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June 4, 2019 at 7:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: De La Guerra red hot on Draft night

6/4 Cup of Coffee: As the opening rounds of the MLB Draft got underway, Pawtucket's Josh Smith found himself in the middle of a pitcher's duel that the PawSox came out on top of thanks to the heroics of Chad De La Guerra (pictured). Salem and Greenville each suffered frustrating losses in their contests, while the DSL affiliates split their games with Bryan Gonzalez bringing the power once again. 


It was a low scoring affair for much of Monday night's contest until Chad De La Guerra broke things open in the bottom of the eighth. De La Guerra was a one-man wrecking crew for Pawtucket, going 3 for 4 with a home run and the game-winning double. Josh Ockimey finished the job for Pawtucket, doubling home two runners in the eighth to secure Pawtucket the win. Josh Smith squared off with Tyler Viza in an intense pitcher's duel and was brilliant to keep the PawSox in the game. Smith surrendered just one run in his five innings on the mound and struck out a season-high 11 batters. The bullpen then went to work and performed admirably, as Bobby Poyner followed Smith with two perfect innings. Travis Lakins and Trevor Kelley earned the win and then the save, respectively, with a shutout inning apiece to slam the door.

It was a tough night for Salem as they struggled on both sides of the ball and dropped their second game in a row to Potomac. The Red Sox offense only managed to scatter six hits with Pedro Castellanos doing much of the damage. Castellanos notched two hits, drove in Salem's lone run with an RBI double, and also added his fifth stolen base of the season. Marcus Wilson also ripped a double but was pulled from the game soon afterward. 

Kutter Crawford got the nod for Salem and was shaky despite only allowing two earned runs. The righty allowed nine hits and four walks in just five innings pitched but did manage to strike out five. The Salem bullpen ran into trouble, as Kris Jackson allowed a run in two innings pitched and Andrew Politi surrendered two runs in his one inning of relief. Zach Schellenger closed out the game for Salem, striking out two in a scoreless inning. 


The Drive offense was only able to scatter four hits in Monday night's loss to Lexington. Alan Marrero had a productive night at the plate for Greenville, singling, walking, and scoring a run. Unfortunately, Greenville was only able to collect one extra-base hit, a double from Tyler Esplin, as a ninth-inning rally came up well short. Lexington jumped out to a lead in the third by scoring three unearned runs off of Greenville starter Chris Machamer, who would only allow a single earned run in five innings pitched. Yoan Aybar settled things down with a perfect inning out of the bullpen, but Hunter Haworth was hit hard, to the tune of three runs in two innings pitched. Logan Browning hurled a scoreless inning with a strikeout to finish the game for the Drive. 


The DSL Red Sox1 squad won its second game in a row on the back of a strong offensive performance. Boston's top international signing from 2018, Eduardo Lopez, made his debut and tripled before being pulled midway through the game. Brainer Bonaci also tripled and notched three hits to lead the Red Sox in the hit column. Darel Belen had another strong showing, this time singling twice, while Eduardo Vaughan and Imanol Contreras each chipped in with a double each. On the mound, Claudio Ochoa got the start in his debut and surrendered three runs on four walks and three hits in just two innings of work. Moises Castellanos was excellent in relief of Ochoa, striking out seven across four scoreless innings.


Every pitcher who took the mound for the DSL Red Sox2 surrendered at least one run, as the squad found themselves on the wrong side of an offensive slugfest for their first loss of the season. Andres Ortuno and Emerson Ortiz were hit the hardest as Ortuno allowed four runs (two earned) in his two innings of work, and Ortiz was tagged for five runs (three earned) in three innings out of the pen. Luis Talavera was solid in relief, hurling three innings of one-run ball, and striking out three.

Bryan Gonzalez was perfect at the plate, walking twice, hitting a sacrifice fly, and launching his third home run of the young season. Shortstop Noelberth Romero doubled twice and was directly involved in four of the Red Sox runs, while Andres Gari also notched two hits including a double of his own.


Player of the Day: Although he missed most of April due to injury, Chad De La Guerra hasn't missed a beat since returning to the Pawtucket lineup. The infielder is batting a solid .298/.322/.456 in his first full season at Triple-A and launched his first home run of the season Monday night. The Grand Canyon University product has steadily climbed the ranks of the Red Sox farm system and now finds himself in the midst of a productive season just one stop away from the major leagues.

Photo Credit: Chad De La Guerra by Kelly O'Connor