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August 23, 2019 at 7:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Chatham goes deep; McGrath falls short


8/23 Cup of Coffee: It was a tough day on the farm, with as many teams getting eliminated from their perspective playoff races as there were victories. A day after Pawtucket and the GCL Red Sox were officially knocked out, losses by Greenville and the DSL Red Sox1 ended the playoff hopes for those squads. A rare less-than-dominating effort by Daniel McGrath pushed the Sea Dogs to the brink as well. A CJ Chatham (pictured) homer wasn't enough to push the PawSox past Scranton, and Lowell saw its division lead continue to dwindle despite the work of Nick Decker and Ryan Zeferjahn. Danny Diaz blasted a game-winning homer for the DSL Red Sox2, while Yoelvis Guedez was the highlight of a stellar 15-strikeout effort by the GCL Sox staff.


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The PawSox fell for the ninth time in their last 11 contests despite the best efforts of Cole Sturgeon. The leadoff hitter was 3 for 5 with a double, RBI, and run scored. CJ Chatham blasted his second home run in 10 games since joining Pawtucket. He had three all season with Portland before the promotion. Ryan Weber took the loss, allowing four runs on six hits in eight innings.

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Little went right at Hadlock on Thursday, including Daniel McGrath's push toward history. The left-hander entered the contest with a microscopic 1.35 ERA, just shy of the 1.30 mark that is the lowest in over 90 innings by any minor leaguer in the last 10 years. However, the Thunder reached McGrath for four runs in six innings, raising his mark to 1.61. He can take solace in the fact that he holds the Eastern League lead in the category by a commanding .79 run margin. It was the first appearance that McGrath had surrendered more than one earned run since June 16th and the first start it had happened since way back on May 3. It was also his first losing decision of the year.

Anyelo Gomez made his Portland debut following McGrath. The Rule 5 pick last December in the minor league phase has been working his way back from shoulder surgery, and returned to Double-A with two hitless innings, striking out two and walking two. Luke Tendler was a highlight at the plate, going 2 for 4 with a double.

The loss was the fourth in a row by Portland, who now sits 7 1/2 games out of first place with only 11 to play. 

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It was a tough loss for Salem as the Northern Division standings continue to tighten up. Thaddeus Ward entered coming off of consecutive scoreless outings, but the 2018 fifth-round pick gave up three runs on three hits in five innings. Ward struck out seven, walked four, and took the loss. Keith Curcio was 2 for 4 on the evening, while a Kole Cottam double was the only extra-base knock for Salem.

Wilmington pulled one game within Salem, but since the Blue Rocks were also the first-half winners, they are not Salem's primary concern. Potomac (WAS) entered the day tied with the Blue Rocks for second place and saw its contest rained out, so they inch up to 1 1/5 games behind. 

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The Drive stood little chance on Thursday, as Nationals top 2019 draft pick Jackson Rutledge and a pair of relievers combined for a one-hit shutout.. Bryan Bello nearly kept pace, allowing just one run on three hits in five innings, striking out three against just one walk. Bello lowered his second-half ERA to 3.25, a major improvement from his 8.08 mark before the All-Star break. Greenville's only hit was a Triston Casas single to lead off the second inning.

The loss and a win by Asheville (COL) has officially knocked the Drive out of playoff contention.

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A pair of highly-touted 2019 draftees matched zeroes before Vermont prevailed when it turned over to the bullpens. Third-round pick Ryan Zeferjahn and Oakland second-rounder Tyler Baum exchanged three innings of scoreless work. Zeferjahn allowed three hits, striking out three and walking two. It was the third consecutive scoreless outing by former Kansas Jayhawk after a series of down outings related to a hangnail that made him temporarily shelve his curveball. He has lowered his ERA from 9.35 to 4.86 in that three-outing span. Nick Decker was the standout on offense, going 2 for 4 with a double. 

Coming out of the NewYork-Penn League All-Star break, Lowell's loss and win by second-place Connecticut (DET) cut the Spinners' advantage in the Stedler division to 3 1/2 games. 

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A trio of Sox hurlers combined for 15 strikeouts, as five hits generated enough offense was enough to eke past the Braves. Starter Gregorio Reyes allowed three runs (one earned) in four innings, striking out six and issuing one walk. He was picked up by a stellar effort from the duo of Yoelvis Guedez and Zach Schneider out of the bullpen. Guedez was dominant, striking out four across three perfect innings, continuing an excellent stretch for the righty. Schneider struck out five of the 10 batters he faced across two innings, surrendering three hits without walking a batter. 

Daniel Bakst was a force at the plate, going 2 for 3 with a triple, walk, and two runs scored. Dean Miller drove in a pair with a two-double effort. Trenton Kemp did not record an official at-bat in his three plate appearances, delivering two sacrifice flies and getting hit with a pitch.

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Wilkelman Gonzalez turned in another strong effort, but the Red Sox1 were eliminated from the playoff picture with Thursday's loss. Gonzalez went four innings, giving up one run on two hits, striking out five without a walk. The 17-year-old out of Venezuela who signed to a $250K bonus finishes his first professional season with a solid 3.30 ERA and only 34 hits allowed in 46 1/3 innings. Brandon Rincones was 2 for 2 with a walk, and Eddinson Paulino legged out a triple. 

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It was a nice moment in a trying season for Danny Diaz, as his two-out home run in the ninth inning broke a 1-1 stalemate. Diaz was 2 for 4 on the day, and is 13 for 39 since being assigned to the DSL. Luis Talavera got the start, allowing one run on three hits in five innings. Diaz's homer made a deserving winner out of Carlos Reyes, who scattered three hits across three scoreless innings. He struck out three and did not walk a batter.

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Player of the Day: Yoelvis Guedez gets the honor today both in recognition of his three sterling innings of relief work in the GCL Red Sox win as well as his ongoing stretch of dominance. He's given up just one run in 26 1/3 innings across his 10 most recent outings, giving up just 14 hits. He's struck out 28 during that span while walking just three. Those numbers translate to a 0.34 ERA and 0.646 WHIP. His scouting report boasts a low-90's fastball aided by a potentially above-average slider. 

Photo Credit: CJ Chatham by Kelly O'Connor

 
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