SoxProspects News

August 25, 2017 at 7:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Dalbec, Mata shine in Drive rout


8/25 Cup of Coffee: The minor league season is coming into the home stretch, and the three Boston affiliates with playoff aspirations were all victorious on Thursday. Greenville, the only team in the organization to clinch a playoff berth stomped on their cross-Carolina rival, led by monster evenings from Bobby Dalbec (pictured) and Santiago Espinal and the pitching of Bryan Mata. Salem got its second-straight walk-off win, this time on a home run off the bat of Jeremy Rivera. The DSL Red Sox maintained their thin 1/2-game lead in the DSL wild card race with their victory.

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The PawSox were held to only four hits by veteran left-hander Brett Anderson and a trio of relievers. Brian Bogusevich had a solo home run and Jantzen Witte had a pair of hits in the losing effort. It was a rare tough night for Jalen Beeks, who allowed six runs on six hits in five innings, with the big blow a three-run homer allowed in the third inning. Beeks did strike out seven against only two walks.

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The Sea Dogs mustered only three hits, but that gave Kevin McAvoy all the support he needed. The Bryant University product allowed just one unearned run on six hits in 7 1/3 innings to earn the win. Bobby Poyner got credit for the save, striking out four batters in 1 2/3 scoreless frames. The key hit for Portland was a two-run double in the fifth inning off the bat of Josh Tobias

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For the second consecutive night, Salem prevailed in a walk-off. On Thursday it was a solo home run off the bat of Jeremy Rivera that sent the Sox home victorious. The win was a team effort, with the offense pounding out 13 hits and every member of the lineup reaching base. Conrad Gregor was 2 for 3 with a walk, raising his line to .338/.477/.471 in 20 games since joining the squad as a free agent. Starter Kyle Hart allowed four runs in five innings, and Daniel McGrath pitched two scoreless frames in relief to get the win.

The Frederick Keys (BAL) also won on Thursday, so Salem maintains a one-game lead on the final playoff spot in the Carolina League with 10 games remaining.

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The Drive were firing on all cylinders, outhitting the Fireflies 15 to four. Bobby Dalbec had a monster night, going 4 for 5 with a double and a three-run homer. Santiago Espinal doubled twice as part of his second straight four-hit game. Espinal is now 12 for 19 during a five-game hitting streak. On the mound, 18-year-old Bryan Mata had a fantastic comeback from a pair of down outings. Mata allowed three hits in five shutout innings, striking out five and walking two. Robby Sexton struck out four in two perfect innings, and Joan Martinez has his fifth straight scoreless outing since his promotion to the Drive. 

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Lowell continues its tailspin, committing as many errors (five) as it garnered hits. Raiwinson Lameda doubled for the team's only extra-base hit as part of a two-hit night. Yoan Aybar also had a pair of hits in the losing effort. Only one of the four runs allowed by fourth-round pick Jake Thompson went as earned in his 1 1/3 innings of work. Dakota Smith turned in a strong outing out of the bullpen, giving up just one earned run and striking out four in 4 2/3.

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The loss by the GCL Sox pushes them to the brink of official elimination from playoff competition. The 23-29 record is no fault of Pedro Castellanos, who picked up his 13th double and is carrying an .869 OPS. Kervin Suarez, who cooled off in August after starting the season on a roll, delivered his second straight two-hit effort. Edilson Batista took the loss, giving up five runs on seven hits in 4 1/3.

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Four players had multi-hit games as the Sox continue their final push toward a playoff spot. Jonathan Diaz delivered the key hit, a two-run homer in the eighth inning, his first round-tripper as a professional. Keibert Petit doubled as part of a two-hit performance. As has been the case all season, the Sox benefited from outstanding pitching. Kelvin Sanchez got the start, giving up just one unearned run on two hits in four innings, striking out two without walking a batter. Alberto Franco secured the win with three strikeouts in two perfect innings out of the bullpen.

The DSL Dodgers1 and DSL Rangers 2 both won as well, so despite a sterling 45-23 record, the Red Sox remain a 1/2 game out of first place and only a 1/2 game ahead in the wild card chase. The Sox have three games remaining over the next two days.

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Player of the Day: After a smashing professional debut with Lowell, it has been an up-and-down 2017 for Bobby Dalbec. Normally 21 extra-base hits in 69 games during a player's full season debut would be considered a success, particularly if that player missed time with a power-sapping wrist injury. But expectations were sky high for Dalbec after he posted a .674 slugging percentage last season after the Sox nabbed him in the fourth round of the draft. His four-hit, eight-total-base night is a good sign that he's gotten himself back on track, and his .265/.390/.482 slash line in August is even more promising.

Photo Credit: Bobby Dalbec by Kelly O'Connor

 
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