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SoxProspects News

April 19, 2016 at 7:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Owens and Espinoza rack up the strikeouts

4/19 Cup of Coffee: The system's top prospects did not disappoint last night, as Henry Owens and Anderson Espinoza each had solid starts, while Yoan Moncada and Michael Chavis (pictured) had big nights at the plate. Blake Swihart and Rusney Castillo each played big roles in Pawtucket's victory, while the Greevnville offense erupted for 13 runs. 


The Pawtucket pitching staff put together a dominant performance, leading the team to an extra-innings victory. Henry Owens got the start, and his ERA rose to an even 1.00 on the season after allowing one run over six innings. He walked three, struck out nine, and allowed five hits, one of which was a solo home run. He now has 23 strikeouts this season to lead the Red Sox farm system. Edwin Escobar added a scoreless inning of relief, and Kyle Martin fired three perfect innings, striking out three. 

The PawSox won despite going 1 for 9 with runners in scoring position. Justin Maxwell led the way going 3 for 4 with a walk, and Rusney Castillo went 2 for 3 with two walks and a stolen base. Sam Travis went 2 for 4 with a walk, and Blake Swihart drove in the go-ahead run in the tenth inning with an RBI single. 


A three-run ninth inning propelled the Thunder to a come-from-behind victory. Justin Haley received a no-decision after allowing three runs over five innings, striking out three without walking a batter. Mike McCarthy followed with 2 2/3 innings of one-run ball, and the Sea Dogs entered the top of the ninth with a one-run lead. Rob Wort could not close it out, as he surrendered three runs on three walks and two hits in the ninth. 

The Sea Dogs had a chance to tie it in the ninth as they had two runners in scoring position with one out, but Tzu-Wei Lin struck out and Wendell Rijo lined out to end the game. Jordan Betts had the biggest hit for Portland, lacing a three-run double to give the Sea Dogs a 5-3 lead in the sixth. Cole Sturgeon went 2 for 4 with a double, and Rainel Rosario had two hits including an RBI single 


Salem Red Sox 6, Carolina Mudcats (ATL) 4
The top of Salem's order did a lot of damage as they beat the Mudcats for their fifth straight win. Matt Kent picked up his first win of the season, allowing four runs, three earned, over five innings. Taylor Grover and Austin Maddox were able to keep the Mudcats off the board over their four innings, combining to strike out three while allowing three hits.

Yoan Moncada did all he could to take over the game, going 2 for 3 with two walks and two steals. He has now swiped 12 bases on the year, and he pushed his average up to .359. He did commit his third error of the season, which led to one run scoring. Nick Longhi went 2 for 5 with a double and three RBI, and Andrew Benintendi went 1 for 4 with a walk and a stolen base. 


A seven-run fifth inning was more than enough to support Anderson Espinoza, as the 18-year-old earned his first professional victory. Espinoza went the first five innings, allowing one run on three hits, walking two and striking out seven. Josh Norris of Baseball America was at the game and reported that Espinoza was hitting 97 with a mid-70s curveball and a low 80s changeup. The Crawdads had to deal with more heat coming out of the bullpen, as Jake Cosart shut them down over the next two innings, striking out two. 

The offensive outburst was led by Michael Chavis and Kyri Washington, who each went 3 for 5 with a home run and four RBI. Luis Alexander Basabe also notched three hits, while Luis Alejandro Basabe went 2 for 5. Chad De La Guerra reached base in all four of his plate appearances, going 2 for 2 with two walks and three runs scored, and Jhon Nunez went 2 for 4 with a double and a walk. Chavis' home run was his second in as many games, while Washington's was his third in 10 games after hitting only one in 35 games last season. 


Player of the Night: Michael Chavis and Kyri Washington put up almost identical stat lines, but an extra run scored was enough to tilt the decision in Chavis' favor. The third baseman is now hitting .378 on the season, and maybe most importantly, he has drastically improved his strikeout rate. After striking out in over 33 percent of his at-bats last season, Chavis has cut that rate down to 20 percent this season. While the sample size is still small, everything seems to be trending in the right direction for the former first-round pick as he looks to put a disappointing 2015 season behind him.

Photo Credit: Michael Chavis by Kelly O'Connor