SoxProspects News

July 14, 2017 at 7:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Johnson dominates as PawSox kick off second half


7/14 Cup of Coffee: Starting pitching was the story on Thursday, as the four starters between Pawtucket, Portland, Salem and Greenville combined to allow one unearned run in 26 innings of work. Brian Johnson (pictured) and Kevin McAvoy got the call to start the second half for their respective affiliates, while Roniel Raudes and Kyle Hart dominated in A ball.

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It was a vintage Brian Johnson start, as the left-hander needed only 90 pitches to get through seven shutout innings. Johnson allowed only three hits, and struck out and walked two apiece as he lowered his Triple-A ERA to 2.86. Austin Maddox and Brandon Workman followed, both striking out one in a hitless inning of work. Dan Butler haunted his old squad, going 3 for 4 with three runs scored, while Brian Bogusevic and Aneury Tavarez each had two hits.

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Kevin McAvoy had the ignominious distinction of being the only starter from Boston's four top affiliates to allow a run. The Bryant University product surrendered one unearned across seven innings, striking out three and walking only one. McAvoy has given up just two earned runs in 26 2/3 innings over his last four starts. Cole Sturgeon and Danny Mars both homered to lead the offense. Top prospect Rafael Devers had the night off.

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Down in Salem it was Roniel Raudes spinning the gem. The 19-year-old went five shutout innings, scattering four hits, striking out three and issuing a pair of walks. It was the third straight start that Raudes allowed two or fewer runs. A trio of relievers teamed up to complete the shutout, with Logan Boyd working 2 2/3 frames. Josh Ockimey blasted his ninth home run of the season and walked twice to pace the offense, and Jordan Betts also went deep for the Sox.

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Of all the sterling pitching performances on Thursday evening, Greenville's Kyle Hart (pictured, right) turned in the strongest. The lefty allowed just three hits in seven shutout innings, striking out five and walking two. The outing drops Hart's ERA to 2.05. Despite the effort, Hart did not get credit for the win. After Kannapolis evened the game with an eighth-inning score, Greenville rallied in the bottom of the ninth for the walk-off win when Tyler Hill tripled and then came in to score on a Roldani Baldwin double. It was the 24th two-base hit of the season for Baldwin. Hill scored both of the Drive runs, as he also blasted a solo home run to lead off the fifth. Bobby Dalbec made his return to the Greenville, going 0 for 3 on the night. 

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Lowell Spinners at Batavia Muckdogs (MIA), cancelled
Rain interfered with Lowell's western New York matinee. The game will not be rescheduled, as the Spinners do not travel to Batavia again this season. 

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The GCL squad was the only affiliate to fall on Thursday, despite a nine-hit effort. Rehabbing shortstop CJ Chatham had a pair of hits in three at-bats before departing the game in the sixth. Kervin Suarez extended his season-opening hitting streak to 12 games, while Ramfis Berroa doubled as part of a 3-for-4 afternoon. Juan Perez took the loss, surrendering two runs in four innings, striking out five and walking one.

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It was the fifth consecutive win for the DSL Sox, who opened a two-game lead over the second-place Dodgers1. The spark plug for the 16-hit attack was leadoff hitter Willis Figueroa, who was 4 for 4 with a walk, a stolen base, and a run scored. Rafael Rincones doubled twice and scored three runs as part of his 3-for-5 day, and Keibert Petit doubled, homered, and walked twice. Starter Rafael Gomez allowed three runs in four innings. Luis Colmenares was excellent in relief, getting the win with four shutout frames, striking out four against one walk.

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Player of the Day: On a day of superb starting pitching, the seven innings of three-hit shutout ball from Kyle Hart get the nod. It has been an impressive campaign for the left-hander. His 2.05 ERA ranks third in the system among pitchers with over 60 innings, and he has struck out 54 batters while walking only 15 on the season. Perhaps the most notable part of Hart's success has been his ability to keep the ball in the park, as he is yet to surrender a home run on the season.

Photo Credit: Brian Johnson, Kyle Hart by Kelly O'Conner

 
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