SoxProspects News

July 27, 2018 at 7:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Mata exits early, sans hugs


7/27 Cup of Coffee: It was a tough night on the farm, as only the GCL Sox came away with a win, while the two DAL teams had the night off. The Jalen Beeks trade threw the starting pitching alignment out of whack, as Matt Kent moved up to Pawtucket and Daniel McGrath stepped in for Portland. In Salem, a short evening for Bryan Mata (pictured) led to speculation another deal was imminent, but it was a twinge rather than a trade that cut Mata's night short.

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On what would have normally been the turn of Jalen Beeks in the PawSox rotation, Matt Kent was promoted from Portland to take the place of the recently-traded left-hander. Kent pitched admirably, allowing four runs on seven hits in 5 1/3 innings. He pounded the strike zone, striking out six against only one walk, and throwing 62 of his 93 pitches for strikes. Trevor Kelley and Bobby Poyner turned in 3 2/3 innings of scoreless relief before the Clippers reached Robby Scott for a pair of unearned runs in the 10th.

Aneury Tavarez hit a dramatic game-tying solo homer in the bottom of the ninth. It was the first round-tripper for Tavarez since June 20, and his seventh on the year. Tzu-Wei Lin was 2 for 5 in his return from another stint in the major leagues. Lin has hit safely in his last 12 Triple-A contests, a stretch that also has included two trips up I-95 and back. Mike Miller had three hits, while Sam Travis was 1 for 4 as he continues his strong second-half run.

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The chain reaction from the Beeks trade continued to Double-A, as Daniel McGrath made the spot start in place of Kent. McGrath allowed three runs (two earned) on five hits in four innings, striking out six. Harrison Cooney had a tough introduction to the Eastern League, giving up four runs, a homer, and three walks in an inning in his Portland debut. At the plate, Jeremy Rivera was 3 for 3 with a double, and Michael Chavis added a double of his own. 

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The hug-watch alarm was set off when Salem starter and No. 2 prospect Bryan Mata came out of the game after one inning of work. But instead of indicated a blockbuster deal that was about to commence, it was more mundane back tightness that took Mata out. The Red Sox are likely to be particularly cautious with their 19-year-old righty, especially since he has now surpassed his batters faced total from the 2017 campaign. The bottom of the order did most of the work at the plate as eight-hole hitter Victor Acosta was 3 for 4 with a run scored. Acosta was sandwiched by Michael Osinski and Jordan Procyshen, both of whom doubled as part of two-hit evenings.

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The Drive fell short in their attempt to salvage a split of the four-game series. Starter Enmanuel De Jesus allowed five runs on eight hits in six innings, getting saddled with the loss. Durbin Feltman continues to dominate in relief, striking out two and inducing a ground out in his perfect inning of work. The third-round pick has 13 strikeouts in six innings since his promotion from Lowell, and 20 in his 10 professional innings overall. Ryan Fitzgerald led the offense, with a first inning solo home run setting the stage for a 3-for-4 effort.

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The Spinners managed only six hits off a pair of Hudson Valley hurlers, dropping the rubber match of their three-game set. Thad Ward had a strong start, giving up just an unearned run on two hits in four innings of work, striking out two and walking one. Hunter Haworth piggybacked, striking out a pair in three scoreless frames. Kole Cottam and Xavier LeGrant both doubled for Lowell, while Jarren Duran extended his hitting streak to nine with a 1-for-4 effort.

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A 14-hit attack powered the Sox to their fifth straight win. Lane Milligan, a 17th-round pick last month, led the way with a 4-for-5 day that included a double and three runs scored. Nick Northcut continues his hot streak, ripping his eighth double of July. Starter Jose Gonzalez entered Thursday with 11 strikeouts in 29 innings, but he punched out eight in four frames, along with two walks and two runs allowed. Undrafted free agent Robbie Baker earned his first professional win, allowing one hit in two scoreless innings. 

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Player of the Day: Lane Milligan is one of several members of the draft class of 2018 off to a strong start to his pro career. With his 4-for-5 effort on Satuday, his line is up to .338/.418/.426. A catcher as an amateur, Milligan has split time behind the plate and in the outfield. Thursday was his seventh start in center field, along with two each in right and left.

Photo Credit: Bryan Mata by Kelly O'Connor

 
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