SoxProspects News

June 24, 2019 at 7:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Jimenez leads triples parade; Tendler walks off


6/24 Cup of Coffee: All was not quiet on GCL Eve, with promotions, returns, a walkoff, and continued Lowell dominance. The Spinners got seven extra-base hits, including two off the bat of Gilberto Jimenez (pictured), as they complete their sweep. Kutter Crawford and Thaddeus Ward made their first appearances since being promoted to Portland and Salem, respectively. Luke Tendler blasted a pair of two-run homers to lead the Sea Dogs, the second a walk-off game winner. A 17-hit attack boosted Ward, while Brandon Howlett continued his fine play for Greenville, helping the Drive to the series win. Pawtucket had the only loss on the day despite the efforts of starter Ryan Weber.

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Ryan Weber turned things around after a pair of rough outings, but that and a pair of home runs were not enough to get the PawSox over the hump. Weber gave up just two hits over six innings, surrendering one run. He struck out two and walked one, needing only 70 pitches to get through six. He was supported by a pair of veteran outfielders, as Gorkys Hernandez and Bryce Brentz provided the offense. Hernandez homered as part of a 2-for-3 afternoon in which he also walked twice. Brentz blasted his 13th homer of the year in addition to an RBI single.

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The story entering Sunday's contest was the Double-A debut of Kutter Crawford, promoted to Portland coming out of the Carolina League All-Star break. While Crawford did his part, the game turned into the Luke Tendler (pictured, right) show. The 27-year-old outfielder delivered a two-run homer in the bottom of the seventh that put Portland up 2-1. After Reading scored single runs in the eighth and ninth, Tendler came up with Tate Matheny on first and again delivered a two-run blast. Matheny was a thorn in Reading's side, reaching base in all four of his plate appearances on a single, two walks, and hit batsman. 

Crawford turned in a strong outing in his first Eastern League exposure. The right-hander allowed five hits over six innings, surrendering just one run coming on the first Double-A homer of 2018 third-overall pick Alec Bohm. Crawford struck out four and walked three. Kevin Lenik also gave up only one run in his two innings. It, too, came on a solo homer to a former top draft pick, as 2016's first selection Mickey Moniak got the better of him in the eighth.

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Thaddeus Ward battled some shaky control in his Salem debut, but he got a mountain of support with a 17-hit barrage. Ward walked seven in 4 1/3 innings, the same number he'd walked in his last five Greenville starts combined. However, he gave up just one run on three hits, getting help from a caught stealing and a double play. Joan Martinez made his first Salem appearance since May 18 after spending the interim on the injured list. The hard-throwing righty picked up where he left off, firing 2 2/3 scoreless innings, scattering three hits, striking out four and walking one. He got credit for the victory.

Marcus Wilson led the offensive explosion as he continues his recent onslaught on Carolina League. Wilson blasted a two-run homer as part of an afternoon in which he was 2 for 4 with a walk. Over his last six games, Wilson is 10 for 19 with four homers and six walks. Keith Curcio and Victor Acosta both had three hits out of the top two spots in the lineup, with Acosta adding a triple and three RBI. 

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The Drive struck for three runs in the top of the first and never looked back as they took three of four in Lexington to open the second half. Brandon Howlett continues his recent run of excellent play, as the third baseman was 2 for 3 with a walk, run scored and an RBI. His effort raised his June line to .357/.472/.518. Alex Scherff got the start, striking out eight and allowing just one run, but efficiency was an issue as he needed 95 pitches to get through 4 2/3. Hunter Haworth followed with 3 1/3 perfect innings of relief, striking out six of the 10 batters he faced. Yorvin Pantoja gave just one hit in a scoreless ninth to get credit for his first professional save.

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It's been an exciting start to the season for the Spinners, who moved to 7-2 by using four triples to overcome a 4-1 deficit and win in the 10th. Gilberto Jimenez kept rolling, picking up a double and a triple to go to 11 for 25. Luke Bandy tripled as part of a two-hit afternoon, joining Kervin Suarez and Nick Decker added three-base hits. Joe Davis, Boston's 19th-round pick at the beginning of the month, made his professional debut and went 0 for 2 with a pair of hit by pitches. 

It was a short night for starter Kelvin Sanchez, who gave up four runs (three earned) in two innings, but the bullpen was outstanding after that. Miguel Suero dominated in four shutout innings, striking out three, walking one, and giving up just one hit. He faced just one batter over the minimum and threw 45 of 61 pitches for strikes. Ryan Fernandez went the final 2 1/3 without surrendering a hit. He struck out one, walked one, and got credit for the victory.

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The Gulf Coast League Red Sox kick off their 2019 season on Monday at noon at home against the GCL Rays. Their roster will feature several 2019 draftees and players getting their first stateside experience after being in the Dominican program last year. Most notable to watch are third baseman Danny Diaz, ranked 15th in the system, and shortstop Matthew Lugo, the second of Boston's two second-round picks. 

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Player of the Day: There were several worthy contenders on Sunday, but multi-homer games usually get recognized, and almost always when one is a walk-off in a come-from-behind win. Luke Tendler hit go-ahead homers in the late innings twice in the same game. He has eight homers on the season after delivering 15 in 2018, his first year in the Red Sox organization.

Photo Credit: Gilberto Jimenez, Luke Tendler by Kelly O'Connor

 
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