May 20, 2014 at 6:00 AM
5/20 Cup of Coffee: It was a tough day on the farm on Monday, as the organization's only win came in the only game that wasn't started by a top-10 prospect. Trey Ball was hit hard as Greenville fell, while Allen Webster and Henry Owens struggled with efficiency and control for Pawtucket and Portland. Mike McCarthy came through with a strong start and was boosted by good run support as the Sea Dogs were able to salvage a split of their doubleheader.
Pawtucket fell 5-3 in 10 innings to the Scranton Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (NYY) after a pitchers' duel turned into a battle of bullpens. Allen Webster allowed just one run on three hits in five innings while striking out four. However he also walked three, hit a batter, and uncorked a wild pitch, and was already at 99 pitches when he was lifted to start the sixth for Tommy Layne. Layne allowed just one hit in two shutout innings, and departed with the PawSox up 3-1, but they could not nail down the win. Drake Britton was greeted with a single followed by a game-tying home run. He also walked two in his only inning of work. Chris Hernandez shut own the RailRiders in the ninth, but was touched for a pair of runs in the tenth inning. With the loss, Hernandez falls to a record of 1-4 on the year.
Ryan Roberts led the way at the plate, going 3 for 5 with a double, the PawSox' only extra-base hit of the night. Ryan Lavarnway and Corey Brown had two hits apiece, and Garin Cecchini was 1 for 4 with a run scored and stolen base.
In the first game of its doubleheader, Portland was blanked 5-0 by the Binghamton Mets (NYM). Henry Owens took the mound for Portland, and it was the type of performance that has typified Owens' season - lots of strikeouts and very few hits, but issues throwing strikes. The 6-foot-7 lefty struck out eight and allowed only two hits in four innings, surrendering one run. However, he needed 89 pitches to get through those four innings, due to his four walks and pair of wild pitches. Michael Olmsted had his toughest outing of the season, throwing two innings, and allowing four runs on five hits. Those included the first home run Olmsted has given up in 32 Double-A appearances dating back to 2012.
The bats were largely kept silent by Mets pitching in the opener. Travis Shaw (pictured, above) had a pair of hits including hit first triple of the season. Shannon Wilkerson added a double. It was the first time all season that Mookie Betts did not reach first base. On Saturday, his only previous appearance without a hit or walk, he reached by a throwing error. Betts also made his second consecutive start in center field.
The game was interrupted by an hour and 39 minute rain delay before the bottom of the seventh inning.
The Sea Dogs got revenge in the nightcap, pounding out 13 hits in an 8-2 rout of the Mets. Already leading 3-0, Michael Brenly helped Portland blow the game open with a third-inning grand slam. Shaw also went deep, while Betts, playing DH in game two, got rolling again with two doubles as part of a 2 for 4 night. Stefan Welch had a 3-for-4 night with a pair of runs scored, while Deven Marrero delivered an RBI double as part of his two-hit evening. Henry Ramos continues to have a fantastic May, picking up two hits to raise his average to .422 on the month.
Mike McCarthy gave Portland some much-needed quality innings late in a long day of baseball. The right-hander went six innings, allowing a run on four hits, striking out five and walking three and earning his third win of the season. Miguel Celestino allowed a run in his only inning of work, ending a streak of five consecutive scoreless appearances.
It was a tough night for Greenville, losing 10-3 to the Asheville Tourists (COL). Making his first start back after missing time with strep throat, Trey Ball was ineffective, allowing five runs on five hits and two walks while retiring just two batters. Asheville then touched Sergio Gomez for five more runs, but he was able to get through five innings, walking and striking out three apiece. John Ely struck out two and allowed a hit in a scoreless 1 1/3, followed by Taylor Grover who fanned a pair in his scoreless inning. At the plate, Tzu-Wei Lin was 2 for 4 with two doubles and a pair of RBI, and Forrest Allday added two hits. Carlos Asuaje walked twice, and has now been issued nine free passes in his last five games. Asuaje's South Atlantic League-leading on-base percentage now sits at .472.
Player of the Day: It was across two games, but Travis Shaw narrowly missed hitting for the cycle on the day, gathering a triple in the afternoon game and ripping a home run in the nightcap. After starting the season in a 5-for-44 slump, Shaw has turned things around. He has 42 hits, including 17 for extra bases, in his last 30 games.
Photo Credit: Travis Shaw by Kelly O'Connor