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August 12, 2019 at 7:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Jimenez tallies five hits in twinbill; McGrath again solid

8/12 Cup of Coffee: Two of the hottest players in the Red Sox system were on display on Sunday afternoon. While Lowell netted just nine hits while getting swept in its doubleheader, scorching-hot Gilberto Jimenez (pictured) was responsible for five of them. Meanwhile, Daniel McGrath has been so stingy all year that his six-inning effort with one earned run allowed caused his ERA to go up. McGrath wasn't the only long-tenured farmhand named Daniel to turn in a strong pitching effort in victory, as Salem's Daniel Gonzalez led the way for the Sox. Pawtucket fell despite a pair of exciting rallies, while Greenville dropped a decision even with its staff landing a number of punch-outs. 


The PawSox and their shuffled pitching staff fell in the rubber game off a three-game set in Toledo. Erasmo Ramirez, scheduled to be the starter, was scratched before game time with Tanner Houck getting the call instead. This led to come speculation that Ramirez may have been summed to join a major league squad that is in desperate need of some innings. However, Ramirez ended up pitching the eighth inning, striking out a pair and giving up one hit. Meanwhile, Houck had been working as a traditional reliever since July 6 but was in more of an opener role on Sunday, throwing just the first inning and giving up one run. Colton Brewer took the loss, giving up three runs in two innings.

Jantzen Witte led the offense with a homer, double, and walk. Rusney Castillo tripled for the first time since 2016. Tzu-Wei Lin was 1 for 3 with a pair of walks, and Bobby Dalbec drove in a run with a sacrifice fly.


Daniel McGrath battled some wobbly control in the early innings, but settled into what turned into another excellent outing. The lefty walked the bases loaded in the first but emerged unscathed with a strikeout. He issued just one additional free pass, going six innings and striking out seven. He gave up two runs (one earned) on four hits. It was the first time since moving to the rotation in late June that McGrath allowed two runs. Marcus Wilson blasted a fourth-inning solo homer, his 16th of the season and sixth as a member of the Sea Dogs. CJ Chatham ripped his organization-leading 26th double. Jarren Duran legged out a triple and added his 40th stolen base of the year. 


A big day at the plate by Pedro Castellanos supported an excellent Daniel Gonzalez start in Zebulon. Castellanos was 3 for 3 with a double, stolen base, and a hit batsman. He also drove in three of Salem's four runs, giving him 67 on the season, third-most in the Carolina League. Ryan Fitzgerald chipped in with a 2-for-4 afternoon, scoring twice and stealing a base. Gonzalez was both dominant and efficient, needing only 72 pitches to get through six shutout frames. He scattered four hits and struck out seven without issuing a walk.


The Drive twice came back on Sunday afternoon, but the Fireflies did not give them a third chance, walking off with the 5-4 win. Brayan Bello allowed three runs on six hits in five inings of work. More notably, he struck out 10 batters without recording a walk, giving him 44 strikeouts against just four walks in his last six starts. Triston Casas had a double, walk, and two runs scored. Kole Cottam was on base three times, delivering two singles and getting plunked by a pitch. Jonathan Ortega also had a pair of hits. 


The Spinners continued their August swoon by getting swept in Sunday's doubleheader, falling to 2-10 on the month. Gilberto Jimenez deserves none of the blame, as the 19-year-old continued his outstanding play. In the opener, Jimenez recorded three of the four Lowell hits, with one going as a triple. Cameron Cannon singled for the other Spinners' hit. Starter Bryan Lucas struggled, giving up four runs on three hits in 2/3 of an inning, taking the loss. 

Little changed in the nightcap, as the team managed just five hits, two coming from Jimenez. The center fielder had a single and double, giving him five hits and eight total bases on the day. Cannon added a double, as did third baseman Nick Northcut. A three-run homer in the third inning was the undoing of starter Yasel Santana, who otherwise allowed just one unearned run in his three innings of work. Brandon Cellucci struck out a pair in his two innings of hitless relief.


Player of the Day: Gilberto Jimenez was the clear choice on Sunday, going 5 for 7 with a double and triple in the Spinners doubleheader. The opener was the seventh three-hit effort of the year in 43 games, especially impressive when noting he has only six games without a base hit. He ranks second in the New York-Penn League with his .367 batting average, while his .491 slugging is third-best in the circuit. 

Photo Credit: Gilberto Jimenez by Kelly O'Connor