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Red Sox Minor Lines: Pitching dominates the day

Good pitching in all four games in the system.

Pawtucket PPD

Portland G1 L 0-1

Brett Netzer, 2B: 1-3

C.J. Chatham, SS: 0-3, 2 K

Bobby Dalbec, 3B: 0-2, 1 BB, 1 K

Jerry Downs, 1B: 2-2

Denyi Reyes: 5 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 5 K (91 pitches)

Brian Ellington: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K (16 pitches)

Portland G2 W 1-0

Nick Lovullo, 2B/3B: 2-4, 1 RBI

C.J. Chatham, SS: 2-4

Bobby Dalbec, 3B/1B: 0-3, 1 K

Tanner Houck: 6 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 6 K (88 pitches)

Durbin Feltman: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K (23 pitches)

It was a pair of 1-0 games for Saturday’s doubleheader in Binghamton. Portland’s offense didn’t have much of anything going on in either game, with the Sea Dogs failing to tally an extra-base hit in either game. The pitching, however, was strong all day. Reyes certainly could have been more efficient, but in what has been an up-and-down season he’ll take that outing. Ellington made his season debut after that, and the former Marlin was perfect. In the second game, Houck stole the show and is now starting to roll. Th 2017 first round pick now has a 3.60 ERA on the year with 21 strikeouts and seven walks over 20 innings. Over his last three starts he’s allowed just one run over 16 innings with 18 strikeouts and four walks.

Salem W 7-1

Jarren Duran, CF: 2-3, 1 BB, 2 R, 2 SB

Marco Hernandez, 1-3, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 SB

Pedro Castellanos, 1B: 3-3, 2 R, 2 RBI, 1 SB

Ryan Fitzgerad, SS: 1-4, 1 R, 2 K, 1 SB

Victor Acosta, LF: 3-4, 3 RBI, 1 K

Kutter Crawford: 5 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 3 K (87 pitches)

Hunter Smith: 2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 5 K (33 pitches)

Dominic LoBrutto: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K (24 pitches)

Salem is starting to roll, with the top half of their lineup really being the catalyst for everything they do. We all know Duran at this point, and Hernandez is only here as he makes his way back from injury. He did steal home in this game, though, which is neat. Castellanos got off to a brutal start but is heating up of late while Fitzgerald was off to a blazing start before cooling a bit of late. Acosta, though, flies more under the radar but he is a solid hitter. The 22-year-old has spent parts of three seasons in Salem (including this one), which helps, but he’s now hitting .346/.404/.404. There’s not a lot of power here, but the hit tool has flashed in very impressive ways in the lower minors. Also, another day another strong start for Crawford. Ho hum.

Greenville W 1-0

Cole Brannen, CF: 1-4, 1 2B, 2 K

Tyler Esplin, RF: 0-4, 2 K

Triston Casas, 1B: 0-4, 3 K

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

Thad Ward: 6 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 5 K (77 pitches)

Yoan Aybar: 1.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K (15 pitches)

Rio Gomez: 1.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K (24 pitches)

This game was all about the pitching for Greenville, but it’s worth noting that this was Howlett’s first multi-hit game since April 10. Hopefully this sparks a little hot streak. Meanwhile, Greenville won this game because their pitching kept Lexington off the board. Ward, last year’s fifth round pick out of Central Florida hasn’t been perfect all year. The righty has had control issues and his last two starts before this one were a little rough. There is some talent that could move relatively quickly, albeit with a limited ceiling, if the command can settle down a bit. In the ‘pen, Aybar is still developing as the former outfielder has big stuff but big command issues as well. Gomez, however, has been dominant in relief with a 1.38 ERA in 13 innings with 19 strikeouts and only two walks. At 24 years old, Gomez probably needs a new challenge.

Player of the Day: Obviously this has to go to one of the starters, and among all of these strong performances Houck’s stands out the most. This was a second consecutive dominant outing for the righty, who many still believe will end up in the bullpen. If/when the Red Sox do make that transition he should be able to help the big-league club in no time. However, he’s still succeeding in the rotation and has been particularly great since shifting back to his college style of throwing in the second half last year. As long as he continues to throw like this, he’s not changing roles.