July 26, 2015 at 7:00 AM
7/26 Cup of Coffee: Last night was an abysmal one offensively for the majority of the minor league affiliates, with all seven teams combining for 10 runs and only Portland and the DSL Red Sox2 pulling out wins. Portland scraped out a one-run victory thanks to solid showings from starter William Cuevas and first baseman Sam Travis (pictured), while the PawSox and Drive extended their respective losing streaks.
Pawtucket extended its losing streak to seven with a shutout road loss to divisional rival Buffalo. The PawSox posted four hits and finished 0 for 5 with runners in scoring position. First baseman Allen Craig went 2 for 4, while designated hitter Rusney Castillo and left fielder Garin Cecchini posted a single apiece. Also reaching base was catcher Humberto Quintero who went 1 for 3 and second baseman Jemile Weeks who was 1 for 2.
Starter Jess Todd fell to 3-5 after allowing four runs on eight hits through five innings of work before making way for right-hander Dayan Diaz. Diaz steadied things in the sixth and seventh innings, holding the Bisons scoreless while allowing two hits against three punchouts. Buffalo then touched up right-hander Pat Light for two more runs in the top of the eighth. Light, who gave up five hits against three strikeouts, now has 11 earned runs in his last 11 innings pitched.
The Sea Dogs hung on for their third straight win thanks in large part to right-hander William Cuevas' effort on the bump. The 24-year-old Venezuelan finished with four strikeouts and is now 8-5 with a 3.36 ERA through 17 starts this season, his best statistical performance since his 2012 campaign in Lowell. Left-hander Williams Jerez earned his first win of the year after throwing two relief innings, giving up one run on three hits and walking two. Right-hander Madison Younginer entered in the top of the eighth and locked things down, striking out two batters and holding the Fisher Cats without a hit or a run to earn the save.
The top of Portland's order did nearly all of the heavy lifting, with leadoff man and center fielder Manuel Margot finishing 2 for 4 with a double and a run scored. First baseman Sam Travis went 2 for 4 and contributed the Sea Dogs' lone RBI. The multi-hit effort was Travis' sixth in his last 10 games, and he's batting .375 with seven RBI in that span. Sandwiched between the two was second baseman Carlos Asuaje, who went 1 for 3 with a double.
Designated hitter Mario Martinez and shortstop Mauricio Dubon helped Salem jump out to an early 2-0 lead before Potomac clawed its way back with three runs across the final three frames. Martinez finished 2 for 4 with an RBI, while Dubon went 1 for 3 with an RBI and a walk. Promoted to Salem on June 25, Dubon has struggled to get his offensive bearings, batting just .209 through his first 25 High-A games. That might be starting to change, however, as the 2013 26th-round pick now has a hit in eight of his last 10 games. Second baseman Wendell Rijo provided the only other hit of the night, going 1 for 4 with a run scored.
Right-hander Aaron Wilkerson turned in a quality start, tossing 6 2/3 innings and allowing two runs on seven hits while striking out five. The performance is another solid addition to Wilkerson's High A resume, as the 6-foot-3 right-hander boasts a 2.77 ERA and a 0.97 WHIP through 15 appearances for Salem this season. Right-hander German Taveras drew the loss after allowing the go-ahead run in the top of the ninth, giving up two hits and a walk while striking out two.
Greenville's lethargic offense failed to produce a run until the top of the fifth, and finished the night with six hits, all of them singles. The Drive were also hurt by a pair of key ejections, as manager Darren Fenster and third baseman Rafael Devers were both tossed in the third inning after the umpires incorrectly ruled that the left fielder had caught a ball that would have gone for a double. Left fielder Bryan Hudson paced the lineup with two hits, going 2 for 4 with a run scored. Second baseman Yoan Moncada went 1 for 3 with walk and added his 19th stolen base of the season, while Michael Chavis, who replaced Devers at third base, and center fielder Danny Mars each added an RBI.
Starter Dedgar Jimenez dropped to 5-7 after turning in a six-inning performance, allowing six runs (four earned) on eight hits and punching out two. Reliever Ryan Harris threw the final two frames, allowing one run on four hits while striking out one. The loss was Greenville's seventh in a row and the eighth in its last 10 games. After finishing the first half just one game back of first place in the South Atlantic League Southern division, the Drive are now 12-17 and sit one game out of last place.
The Spinners were stymied after scoring a run in both the second and third innings, with Auburn holding Lowell scoreless for the final six frames. Shortstop Jeremy Rivera and catcher Isaias Lucena led the way with an extra-base hit apiece. Rivera finished 2 for 4 with an RBI triple, while Lucena – who was promoted from the Dominican Summer League on July 12 – went 2 for 3 with an RBI and a walk. Right fielder Luis Alexander Basabe chipped in a double from the leadoff spot, going 1 for 3 with a walk.
Starter Jose Almonte's outing lasted only two innings, as the 19-year-old right-hander allowed three runs, all of them earned, on one hit and four walks. Right-hander Matt Kent came on in relief in the top of the third, allowing two runs across four frames and striking out one. Right-hander Edwar Garcia and left-hander Bobby Poyner wrapped things up across the final three innings, with Poyner holding the Doubledays scoreless in the eighth and ninth frames to round out the loss.
GCL Red Sox vs. GCL Twins (Doubleheader, postponed)
The GCL Red Sox' doubleheader against the GCL Twins was postponed due to rain. The matchup became a doubleheader after Friday's game between the two teams was also postponed and moved to yesterday. The Red Sox now have doubleheaders scheduled against the Twins on July 31 and August 7.
The Red Sox dropped to 16-32 in a night to forget both offensively and defensively, finishing the blowout loss 4 for 28 at the dish. Shortstop Luis Benoit reached base three times, chipping in with a single and two walks. Designated hitter Keibert Petit went 1 for 3 and scored the team's only run on a fielder's choice in the bottom of the eighth.
Starter Junior Espinoza drew the loss to drop to 0-3, giving up five runs on three hits and two walks against one punchout. The floodgates opened on relievers Edilson Batista and William Caraballo, with Batista giving up five runs in one inning of work. Caraballo fared even worse, tossing 1 1/3 frames and allowing six runs on four hits.
The Red Sox edged out the Marlins thanks to a solid performance on the mound from left-hander Ryan Oduber, who tossed six innings and allowed one run on five hits while striking out three. Center fielder Lorenzo Cedrola finished 2 for 4 at the plate, also adding a walk and a run scored. Third baseman Stanley Espinal and left fielder Rafael Toribio each chipped in an RBI in the victory.
Player of the Night: He had some competition from teammate Manuel Margot, but Portland first baseman Sam Travis gets the nod for knocking in a run on a night where runs were in short supply. Travis, who finished 2 for 4 with an RBI, has turned things around after a slow offensive start with the Sea Dogs. Promoted from Salem one month ago yesterday, the Indiana University product has grown into one of Portland's offensive leaders, posting a .302/.361/.406 slash line along with six doubles, a triple and a home run in 28 Double-A games.
Photo Credit: Sam Travis by Kelly O'Connor