SoxProspects News

May 10, 2014 at 8:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Johnson dazzles in Portland win


5/10 Cup of Coffee: The affiliates went 3-1 on Friday, led by strong pitching from Allen Webster and Brian Johnson (pictured). Johnson tied a career high with eight strikeouts, while Webster allowed only one walk as he contributed to a shutout.

Trey Ball was not as sharp, lasting only 3 2/3 innings as he battled his control throughout the start. The offense was relatively quiet throughout the system, but Mookie Betts still managed to get on base twice. 

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Four pitchers combined on a shutout for the PawSox, as they defeated the Louisville Bats (CIN), 5-0. Allen Webster went the first five innings, giving up six hits and one walk while striking out three. He threw 56 of his 87 pitches for strikes, and in his last 24 innings he has only surrendered four runs. The trio of Tommy Layne, Dalier Hinojosa, and Chris Resop combined to throw the final four innings, allowing only one hit and striking out seven.

Brock Holt led the offense, going 2 for 4 with a double, walk, and a stolen base. Mike McCoy had the biggest hit of the game, connecting on a two-run home run in the fifth, and Garin Cecchini went 2 for 4 and is now batting .308 on the season. 

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Brian Johnson was fantastic again, as the Sea Dogs beat the New Hampshire Fisher Cats (TOR), 5-2. Johnson, who was making his second start for Portland, tossed six innings, allowing two runs on six hits, walking one and striking out eight. The left-hander now has 44 strikeouts in 37 innings between two levels, with only eight walks. Noe Ramirez followed Johnson, and threw three perfect innings to pick up his second save. 

Mookie Betts continued his on-base streak, going 1 for 3 with a walk, and Travis Shaw stayed hot, also going 1 for 3 with a walk. Blake Swihart knocked in two runs with a double, and Peter Hissey went 2 for 4 with a triple. 

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Luis Diaz rebounded after back-to-back rough starts, as Salem beat the Carolina Mudcats (CLE), 5-3. After allowing 11 runs over his last two starts, Diaz cruised through six innings, allowing two runs while striking out four without walking a batter. With the victory, Diaz improved to 3-3 on the season. 

Tim Roberson put Salem on the board with a two-run double, and he scored two runs as well. Reed Gragnani went 1 for 4 to lower his average to .380, but the one hit was a double, and he came around to score on an Aneury Tavarez sacrifice fly.

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It was a forgettable evening for Trey Ball, with the Greensboro Grasshoppers (MIA) coming out on top, 5-2. Ball struggled mightily with his control, walking four batters in 3 2/3 innings, throwing only 37 of 75 pitches for strikes. He allowed five runs on eight hits and did not strike out a batter. Sergio Gomez was able to come in and limit the damage, throwing 4 1/3 shutout innings. 

The Drive struggled to get any clutch hits, leaving 10 men on base. Jake Romanski went 2 for 4 with two doubles, and Tzu-Wei Lin went 1 for 3 with a double, a walk, and a sacrifice fly. 

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Player of the Night: The jump from High A to Double-A is supposed to be one of the toughest in the minors, but Brian Johnson has made it look easy. He has thrown 11 1/3 innings with Portland, striking out 11, walking one, while sporting a 1.59 ERA. The 23-year-old has increased his stock as much as any pitcher in the system this season, and this is what the Red Sox envisioned when they selected him 31st overall in the 2012 draft. 

Photo Credit: Brian Johnson by Kelly O'Connor

 
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