SoxProspects News

April 28, 2019 at 7:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Houck leads slate of strong pitching performances


4/28 Cup of Coffee: Four starters in the SoxProspects.com top 40 got the nod on Saturday, as strong pitching performances occurred up and down the Red Sox farm system. In a night filled with exceptional pitching, Tanner Houck (pictured) stuck out by leading Portland to victory with his six shutout innings. Elsewhere, Jarren Duran fueled a strong offensive night for Salem and Thaddeus Ward dominated with six shutout innings of his own.

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Pawtucket Red Sox @ Rochester Red Wings (MIN) PPD (inclement weather)
The PawSox had their contest with Rochester postponed due to unexpected frigid conditions and snow. The game has been rescheduled for May 24, as part of a doubleheader.

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The Sea Dog offense was completely shut down by a dominant Harol Gonzalez in the first game of Saturday's doubleheader. First baseman Jerry Downs collected two of Portland's three hits, and was the only Sea Dog to reach base more than once. Brett Netzer was the only other Portland batter to collect  a hit, while Bobby Dalbec reached base with a walk, extending a 17-game reached base streak to start 2019. On the mound, a strong start by Denyi Reyes was wasted, as the right-hander went five innings and only allowed one run while striking out five. Brian Ellington closed out the seven-inning game for Portland with a perfect sixth, striking out the side.

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Despite only getting one run across the plate, a third straight quality start by Tanner Houck was enough to earn Portland a split in its doubleheader with Binghamton. Houck hurled six stellar innings, striking out six and never surrendering an extra-base hit. Durbin Feltman came on in relief for Portland with a scoreless inning, striking out one and walking one to earn his first save of 2019. At the plate, a more productive Portland lineup was lead by CJ Chatham and Nick Lovullo, who each collected two singles. Lovullo drove in Portland's only run, while Marcus Wilson added a single and Keith Curcio walked twice.

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An offensive outburst and strong pitching performance helped Salem coast to their tenth win of the season. Kutter Crawford got the start and put in a solid five-inning, three strikeout performance while allowing the sole Myrtle Beach run of the game. Coming out of the bullpen, Hunter Smith was lights out, striking out five over his two innings of relief. Dominic LoBrutto closed out the game for Salem and was even more dominant than Smith, hurling two perfect innings and striking out four. Strong hitting and an outbreak of steals were more than enough to back up the Salem pitching staff. Pedro Castellanos and Victor Acosta each collected three hits for the Red Sox, driving in two and three runs, respectively. In typical fashion, Jarren Duran was productive for Salem, stroking two singles and stealing two bases. Marco Hernandez was the designated hitter Saturday night and went 1 for 4, both driving in a run and scoring a run.

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It was another low scoring affair in Greenville, but a dominant performance by Thaddeus Ward helped the Drive get the win Saturday night. Ward only surrendered two hits and two walks while striking out five in his six shutout innings. The Drive bullpen was even more dominant in relief. Yoan Aybar came in for Ward and went 1 1/3 innings of scoreless relief while striking out two. Rio Gomez closed out the game for Greenville, collecting his fourth save of the season by going 1 2/3 innings of shutout baseball and striking out four. Given the performance of their pitchers, the Drive offense did not need to do much. Brandon Howlett led the Drive with his two hits, but Kervin Suarez drove in the winning run. Also contributing to the Drive win were Elih Marrero and Cole Brannen who each doubled.

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Player of the Day: Tanner Houck continued to dominate with his third straight quality start Saturday afternoon. Houck has now lowered his ERA to a solid 3.60: a great achievement considering his Opening Day implosion. Despite pitching in the same rotation as fellow top prospect Darwinzon Hernandez, Houck has certainly held his own and reminded many just why the Red Sox selected him in the first round of the 2017 draft.

Photo Credit: Tanner Houck by Kelly O'Connor

 
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