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Red Sox minor lines: A strong step forward for Henry Owens

Henry Owens really needed a strong start. He provided just that Sunday.

Pawtucket L 3-4

Deven Marrero: 2-5, 3 K
Allen Craig: 1-3, 2 BB, K
Garin Cecchini: 1-4
Sean Coyle: 1-2, 2B, 2 BB, SB

Henry Owens: 6 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 7 K

That would be one legitimately strong start from Henry Owens right there. The best we've seen out of him in a month. He was using his changeup, yes, but importantly was using it in tandem with the curveball that's been a major issue for him this season. If it's a good enough pitch to set up his other two offerings without getting hammered or leading to walks (as has happened often enough this season), then it's doing its job. Still remains to be seen how it (and any of his other) pitches play at a higher level, but for now, this is the first really positive sign we've seen from the Henry Owens Curveball Project in a while.

Portland L 3-6

Justin Haley: 5 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 3 K, 1 HR

Salem W 7-0

Manuel Margot: 0-5, K
Sam Travis: 1-4 ,2B
Wendell Rijo: 0-2, BB, K

Trey Ball: 4 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 3 K
Williams Jerez: 3 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 4 K

Whereas Henry Owens was hitting all the right notes in his start, Trey Ball get's the hits and earned runs right, but the bigger red flags are still present. Given his recent history, where his excellent start from June 9th is the only time he hasn't walked more batters than he's struck out, this is actually a better start even peripherally speaking then we're used to from him. And there's something to be said for the fact that he's only allowed any runs in one of his last five starts, regardless of how he's gotten there. But this is not quite the follow-up I, at least, had been hoping for after his 5.2 excellent innings against  Lynchburg.

Greenville L 2-5 (In 11)

Rafael Devers: 1-4, BB
Nick Longhi: 3-5, K
Javier Guerra: 0-5, 2 K, E

Nick Longhi has quietly rejuvenated his season. One of the more impressive performers back in April, Longhi hit a nasty slump in May, seeing his numbers slide to a nadir of .250/.308/.371 on the 27th. Since then, he's hit in 13 of 16 games, and has his season line back up into respectable territory, with his OBP all the way up at .354. The wait for his power to emerge remains, but at least for now he's performing quite well for a 19-year-old in Greenville.