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June 9, 2021 at 6:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Duran and Casas return; Ramirez impresses again

6/9 Cup of Coffee:
The Worcester and Portland offenses got a big shot in the arm with Jarren Duran and Triston Casas returning from their time with Team USA. Both players made an immediate impact upon their return, though Marcus Wilson (pictured) and Joey Meneses had the biggest hits in those games. Ryan Weber and Aldo Ramirez had great starts while AJ Politi and Chase Shugart struggled. Salem is playing the Fredericksburg Nationals once again, but they have improved and won 7 of their last 12 games after starting the season 1-17. 


A gem from Ryan Weber and a balanced offensive performance led to Worcester's blowout victory. Weber twirled seven two-run innings, with both of the runs scoring with two outs in the seventh. He walked two, struck out five, and allowed only two hits. 

Eight of Worcester's nine starters recorded at least one hit, and three players went deep. Marcus Wilson hit his seventh home run as part of a 2-for-4 night that also included a double and two walks. The 24-year-old now has a .286/.397/.591 line and he may be hitting his way onto the major league radar. Jonathan Ara├║z went 2 for 4 with a home run and a walk, and Connor Wong hit a grand slam, his first home run since joining the organization. It has been a slow start to the year for Wong who has been injured and is hitting just .182/.206/.333 over 33 at-bats, but hopefully, the Texas native can heat up with the weather. Duran went 1 for 5 with a double, walk, and a stolen base in his return to the lineup. 


The Sea Dogs also had three players hit home runs, and they needed every one of them to squeak by the Fisher Cats. The big hit was a three-run home run in the seventh inning by Joey Meneses that gave Portland its first lead of the game. After New Hampshire tied it back up in the top of the eighth, Ryan Fitzgerald laced an RBI double in the bottom of the inning that proved to be the difference. Tate Matheny went 2 for 4 with a home run, Tanner Nishioka added a solo shot, and Triston Casas went 2 for 3 with a walk and a stolen base. 

AJ Politi continued to struggle as he gave up seven runs (six earned) over 3 1/3 innings with three walks and five strikeouts. His ERA rose to 7.28, though his strikeout-to-walk ratio is a respectable 37-11 over 29 2/3 innings this year. Jose Adames shined again as Portland's closer as he struck out the side in the ninth to pick up his ninth save. 


The Drive managed just four hits in their loss to the Dash. Two of the hits came from Cameron Cannon as he went 2 for 4, and Devlin Granberg went 1 for 3 with a two-run home run and a walk. On the mound, Chase Shugart allowed four runs over five innings. He struck out five without walking a batter. The loss went to Dylan Spacke as he gave up a go-ahead home run in the seventh, though he did strike out five over two innings. 


It was a low-scoring affair in Salem, with Aldo Ramirez and the Red Sox coming out on top. Ramirez fired four shutout innings, walking two while striking out four. Ramirez is up to nine scoreless innings so far in June, and he has allowed just two earned runs over his last 17 innings. While he has not been quite as dominant as Brayan Bello was in Greenville, Ramirez has been good enough to put himself on the promotion watchlist. Jacinto Arredondo pitched the final two innings and did not allow a run to pick up the save. The only offensive performance of note was Ceddanne Rafaela going 2 for 3 with a triple, RBI, and a run scored. 


Player of the Day: Marcus Wilson was on base four times as he went 2 for 4 with a home run and two walks. Already on the 40-man roster, Wilson is doing his best to prove he deserves a shot in the major leagues. He profiles more as a fourth outfielder than a starter at the big league level, but plenty of teams could use a cost-controlled fourth outfielder with above-average defense and improving power. Wilson did struggle in a 62-game sample in Portland in 2019, so he will need to keep hitting to prove that his first 28 games in Triple-A are not a fluke. 

Photo Credit: Marcus Wilson by Kelly O'Connor