SoxProspects News

June 30, 2017 at 7:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Groome spins five no-hit innings; Brannen debuts


6/30 Cup of Coffee: Thursday had a full schedule on tap, and included plenty going on throughout the organization. Pablo Sandoval and Eduardo Rodriguez made rehab appearances at Pawtucket and Portland, respectively. Jay Groome (pictured), officially on rehab with Lowell, fired five innings of no-hit baseball. Among the many 2017 draftees making professional debuts was second-round pick Cole Brannen, who started in center field with the GCL Sox. Salem and Greenville both prevailed in long extra-inning contests, with Salem winning in the 14th and the Drive in the 12th. 

-----

The PawSox got their revenge on former top overall pick Mark Appel (PHI), who dominated them in a start 10 days ago. Pawtucket's offense cranked out 14 hits, including three off the bat of much-maligned rehabbing third baseman Pablo Sandoval. Brian Bogusevic scored three times as part of his 3-for-5 night, and a double by Bryce Brentz was his 16th extra-base hit of the month. Marcus Walden continues to do vital work in the PawSox swingman role. Getting the start Thursday, he allowed two runs (one earned) in four innings, striking out six against one walk. Edgar Olmos struck out seven in three innings of relief.

-----

Left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez took the mound for Portland, making his first rehab start since going on the disabled list with a subluxation of his right knee. The outing got off to an inauspicious start, as he allowed a solo home run to the first batter he faced. In all, Rodriguez allowed six runs on nine hits in three innings as he reportedly focused exclusively on his fastball. Rafael Devers, who will represent the Red Sox in the All-Star Futures Game, hit two more doubles to give him 19 on the season. For the first time since joining the Sea Dogs last week, Chad De La Guerra was held hitless. The infielder got the start at shortstop and went 0 for 5, bringing his average down to an even .400.

-----

Salem prevailed in this epic, nearly five-hour marathon that saw them score three runs in the top of the 14th, but then surrender a pair when Lynchburg made a last-ditch rally in the bottom of the frame. Jeremy Rivera and Bryan Hudson were both on base four times. Rivera was 3 for 7 with a walk and two doubles, giving him 10 in only 25 games since coming back from a suspension. Hudson went 3 for 5 with a walk and two stolen bases. Matthew Kent turned in a solid start, allowing three runs on seven hits in six innings, before turning the ball over to some masterful work from the bullpen. Austin Glorius had two hitless innings, followed by three scoreless frames from Trevor Kelly. Daniel McGrath was unscored upon in his first two innings of work before giving up a pair once the offense had opened up a three-run lead.

-----

Every Drive starter got a hit in this 12-inning contest, and six different players recorded an extra-base hit. At the center of the Greenville offense was first baseman Tucker Tubbs, who had a dominant series against the Tourists. Tubbs was 5 for 6 with three doubles on the night, scoring one run and driving in two. He finished the four-game set 11 for 18. Tyler Hill doubled, tripled, and drove in a pair during his 3-for-6 evening. 

Like Salem, the Greenville bullpen did excellent work as the game meandered deep into extra innings. After starter Robby Sexton allowed four runs in four innings, Algenis Martinez and Matthew Gorst gave up one run a piece in four and three innings, respectively. Hunter Smith closed out the win with a scoreless 12th inning. 

-----

Making his third start after missing two months with a lat injury, Jay Groome turned in by far the best outing of his young professional career. The 2016 first-round pick did not surrender a hit over five innings of work, striking out six batters against two walks. If there was any bad news it was his efficiency, as he needed 85 pitches to get through only 17 batters, but that is nitpicking on a day where the 18-year-old flashed a glimpse of why he is so highly regarded. 

A pair of hurlers made their pro debuts in relief, as 21st-round-pick Lukas Young allowed two runs (one earned) in his inning of work and Dominic LoBrutto (18th round) tossed a scoreless ninth. Stanley Espinal and Juan Barriento homered for the Spinners.

-----

The Sox are off to a dominant start in the Gulf Coast League, winning their fourth straight to open the season. With seven shutout frames to start the night, the pitching staff had a run of 24 consecutive scoreless innings, and the GCL Sox hurlers have allowed only four runs all season. Ritzi Mendoza fired the initial four scoreless frames, followed by a pair from Kory Behenna in his pro debut. The Rays finally broke through against Angel Padron, but it was Padron who ended up earning the win with 10 strikeouts in four innings of work. 

Cole Brannen, taken in the second round by the Red Sox, was the first of the team's top seven picks to make his pro debut. The speedster got the start in center field and hit second. He was 0 for 2 and was removed from the game after being hit by a pitch. 

-----

The DSL Sox have also been getting strong pitching thus far on the season, with Thursday afternoon's contest lowering the staff ERA to 2.96. Starter Rayniel Moreno continues to be a standout. He allowed one run on two hits in 5 1/3 innings, causing his ERA to go up to 1.04. He struck out six against two walks. Manuel Ramirez and Luis Rivero, combined for 3 2/3 innings of shutout relief. 

-----

Player of the Day: Though Brannen's debut, Rodriguez's rehab, and Groome's unhittable performance were all notable, no player had a bigger Thursday than Tucker Tubbs. It was a career night for the former University of Memphis Tiger, who had five hits, including three doubles, as part of Greenville's 12-inning win. Asheville will be happy to see Tubbs leave town. He was 11 for 18 in the four game set, with five doubles and a home run: a .611/.632/1.056 slash line for the series.

Photo Credit: Jay Groome by Kelly O'Connor

 
Copyright © 2003-2017 SoxProspects, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
Email: info@soxprospects.com