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April 14, 2018 at 7:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Pomeranz pitches in Portland, Hernandez dazzles for Salem

4/14 Cup of Coffee: Drew Pomeranz took a significant step forward in his rehab stint, while Dedgar Jimenez and Darwinzon Hernandez each had solid starts. Jeremy Barfield (pictured, left) and Rusney Castillo led Pawtucket's offense on a big night, and Trey Ball continues to impress in his new role out of the bullpen.


A 15-hit offensive attack and a strong Triple-A debut from Dedgar Jimenez highlighted Pawtucket's blowout victory over Toledo. Jimenez, who was likely just making a spot start for the PawSox, allowed two runs and struck out four over six innings on a night when he was originally scheduled to be the piggyback starter for Drew Pomeranz in Portland. 

Several players had strong performances at the plate, though none topped Jeremy Barfield who went 4 for 5 with two doubles and a solo home run, his second of the year. Rusney Castillo was right behind going 3 for 5 with two doubles while driving in two runs, and Sam Travis went 2 for 4 with a walk and an RBI. Castillo has been one of the top hitters for the PawSox in the early going, but he has not flashed much power, so the two doubles are a step in the right direction, but it is hard to complain when his average sits at .355. 


It was a much better second outing for Pomeranz, as he looks poised to return to Boston's rotation. The left-hander went the first 5 1/3 innings while allowing two runs on four hits with three walks and four strikeouts. He has walked nine batters over 9 2/3 innings in his two rehab starts, and his control will be something to keep an eye on when he rejoins the major league squad. Trey Ball pitched well in relief, striking out two and allowing two hits over 2 2/3 shutout innings. He has yet to allow a run in 6 2/3 innings in his new role out of the bullpen. Trevor Kelley followed with a scoreless ninth to pick up his first save.

Cole Sturgeon launched a two-run home run, and Jordan Betts and Josh Tobias each had two hits to lead the offense. Former third-round pick Austin Rei broke out of an 0-for-15 slump to begin the season as he went 1 for 2 with a walk, but he also added another strikeout and he now has 11 in 17 at-bats. 


Salem Red Sox 4, Buies Creek Astros (HOU) 2
Darwinzon Hernandez and Hildemaro Requena combined to hold the Astros to two runs as they kept their strong seasons going. Hernandez allowed one run and struck out six over 5 1/3 innings, and Requena allowed one run on four hits over 3 2/3 innings. JJ Cooper of Baseball America was at the game, and he tweeted that Hernandez was sitting 93-95 with his fastball.

Brett Netzer kept his six-game hitting streak alive but his 1-for-4 night dropped his average to .353. Bobby Dalbec had a rough night at the plate going 0 for 4 with three strikeouts and a walk, while Chris Madera went 2 for 4 and hit his first home run. 


Rome Braves (ATL) 10, Greenville Drive 6
A six-run sixth inning was too much for the Drive to overcome as they lost for the sixth time in seven games. Hunter Haworth was hit hard in his five innings, giving up nine earned runs on 10 hits. Angel Padron was able to keep Greenville in the game with three shutout innings of relief while striking out four. It was the second straight multi-hit game for Pedro Castellanos as he went 2 for 5 and scored two runs, and Juan Barriento went 2 for 4 and drove in two runs in his season debut. Second-round pick Cole Brannen's rough start to the year continued as he went 0 for 4 and his OPS dipped to .520. 


Player of the Night: The 2017 Eastern League Season-End All-Star and Portland Sea Dogs MVP got off to a slow start in his first five games with the PawSox this year, but Jeremy Barfield broke out in a big way on Friday night. He tied last year's season-high with four hits, and his three extra-base hits would have been the most in his impressive 2017 campaign. The 29-year-old has really turned his career around since going to the Atlantic League in 2016, and a good season will go a long way towards convincing a team that he deserves a shot in the majors. 

Photo Credit: Jeremy Barfield by Kelly O'Connor