Pawtucket W 9-6 (F/10)
Sam Travis, DH: 1-5, 1 HR, 2 R, 1 RBI, 2 K
Bryce Brentz, LF: 2-4, 1 HR, 1 BB, 2 R, 2 RBI, 1 K
Josh Ockimey, 1B: 0-3, 2 BB, 1 R, 2 K
Juan Centeno, C: 2-4, 1 BB, 1 R, 1 RBI
Cole Sturgeon, RF: 2-4, 1 BB, 1 R, 2 RBI, 1 K
Mike Shawaryn: 5.2 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 4 K (94 pitches)
Josh Taylor: 1 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 0 BB, 0 K (21 pitches)
Jenrry Mejia: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K (14 pitches)
It was a thriller in Norfolk as Pawtucket jumped out to a 5-0 lead within the first two-and-a-half innings, but then couldn’t score for a while after that. The Tides just kept chipping away before scoring three against Taylor in the eighth. That’s an ugly line for Taylor giving up six hits in an inning, but it’s worth noting they were all singles so it’s hard to say for sure just how much of it was on him. Either way, it forced extras and Brentz hit a two-run homer to break the tie in the tenth. It was a solid day all-around, with Travis hitting a homer of his own to give him three extra-base hits in his last two days. On the mound, Shawaryn had another solid day as he waits for a major-league call-up that should come at some point this summer. The same can be said for Mejia, who has been mostly good in the late innings in Triple-A.
Portland L 1-11
Dustin Pedroia, DH: 0-4, 1 K
Brett Netzer, 2B: 1-4, 1 K
Bobby Dalbec, 3B: 0-4, 2 K
Marcus Wilson, CF: 1-3, 1 BB, 1 R, 1 K
Tanner Houck: 2.2 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 1 BB, 3 K (60 pitches)
Zach Schellenger: 0.1 IP, 0 H, 3 R, 4 BB, 0 K (27 pitches)
I was actually supposed to be at this game but was unable to make it down there, and after seeing this box score I’m okay with that. Yikes. Houck had a really rough day not even making it through three innings and giving him his second straight bad start. He seemed to be getting into a groove to close out April, but his first two starts in May are looking more like his old, inconsistent self. Meanwhile, Schellenger has been perhaps the most disappointing guy in the system to me this year. I thought he could be a potential mid-season call up if he pitched to his potential but he has had no control all season. He threw 27 pitches in this game and just eight strikes, recording just one out. On the year he now has 17 walks in just seven innings with nine strikeouts.
Salem W 5-3
Jarren Duran, CF: 3-5, 2 R, 1 K
Marco Hernandez, SS: 3-4, 1 2B, 1 R, 2 RBI
Pedro Castellanos, 1B: 2-4, 1 R, 1 K
Ryan Fitzgerald, 3B: 1-4, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 1 K
Jake Cosart: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K (28 pitches)
Salem fell down 3-0 very quickly in this game, even before they got to the plate. That was all their pitching would allow, though, and the offense turned it on as the game went on. By the end, their top two hitters each had three hits, their top three hitters all had multiple hits, and every hitter in the lineup had at least one. This is a really good contact team that can put together hot stretches like this. On the mound, Cosart is putting together a really good year for himself. After this latest outing he now has a 1.72 ERA with 16 strikeouts and two walks in 15 2⁄3 innings. Of course, this comes after spending the second half last year in Portland. I’ve never been a huge Cosart fan, but if he’s hitting the zone with any consistency he can make it work.
Greenville W 6-4
Tyler Esplin, RF: 0-3, 2 BB, 2 R, 1 K
Devlin Granberg, DH: 1-5, 1 2B
Triston Casas, 1B: 3-4, 1 HR, 1 R, 4 RBI
Brandon Howlett, 3B: 2-4, 1 HR, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 K
Alan Marrero, C: 2-3, 1 HR, 1 BB, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 E
Thad Ward: 6 IP, 3 H, 4 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 7 K (84 pitches)
Logan Browning: 1.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K (20 pitches)
Remember when Casas was struggling at the beginning of the year? It’s almost as if this is a big adjustment for a high school kid who had injuries rob him of his first professional summer experience last year. The 2018 first round pick has been scorching of late, and he carried that into Thursday’s game. He now has four homers in eight games since the start of May and is currently hitting .252/.322/.505 on the season. On April 20, he was hitting .180/.300/.300 to give you an idea of how far he’s come. Meanwhile, fellow 2018 draftee Thad Ward continues to put together a solid full-season debut. With this latest outing he has a 3.50 ERA in seven starts and 26 innings with 44 strikeouts and 17 walks. Browning, yet another 2018 draftee, is flying under the radar in Greenville’s bullpen, too. He now has 26 strikeouts and just four walks in 19 2⁄3 innings to go with a 3.20 ERA.
Player of the Day: This one is not really much of a contest. There were a lot of solid performances in the system on Thursday, but Casas so clearly stands out above the rest. As I said above, the 2018 first rounder is scorching hot right now and is looking like the guy who was ranked as the top prospect in the system by Fangraphs and was given a chance by most to ascend to that position unanimously by the end of the year. A few hot weeks doesn’t make that a sure thing, of course, but he’s on his way and we’re seeing why the Red Sox were so excited about this bat.