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SoxProspects News

June 22, 2022 at 7:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Bello dominates with seven shutout innings; Yorke returns to lineup


6/21 Cup of Coffee:
The organization celebrated the summer solstice with a slate of outstanding pitching. The usual excellence of Brayan Bello (pictured) was joined all the way down the ladder, as all stateside teams received a stellar performance. Jay Groome paced the group in strikeouts but was the only one to allow so much as a run. Yusniel Padron-Artiles surrendered just one hit for Greenville, while Salem's Angel Bastardo and the Luis De La Rosa of the FCL Sox went four scoreless innings apiece. Nick Yorke also returned to the Greenville lineup, Marcelo Mayer broke out of his skid, and Niko Kavadas continued his June dominance.

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Misleading click-bait headline: Brayan Bello moves to Worcester bullpen. Believers in Bello as a starting pitcher were given no reason to fear on Tuesday. The team's top pitching prospect got his scheduled work beginning in the second inning in deference to rehabbing lefty Josh Taylor. Taylor pitched a quick first inning before giving way to Bello, who was electric. The 23-year-old went seven scoreless innings, scattering five hits, striking out seven against just one walk, and recording 10 outs on the ground. He needed just 92 pitches to complete the seven frames, 60 of which were strikes. It marked just the third time as a professional that Bello went seven innings, and the first time he went that distance without surrendering a run. Kaleb Ort struck out a pair in a scoreless ninth inning to preserve the win.

Bello was supported by a 12-hit effort from the Worcester offense. Jaylin Davis led the way, going 3 for 4 with a homer, triple, and two runs scored. Connor Wong also chipped in with three hits, while Christin Stewart was 2 for 2 with a homer and two walks. Christian Arroyo joined Taylor on the rehab assignment. He got the start as the designated hitter and went 0 for 3.

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Jay Groome found himself in a dual with Giants top pitching prospect Kyle Harrison. Groome surrendered a two-run homer in the first inning but settled in after that. The lefty went six innings, allowing just the two runs on three hits. He walked two, and matched a career high with 10 strikeouts. Groome how allowed two or fewer runs in 10 of his 13 appearances on the season. Harrison held the Portland lineup at bay, but the Sea Dogs prevailed when the game was turned over to the bullpens. Jacob Wallace, Caleb Simpson, and Oddanier Mosqueda each pitched a scoreless inning in relief. Pedro Castellanos extended his hitting streak to 17 games with a double, while Kole Cottam drove in one as part of his 2-for-4 effort. 

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Nick Yorke picked a tough day to make his return to the Greenville lineup. The Drive were held to just two hits and struck out 17 times against a trio of Bowling Green hurlers, spoiling an outstanding effort by Yusniel Padron-Artiles (pictured, right). The 24-year-old righty surrendered just one hit across five scoreless innings, striking out six and walking one. Yorke, out since June 7 with back stiffness, was back in his familiar digs at second base and the leadoff spot but had a most unfamiliar 0-for-4 night that included three strikeouts. Alex Binelas doubled for the only Greenville extra-base hit.

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Salem fell in extra innings despite a solid starting effort by Angel Bastardo and an offense that produced 12 runs and 23 total bases. Bastardo scattered five hits over four shutout innings, striking out six batters, and walking just one. However, efficiency was an issue for the right-hander as it took 78 pitches to complete those four frames. The Salem bullpen was unable to hold the advantage, allowing eight runs over seven innings. Joey Stock was the tough-luck loser, allowing the automatic runner to score in the 10th on a wild pitch despite retiring all three batters he faced in the inning. 

Niko Kavadas continued his torrid June with a double and a home run. He has reached base safely in all 17 contests this month, blasting eight homers on his way to a .377/.541/.925 line. Marcelo Mayer went 0 for 20 in last week's series with Delmarva, but he broke out of the skid with a 2-for-5 effort that included a double. Nathan Hickey blasted a two-run game-tying home run in the bottom of the ninth, and Brainer Bonaci added a pair of hits. Blaze Jordan also had a two-hit night, giving him 21 hits during an 11-game hitting streak. 

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The run of excellent starting pitching continued to Fort Myers, where Luis De La Rosa fired four hitless innings. The 19-year-old, acquired in the Andrew Benintendi trade, struck out two and walked two in his second appearance of the season. Merfy Andrew allowed one run in three innings of relief, followed by a hitless inning apiece by Jhonny Felix and Bryan Lucas. Lyonell James led the way at the plate, going 2 for 3 with a double, walk, RBI, and run scored. Miguel Bleis doubled as part of a two-hit night, while Jhostynxson Garcia added a triple.

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The Blue squad improved to 10-3 with a victory on Tuesday. Armando Sierra picked up another three hits, bringing him to 23 for 49 (.469) through 13 games. Sierra doubled and drove in three runs in the victory. Fraymi De Leon was 2 for 4 with a walk and two runs scored. Luis Cohen got the start, allowing two hits across four scoreless innings, striking out seven, and walking three. Stiwar Adames got credit for the win, striking out five across three scoreless innings of relief.

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The Sox took advantage of four doubles and eight walks to down the Guardians. Jancel Santana was 2 for 5 with two doubles, two RBI, and a run scored out of the leadoff spot. Axel James had a pair of hits and Ronny Ramirez doubled, walked, and scored a pair. All three runs allowed by Smil Guzman in his two innings of work were unearned, a result of two second-inning errors. Starlin Santos was excellent in relief, allowing one hit in three scoreless innings, striking out six, walking one, and picking up the victory.

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Player of the Day: On a day that featured outstanding pitching across the system, it was Greenville right-hander Yusniel Padron-Artiles who was most dominant. The minor league record holder for most consecutive strikeouts didn't quite match those heights, but he did strike out six Bowling Green batters in five innings while allowing only two baserunners. The right-hander struggled with the long ball the first two months of the season, surrendering 12 in nine appearances, but he has given up just one in four June starts on his way to a 3.60 ERA for the month.

Photo Credit: Brayan Bello, Yusniel Padron-Artiles by Kelly O'Connor