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Red Sox Minor Lines: Bryan Mata looks good in loss

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And Jenrry Mejia saves the day in Pawtucket.

Pawtucket W 3-2

Tzu-Wei Lin, SS: 0-4, 1 K, 1 E

Rusney Castillo, RF: 0-4

Michael Chavis, 2B: 0-2, 2 BB, 1 K

Sam Travis, DH: 1-4, 1 K, 1 SB

Josh Ockimey, 1B: 1-2, 1 HR, 2 BB, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 K

Bryce Brentz, LF: 1-4, 1 HR, 1 R, 1 RBI, 3 K, 1 E

Gorkys Hernández, CF: 1-2, 1 BB, 1 R

Sandy León, C: 0-3, 1 K

Erasmo Ramírez: 6 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 5 K (72 pitches)

Josh Taylor: 0.2 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 0 K (24 pitches)

Jenrry Mejia: 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K (26 pitches)

This was an exciting game for those in Syracuse, particularly those who were rooting for the road team. Pawtucket jumped out to an early lead with back-to-back homers from Ockimey and Brentz before trying their best to blow it in the eighth. Mejia had a huge performance out of the bullpen, though, coming in with two outs and the bases loaded in a one-run game and getting a huge strikeout. The former Mets closer is looking strong early in the year, allowing just one run over his first four appearance (5 13 innings) with five strikeouts and no walks. This could end up being one of the better minor-league signings in some time for the Red Sox. Additionally, Ockimey is off to a hot start with a 1.032 OPS, hits in each of his last four games and a homer in two of his last three.

Salem L 2-3

Jarren Duran, CF: 1-5, 2 K, 1 2B

Ryan Fitzgerald, SS: 2-5, 1 2B

Pedro Castellanos, 1B: 2-4, 1 BB, 1 R

Jagger Rusconi, LF: 2-5, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 1 K, 1 CS

Tanner Nishioka, 2B: 2-2, 1 BB, 1 R, 1 E

Mario Campana, RF: 3-4, 1 2B, 1 K, 1 CS

Bryan Mata: 5.1 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 8 K (82 pitches)

Jake Thompson: 2.2 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 1 K (33 pitches)

Jake Cosart: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K (11 pitches)

This was a very frustrating day for Salem, who had 13 hits as a team and only managed two runs for the game. This was a matter of just not getting the hits when they needed them, as they were 0-13 as a team with runners in scoring position. On a more positive note, this was a strong showing for Mata. The righty is looking better in his first two starts than he did in Salem last year, allowing just three runs (one earned) over 11 innings with 11 strikeouts and one walk. That last part is the key, as Mata struggled mightily with his control in 2018 but very early on he appears to have solved that issue.

Greenville L 3-4 (F/10)

Cole Brannen, CF: 0-5, 1 R, 1 RBI, 3 K, 1 SB

Kole Cottam, C: 2-4, 2 K

Triston Casas, 1B: 1-3, 1 BB, 2 K, 1 CS

Brandon Howlett, 3B: 0-3, 2 K, 1 E

Grant Williams, SS: 3-3, 1 BB, 1 RBI

Thad Ward: 5 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 7 K (60 pitches)

Yoan Aybar: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K (17 pitches)

Another wild but ultimately frustrating game on Thursday’s docket, the Drive looked to have the momentum late in this game. They got a run in the top of the eighth to tie this game at one before scoring two in the top half of the tenth. With a 3-1 lead heading into the bottom of the tenth with all three runs coming unanswered, they were feeling good. Howlett would make a key error in that frame, though, and it led to a walk-off performance from Rome. If you’re looking for positives, look at the starting pitcher with Thad Ward, who is off to a strong start in his first full professional season.

Player of the Day: Bryan Mata was the highest profile success on Thursday, but I’m going to highlight Thad Ward here. Last year’s fifth round pick out of the University of Central Florida, the righty kind of flew under the radar in Lowell in his first taste of professional baseball. Now in Greenville he has ten innings through his first two starts with a sub-3.00 ERA, 13 strikeouts and just two walks. The ceiling isn’t huge for Ward, but he could be a relatively quick mover and has a chance to stick as a back-end starter if everything goes well.