SoxProspects News

August 24, 2018 at 7:30 AM

Cup of Coffee: Chatham, Nishioka deliver four-hit efforts


8/24 Cup of Coffee: There were several outstanding individual performances down on the farm on Thursday. CJ Chatham (pictured, left) had four hits in Salem's loss, giving him seven over the last two days. Tanner Nishioka also had a four-hit night, including two doubles and a home run. No starting pitcher allowed more than three runs on the day, and four did not surrender a single run. Matt Kent went seven shutout frames in Portland's win, Jeison Pena and Jhonathan Diaz went six scoreless apiece for the DSL Red Sox1 and Greenville, and Lowell's Chris Machamer turned in five innings without allowing a run.

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The PawSox plated only one run, despite a 10-hit evening. Unsurprisingly, Rusney Castillo had two of those hits, as the outfielder continues to pace the International League in batting average (.329) and base hits (148). Brandon Phillips continues to be a consistent force, going 1 for 3 with a walk. Phillips has reached safely in 25 straight games. Josh A. Smith turned in a quality start, allowing three runs on five hits in six innings. The three runs allowed by Smith were the most given up by the starter in the system on Thursday.

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Portland earned a split of its four-game set in Manchester, largely due to the efforts of Matt Kent. The lefty scattered seven hits across seven scoreless innings, striking out eight without walking a batter. Kent threw 62 of his 94 pitches for strikes and lowered his ERA to 3.15. Trevor Kelley went two innings to complete the shutout. Jeremy Rivera had three hits and scored two runs out of the leadoff spot, while Luke Tendler hit a two-run homer as part of a 2-for-5 effort. Michael Chavis picked up another hit, extending his hitting streak to 12 games.

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Salem was on the receiving end of the shutout despite the best efforts of shortstop CJ Chatham. The 2016 second-round pick one-upped Wednesday's 3-for-3 performance by going 4 for 4 with a pair of doubles. He was 8 for 11 in the Frederick series. It was another solid outing for Denyi Reyes, who allowed two runs on five hits in six innings. Both runs came on a sixth-inning home run. Mark Montgomery made his Salem debut after a pair of rehab outings in the Gulf Coast League. The former Yankee farmhand was a top relief prospect whose career has gone off course due to injuries, most recently an elbow strain that had him on the shelf since May. He was signed in July as a minor league free agent. 

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It was an all-around strong performance by the Drive, pairing strong pitching with an offense that ripped 11 hits, including six for extra bases. Tanner Nishioka (pictured, right) had a monster evening, going 4 for 4 with two doubles and a two-run homer. Jarren Duran chipped in with a double and a homer, his first round-tripper since he was promoted to Greenville at the beginning of the month. The seventh-round pick has 84 hits in 56 games as a professional. On the mound, Jhonathan Diaz earned his 10th win of the season, giving up only three hits in six shutout frames, striking out five and walking only one. Juan Florentino and Devon Fisher combined for three hitless innings to secure the shutout. 

The victory moves Greenville to within two games of Lexington in the South Atlantic League Southern Division second-half standings, with 11 games remaining.

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In the completion of a game started on August 7 the Spinners were unable to cut down on a 4-1 deficit. Jose Gonzalez had surrendered four runs in 3 2/3 before rain halted the contest three weeks ago. When play resumed, Logan Browning took the mound, cruising through three scoreless innings before surrendering a pair of runs in the eighth. Grant Williams reached base four times, going 2 for 3 with a double, two walks, and a run scored. 

The regularly-scheduled contest didn't go any better for Lowell, who managed only three hits in a shutout loss. The lack of offense wasted a strong outing by Chris Machamer, who gave up four hits in five scoreless innings of work. It was the first time as a pro that the former Kentucky Wildcat had completed five innings as a pro, as he lowered his ERA to 2.70 in eight appearances. A Lane Milligan double was the only extra-base knock for the Spinners in the nightcap, while Devlin Granberg picked up another hit, his team-leading 59th. 

The sweep did no favors to the Spinners playoff hopes. They fell four games behind Tri-City in the Stedler Division, as the ValleyCats knocked off Brooklyn. While they sit only 1 1/2 games out of the wild-card spot, they face a significant hurdle there as well as three teams are ahead of them. 

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While the GCL Red Sox were not in action on Thursday, their place in the playoff standings was firmly established. The win by the GCL Tigers West ensures that the Sox will finish with the third seed. The Tigers West trail the GCL Cardinals by 1 1/2 games for the top overall seed.

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Only one of the two DSL squads was in action on Thursday, as the Sox1 team knocked off the Marlins. Jeison Pena joined the parade of starters turning in excellent outings, giving up just three hits in six scoreless innings. He struck out two, walked one, and cut his ERA to 2.64 in what is almost certain to be his final outing of 2018. At the plate, Jose Navas picked up two hits, and Wilker Vargas added a double.

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Player of the Day: While another huge night by CJ Chatham and a bevy of scoreless outings on the mound all warrant mention, Tanner Nishioka earns today's recognition. The third baseman delivered four hits and 10 total bases to power Greenville. Nishioka has a .323/.401/.500 in 73 contests with the Drive, and he sits second on the club in both home runs and RBI despite having only the eighth-most plate appearances. It was the second four-hit game of the season for the 2017 ninth-round pick.

Photo Credit: CJ Chatham, Tanner Nishioka by Kelly O'Connor

 
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