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SoxProspects News

July 1, 2019 at 7:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Zeferjahn debuts; De La Guerra keeps rolling

7/1 Cup of Coffee: The 2019 draftees are off to an early start with their contributions, as starter Ryan Zeferjahn dominated in his debut and Jaxx Groshans supported him with his first professional homer. Portland and Salem suffered tough losses despite strong starts from veterans Matt Kent and Daniel Gonzalez. Elsewhere, Chase Shugart in Greenville and Darwinzon Hernandez for Pawtucket both had overall solid outings marred by control troubles and inefficiency. Hernandez's squad came away victorious, however. Chad De La Guerra (pictured, left) again led Pawtucket, as the infielder has quickly become a dangerous force in the International League


The Chad De La Guerra barrage continued Sunday with another multi-hit effort. Getting the start at third base, he was 4 for 5 with two more doubles, giving him 11 for the month to go along with eight June round trippers. Josh Ockimey blasted his 16th homer of the year, while Cole Sturgeon tripled as part of a 3-for-4 afternoon. 

Darwinzon Hernandez got the start and was both tantalizing and frustrating, as has been the case with the lefty for much of 2019. Hernandez struck out eight in 4 2/3 innings, surrendering two runs on just three hits. However, his control and efficiency remain an issue. He walked three batters, plunked three more, and needed 102 pitches to get through those 14 outs. Domingo Tapia recorded the win in relief, walking a pair and striking out one in 1 1/3 hitless innings. 


Portland closed out its month with a brutal walk-off loss as Reading completed the four-game sweep in dramatic fashion. The Sea Dogs had led throughout, based largely on an excellent effort by starter Matt Kent. The lefty went eight strong innings, surrendering a run on eight hits, striking out five and waking just one. Kent also induced 13 ground-ball outs and needed just 95 pitches to complete eight full. Bobby Dalbec supported Kent with a two-run third-inning homer, the 15th of the season for the third baseman. It was the first round-tripper since June 11 for Dalbec, who busted out of a 3-for-27 skid with the blast. 

Durbin Feltman recorded two outs in the bottom of the ninth, but issued a walk and then surrendered a two-run walk-off homer. After some early-season struggles, Feltman had been extremely reliable in recent outings, giving up just one run in 11 innings across his last eight appearances. 


Like their Double-A counterparts, Salem also had a tough come-from-behind lost after a strong effort by its starter. It was Daniel Gonzalez doing the honors for the Sox, scattering six hits across six shutout frames, walking one and striking out six. Back-to-back hits by Keith Curcio and Edgar Corcino gave Salem a 2-0 lead in the second, but the Dash raced back with three in the eighth off of Hunter Smith and Joan Martinez. It was only the third time in 14 Salem appearances that Martinez had allowed a run. 


Chase Shugart continued to stymie in the South Atlantic League, but the Drive dropped their fifth straight at home. Shugart lowered his ERA to 2.04 with 4 2/3 shutout innings as he surrendered four hits and struck out four. The righty's control was an issue, as he walked three and hit two more batters, ending a three start streak without issuing a free pass of either variety. Tyler Esplin returned to the Greenville lineup after a two-week stint on the injured list to go 2 for 4 with a double. Devlin Granberg ripped his sixth homer of the year and scored two of the Drive's three runs.


A six-run sixth inning helped Lowell avoid a sweep in Brooklyn. Before the offensive fireworks, Ryan Zeferjahn took the mound for his professional debut. Boston's third-round pick in June's draft surrendered a double to the first batter he saw but then promptly struck out the next three. Fellow 2019 draftee Jaxx Groshans (pictured, right) delivered the key blow with a three-run homer, his first blast as a pro after delivering 12 this spring with the Kansas Jayhawks. Groshans also singled and walked on the day. Gilberto Jimenez tallied yet another three hits, bringing him to 18 for 46 (.391) on the young season. Kelvin Sanchez allowed three runs in five innings of relief work to get the win, while Miguel Suero got the save for allowing one run on one hit in three frames.


Player of the Day: Sunday's pick also has a strong shot at being honored as Player of the Week and Month as well. It's hard to believe that a year ago, Chad De La Guerra struggled to a .137/.158/.205 after an aggressive initial assignment to Triple-A Pawtucket. His second attempt at the level has him at a sterling .324/.399/.600 line with 14 doubles and eight home runs in just 40 games. He hit safely in all six games this week, going 10 for 25, and closes the book on June at .354/.446/.719.

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