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August 16, 2014 at 8:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Rodriguez dominates while Kukuk and Ball struggle

8/16 Cup of Coffee: It has been only three starts, but Eduardo Rodriguez has already turned heads in Portland, as he was dominant again for the Sea Dogs. Henry Owens was solid yet unspectacular for the PawSox, while Cody Kukuk and Trey Ball each took steps backwards last night. In the Dominican, the DSL Red Sox continued to roll behind the arm of Daniel Gonzalez


Despite striking out seven without walking a batter, Henry Owens picked up his first loss for the PawSox, as he allowed four runs in six innings of work. He gave up two home runs, and threw 60 of his 84 pitches for strikes. Dalier Hinojosa and Heath Hembree combined to shut down the RailRiders over the last three innings, with Hembree keeping his ERA at 0.00 for Pawtucket. 

There was not much power for the PawSox, as Travis Shaw collected the lone extra-base hit, as he went 2 for 4 with a double. Ryan Lavarnway went 2 for 4, and Carlos Rivero went 0 for 2 with a walk and a sacrifice fly. 


Another spectacular outing from Eduardo Rodriguez snapped the Sea Dogs four-game losing streak. Rodriguez went the first six innings, allowing one run on eight hits, striking out seven without walking a batter. Mike McCarthy and Noe Ramirez were also terrific in relief, keeping Richmond off the board over the final three innings. 

Keury De La Cruz went 2 for 3 with a solo home run and a walk, and scored two of Portland's five runs. The home run was his fifth in 56 games, and he bumped his average up to .294. Shannon Wilkerson and David Chester each went 1 for 3 with a walk, and Heiker Meneses added his eighth double of the year. 


The recent string of wildness continued for Cody Kukuk, as he walked six batters while allowing two runs over five innings. In his last three starts, Kukuk has allowed 16 walks in only 13 1/3 innings. Taylor Grover and Nate Reed each threw three shutout innings, with Reed picking up the win. 

It was the rare walk-off wild pitch that led Salem to the win, as Carlos Asuaje scored on the errant pitch in the bottom of the 11th to seal the victory. Asuaje was on base twice as part of a 2 for 5 night. Reed Gragnani clubbed his first home run in 299 at-bats for Salem, and Manuel Margot went 0 for 4 with two strikeouts in his Carolina League debut. 


It was a rough game all around in Savannah, as shoddy defense and poor pitching led to a blowout loss for the Drive. Trey Ball got the start, and he allowed nine runs, four earned, while lasting only two innings. Ball allowed a grand slam with two outs in the first inning, and he should have been out of the second inning after only four batters, but an error by Tzu-Wei Lin extended the frame, and the Sand Gnats took advantage by notching five unearned runs. Sergio Gomez did not fare any better, allowing seven runs in his 2 2/3 innings. 

Lin had a better night at the plate, going 2 for 4 with a double, walk, and two RBI. Cole Sturgeon went 2 for 4 with his second home run, and Sam Travis went 2 for 5 to raise his average to .308. 


The pitching shined last night, as Kevin McAvoy, Enfember Martinez, and Ellis Jimenez combined to shut out the Renegades while surrendering only seven baserunners. Each pitcher went three innings, with Martinez and Jimenez each striking out three. The two baserunners who reached against McAvoy were both caught stealing by catcher Alixon Suarez. 

Joseph Monge contributed all the offense Lowell would need, going 1 for 3 with a double and an RBI. Nick Moore went 2 for 3 prior to being ejected by the first base umpire, and Deiner Lopez went 1 for 3 with an RBI and a run scored.


GCL Twins at GCL Red Sox, postponed


DSL Red Sox 3, DSL Mariners (SEA) 1
Daniel Gonzalez improved to a remarkable 9-0 on the year, tossing six innings of shutout ball as the Red Sox improved to 46-18 on the season. The 18-year-old has now thrown 115 1/3 innings in the DSL over the last two years, and his ERA currently sits at 1.79 over that span. Jervis Torrealba picked up the save with three innings of one-run ball.

The Red Sox only had four hits on the day, but they were helped by eight walks. Roldani Baldwin showed the most patience, going 0 for 1 with three walks, and Carlos Tovar went 0 for 2 with two walks. 


Player of the Day: After pitching to a 4.79 ERA in 16 starts this year in the Orioles system, Eduardo Rodriguez has found his groove for Portland, striking out 23 in his first 17 1/3 innings, while allowing only two runs and walking only four. Several reports had Rodriguez consistently hitting the mid-90s with his fastball last night as he dominated Richmond. With Christian Vazquez set to graduate and Deven Marrero struggling, it would not be surprising to see Rodriguez creep up even higher in the top 10 prospects for the system.

Photo Credit: Henry Owens by Kelly O'Connor