SoxProspects News

August 16, 2019 at 7:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Tanner Houck dominates in PawSox 'pen


8/16 Cup of Coffee: Some days everything clicks right in the system, with individual and team performances coming together to craft an alchemy of thrilling wins backed by compelling narratives. Thursday was not that kind of day. Indeed, there were some standout efforts, such as the continued emergence of Tanner Houck (pictured) as a force in the bullpen and the second-half surge of Jhonathan Diaz in Salem. But the offensive production largely dried up, leading to the affiliates submitting a woeful 0-for-9 day.

-----

Matinee baseball at McCoy Stadium on a sunny 78-degree afternoon would never be described as dreary, but the on-field product on Thursday was befitting of more foul climes. Tanner Houck was the notable baseball-centric highlight, striking out five of the seven batters he faced in two hitless innings of relief. The only player who reached base off of the 2017 first-round pick was hit by a pitch, and the International League is hitting a meager .167 off of the right-hander. It was a tough day for starter Josh Smith, who gave up seven runs on 12 hits in three innings. Cole Sturgeon and Jantzen Witte both doubled, the only extra-base hits recorded by the Pawtucket lineup.

-----

The Sea Dogs missed their chance to split their four-game set despite the best efforts of Jarren Duran. The center fielder was 2 for 4 out of the leadoff spot, adding his 42nd stolen base of the year. Denyi Reyes took the loss, allowing four runs on six hits in five innings, striking out two, walking one, and hitting three batters. 

-----

A pair of Frederick hurlers teamed up to two-hit Salem, wasting a strong effort by the Sox pitching. Jhonathan Diaz continued his excellent stretch, giving up just one unearned run in five innings, striking out five against four walks. In his last 11 starts, Diaz has surrendered 10 runs, good for a 1.38 ERA. Rio Gomez, Joan Martinez, and Andrew Schwaab combined for four scoreless, but Salem could not break through, failing to advance a player as far as third base.

-----

Greenville exhibited symptoms of the organization-wide offensive malady, managing only five hits on Thursday evening. Korby Batesole let the way with a pair of hits, while an Everlouis Lozada double was the only extra-base knock. Chase Shugart gave up four runs (three earned) on eight hits in five innings.

-----

It was a tough day in New York for the Spinners, who were swept in their doubleheader and fell to 3-13 in August. Lowell could not generate much offense in the opener, picking up just three hits and a walk. A Jaxx Groshans double was the only extra-base hit of the contest. Ryan Zeferjahn turned in a strong start, needing just 38 pitches to get through three scoreless innings. He allowed one hit and struck out three without issuing a walk, and completed three innings for the first time as a throw. Kelvin Sanchez was saddled with the loss in relief, giving up three runs on four hits in three frames.

The Spinners had as many homers in the nightcap as they had hits in the earlier contest, but fell in a heartbreaking walkoff. Jonathan Diaz blasted his first homer of the year, a solo shot in the sixth inning. He was joined by Marino Campana and Joe Davis as Lowell turned a 6-2 deficit into a 7-6 advantage headed into the bottom of the seventh. However, the Yankees scored a pair off the usually-reliable Osvaldo De La Rosa to complete the sweep. 

Yusniel Padron-Artiles  struggled after he was named to the New York-Penn League All-Star team earlier in the day. He allowed four runs on four hits in three innings. He'll be joined at the All-Star game by the aforementioned Davis and by Gilberto Jimenez, who singled in the nightcap after seeing his seven-game hitting streak snapped in the first game.

-----

Blake Loubier, Boston's 13th-round pick in June, pitched into the fourth inning for the first time as a professional. Unfortunately, that second trip through the Pirates lineup was a tough lesson for the right-hander, as he surrendered three in the fourth after giving up just one run in the first three frames. Yoelvis Guedez had another good effort in relief, giving up one run on three hits in 3 1/3, a performance that actually raised his ERA to 1.88. Dean Miller had a big day at the plate with a triple and a home run. Angel Maita had three hits atop the Sox lineup. 

-----

Albert Feliz has been going back and forth with the Bryan Gonzalez of the Red Sox2 squad for the organization's all-time home run record since starting a Dominican Summer League program nearly 20 years ago. Feliz went deep for the ninth time this year a day after Gonzalez reached that mark. Eduardo Lopez had his fourth multi-hit effort in his last five games. Lopez has raised his average from .198 on July 8 to .251 following Thursday's contest. 

The DSL Royals1 also lost their game, so the Red Sox1 remain one game out of first place with eight remaining. 

-----

I feel so sick
Lost love's last licks
But I'm closing down on it
I feel so weak
On a losing streak
Watch my taillights fade to black

-----

Player of the Day: Tanner Houck has emerged as a possible addition to the major league bullpen in September if the major league club remains in contention. He had his best outing since making the switch, striking out five of the seven batters he faced. He's been unscored upon in seven of his 10 outings since his promotion to the PawSox.

Photo Credit: Tanner Houck by Kelly O'Connor; Lyrical credit: Bill Janovitz and Buffalo Tom

 
Copyright © 2003-2019 SoxProspects, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
Email: info@soxprospects.com