes the mound at Prince George’s Stadium tonight against Richmond.
Tyler Townsend and Machado rank second and third in the Eastern League in total bases so far. Townsend has 16 and Machado has 14.
In tonight’s Bowie lineup, manager Gary Kendall has moved Machado to the third spot and Townsend to fourth in the lineup.
Bobby Bundy will make his second Baysox start in an 11:05 day game in Bowie on Wednesday. Right-hander Eddie Gamboa now has a 17 1/3 inning scoreless streak dating to last August 20.
Single-A Frederick was off last night and hosts Winston-Salem tonight after going 2-1 in its season-opening series against Salem. In that set, Frederick hit .327 as a team with 22 runs on 33 hits. Bobby Stevens is the early Carolina League homer leader with three. He is 4-for-7 so far with the three longballs.
Single-A Delmarva plays at Kannapolis tonight looking to go 5-1 with a victory. Should the Shorebirds get the win they would be off to their best six-game start since at least the 2003 season.
Delmarva’s Wynston Sawyer walked all five times he was up to bat last night and currently leads the South Atlantic League with a .611 on-base percentage. He has two hits and nine walks. By the way, Delmarva scored five in the ninth to win Monday night 7-4 over Kannapolis.
The Shorebirds five starters so far have lasted 21 2/3 innings and have allowed just six earned runs for a 2.54 ERA. Miguel Chalas pitches tonight.
Dylan Bundy will make his second pro start at Kannapolis tomorrow night at 7:05 and is scheduled again to pitch three innings.