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September 21, 2021 at 7:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: A grand slam for Axel, and a trio of hits for Lira


 9/21 Cup of Coffee:  With the 2021 Florida Complex League officially in the books, the Dominican Summer League is the only thing we've got left on to talk about on Tuesday mornings for a while. Fortunately, there's plenty of excitement there. Yesterday's games featured a grand slam, a talented catching prospect going off, and some very solid pitching performances from both the starters and the relievers.

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Alex Zapete got the scoring started early with a first inning RBI double, and Armando Sierra drove him in shortly after with an RBI base hit to center. Alexis Hernandez homered an inning later, giving the Blue team a 3-0 lead. Blue got one more run in the top of the sixth inning courtesy of a Rivaldo Avila RBI single to left. The Blue team also benefited from a strong start by Yordanny Monegro. The 18-year-old righty went four shutout innings, surrendering only a hit and two walks while striking out six. Stiwar Adames picked up his third win of the season, allowing a run over two innings, while Railin Perez earned his ninth save of the season, striking out three over two innings and dropping his ERA to a meager 1.23 over 29.1 innings.

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Despite the Red team's ultimately high score, the offense got started in earnest. Luis Ravelo belted a two-run homer in the third inning, but the team didn't score again until the seventh when Axel James blasted a grand slam to right. Enderso Lira hit an RBI double in the eighth inning, putting a bow on a three hit, two walk game before scoring on a Ahbram Liendo single. Miguel Bleis doubled and scored two runs as well. Jose Ramirez continued his streak of dominance on the mound, pitching four scoreless innings. The 20-year-old righty allowed three hits, walked two, and struck out five. He now owns a microscopic ERA of 1.14. Frailyn Sanchez got the win, his fourth of the season, with two scoreless innings of relief. Efren Diaz closed the door with with a scoreless ninth.

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Player of the Day: His stats this season might not jump off the pages, but Enderso Lira has performed as well as one can expect a 17-year-old to, slashing .232/.407/.321 over 150 plate appearances. His 30 walks compared to just 17 strikeouts show just why scouts have been impressed by his advanced, extremely selective approach. He's athletic enough that he could move to third base if he outgrows catcher, and he boasts an above-average arm that could improve as he continues to mature physically.