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April 24, 2019 at 7:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Castillo and Chatham continue their hot starts

4/24 Cup of Coffee: With Darwinzon Hernandez and Travis Lakins making their major league debuts and Michael Chavis hitting a moonshot home run, the most interesting prospect performances all came at the big league level. There were still some good performances down on the farm, with Rusney Castillo (pictured, right)C.J. Chatham, and Ryan Fitzgerald all keeping their strong starts going. 


Nick Pivetta, who was recently demoted from the Phillies, got the best of the PawSox in his first start back in the minors. The only player who was able to get to Pivetta was Rusney Castillo, who drove in all four of Pawtucket's runs. Castillo hit an RBI single in the first inning and launched a three-run shot in the fifth inning, his third of the year. Josh Ockimey was on base three times as he went 1 for 2 with a double and two walks, and Mike Miller scored twice and stole a base. 

Despite recording a season-high nine strikeouts, Chandler Shepherd dropped to 0-3 as he allowed five runs on six hits over five innings. He allowed two more home runs, and he has now given up four in 16 innings. Domingo Tapia also allowed a home run, though that solo shot was the only blemish in his two innings of work. 


The Portland rotation got turned upside down when Darwinzon Hernandez, who was scheduled to start for the Sea Dogs on Tuesday, was called up to Boston. Matthew Kent filled in admirably, allowing two runs, one earned, over six innings, walking three and striking out one. Durbin Feltman added a scoreless inning, striking out one without allowing a baserunner. 

Only three players recorded hits for Portland, led by C.J. Chatham going 3 for 4 with a stolen base. Chatham is now batting .377 on the season with an OPS of .990. Brett Netzer and Aneury Tavarez each added two singles, and Marcus Wilson, who was recently acquired for Blake Swihart, went 0 for 4 though he did steal a base. 


Salem came out on top in a pitcher's duel on Tuesday night, with Jhonathan Diaz's six shutout innings leading the way. Diaz scattered three hits and three walks over his six innings while striking out six. A pair of hard-throwing relievers followed, with Joan Martinez striking out three in his two innings, and Jake Cosart earned his second save as he struck out two in a scoreless ninth. 

Ryan Fitzgerald overtook Jarren Duran for the team lead in batting average as Fitzgerald (.367) went 1 for 3 with a walk and stolen base, while Duran (.359) went 0 for 4 with two strikeouts. Tuesday night was also the first time in professional baseball history that a team had an all-female broadcasting booth. Salem had Melanie Newman as the play-by-play analyst and Suzie Cool as the color analyst. 


The game was suspended in the bottom of the third innings with Greenville on top 4-3. Triston Casas was off to a hot start, going 2 for 2 with two doubles, and Marino Campana added a two-run home run. 


Player of the Night: A home run and four RBI from Rusney Castillo led the PawSox offensively as he continued to show better power than last year. Castillo won the International League batting title in 2018 by hitting .319, but he only hit five home runs. This year he already has three home runs, and he is well on his way to topping the 15 he hit in 2017. Castillo is under contract through the end of next season as he looks to prove he deserves another shot at the big leagues

Photo Credit: by Kelly O'Connor