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August 24, 2022 at 7:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Casas mashes in slugfest; Ramirez unhittable in FCL finale


8/24 Cup of Coffee:
Tuesday marked the end of the regular season for the complex league teams. The FCL Sox closed their regular season in style, as a quartet of pitchers combined on a two-hit shutout before moving on to the postseason. Starter Jose Ramirez (pictured) struck out 10 in five hitless innings. The DSL Red Sox Blue will be joining their FCL counterparts in the playoffs despite dropping their finale. The DSL Red Sox Red got outstanding pitching in their final push, earning the win but falling a game short of qualifying. In the full-season leagues, Worcester and Portland both fell in slugfests, despite big nights from Triston Casas and Christian Koss. Greenville and Salem both were victorious as Wyatt Olds and Juan Daniel Encarnacion turned in strong starts.

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The WooSox nearly clawed their way back from an early seven-run deficit, scoring six runs in the final three innings before falling short. Triston Casas continued his late-season surge to lead the way at the plate. The first baseman was 3 for 4 with a double, triple, and intentional walk. He drove in two runs and scored two more. Abraham Almonte also had a triple and two RBI as part of his two-hit effort. Christin Stewart and Ronaldo Hernandez had two hits apiece. It was a tough start for Chris Murphy, who went three innings and surrendered three homers, including a two-run shot by Francisco Alvarez. Overall, Murphy allowed seven runs on seven hits, walking three and striking out two. 

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It was a tough night on the mound as all five Portland hurlers allowed at least one run. Brian Van Belle had a run of solid outings snapped, going just 2/3 of an inning, allowing four runs (three earned), and walking two without striking out a batter. Michael Gettys also saw his scoreless streak snapped. The converted outfielder had not given up an earned run in any of his previous 10 outings since his promotion to Portland and in 17 appearances across two levels. Hartford finally reached him in the ninth on a triple followed by a sacrifice fly. Christian Koss was the highlight for the Sea Dogs, going 2 for 4 with a double and two RBI. Alex Binelas his a three-run blast in the sixth, his 24th home run of the season.

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SoxProspects.com Director of Scouting Ian Cundall is in Greenville for the week, and Marcelo Mayer gave him an appropriate welcome, ripping a double in the first inning. Mayer added a pair of walks, giving him eight in twelve games since moving up. Nathan Hickey supplied all the offense the Drive needed with a three-run homer in the fifth. The 2021 fifth-round pick has gone deep 11 times across two levels. Wyatt Olds got the win, allowing one run on four hits in five innings, striking out five and walking two. Brandon Cellucci was a highlight in relief, striking out all four batters he faced.

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Salem picked up the win in the series opener on a sterling effort by Juan Daniel Encarnacion. The 21-year-old righty scattered four hits across six scoreless innings, striking out six while walking one. It was the first time Encarnacion completed six full innings since May 13, and the 11th time he went at least five innings while allowing two or fewer runs. Osvaldo De La Rosa struck out two in a scoreless ninth to earn the save, his first since 2019 when he was a member of the Lowell Spinners. Eddinson Paulino was 2 for 5 out of the leadoff spot, picking up his 30th double of the year and stealing his 25th base. Paulino is hitting .313/.427/.448 in August. Karson Simas was 3 for 4 out of the 9th spot, driving in a pair.

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The FCL Sox staff flirted with a no-hitter in their final regular-season tuneup before the playoffs, keeping the Twins hitless until there was one out in the eighth. Jose Ramirez got the start, going five hitless frames and striking out 10 of the 19 batters he faced. He did walk one batter and hit two others. It was the second straight start in which Ramirez threw five innings without allowing a hit. Nathan Landry followed with two hitless innings. Jonathan Brand and Jaret Godman went an inning apiece, both allowing one hit. Miguel Ugueto returned to the field on a rehab assignment. On the Salem injured list since May 12, Ugueto was 2 for 4 with a pair of RBI. First-round pick Mikey Romero was 1 for 3 with a walk out of the leadoff spot, while Cutter Coffey ripped a double for his first professional extra-base hit. Roman Anthony went 0 for 3, snapping a nine-game career-opening hitting streak.

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The Red Sox Blue cruised into the playoffs with a 44-16 record, but a loss in the season's final game knocked them out of the top seed. Armando Sierra notched his 15th double of the year as part of a 2-for-3 effort, finishing the regular season with a .314 batting average. Miguel Rojas also had two hits, adding a double, walk, and run scored. Daniel Nunez took the loss despite not allowing a hit in 2 1/3 innings. Control was an issue for Nunez, as he walked three and hit a batter.

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Team Red took care of business in the season finale but did not get the help it needed as a win by the DSL Dodgers Mega kept the team a game out of the final playoff spot. Eybersson Polanco was outstanding in the final start of his All-Star campaign, giving up just one hit in four scoreless innings, striking out six and walking one. Jogly Garcia struck out six without walking a batter in three scoreless frames, allowing just two hits. Simon Pacheco completed the shutout with two shutout innings, striking out three without issuing a walk. Natanael Yuten was 1 for 4 with a triple and pair of runs scored out of the leadoff spot. Franyer Noria and Enmanuel Martinez had two hits apiece. 

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Player of the Day: Jose Ramirez went five no-hit innings on the final day of the regular season, channeling longtime Red Sox prospect Devern Hansack's memorable 2006 finale. It was an up-and-down 2022 for Ramirez, as the righty went 7-2 and struck out 48 batters in 42 1/3 innings, but also allowing more than a run per inning in five of his 13 outings. His final two starts, going five hitless innings in both, dropped his ERA from 7.24 to 5.74. Ramirez was much more effective in a starting role, posting a 2.84 in five starts, but an 8.10 mark in eight relief or piggyback appearances.

Photo Credit: Jose Ramirez by Kelly O'Connor