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August 23, 2021 at 6:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Decker hits two home runs; Jordan hits a grand slam

8/23 Cup of Coffee:
The rain led to a cancellation in Worcester, a suspended game in Portland, and an early completion in Rome. Salem was the only affiliate to get a full game in, and it used home runs from Nick Decker (pictured) and Blaze Jordan to support a strong pitching effort from Chih-Jung Liu and Wyatt Olds. In Greenville, Brandon Howlett and Christian Koss sparked the offense. 


Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (NYY) @ Worcester Red Sox, Canceled (rain) 
Sunday's game was canceled as Tropical Storm Henri hit the region. Scranton/Wilkes-Barre is not returning to Worcester this season, so the game will not be made up. 


Binghamton Rumble Ponies (NYM) @ Portland Sea Dogs, Suspended (rain)
The outer bands of Henri stretched all the way into Maine, and this game was ultimately suspended in the top of the fourth. The game was tied 3-3, with Roldani Baldwin lacing a three-run double. 


Rain also affected this one, and it was called in the top of the seventh. Dylan Spacke and Casey Cobb each threw three scoreless innings to combine for the abbreviated shutout. This was the Greenville debut for Cobb after he compiled a 2.18 ERA over 53 2/3 innings with Salem. Brandon Howlett broke out of a slump by going 2 for 3 with a double, triple, and walk. Joe Davis and Jaxx Groshans also had two hits and drove in two runs apiece. Both of Groshans' hits were doubles, and Christian Koss went 3 for 4 with 2 stolen bases. 


The 14-hit attack was led by Nick Decker who went 2 for 5 with two home runs. The biggest hit of the game was a grand slam by Blaze Jordan, as he went 1 for 4 with a walk. Nick Yorke had two singles and two walks, including an intentional walk, and Gilberto Jimenez went 2 for 5 with a double. 

Chih-Jung Liu went the first five innings and allowed three runs, two earned while striking out five. He did not walk a batter for the first time in eight starts with Salem. Wyatt Olds, Boston's seventh-rounder in this year's draft, made his Salem debut. He struck out five over two scoreless innings, walking one while also hitting two batters. Jordan DiValerio closed things out with two spotless frames. 


Player of the Day: For a light slate there were still plenty of performances to pick from. Nick Decker's two home runs were enough to win it, as the 21-year-old had his second career multi-home run game. The system's 28th-ranked prospect, Decker's OPS is back over .800 for Salem as he launched his fourth and fifth home runs of the season. Decker has solid numbers this season, with the biggest hole to poke being a lack of power. If he can continue to tap into his plus raw power, he can see his prospect status improve over the rest of the season.

Photo Credit: Nick Decker by Kelly O'Connor