SoxProspects News

June 22, 2018 at 7:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Suarez, Nishioka blasts support Requena


6/22 Cup of Coffee: Salem and Greenville both opened the second halves of their 2018 campaigns. A 14-hit attack by the Drive, including a homer and double by Kervin Suarez (pictured),  helped out Hildemaro Requena, who was on track Thursday after an off-the-rails first half. Salem dropped its weather-shortened opener despite a solid performance from Tanner Houck, while Justin Haley returned to Triple-A to lead the PawSox. 

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Rusney Castillo continues to be the catalyst for the PawSox, going 2 for 3 with a walk and two runs scored. It was the third consecutive multi-hit game for Castillo, who leads both the organization and International League with 87 hits. Sam Travis drove in a pair and Aneury Tavarez had a two-hit evening in support of a returning Justin Haley. Haley, returning from a stint in the major league bullpen, picked up where he left off when he was recalled. He allowed a run on four hits in five innings, lowering his Triple-A ERA to 3.06. Tyler Thornburg bounced back from a disastrous outing with a scoreless inning. Ty Buttrey continues to make his case with another scoreless appearance, his 11th straight without giving up an earned run. 

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Portland will not be sad to see Reading leave town, after the Phils completed the four game sweep at Hadlock during which they outscored the Sea Dogs 34-10. Reading jumped on starter Kyle Hart early, plating five runs in the first. Hart settled down and was able to get through six innings, but the hole was too deep for a Portland offense that mustered just three hits. Nick Lovullo provided the run scoring with a solo homer, while Jordan Betts reached base four times, going 1 for 1 with three walks. 

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Salem fell short as it opened the second-half with a rain-shortened contest. Tanner Houck, in the process of re-incorporating his two-seam fastball, was solid, giving up two runs (one earned) on five hits in five innings. He struck out four, walked three, and generated eight ground ball outs. Santiago Espinal picked up where he left off, with two hits, a stolen base, and Salem's only run out of the leadoff spot. 

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A 14-hit attack backed up a strong start by Hildemaro Requena, as the Drive went to work at putting a forgettable first-half behind them. Requena went a season-high seven innings, giving up three runs on five hits, striking out four and walking two. He took advantage of an aggressive Asheville lineup, needing only 83 pitches to get through seven, inducing 13 outs on the ground. He got plenty of help from the offense, led by Kervin Suarez. The center fielder homered and doubled as part of a 2-for-4 night. 2017 ninth-round pick Tanner Nishioka blasted his first professional homer, a solo shot in the fourth inning. Ryan Fitzgerald added three hits, driving in a pair.

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The Lowell defense gave Brian Brown no favors in his pro debut. The ninth-round pick surrendered five runs, all unearned, in 2 2/3 innings, leaving the Spinners in a hole they would not dig out of. Lowell manager Bruce Crabbe used the opportunity to get some action for his bench, using 14 position players. Jarren Duran was the only one to reach base multiple times, with a single and a walk out of the leadoff spot. Duran has reached base nine times in his first 17 professional plate appearances.

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After scoring the go-ahead run in the top of the 10th inning without getting a hit, the Sox more than returned the favor in the bottom of the inning. With the automatic runner starting on second base, three wild pitches, two stolen bases and two hit batsmen were enough to score the tying and winning runs. Jesus Maita and Fabian Andrade had matching lines, with both picking up two hits, including a double, as well as a walk. Carlos Sanchez and Luis Mota drove in two runs apiece.

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Left-hander Jorge Rodriguez continues to be a bright spot in the DSL, firing five shutout innings for his first professional win. Rodriguez scattered four hits and struck out seven without walking a batter. It was his second straight outing going five innings without allowing either a run or a walk, and he now has a 1.20 ERA through four starts and a 13-to-2 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Angel Maita matched his twin brother Jesus of the Red Sox1 squad, doubling as part of a two-hit afternoon. Neify Abreu was a catalyst out of the leadoff spot, going 1 for 2 with two walks, a stolen base, and two runs scored.

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Player of the Day: It was a rough first half for Hildmaro Requena, as the SoxProspects.com All-Star selection a season ago posted a 7.80 ERA in 47 1/3 innings between Greenville and Salem. The Requena who took the mound on Thursday more closely resembled that 2017 vintage, as he was able to induce 13 ground balls and efficiently pounded the strike zone to start off the second half of the season with a win for the Drive.

Photo Credit: Kervin Suarez by Kelly O'Connor

 
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