SoxProspects News

July 16, 2016 at 7:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Chatham debuts, pitchers shine


7/16 Cup of Coffee: Quality pitching performances up and down the organization led to a handful of wins. Portland’s Keith Couch (pictured) and GCL’s Junior Espinoza started shutout efforts for their teams. Joe Kelly looked strong out of the bullpen for Pawtucket, and CJ Chatham made his professional debut with Lowell.

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Two PawSox pitchers stole the show Friday, as Keith Couch and Joe Kelly combined for a shutout of the Knights. Couch tossed a gem, striking out five batters across seven scoreless innings. After making the move to the bullpen with Lowell earlier this month, Kelly made his first relief appearance with Pawtucket. The results were encouraging for the hard-throwing righty. Kelly picked up the save with two scoreless innings, striking out three and allowing just one baserunner on a two-out single in the eighth. Offensively, the PawSox racked up only five hits (all singles) but a two-run fifth inning was all they needed. Christian Vazquez singled and scored on an error, and Rusney Castillo drove home the second run with a single. Vazquez and Castillo each finished 1 for 3, as did Brennan Boesch, Ryan LaMarre, and Marco Hernandez.

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Pitching shined at the Double-A level as well, with the Sea Dogs edging out a victory behind a strong start from Kevin McAvoy and a dominant bullpen. McAvoy surrendered just two earned runs through 6 1/3 innings but left with the tying run on second in the seventh. Jake Drehoff worked out of the inning and tossed a scoreless eighth, and Ben Taylor picked up the save with a 1-2-3 ninth. The offense did just enough to back the nice showings from the pitchers. Yoan Moncada, who went 0 for 2 with two walks, scored the game’s first run on Nate Freiman’s sacrifice fly in the first. Cole Sturgeon accounted for the rest of the Portland offense with a two-out, two-run single in the sixth. Aneury Tavarez had the best day of any Sea Dog, finishing 3 for 4 and upping his season average to .311.   

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The Salem bats were out in full force Friday, as the Sox ripped 15 hits (six for extra bases) in a blowout of Wilmington. Everyone in the Salem lineup had a hit and all but two scored a run in the balanced attack. Mike Meyers led the way with three hits, including a triple, to go with an RBI and three runs scored. Each of the last four members of the lineup (Danny Mars, Jordan Betts, Deiner Lopez and Bryan Hudson) had two hits in the game. Lopez also blasted a home run, his third of the year. Starter Travis Lakins received an early 4-0 lead and cruised through six innings of one-run ball. He struck out five and allowed his only run on a solo home run. The bullpen faltered, as Jorge Marban and Bobby Poyner each coughed up a pair of runs, but Salem held on for the win. 

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The Drive could not come up with enough offense to win a tightly contested game with the Suns. Trent Kemp had a big day but accounted for all of the Drive offense. He finished 2 for 3 with an RBI triple and even added an outfield assist to his impressive performance. Michael Chavis and Austin Rei each chipped in a single. Keeping with the theme of the night, Greenville received a quality outing from starter Logan Boyd. In six innings, he allowed two runs on seven hits. Jeffry Fernandez coughed up two more runs in three innings of work out of the pen.

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The Spinners banged out 11 hits and seven runs in a convincing win over Brooklyn. Outfielder Chris Madera was the headliner for Lowell, finishing 3 for 4 with a walk and his first home run of the season. Victor Acosta and Carlos Tovar each went 2 for 3 while Tucker Tubbs walked three times and scored two runs. Darwinzon Hernandez struggled a bit in his 3 2/3 innings, walking four and allowing three runs — though only one was earned. The bullpen was airtight behind Hernandez. Daniel Zandona earned the win with two innings of hitless relief. Algenis Martinez finished off the game to pick up the save, throwing 3 1/3 innings and allowing just one hit.

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The GCL Red Sox hung three runs on the board in the second inning and used dominant pitching to hold their lead. Junior Espinoza picked up his second win of the year with five scoreless innings, walking two and striking out five. Jared Oliver and Angel Padron slammed the door out of the bullpen. Oliver tossed allowed just two hits in two innings of relief, and Padron recorded five strikeouts in just the final two innings. All of the Red Sox offense came on one big swing in the second inning. Lorenzo Cedrola emptied the bases with a two-out double. Cedrola finished 2 for 5, and Raiwinson Lameda contributed two hits as well. CJ Chatham, the Red Sox second-round pick this year, made his professional debut as the designated hitter. He went 0 for 3 with a strikeout, groundout, and fly out.

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The Rays plated three runs in the top of the first inning and shut down the Red Sox offense all night. Third baseman Luis Hernandez ripped a triple, walked and scored the Red Sox only run. Eddy Reynoso also chipped in a single to push his average up to .310. The Rays roughed up Sox starter Juan Perez to the tune of six hits and four runs in four innings. The bullpen did not allow a run. Eduard Bazardo tossed two innings and struck out two batters, and Manuel Ramirez did not allow a hit in the ninth. 

The Red Sox took brief leads in the sixth and eighth innings, but the Mets scored two runs in the bottom of the eighth to jump in front for good. The Red Sox banged out 10 hits but most of their runs scored on Mets’ miscues, including a hit by pitch, a passed ball, a throwing error and a wild pitch. Juan Hernandez led the offense with three hits, and Pedro Castellanos picked up two. Yeison Coca reached base three times and drove home a run. Starter Gregory Santos did not allow an earned run in four innings, but relievers Shair Lacrus and Warlyn Guzman each surrendered two runs. 

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Player of the Night: On a night when good pitching was the theme, Keith Couch tossed the crown gem. He started his third stint with Pawtucket in 2016 with seven shutout innings. In his last three starts combined, Couch has allowed just one run in 25 innings. He has pitched to a solid 3.57 ERA with Portland this season but has been streaky, putting together two four-game stretches during which he allowed a total of two runs.


Photo Credit: Keith Couch by Kelly O'Connor

 
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