SoxProspects News

July 30, 2016 at 7:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Portland mashes, Johnson headlines strong night of pitching


7/30 Cup of Coffee: Four scoreless starting pitching performances highlighted a strong night across the affiliates. Brian Johnson (pictured) was excellent in his second start with Pawtucket, while Matt Kent, Jhonathan Diaz, and Rayniel Moreno pitched their clubs to victory. Offensively, Portland was the toast of the organization with an 18-hit, 11-run outburst led by Aneury Tavarez and Ryan Court.  

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Though Scranton/Wilkes-Barre boasts the highest scoring offense in the International League, they could not muster a single run against dominant Pawtucket pitching Friday. Brian Johnson took the ball for the PawSox and twirled six innings of four-hit ball, striking out five and walking none. Chandler Shepherd tossed the next two innings, allowing one hit and striking out two. Finally, Heath Hembree continued to be unhittable at Triple-A this year, picking up the save with a two-strikeout, 1-2-3 ninth. Pawtucket’s lone run came on a third-inning groundout by Rusney Castillo, which pushed home Chris Dominguez after his double started the inning. Henry Ramos led the team with a 2-for-3 night including a double.

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The Sea Dogs exploded for 18 hits and scored in five consecutive innings en route to blowing out Binghamton. Six different Sea Dogs turned in multi-hit performances, led by 4-for-5 nights from Aneury Tavarez and Ryan Court. Tavarez ripped a triple, a double, two singles, and stole two bases, while Court finished a triple shy of the cycle — blasting his second home run of the year — with four RBI and three runs scored. Jake Romanski notched his second home run of the year as well, a three-run shot, as part of a 2-for-4 night. Yoan Moncada, Nate Freiman, and Cole Sturgeon chipped in two hits apiece. With a big cushion, Mitch Atkins turned in a solid 5 1/3 innings, allowing two runs on four hits. Austin Maddox tossed a scoreless 1 1/3 innings in relief.
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Matt Kent tossed his second scoreless outing in his last three starts, limiting the Pelicans to just three hits over six innings. Kent left in a scoreless tie, but Salem broke through for three runs in the bottom of the seventh. Jayce Ray doubled, Deiner Lopez drove him home with a single, and Joseph Monge followed him with an RBI triple. Rafael Devers capped the inning with an RBI groundout. Ray and Jose Sermo each notched two hits in the win. The Salem bullpen finished closed out the victory, with Bobby Poyner going 1 2/3 innings of one-run ball and Jamie Callahan closing the save with 1 1/3 scoreless innings.

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Daniel Gonzalez struck out eight batters over 6 2/3 innings but was knocked around in the second and seventh innings, as Rome built a 5-1 lead. Greenville’s late comeback attempt fell short. The Drive bullpen was sharp with Austin Glorius and Victor Diaz each throwing scoreless outings. Luis Alexander Basabe and Michael Chavis had up-and-down nights, each going 2-for-5 but striking out three times. Tate Matheny reached base twice and scored a run. Josh Ockimey and Mitchell Gunsolus each walked twice.

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After falling behind 7-0, the Spinners clawed back with five runs in the eighth inning but could not complete the comeback. Starter Kevin Steen cruised through the first three innings before running into trouble, finishing after five innings and allowing six hits and four runs. Brad Stone struggled similarly, coughing up three runs in two innings. Kuehl McEachern threw two scoreless frames and struck out four batters to continue his dominance since joining Lowell from Greenville. Tyler Hill continued his scorching stretch, going 4-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored. Bobby Dalbec launched his first professional home run as part of a 2-for-4 night. Both Hill and Dalbec closed the night with .400 averages on the season.

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Jhonathan Diaz and Hunter Smith combined to shut out the GCL Twins, combining to allow just five hits and striking out 10 Twins. Diaz picked up his second win of the season, throwing the first six innings, and Smith struck out six batters in the final three innings to notch his second save. After breaking his season-opening slump with two hits last night, C.J. Chatham continued to put his struggles in the past with a double and a run scored in his 2-for-4 night. Juan Barriento pushed his average to .345 with two hits, including a solo home run in the seventh, his second of the year.

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With the rain coming down and the Red Sox trailing 4-1 in the seventh, Eddy Reynoso tied the game with one swing. Reynoso sent a three-run shot over the left field wall, his second of the year, just before rain suspended the game. The Red Sox managed just three hits in the game but capitalized on their opportunities. Luis Hernandez reached base twice and scored a run. Edilson Batista surrendered three runs (two earned) on four hits and three walks in his 4 1/3-inning start. Antonio Police struggled with command, walking four and allowing a run in one inning of relief. Junior Figueroa tossed a scoreless 1 2/3.  

On a day full of strong pitching, the DSL Red Sox2 may have turned in the best performance. Three Red Sox arms combined to allow just one hit and faced just two batters over the minimum in nine dominant innings. Rayniel Moreno started on the hill and worked around two throwing errors to throw five hitless, scoreless innings and pick up his fifth win of the season. Gary Calvo took the next two innings, allowing just one hit but surrendering the Rays’ only run on a groundout. Shair Lacrus picked up the save with two hitless innings to close the game. It was a different story for the Red Sox offense, which exploded for 14 hits. After reaching base seven times Thursday, Everlouis Lozada kept rolling Friday, reaching five more times with a double, three singles and a walk. Eduard Conde powered the offense with his first home run of the season. His two-run shot in the ninth capped a 3-for-5, three-RBI night for the catcher.

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Player of the Day: On a night full of stellar performances, Brian Johnson earns Player of the Night for holding down the best offense at the minor league’s top level. Johnson’s six scoreless innings might have been more had he not been working on an 80-pitch limit in just his second Triple-A start since May. Anxiety issues prevented Johnson from pitching since the middle of May, but since returning to the diamond this month, Johnson has shown why he is the organization’s seventh-ranked prospect. He has not allowed a run in three of his last four starts (two with Lowell) and showed improved command Friday.

Photo Credit: Brian Johnson by Kelly O'Connor




 
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