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June 2, 2019 at 7:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Dalbec and Gonzalez homer twice as DSL action gets underway

The 2019 Dominican Summer League campaign kicked off Saturday, with both Red Sox affiliates playing games yesterday afternoon. Bryan Gonzalez made a statement in his professional debut, launching a pair of home runs and doubling as both squads won their Opening Day matches. Not to be outdone, Bobby Dalbec (pictured) also homered twice as part of a dramatic Portland come from behind win. Elsewhere, Erasmo Ramirez was sharp in a Pawtucket victory, while Greenville and Salem both fell. 

Returning to the rotation after making one appearance out of the bullpen, Erasmo Ramirez was excellent. The veteran right-hander went seven strong innings and only allowed one earned run while striking out five. Travis Lakins made his first appearance for Pawtucket since being optioned by Boston and was sharp in relief, striking out three in a scoreless inning including a 15-pitch battle with Matt Kemp. Bobby Poyner earned his third save of the season with a scoreless ninth. On offense, the PawSox were able to do enough despite only notching one extra-base hit. Gorkys Hernandez was heavily involved at the plate for Pawtucket, singling twice, walking and being directly involved in two of the team's four runs. Cole Sturgeon also singled twice, while Rusney Castillo doubled and Bryce Brentz walked twice and scored a run 

A thrilling seventh-inning comeback capped off by a three-run home run from Joey Curletta helped Portland take the opening game of the doubleheader. Bobby Dalbec got the Sea Dogs on the board early with a first-inning home run and didn't stop there, homering again in the fifth. Dalbec now has four long balls in half as many games and 12 on the year. Joining Dalbec and Curletta in the home run club was Josh Tobias, who notched three hits in addition to his fifth-inning blast. Deiner Lopez also chipped in with a double, while Jake Romanski singled and walked.

On the mound, things got off to a rocky start for the newly demoted Matt Kent. The left-hander was hit hard in the first inning to the tune of five runs, but settled down nicely by only allowing one run in the next four innings pitched despite not striking out a single batter. Coming out of the bullpen, Brian Ellington earned the win despite allowing a solo home run to extend the Binghamton lead, and Matthew Gorst secured the win with 2/3 scoreless innings.


Portland Sea Dogs @ Binghamton Rumble Ponies (NYM) PPD (inclement weather)
In what has become a feature of their 2019 season thus far, Portland was unable to complete their doubleheader due to rain. The game will be made up as part of a doubleheader Sunday at 1:05 p.m.


It was a miserable night for Salem, as they were blown out to complete the Down East sweep. The Red Sox were unable to do much of anything on offense, with four singles and a pair of walks representing their only work with the bats on the night. Victor Acosta managed to reach base twice with a double and a walk, while Tanner Nishioka had the only other notable performance with a single and a stolen base. Daniel Gonzalez got the nod and seemed to be cruising until a four-run meltdown in the sixth inning. Gonzalez finished with 5 2/3 innings pitched, five earned runs and seven strikeouts. Rio Gomez struck out two in a scoreless 1 1/3 innings out of the pen, but Zach Schellenger was reached for another two runs despite striking out two in his one inning of work.


The Drive lost a tough one Saturday night in their showdown with the South Atlantic League-leading Delmarva Shorebirds. Thaddeus Ward got the start and continued his stretch of strong performances, allowing only two unearned runs in five innings pitched and striking out seven. However the Greenville bullpen as unable to hold the lead, with Miguel Suero and Yusniel Padron-Artilles combining for three earned runs in the final four innings. Offensively, the Drive were able to manufacture runs with some timely hitting and four stolen bases, but were unable to overcome the Delmarva bullpen. Tyler Esplin and Kole Cottam each notched two singles apiece to lead Greenville in the hits column, while Brandon Howlett smacked the only extra-base hit of the night with a double. Triston Casas also singled and drove in a run. 

The 2019 Dominican Summer League season kicked off Saturday morning, with both Red Sox squads in action. The DSL Red Sox1 got things started off on the right foot, with an offensive onslaught helping them earn their first win of the summer. It was a team effort for the Red Sox, who saw five batters collect two hits, including Alex Zapete, who smacked two doubles and drove in a pair of runs. Also making an impact was Darel Belen, who also doubled and drove in three of the team's nine runs. The other Red Sox batters to notch a pair of hits were Alixandri Alvarez, Bariner Bonaci, and Frank Astacio.

Getting the nod for the Opening Day start was Wilkelman Gonzalez, who allowed only a solo home run in his two innings of work while striking out three. Richardson Jimenez relieved him but instantly ran into control problems, walking five men and surrendering two runs in two innings. It was smooth sailing from there, with Isaias Ozoria earning the win with a scoreless inning, and Jesus Rosillo notching his first save of 2019 by pitching four scoreless innings to end the game.


Despite a strong offensive showing from their counterparts, the DSL Red Sox2 squad outdid their fellow affiliate en route to completing the Opening Day sweep, with eight starters collecting hits. Leading the way was Bryan Gonzalez who had a mammoth day at the plate, doubling, launching two home runs, and driving in three runs. Batting behind Gonzalez was Naysbel Marcano, who added a double and three RBI of his own. Also chipping in were Elio Prado who doubled in two runs, and Wilmer Perez who added two RBI with a first-inning single and a sacrifice fly.

Juan Daniel Encarnacion got the start for the Red Sox but struggled, allowing two runs on five hits in his 3 2/3 innings of work. Gregori Segovia calmed things down with 1 1/3 scoreless innings, but Efren Diaz allowed the Indians back into the game by surrendering four runs (three earned) in his three-inning appearance. However, it wasn't enough, as Robinson Parra shut the door with a scoreless ninth in order to earn the Red Sox their first win of the season.


Player of the Day: Much has been made of Bobby Dalbec's shortcomings as a hitter, but the third baseman put his strengths on full display Saturday night. For the second night in a row, Dalbec launched two home runs, for a total of four home runs in just 10 innings played. The slugger struggled out of the gates in 2019 but has since turned things around in a big way, putting up a strong .279/.359/.596 line in May and hitting 10 of his 12 home runs since the end of April.

Photo Credit: Bobby Dalbec by Kelly O'Connor