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July 14, 2021 at 6:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Scott drives in eight; Casas ends home run drought


7/14 Cup of Coffee: An eight-RBI game from Stephen Scott (pictured) in Salem highlighted an up-and-down day on the farm. The strikeout bug bit Worcester's stars and spoiled a strong start from Raynel Espinal. Fans are hoping that Tuesday's home run can snap Triston Casas out of his recent slump, while his teammates Pedro Castellanos and Joey Meneses continue to prey on Double-A pitching. Greenville continued to get production from both Christian Koss and Brandon Howlett who have both been hot lately, and Luis Perales made his much-anticipated debut in the DSL. 

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The WooSox had only four hits and struck out 10 times in the loss to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Raynel Espinal, who spent parts of two seasons with the RailRiders, left with the lead after firing five scoreless innings with six strikeouts. He lowered his ERA to 3.49 but could not secure his career-high eighth win. Brandon Brennan was tagged for two runs, and Matt Hall gave up two runs after walking three in only 2/3 of an inning. 

Jarren Duran went 0 for 4 with two strikeouts and Franchy Cordero went 0 for 4 with three strikeouts. The strikeout numbers for Cordero are starting to become alarming as he has now struck out in 42 percent of his plate appearances over the last 17 games. Jeter Downs went 0 for 3 in his return from the All-Star Futures Game, and Josh Ockimey went 2 for 3 with a double and two RBI. 

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While it has not been a major concern, the recent lack of power from Triston Casas was starting to add up. He ended his homer-less streak at 27 games by going 1 for 4 with a two-run home run and a walk. Joining him with home runs were Pedro Castellanos and Joey Meneses. After a nondescript May, Castellanos has found his swing. He now has an OPS of over 1.000 since June 1. Ryan Fitzgerald and Devlin Granberg both had three hits, with all three of Fitzgerald's being doubles. 

AJ Politi has not pitched as well as he would like this season, but the hard-throwing right-hander has now had two solid outings in a row. On Tuesday, he went five and allowed two runs on six hits, though two of the hits were solo home runs. He walked two and struck out four. Matthew Kent scattered three hits over 1 2/3, and Alex Scherff struck out two in 1 1/3 innings. 

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After being almost unhittable for two months with Salem, Brandon Walter has gotten off to a rocky start with the Drive. Walter allowed nine runs, seven earned, in 3 1/3 innings. He struck out seven and did not walk a batter but he was tagged for 10 hits. Brendan Nail and Cody Scroggins followed with two strikeouts apiece in their scoreless outings. 

Home runs from Christian Koss and Brandon Howlett were the bright spot offensively, with Koss hitting his fourth and Howlett launching number 10. Howlett now has nine home runs since the start of June, which leads the system. 

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Stephen Scott drove in eight runs as he tried to outscore the Woodpeckers by himself. Scott hit a grand slam, a three-run double, and an RBI double as he had one of the best games of his career. He also stole a base for good measure. Joe Davis hit his team-leading ninth home run in the victory, and both Gilberto Jimenez and Matthew Lugo went 1 for 3 with a walk. 

After tossing five shutout innings in his Salem debut, Chih-Jung Liu was not able to replicate that success against Fayetteville. Liu gave up five runs in three innings, walking three and striking out four. The best reliever in this one was Alexander Montero who struck out four over two hitless innings. 

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FCL Red Sox @ FCL Rays, PPD (rain) 
As of the writing of this article, the website still lists this game as delayed, though at this point it is safe to assume it was postponed.

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After rain spoiled the opener, the Red Sox Red squad kicked their season off on Tuesday. They managed only three hits, but all of them went for extra bases. Axel James and Allan Castro both tripled while Ahbram Liendo added a double and two walks out of the leadoff spot. The defense was not in midseason form as the team committed three errors and allowed four steals, including one of home. 

Luis Perales, Boston's highest-ranked pitching prospect in the DSL, made his debut and allowed a run in two innings while walking one and striking out three. Efren Diaz struck out three as well in his two hitless innings before the defense let down Cesar Soto. He allowed five runs without recording an out, though only one of the runs was earned. He is still stuck with the infinity ERA until his next appearance. 

Catcher Ronald Rosario had a huge day to lead the Red Sox Blue. Rosario went 3 for 4 with a home run and four RBI. Juan Chacon went 1 for 2 with two walks, and Alexis Hernandez went 2 for 3 with a walk. Starter Yizreel Burnet was wild as he walked five and allowed one run over two innings, and Henry Morales earned the win after striking out the side in his lone inning of work.

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Player of the Day: Salem loaded the bases for Stephen Scott twice and he cleared them each time. A grand slam, a three-run double, and another RBI double added up to eight RBI on the day for the 24-year-old. Scott was the catcher on Tuesday, though he has also played first base and left field. Scott has quietly been one of the top hitters for Salem this year, and the former Vanderbilt Commodores could be working towards a promotion to Greenville if he continues to hit. 

Photo Credit: Stephen Scott by Kelly O'Connor

 
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