5/27 Cup of Coffee: It was a slow night on the farm, with Salem having a scheduled day off and Greenville getting rained out. The PawSox dropped a tough one to the RailRiders despite Allen Craig and Jackie Bradley Jr. sparking a late comeback, while Portland got contributions from every starter, including back-to-back home runs from Jonathan Roof and Blake Tekotte (pictured), to top the Mets.
The PawSox late comeback fell short, as they dropped their fourth straight game. Pawtucket faced an early deficit after the RailRiders got to Jess Todd for three runs in the second inning. Todd ultimately threw six innings and allowed four runs on nine hits, picking up his first loss of the year. Jonathan Aro and Robbie Ross Jr. kept them in the game with three innings of shutout relief.
PAWTUCKET, R.I. -- 22-year-old left-hander Henry Owens took the McCoy Stadium mound against the Columbus Clippers, Triple-A affiliate of the Cleveland Indians, on May 15. Owens’s final line for the day showed six innings pitched, three hits, no runs, one walk, and five strikeouts. He threw 88 pitches total with 53 for strikes. Owens threw first-pitch strikes to 11 of 21 batters and generated six total swing-and-misses in his six innings of work.
Now listed at 6-foot-6, 220 pounds, Owens reportedly put on 20 pounds of muscle heading into the 2015 season (Link). Owens has packed on muscle considerably each off-season since being drafted out of high-school in 2011 at 175 pounds. Physically, Owens has very long arms and legs, and will always be on the skinny and lean side, so it is tough to see a noticeable difference in his stature from the stands. This added bulk should help Owens through the course of a season after he admittedly felt that his body began to break down and did not feel like he had his legs under him towards the end of the 2014 season after 168 innings, a significant increase from his 135-inning total in 2013.
5/26 Cup of Coffee: All four affiliates were in action on Monday, and all were treated to strong starting pitching. Each team's pitcher turned in a quality start. Two of the hurlers, Salem's Teddy Stankiewicz (pictured) and Mike Augliera of Portland were not scored upon in their victories. Jalen Beeks got the win for the Drive, and Henry Owens was the tough-luck loser for Pawtucket.
Henry Owens turned in his third consecutive start with one or fewer runs allowed, but it went for naught as the PawSox bats fell silent. Owens struggled some with his control, issuing four walks, but he again proved tough to hit and was helped out by some strong defense behind him. After loading the bases with a single and a pair of walks in the second, Owens gave up an RBI base hit, but Bryce Brentz cut down a potential second run at the plate to end that inning. Overall, Owens allowed the one run on four hits in six innings, walking and striking out four. He lowered his ERA to 1.98 in May, and opposing batters are hitting just .183 against Owens on the season.
Offense was hard to come by for the PawSox. They did not have a hit until Travis Shaw delievered a single with one out in the fifth inning, and they did not have a baserunner advance beyond second all evening.
The Yoan Moncada era began in earnest Monday night in Greenville, where the 19-year-old Cuban super prospect (pictured, right) made his first appearance for the Drive, the Red Sox' Low-A affiliate. SoxProspects.com Staff Writer James Dunne recapped the game and Moncada's performance in Tuesday morning's Cup of Coffee.
5/25 Cup of Coffee: Though three of the four Red Sox affiliates lost on Sunday, each loss was decided by only one run. The PawSox' ninth inning rally was not enough to pick up starter Brian Johnson, who allowed four runs but threw a ton of strikes. The Sea Dogs couldn't generate much offense despite strong performances from their pitching staff. The Drive dropped a heartbreaker as three walks and an error in the ninth allowed the go-ahead run to score. The Red Sox' Trey Ball (pictured) threw 5 1/3 shutout innings as Salem grabbed the sole win.
The PawSox scored two in the top of the ninth but their rally came up short as they were dealt their fourth loss in the last five games. Brian Johnson went seven innings and struck out seven, but allowed four runs on eight hits. It was the second time Johnson's gone seven full innings this season. One of the positive takeaways from Johnson's performance was the fact that for the second time in his last three starts, he did not walk a batter.
The PawSox got two runs back in the ninth as Travis Shaw singled to lead off the inning and Luke Montz homered to left. Pawtucket would get two runners on with one out as Humberto Quintero and Mike Miller singled, but would strand those runners. Allen Craig went 2 for 4 with a pair of singles as he raised his Triple-A average to .326. Shaw also went 2 for 4 with a double, his fifth of the year.
5/24 Cup of Coffee: Greenville was the lone exception in a generally frustrating day at the plate for nearly all of the Red Sox' minor league affiliates. Neither Pawtucket nor Salem managed an extra base hit, while Greenville couldn't put a run on the board until the eighth inning. Portland won the second leg of its doubleheader thanks to some unusual heroics from Jantzen Witte (pictured, right).
Shortstop Jeff Bianchi and center fielder Quentin Barry had the only multi-hit games for the PawSox, which posted just five hits in what was a tough night offensively. Pawtucket didn't get on the board until the top of the sixth inning, when left fielder Bryce Brentz plated Bianchi on a sacrifice fly. Louisville then held the PawSox scoreless for the final three frames.
5/23 Cup of Coffee: The affiliates were 2-2 on Friday, as Portland and Salem had difficulties pushing runs across the plate. Pawtucket used steady starting pitching and key hits with runners on base to find the winner's circle. In Greenville, SoxProspects.com's #10 prospect put together his second straight solid outing to carry the Drive to victory.
----- Pawtucket Red Sox 6, Louisville Bats (CIN) 5 Keith Couch allowed just two runs on five hits and a walk across seven innings to pick up his second victory of the season. The recently acquired John Cornely made his Pawtucket debut and recorded the final two outs of the game to pick up the save.
Travis Shaw led the PawSox offense with a 3-for-4 evening, scoring three runs and adding a double. Luke Montz was 2 for 2 as the designated hitter, knocking in three runs. After having issues bringing home base runners the night before, Pawtucket was 4 for 8 with runners in scoring position and left only five men on base. The PawSox turned four double plays defensively, helping to bail them out of a number of jams.
5/22 Cup of Coffee: Joe Gunkel collected a victory in his first start for Portland while Pawtucket lost a slugfest, despite a huge night from Allen Craig (pictured, left). Salem out-hit their opponent, but lost by six runs. Greenville took home the win behind strong outings from Denny Bautista and Williams Jerez.
----- Louisville Bats (CIN) 6, Pawtucket Red Sox 5 (10 inn.) It was a frustrating night for the PawSox, dropping a slugfest against Louisville. Pawtucket knocked out 14 hits, but left a whopping 15 men on base. There was plenty of blame to go around as Bryce Brentz (1 for 5, RBI) stranded six men, while Rusney Castillo (1 for 6, RBI), Travis Shaw (2 for 6) and Deven Marrero (1 for 5) left five on. Allen Craig raised his slash line since being demoted to Triple A, reaching base five times in a 3-for-5 night with two walks. Jess Todd labored through 6 2/3 innings pitched, allowing five earned runs and striking out a pair. Heath Hembree allowed the walk-off single in the tenth. ----- Portland Sea Dogs 4, Altoona Curve (PIT) 1 Joe Gunkel dominated right-handed hitters and survived the lefties to pick up his first win in Double-A. Gunkel gave up six hits and one earned run in five innings pitched, striking out six and walking four. According to SoxProspects.com Executive Editor Chris Hatfield, righties went 3 for 14 against Gunkel while lefties went 3 for 6 with three walks. Simon Mercedes allowed only one hit in two innings of work. Jorge Marban picked up the six-out save, striking out three. Tim Roberson and Jantzen Witte each had multi-hit games.
----- Lynchburg Hillcats (CLE) 10, Salem Red Sox 4 It was a strange line on the scoreboard for Salem on Thursday, as the Red Sox out-hit Lynchburg 11-9, but lost by six runs. A six-run third inning ultimately did in Salem with Kevin McAvoy allowing all six of those runs. Taylor Grover kept Salem within striking distance with 4 1/3 stellar innings of no-hit relief, striking out seven along the way. Lynchburg put the game out of reach in the late innings, touching up Kuehl McEachern for four runs. Mario Martinez and Aneury Tavarez provided all the offense for Salem, driving in two runs each.
----- Greenville Drive 8, Charleston RiverDogs (NYY) 0 The Drive pounded out 10 hits in a blowout victory in which Yoan Moncada went 1 for 3 and played errorless ball in the field after a rough start this week. Jordan Procyshen went2 for 5 with two RBI and a run scored. He has reached base safely in nine of his last ten games. Shortstop Javier Guerra provided the big blow with a bases-clearing triple in the eighth.
Journeyman right-hander Denny Bautista picked up his second victory in as many games for Greenville, hurling six scoreless innings, striking out two and walking none. Williams Jerez picked up the three-inning save.
----- Player of the Night:Allen Craig, trying to raise his stock since being demoted to Triple-A, reached base five times in Pawtucket's loss. The former National League All-Star raised his average from .250 to .306 with the big night as he battles back towards the Majors. Photo Credit: Allen Craig by Kelly O'Connor
5/21 Cup of Coffee:Yoan Moncada (pictured) broke out last night and recorded his first three-hit game in Greenville's win. The bats went silent in the rest of the system, as Pawtucket, Portland, and Salem all lost. Henry Owens didn't have the smoothest outing, but managed to work out of some trouble.
The PawSox dropped a tough low-scoring battle after Henry Owens labored through 5 1/3 innings. He limited the damage, allowing just one earned run, but walked four and scattered five hits. His ERA is down to 3.19, but now has 30 walks in 42 1/3 innings on the season. Dayan Diaz and Dana Eveland combined to go 4 2/3 scoreless innings in relief before Miguel Celestino gave up the winning run in the bottom of the 12th. Pawtucket's offense mustered just six hits and one run in the 12 innings, with Bryce Brentz and Travis Shaw each collecting two hits.
5/20 Cup of Coffee: Portland and Greenville combined to score 29 runs, while Brian Johnson had another good outing for the PawSox. Some shaky Salem defense did not help Trey Ball, as the left-hander fell to 2-4 on the year. The slugfest in Greenville included Yoan Moncada's first professional hit, but that was overshadowed by a rare feat from Javier Guerra (pictured).
Brian Johnson turned in another good start to lead the PawSox to their 23rd win. Johnson went the first six innings, allowing only one run and one walk while striking out two. He gave up eight hits, including four to the first four batters, but he was able to get out of a couple jams, as the Indians left nine men on base. Dalier Hinojosa held the Indians scoreless over his two innings, and Zeke Spruill notched his second save with a scoreless ninth.