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May 26, 2023 at 7:00 AM

Cup of Coffey: Isaac Coffey fans 11 again, Mayer drives in three

5/26 Cup of Coffee:
The major league club had an off-day, but there were plenty of happenings down on the farm. Isaac Coffey (pictured) turned in another outstanding start, backed by a three-RBI Marcelo Mayer effort. Nick Yorke and Ceddanne Rafaela went deep in Portland's one-run victory, while Miguel Bleis returned to the outfield in Salem's loss. Brandon Walter got a chance to follow an opener for Worcester but took the loss against a veteran Scranton lineup. 


The WooSox added a wrinkle on Thursday, bringing in scheduled starter Brandon Walter after an opener. Unfortunately, the change did not act as a catalyst, as the left-hander continues to muddle through a frustrating 2023 season. Joe Jacques took the mound first, firing two scoreless frames before giving way. Walter retired all three batters he faced in the third, but Scranton reached him for three runs in the fourth and four more in the sixth. Overall, the system's 10th-ranked prospect allowed seven runs in 3 2/3 innings. At the plate, eight different Worcester batters had exactly one hit apiece. Daniel Palka and Ronaldo Hernandez both doubled, while Wilyer Abreu had a single, walk, and pair of stolen bases.


Portland's two top prospects went deep to provide the offense. Nick Yorke blasted a solo home run in the fourth and Ceddanne Rafaela hit what proved to be the decisive two-run shot in the sixth. It was the second home run of the season for Rafaela and first since April 25th. Christian Koss picked up a pair of hits and a stolen base out of the ninth spot in the order. Grant Gambrell was less sharp in his second Double-A outing than last week's debut, needing 90 pitches to get through 4 2/3 innings, but he gutted through what proved to be a solid start. He allowed just one run on three hits, striking out four against three walks. Ryan Miller allowed a run in 1 1/3 innings of relief to get credit for the win. Jacob Webb, Ryan Zeferjahn, and Ryan Fernandez each contributed a scoreless frame, with Fernandez pitching the ninth for the save. 


Isaac Coffey turned in another sterling performance for Greenville. The 2022 10th-round pick had his second straight start with 11 strikeouts over six shutout innings. Coffey scattered three hits, threw 64 of 87 pitches for strikes, and did not issue a walk. He leads all Red Sox minor leaguers as well as the South Atlantic League with 61 strikeouts. Rome reached Nathan Landry for a pair of runs, sandwiched by scoreless efforts by Jordan DiValerio and Alex Hoppe.

Another big night at the plate by Marcelo Mayer gave Coffey all the offensive support he needed. Mayer drove in three runs as part of a 2-for-5 effort that included a double and a run scored. Max Ferguson was 3 for 5 with a pair of stolen bases, and Brainer Bonaci picked up two hits on the night.


Every member of the Salem lineup had a least one knock as part of a balanced 11-hit attack, but was doomed by a 2-for-11 effort with runners in scoring position. Juan Chacon reached base three times out of the leadoff spot, going 2 for 4 with a walk and two stolen bases. Yorberto Mejicano also had a pair of singles, while a Karson Simas double was Salem's only extra-base hit. Two days after returning to the lineup after a two-week absence, Miguel Bleis made his first start in the field. He went 1 for 5 on the night. Starter Jose Ramirez allowed three runs (one earned) on three hits in five innings, striking out six and walking two. The 1.30 ERA for Ramirez is the lowest in the system among pitchers with at least 25 innings. 


Player of the Day: The race for South Atlantic League strikeout king keeps moving back and forth in the Greenville rotation. Angel Bastardo opened the day as the pace-setting, but an 11-K effort by Isaac Coffey thrust him to the lead. It was the third start this season in which Coffey has fanned 11 batters as he lowed his ERA to 2.89. Coffey has only walked seven batters all season, and he has managed to avoid troubles with the long ball in his last two starts. After surrendering 10 homers in his first six outings, Coffey has now logged 14 1/3 straight innings without one. 

Photo Credit: Isaac Coffey  by Kelly O'Connor