April 30, 2012 at 6:00 AM
4/30 Cup of Coffee: Pawtucket continued its late-April slide, Portland's bats were stymied, Salem won easily, and Matt Barnes did not disappoint in what was most likely his last start in Low-A.
|Jackie Bradley, Jr. |
(John Corneau/Lowell Spinners)
Pawtucket lost its fourth straight game, falling to the Columbus Clippers (CLE), 3-2. Nate Spears, who appeared in his first game since being outrighted to Pawtucket, led the game off with a double to center field, and came in to score on an error by the first baseman. Spears did not show any signs of rust, going 3 for 5 in the game. The PawSox scored another unearned run in the third, when Jose Iglesias reached on an error and came around to score on a Mauro Gomez ground-rule double. Gomez finished the game going 2 for 4 with two doubles. PawSox starter Justin Germano pitched another good game, going 5.1 innings allowing 2 runs on 7 hits. He walked 1 and struck out 5. The walk was the first Germano allowed in 28.1 innings this season. With the game tied in the seventh, the Clippers scored when PawSox second baseman Tony Thomas threw the ball away trying to complete a double play, allowing the go-ahead run to score from second.
After an offensive outburst on Saturday, the Sea Dogs bats struggled on Sunday, losing to the Reading Phillies (PHI), 4-2. After giving up a run in the first inning, Portland starter Chris Hernandez settled down to toss 5.2 innings allowing only the 1 run on 6 hits. Unfortunately, the Sea Dogs offense could not give him any support, as they did not record their first hit until the bottom of the sixth when Juan Carlos Linares hit a single to left. Still down 1-0 in the seventh, Oscar Tejeda crushed a solo home run to left-center field to tie the game. The tie would not last long, as Caleb Clay gave up a two-run double in the top of the eighth which secured the win for the Phillies.
Salem played some great baseball on Sunday, finishing off its sweep of the Carolina Mudcats (CLE) with an 8-3 victory. Jackie Bradley, Jr. is giving Will Middlebrooks some competition for SoxProspects Player of the Month for April. Bradley went 2 for 3 with a walk, stole two bases, and scored three runs. He is now batting .370 with a .479 on-base percentage and .493 slugging percentage on the season. In the top of the first Bradley walked, stole second, and came in to score on a Sean Coyle double. Coyle went 3 for 5 with two stolen bases of his own. In the fourth, Brandon Jacobs knocked in Bradley with an RBI single, and finished the game going 2 for 4 with a walk. Salem scored two more runs in the sixth when Drew Hedman hit a two-run double to right field. The run support was more than enough for Keith Couch who went 6.1 innings allowing only 2 unearned runs on 4 hits.
In what was most likely his last start for Greenville, Barnes was dominant once again, but the Lakewood BlueClaws scored seven runs in the sixth to beat the Drive 7-3. It was more of the same for Barnes, who threw 5.2 innings allowing only 3 hits and 1 run, walking 0 and striking out 8. The run was the first that Barnes gave up all year, and he was not even on the mound when it scored. The leadoff hitter reached in the sixth on a single, but Barnes retired the next two batters, leaving the game with a runner on first and two outs. Hunter Cervenka came in and hit the first batter he faced, walked the next batter, then gave up a single to score the runner that he inherited. Cervenka was lit up for 6 runs in 0.2 innings. Greenville's offense was lead by Matthew Marquis, who went 3 for 4 with an RBI single. Nick Natoli and Keury De La Cruz each had two hits and a stolen base, with Natoli contributing an RBI and De La Cruz picking up his third triple of the season.
Player of the Day: Matt Barnes completed one of the most impressive beginnings to a season for a Red Sox prospect in recent memory. His 0.34 ERA, 0.60 WHIP, and .338 OPS against all rank first in the Red Sox system. He also struck out 14.18 batters per nine innings and walked only 1.35 batters per nine.