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May 19, 2014 at 8:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Betts debuts in center field

5/19 Cup of Coffee: There were solid pitching performances at every level, both in the starting rotation and out of the bullpen, but the four affiliates combined to score only 10 runs, as they went 1-3 on the day. The big story of the day was Mookie Betts making his debut in center field, where he performed well in his limited opportunities, helping Mike Augliera (pictured) pick up his third win of the season.


Pawtucket got an up-and-down pitching performance from Rubby De La Rosa, and fell to the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (NYY), 3-2. De La Rosa allowed nine hits in five innings, but was able to limit the damage by striking out eight and walking only one. Despite the high hit total, it was an encouraging outing for De La Rosa, who walked less than three batters for the first time since April 22.

Down 2-1 in the sixth, Ryan Lavarnway blasted a one-run home run, his second of the season, to tie the game. The score remained tied until the eighth, when the RailRiders got to Rich Hill for a run to take the lead. Daniel Nava and Corey Brown were the only PawSox players to reach base twice, each going 1 for 3 with a walk.


Mike Augliera turned in his best start of the season, leading the Sea Dogs to a 2-1 victory over the Trenton Thunder (NYY). Augliera went the first eight innings, allowing only one run on five hits, walking one and striking out five. Noe Ramirez pitched a perfect ninth to pick up his third save of the year.

Overshadowing Augliera's outstanding performance was the player catching the balls in center field. Mookie Betts got back on track offensively, going 1 for 3 with a walk and a steal, all while slotting into a new defensive position. Betts moving off of second base has been discussed for months due to the presence of Dustin Pedroia in Boston, but until yesterday, he had not played a position other than second base since July of 2012. It remains to be seen if this will be a permanent switch, but with Betts showing every game that his bat is almost major league ready, it is likely that the majority of his repetitions going forward will be in the outfield.

Only two other Sea Dogs recorded hits on Sunday, with Blake Swihart and Derrik Gibson each adding a single and a walk.


Salem could not get anything going offensively, as they fell to the Carolina Mudcats (CLE), 3-1. Simon Mercedes started, and battled control issues during his 3 1/3 innings. He walked five and allowed three runs while striking out two. William Cuevas was terrific in relief, striking out eight over the final 4 2/3 innings, walking none and allowing only two hits. 

Jonathan Roof was on base three times via a hit and two walks, Kevin Heller went 1 for 3 with a walk, and Aneury Tavarez walked and hit a double. Salem managed only four hits in the game. 


Greenville also struggled on offense, as they were defeated by the Asheville Tourists (COL), 3-1. Ty Buttrey fell to 0-3 on the season after allowing three runs in 3 1/3 innings, surrendering six hits while striking out one. Much like Cuevas in Salem, Jonathan Aro was tremendous out of the pen, firing the final 4 2/3 innings, allowing only a hit and a walk while striking out six. 

Carlos Asuaje led the way again, going 1 for 2 with two walks. The only other performance of note was Jordan Weems hitting his first triple in 738 career plate appearances. 


Player of the Day: Mike Augliera pitched eight innings, allowing only one run in the Sea Dogs victory. The soon-to-be 24-year-old has been inconsistent this season, but despite some rough outings, his ERA is only 4.01 after 51 2/3 innings. While he has walked only 10 batters all season, he has also struck out only 21, relying on weak contact and good defense to turn batted balls into outs.

Photo Credit: Mike Augliera by Kelly O'Connor