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May 17, 2019 at 7:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Hernandez strikes out 11; Duran keeps rolling

5/17 Cup of Coffee: With the major league squad off on Thursday, the minor league docket featured two of the organization's top pitching prospects and a newly signed starter out of indy ball. It was an upside down day where Darwinzon Hernandez (pictured) set career highs in innings and strikeouts and suffered a loss as Mike Shawaryn had a career-worst six walks but secured the win. Jarren Duran was again a bright spot for Salem, while Triston Casas continues racking up the extra-base hits in Greenville.


The PawSox halted their five-game losing streak despite an uncharacteristically wild outing from starter Mike Shawaryn. The right-hander allowed just two runs in five innings despite walking six and surrendering a homer. He struck out five and gave up just two hits. Shawaryn entered the day with only 12 free passes allowed in his first seven starts. After getting pushed back a day from his regular rotation slot, Shawaryn now is in line to pitch in the majors on May 21 if David Price is unable to return. 

Cole Sturgeon led the way at the plate, going 2 for 3 with a walk, RBI, and a run scored. Bryce Brentz doubled and scored a pair of runs as part of his two-hit afternoon, while Mike Miller chipped in with a double while going 2 for 4. Travis Lakins recorded his first save of the season, but it was not an easy ride. Lakins loaded the bases with just one out on a pair of singles and a walk before inducing a pair of fly ball outs to close the book on the Clippers.


Top pitching prospect Darwinzon Hernandez set career highs in both innings pitched and strikeouts with only a shaky second inning serving to blight an otherwise stellar outing. Hernandez went seven innings for the first time as a professional, striking out 11 and walking only two. He have up four runs (three earned), all in the second. Most importantly, the left-hander was efficiently pounding the strike zone, needing only 102 pitches to get through those seven frames, and throwing 72 of them for strikes. Catcher Jhon Nunez turned in a strong effort at the plate, going 2 for 3 with a double, walk, and an RBI. Bobby Dalbec singled and walked out of the cleanup spot, while Brett Netzer had a two-hit night.


Salem was held to three hits, all singles, as a quartet of Woodpecker hurlers completed the shutout. To nobody's surprise, three of those four hits came off the bat of Jarren Duran. It is the 18th time in 34 Carolina League contests that Duran recorded multiple hits, and the 10th time he's tallied at least three. Dylan Thompson got the start, making his organization debut. Thompson was saddled with the loss on a night he allowed two runs on four hits in three innings. The 26-year-old righty was signed from the Winnipeg Goldeyes of the American Association.

There was a New England connection in the Fayetteville lineup: St. John's Shrewsbury product Scott Manea got catching duties and was hit by a pitch by each of the three Salem hurlers.


The Drive dropped the rubber game of their three-game set at Fluor Field despite an 11-hit effort. Triston Casas was 2 for 5 with three RBI and his 11th double of the season. Cole Brannen, Grant Williams, and Tyler Esplin had two hits each,with Brannen scoring a pair of runs out of the leadoff spot. Chris Machamer allowed three runs in 3 1/3 innings to take the loss. Yusniel Padron-Artilles gave up four runs in 4 2/3 in his first action of 2019.


Player of the Day: Usually a pitcher allowing four runs in seven innings doesn't get into this spot, but the positives far outweighed the negatives for Darwinzon Hernandez. Entering Thursday's contest with 19 walks in 19 1/3 innings, the 22-year-old lefty pounded the strike zone effectively, throwing 72 of 102 pitches for strikes, averaging only 3.64 pitches per batter, and surpassing his career singe-game bests in both strikeouts and innings. Between Portland and his single MLB outing, Hernandez has struck out 40 in 28 2/3.

Photo Credit: Darwinzon Hernandez by Kelly O'Connor