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August 20, 2018 at 7:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Shawaryn stands out in piggyback relief role

8/20 Cup of Coffee: It was a tough night on the farm for the bats, as four of the five affiliates in action notched exactly four hits. The highlights in the system came on the mound, particularly a surprising and dominant outing from Mike Shawaryn (pictured) in his first relief appearance as a professional. Yorvin Pantoja was also outstanding, lifting up a Lowell lineup and getting the Spinners to within half a game of first place. 


It was a pitchers duel at McCoy with the two teams notching just four hits apiece as they struck out a combined 24 times. Justin Haley surrendered a solo home run in the fifth that accounted for all of the game's scoring. Haley went 5 2/3 innings, giving up four hits, walking one, and striking out eight. Haley was followed by an unexpected face in Mike Shawaryn. The right-hander entered with two outs and the bases loaded in the sixth inning after all 54 of his previous professional appearances had come as a starter. Shawaryn did not have any problem taking to the role, striking out the first batter he faced to squash the Durham rally on his way to firing 3 1/3 hitless innings. Shawaryn finished with five strikeouts, and he walked a pair.

The loss officially eliminated the PawSox from the division race. They are in sixth place in the race for the International League's lone wild card berth, seven games behind Columbus. 


Like their Triple-A counterparts, the Sea Dogs totaled only four hits on Sunday. Luke Tendler drove in both Portland runs with a fourth-inning double. Michael Chavis and Bobby Dalbec also had base hits. Starter Kyle Hart allowed five runs (three earned) in five innings, striking out four and walking three. 


A four-run sixth inning keyed Salem's comeback victory in the rubber game of the three-game set. Victor Acosta delivered the key hit, a two-run double, his 28th of the season. Tyler Hill also doubled, adding a walk and a run scored. Austin Glorius took the win in relief, firing two hitless innings, striking out a pair and walking one. It was the first scoreless outing for Glorius in four appearances since returning to Salem following a long recovery and rehab from a spring training ankle injury. 

Salem remains in fourth place, six games behind first-place Lynchburg with 13 games remaining. 


The bats fell silent for Greenville, picking up only four hits in the shutout, none for extra bases. Marino Campana and Ryan Fitzgerald were the only players to reach base more than once, both going 1 for 3 with a walk. Even the white-hot Jarren Duran could not reach the Hickory pitching, going 0 for 4 to end a seven-game hitting streak. Starter Eduard Bazardo allowed three runs on five hits in four innings. It was the first time in 12 starts across two levels that the righty had surrendered more than two runs in a start. His ERA remains a stellar 2.33 between Lowell and Greenville.

Greenville and Lexington have gone back and forth in the standings in the second half, and Lexington's win Sunday gave sole position in first place back to the Legends. The race seems likely to come down to the four-game season-closing series between the two squads at Fluor Field beginning on Aug. 31. 


Yorvin Pantoja turned in a strong start as Lowell pulled within half a game of Tri-City for first place in the Stedler Division. Pantoja allowed four hits in 6 2/3, with the only blemish coming on a solo home run to the last batter he faced. Logan Browning and Andrew Politi combined for 2 1/3 innings of scoreless relief, with Politi getting credit for the save. Unlike the other three affiliates who had four hits on Sunday, that output was enough for the Spinners to eke out the win. Xavier LeGrant had the only extra-base knock with an RBI double. Tyler Esplin reached base three times, going 1 for 2 with two walks and an RBI.


Player of the Day: It has been a long time since Mike Shawaryn has appeared out of the bullpen. The Red Sox made him their fifth-round pick in 2016 after a University of Maryland career that saw him used exclusively in the rotation, and he began his career with 54 consecutive starts. However, his high-effort three-quarters delivery and fastball-heavy approach always seemed to portend a move to the bullpen. While the system's seventh-ranked player appeared on Sunday in more of a scheduled piggyback outing (per Alex Speier of The Boston Globe) rather than the start of a conversion to relief, his ability to come on in the middle of an inning and strand three runners certainly did little to dissuade any feeling that he could excel in the role. 

Photo Credit: Mike Shawaryn by Kelly O'Connor