SoxProspects News

June 27, 2018 at 7:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Lakins continues to shine while affiliates have dreary day


6/27 Cup of Bitter Coffee: It wasn't so much that everything that could go wrong did, but more that nothing went particularly right. Boston's affiliates won none of their nine games, despite being competitive in nearly all of them: four of the losses were by one run, another three by two scores. Some individual performance merited mentioning, such as Fernando Rodriguez stepping in admirable as the Pawtucket starter when Justin Haley was recalled to the major league club, and Travis Lakins (pictured) continuing to give no quarter since his conversion to the Portland bullpen. 

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Projected starter Justin Haley was called up to Boston hours before game time, leaving manager Kevin Boles to piece together a bullpen game. Fernando Rodriguez got the starting nod, going the first three innings an allowing a run on five hits. Williams Jerez allowed a two-run homer to top Blue Jays prospect Anthony Alford that proved to be the difference in the game. Robby Scott and Kyle Martin combined for three innings of scoreless relief. Deiner Lopez supplied the PawSox scoring with a solo homer in the fifth inning. 

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It was a tough evening in Manchester as the Fisher Cats jumped out to a 6-0 lead in the second and didn't look back. Kyle Hart was hit hard, surrendering three homers on his way to allowing nine runs (six earned) in 4 1/3 innings. The bright spot on the mound was Travis Lakins, who continues to be unhittable in a bullpen role. His perfect eighth inning included a strikeout as he registered his sixth consecutive appearance without allowing a hit. At the plate, Josh Ockimey drew another three walks, giving him seven over the past three contests. Luke Tendler doubled and drove in a run as part of a 2-for-4 night.

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Salem has been rotating three regular middle infielders, and all three continue to be the most productive members of the squad. CJ Chatham got the turn at shortstop and was 3 for 5 with a double, RBI, and stolen base. Second baseman Brett Netzer picked up a pair of hits and is 11 for 34 on his eight game hitting streak. Santiago Espinal, a shortstop by trade who got the start as the designated hitter, wasted no time extending his hit streak to 14 with a single to lead off the bottom of the first. He added a walk and stolen base. Starter Jake Thompson allowed five runs (four earned) on seven hits in five innings. 

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Hildemaro Requena had a decent start come undone by a pair of homers. A solo blast in the fifth followed by a two-run shot in the sixth constituted the three runs the right-hander allowed in a six-inning stint that included three strikeouts and no walks. Lorenzo Cedrola and Everlouis Lozada had two hits apiece, while Ryan Fitzgerald delivered a two-run homer. 

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The Cyclones stormed back with a pair of runs in the bottom of the ninth to hand the Spinners a come-from-behind defeat. Things got off to an auspicious start when Xavier LeGrant blasted his first professional home run, a two-run shot in the first inning. Tyler Dearden and Andre Colon added two hits apiece, with both scoring a run. Brian Brown got his second start, allowing two runs (one earned) in four innings, striking out three and walking two. Tanner Raiburn and Rio Gomez combined for four scoreless frames before Brooklyn reached Victor Diaz for two in the ninth. 

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First, the good news: nobody got hurt, which made it a huge improvement over Monday. The offense totaled only three hits, with a double off the bat of Brandon Howlett the only knock that went for extra bases. Starter Edilson Batista took the loss, giving up four runs in 2 2/3. Boston's 18th-round pick Eddie Jimenez made his professional debut, allowing one hit in a scoreless inning. 

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The Red Sox1 squad got swept in their doubleheader as the collected had just six hits apiece in the two games. After loading the bases in the first inning, they had only one batter reach as far as second base over the next six. Jesus Rosillo was the tough-luck loser in the opener, allowing two runs (one earned) on three hits in five innings. He struck out three and walked one. Left-hander Alvaro Leal, recently signed out of Venezuela, pitched a scoreless seventh in his pro debut.


Like the first game, the Sox compiled only three hits. Unlike the opener, the nightcap saw them work 10 walks against Athletics pitching, on their way to four runs. Carlos Sanchez reached base three times, going 1 for 2 with a pair of free passes. Fabian Andrade was the only player to collect a hit in both games. Jeison Pena got the start, going five innings and giving up two runs (one earned) on two hits, striking out and walking two apiece.

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This game remained knotted at zero all the way until the bottom of the ninth, when two singles sandwiched a wild pitch and passed ball that plated the winner. Four pitchers combined on an effort that did not allow a single earned run. Jose Ramirez went the first 2 1/3, while Robinson Parra bounced back from a tough pro debut last Friday to strike out three in two innings. A double by Angel Maita was the only extra base hit on the day.

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Player of the Day: Short relievers don't usually get their due in this space, but Travis Lakins and his recent dominance demands attention. On May 31, Lakins was moved from a multi-inning role to a traditional one-inning usage pattern. Tuesday marked his ninth appearance since then, each one going exactly one inning. He has allowed just one hit in that time, while striking out 13 and walking five, holding opposing batters to an average of .034. 

Photo Credit: Travis Lakins by Kelly O'Connor

 
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