SoxProspects News

August 15, 2014 at 7:47 AM

Cup of Coffee: Gem by Matt Barnes leads PawSox


8/15 Cup of Coffee: Strong pitching was again the story on the farm, with the highlight coming in another strong outing from Matt Barnes (pictured) in Pawtucket's victory. Salem allowed only two runs to sweep its doubleheader, while Greenville lost despite an excellent outing from Ty Buttrey. The DSL Red Sox had a different approach, pounding out 20 hits to prevail in a slugfest. Portland was swept in its twinbill despite solid performances on the mound, and Lowell fell as well. The GCL Red Sox game was suspended in the fourth inning with the team trailing.

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It was a strong victory all around for the PawSox, as their nine hits included a pair of home runs and starting pitcher Matt Barnes delivered a fantastic outing. The 2011 first-round pick allowed one run on seven hits across eight innings, striking out three without issuing a walk. It was the fifth consecutive outing that Barnes has pitched at least five innings and allowed two or fewer runs. During that stretch he has a 2.01 ERA and 0.894 WHIP. Brayan Villarreal fired a perfect ninth inning, striking out one. It was the third straight scoreless outing for Villarreal since the righty was activated from the disabled list 

The big blow in the game was a three-run homer in the third inning by Travis Shaw. Shaw is now second on Pawtucket with 10 home runs, despite the fact that he spent the first two months of the season with Double-A Portland. With two hits, he extended his hitting streak to six games. Alex Hassan also went deep with a fifth-inning solo shot. Mookie Betts added a pair of hits, raising his average with Pawtucket to .339.

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Both runs for Portland were scored by Keury De La Cruz, who singled and came home on a Carson Blair triple in the second, then hit a solo homer in the fourth. The home run was the fourth of the season for the left fielder. Blair's triple was his fourth extra-base hit in five games since his promotion from Salem. Mike Miller and Jonathan Roof chipped in two hits apiece. Starter Luis Diaz allowed four runs on eight hits in 5 2/3 innings. He struck out six and walked three. Wilfredo Boscan walked one and struck out one in a scoreless inning and a third. 

The Sea Dogs offense was punchless in the nightcap. All five of the squad's hits were singles, and they managed to get a runner as far as third base only once. De La Cruz added another hit, making him 3 for 5 across the doubleheader. The strong effort by Justin Haley was wasted, as the right-hander was working on a shutout into the seventh, when Akron rallied for a single decisive run. Overall, Haley allowed a run on six hits in 6 1/3 innings. He struck out three but struggled some with his control, walking five.

Despite dropping two games on the day, a loss by the New Britain Rock Cats (MIN) lowered Portland's magic number to qualify for the playoffs to five. 

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In the first game of the twinbill, the Red Sox and Nationals matched zeroes for six innings before Salem broke through with a pair of runs in the top of the seventh. Reed Gragnani led off the inning with a double, advanced to third on a Mario Martinez single, and scored the go-ahead run on a throwing error. Martinez then raced in with an important insurance run on a ground out. Gragnani was 2 for 3 in the opener. The Red Sox also got strong pitching from Simon Mercedes. The right-hander was coming off a string of three consecutive outings of allowing five runs, but he shut down the Nationals offense on Thursday. He scattered four hits across six shutout innings, striking out three and walking two. Potomac chipped away for a run off Matty Ott in the seventh, but he clamped down to close the door on the save.

Salem continued to get excellent pitching to prevail in the second game. Heri Quevedo made his first appearance of the season for Salem and was excellent, giving up only an unearned run on two hits in five innings. He struck out seven and walked only one. Quevedo had spent much of 2013 with Salem, but he began the 2014 campaign on the disabled list before spending two months in Lowell ramping up. Madison Younginer struck out two in two hitless innings for the save. Martinez again played a key role at the plate, going 2 for 4 with a double and a run scored. Gragnani was 0 for 2 in the nightcap, but worked a pair of walks, putting him on base a total of four times on the day. Kendrick Perkins launched a solo homer to lead off the fourth inning, his first in 10 games since a promotion from Greenville.

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The Drive could not get into gear on offense, wasting a sterling effort from Ty Buttrey. The 6-foot-6 right-hander gave up only two hits over six scoreless innings, striking out six and walking three. The Sand Gnats roughed up reliever Myles Smith for four runs in his two innings, handing him his ninth loss of the season. Greenville managed only four hits, and two of those were immediately erased on double plays. Tim Roberson had the only extra base hit of the contest, delivering a third-inning double. 

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The Spinners did not manage an extra-base hit and went 1 for 8 with runners in scoring position in their loss. Mauricio Dubon drove in the only run as part of a 2-for-4 night. Joseph Monge also had two hits for Lowell, while Jordan Procyshen reached base twice on walks. Starter Jeffry Fernandez struggled with his control, walking four and hitting a batter to allow three runs in 4 2/3 innings. Rob Smorol pitched the final 3 1/3, allowing two runs on three hits and striking out four.

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Rain continues to be hard on the GCL Red Sox, as their contest was suspended in the fourth inning. In the early going, Michael Chavis was 2 for 2, continuing his white-hot August. Victor Acosta, who got off to a tough start on the season, had a base hit to extend his hitting streak to seven games. Gabe Speier had allowed two runs on four hits in three innings when the game was called. It is scheduled to be completed on Friday before the regularly scheduled contest.

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With 13 runs, the DSL Sox matched the output in eight games of the six other affiliates in the organization. The squad assaulted Rojos pitching for 20 hits, four coming off the bat of Luis Yovera, who doubled and scored a pair of runs. Juan Hernandez was 3 for 6, following a 4-for-4 performance on Wednesday. He is now hitting .800 on his three-game hitting streak. Roldani Baldwin was 2 for 5 with a triple, walk, and three runs driven in. Luis Alejandro Basabe was all over the bases 2 for 3 with a double, triple, walk, RBI and three runs scored. Carlos Tovar also was 2 for 3, adding a walk and pair of runs. Starting pitcher Shair Lucas had a strong outing in the win, allowing just one unearned run on four hits in five innings. He struck out two and did not issue a walk. 

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Player of the Day: After a tough stretch in the late spring and early summer, Matt Barnes appears to be back on track. He needed only 102 pitches to go through a season-high eight innings on Thursday. In three August starts the former UConn Huskie has a 1.29 ERA and opponents have batted just .153 against him

 
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