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Red Sox minor lines: Roenis Elias takes the lead for fifth starter spot

Roenis Elias had two chances to show he deserves the fifth starter spot before June 18th. After one, he seems the clear favorite.

Pawtucket W 11-6 (6/4)

Rusney Castillo: 1-2
Deven Marrero: 2-5, SB

Kyle Martin: 1.2 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 4 BB, 1 K

Pawtucket W 4-1 (6/5)

Deven Marrero: 3-4, 2B, K

Roenis Elias: 9 IP, 8 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 8 K, 1 HR

John Farrell wanted someone to step up and show they should be the one pitching for the Red Sox in two week's time, when they need a fifth starter again. Well, how's that for making a case? Elias struggled a fair bit in his last start, taking the shine of the two excellent games that had preceded it. But making this the fourth in the series should take plenty of that sting away. His 2016 numbers are still pedestrian, but in his last four, he's thrown 29 innings, allowed eight runs (2.48 ERA), allowed less than a baserunner per innings, and struck out 33.

The way his starts line up, the Red Sox can only get one more start out of him before making the decision to give him the start on the 18th. Right now, that one start is probably all that stands between Elias and the majors. The fifth spot may not 100% be his to lose, but it's close.

Salem W 4-3 (6/4)

Yoan Moncada: 0-5, K
Mauricio Dubon: 0-3, 2 BB, K
Nick Longhi: 1-4
Joseph Monge: 1-3, 3B, BB

Salem L 0-1 (In 5) (6/5)

Yoan Moncada: 0-3
Mauricio Dubon: 0-2
Nick Longhi: 1-2, 2B
Rafael Devers: 1-2
Joseph Monge: 0-2, K

It's Moncada's fault for playing so well early this season that an 0-for-8 looks completely unreasonable rather than just unfortunate. But it does kind of feel like the rest button has been pressed yet again after that 7-for-10 burst.  We're all waiting on him to get hot and stay hot again, but it's just not quite sticking.

Greenville W 6-5

Austin Rei: 1-4
Luis Alexander Basabe: 1-4, 3 K

Anderson Espinoza: 4 IP, 8 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 1 K

It's been kind of a weird season for Anderson Espinoza. He's shown flashes of the dominance he can manage, but there's also no few signs of how young and inexperienced he is. His ERA won't ever get too high thanks purely to having off-speed pitches and an overpowering fastball. But I'd bet the actual goal for Espinoza to make his way up to Salem will involve something like showing he can beat hitters in the zone and not just out of it, which in turn means locating his off-speed pitches, more than just having scoreless outings.