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September 18, 2021 at 7:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Wins, offense hard to come by for affiliates on quiet Friday



9/18 Cup of Coffee:
Wins were hard to come by for the affiliates Friday, but a number of strong individual performances overshadowed the wins and losses on this night. Jeter Downs (pictured) offered some late-season inspiration in Worcester, while Nicholas Northcut added a big-three run blast despite his team's losing effort. Yusniel Padron-Ariles was a hard-luck loser in his impressive effort on the mound.

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Worcester was three-hit in a sluggish offensive output on Friday, with the lone bright spot being Jeter Downs. Syracuse let loose a flurry with 13 hits and the seven runs, with much of the damage coming against Worcester starter Kyle Hart. He went five innings, allowing seven hits and two walks versus five strikeouts, giving up three runs. Austin Brice, Stephen Gonsalves, and Brad Peacock all allowed runs in relief. Downs recorded two of the team's three hits, giving his team the only run on a fifth-inning solo home run. Jhonny Pereda managed the team's only other hit in the contest. Worcester's late-season stumble has put them a little further from playoff position, now sitting 5.5 games out of a postseason spot.

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The Sea Dogs jumped out to an early 6-0 lead after the top of the third inning and never looked back for a comfortable win. Four players recorded multiple hits, including Kole Cottam's 3-for-4 effort -- all singles -- led to two runs for Portland. Pedro Castellanos was 2 for 5 with a home run, Devlin Granberg also added two hits including a round-tripper, and Ronaldo Hernandez added two hits of his own. On the mound, Josh Winckowski improved to 8-3 on the year after his impressive six-inning effort with just three hits, one walk, and one earned run to his name. Andrew Politi, Tyler Olson, Denyi Reyes, and Zach Schellenger combined to finish off the win, with only Reyes allowing any more runs. Portland remains 3.5 games out of first place in AA-Northeast after their second consecutive win.

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This low-scoring affair came down to the wire, with a fourth-inning run -- a solo home run off Yusniel Padron-Artiles -- the only scoring in this close-knit affair. Padron-Artilles gave up three hits and one walk, striking out five in the loss. Casey Cobb fared admirably, going four innings and giving up just three hits, walking none and striking out three. Offensively, Greenville picked up just four hits. Nick Yorke had the only extra-base hit with a double.

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A seven-run fifth inning was the difference for Delmarva in a lopsided victory Friday. Jordan DiValerio took the hard-luck loss, allowing seven runs on seven hits and two walks in a frustrating effort following four solid innings by Wilkelman Gonzalez. Miguel Suero pitched admirably over 3.1 innings of work, but Cole Milam gave up three runs to end any hope of a massive comeback. Offensively, Tyler Miller led the way with two hits including an 8th-inning home run. Nicholas Northcut added a three-run blast in the fourth inning for Salem. The Red Sox have now lost three straight, putting their playoff chances at risk as the season winds down.

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The only starter without a hit in this one was Marcelo Mayer, but he still managed to walk and steal two bases. Phillip Sikes was once again the star offensively, going 2 for 3 with a home run, double, and a walk. His OPS is up to 1.100 over 73 at-bats. Karson Simas went 3 for 4 and drove in two runs, and Miguel Ugueto went 2 for 3 with a double, walk, and two RBI. There was more than enough support for Juan Daniel Encarnacion, who was dominant on Friday. He struck out eight and allowed just two hits over four innings of one-run ball. The win was credited to Blake Loubier as he allowed one run over two innings. 

FCL Red Sox @ FCL Twins, Suspended (Lightning)
The second game of the doubleheader was suspended in the second inning due to lightning. The Red Sox were trailing 2-0. 

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One of the few bright spots in this one was Francis Hernandez, though he still took the loss. Hernandez allowed just an unearned run in three innings, walking one and striking out four. The only other pitcher to not allow an earned run was Jesus Rosillo. Rosillo has yet to allow an earned run in 22 innings this season. The only notable performance on offense was Luis Ravelo, who went 2 for 5 with a double. 

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Jedixson Paez was bit by the long ball in an otherwise solid start. Paez struck out six without walking a batter over 5 1/3, but he served up two home runs that led to three runs. Royman Blanco recorded the last eight outs and allowed just an unearned run while striking out three. It was the first loss of the season for Paez, who has been great all year. Jhostynxon Garcia's fourth triple was the only extra-base hit on the day, and Johnfrank Salazar went 1 for 3 with a walk and an RBI. 

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Player of the Day: It hasn't been a season to write home about for Jeter Downs, as his .179 batting average can attest. It wasn't quite the output Sox fans had hoped for following the Mookie Betts trade in which he was a cornerstone. But a late outburst of offense may have fans eager for next season and a fresh start. Downs continued his uptick in production Friday with two of his team's three hits, including his 13th home run of the season. Downs is currently 5th in the SoxProspects rankings.


Photo Credit: Jeter Downs by Kelly O'Connor