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Red Sox Minor Lines: Pitchers movin’ on up

Kutter Crawford and Thad Ward make their debuts at new levels.

Pawtucket L 3-4

Gorkys Hernández, CF: 2-3, 1 HR, 2 BB, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 K

Steve Pearce, DH: 1-3, 1 BB, 1 K

Bryce Brentz, LF: 2-4, 1 HR, 2 R, 2 RBI, 1 K

Josh Ockimey, 1B: 0-4, 4 K

Ryan Weber: 6 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 2 K (70 pitches)

Jenrry Mejia: 1 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 0 K (21 pitches)

We don’t usually talk about minor-league closers and whether or not they should still hold that job because, well, we don’t care all that much about minor-league results. I’m not sure why Mejia is still closing games for Pawtucket, though. It probably makes sense not to use guys like Travis Lakins and Bobby Poyner in that role since they won’t be in it in the majors, but Mejia has been brutal since his hot start, watching his ERA climb from 3.65 on May 2 all the way up to 6,82 today.

Portland W 4-3

C.J. Chatham, SS: 1-4, 1 K

Bobby Dalbec, 3B: 0-4, 2 K

Joey Curletta, 1B: 0-4, 1 K

Luke Tendler, RF: 2-4, 2 HR, 2 R, 4 RBI

Kutter Crawford: 6 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 3 BB, 4 K (95 pitches)

This was the opposite of the Pawtucket game with Portland coming out on top in this close one thanks to a walk-off shot from Tenlder, his second homer of the game. The real story here as Crawford, though, as the 2017 draft pick made his Double-A debut on Sunday. The righty was one of the system’s biggest breakouts last year, and he picked up where he left off in Salem this year. The strikeout-to-walk ratio in this one wasn’t great, but he was still efficient and limited damage. This is a big jump and he withstood his first test well.

Salem W 10-2

Keith Curcio, RF: 3-6, 1 3B, 2 R, 1 RBI, 2 K, 1 SB

Victor Acosta, DH: 3-6, 1 2B, 1 R, 3 RBI

Ryan Fitzgerald, SS: 2-6, 1 2 R, 2 K, 1 SB

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

Marcus Wilson, CF: 2-4, 1 HR, 1 BB, 1 R, 3 RBI

Thad Ward: 4.1 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 7 BB, 2 K (100 pitches)

Joan Martinez: 2.2 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 4 K (50 pitches)

Wilson is a home run machine right now. With another dinger in Sunday’s blowout win, Salem’s center fielder now has four homers in his last three games. In other news, there was another pitcher moving up the ladder with Ward, a 2018 draftee, being rewarded for a superb start in Greenville with a trip to Salem. I’m not entirely sure how he managed to only allow one run in this game after walking seven in 4 13 innings, but he did it. Overall, this is not one to remember for Ward, but ultimately he did get the job done in his short time in the game.

Greenville W 4-1

Cole Brannen, CF: 1-3, 2 BB, 1 RBI

Triston Casas, 1B: 0-4, 1 BB, 1 R, 2 K

Tyler Dearden, DH: 0-4, 1 BB, 1 R, 3 K

Brandon Howlett, 3B: 2-3, 1 BB, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 E

Grant Williams, SS: 2-3, 1 BB, 1 R

Alex Scherff: 4.2 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 8 K (95 pitches)

Hunter Haworth: 3.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 6 K (46 pitches)

I’m not sure if this is flying under the radar or if I’m just not paying attention, bu Howlett is really starting to turn things on of late. One of last year’s biggest short-season breakouts, the third baseman is hitting .357/.472/.518 this month. He’s taken a bit longer than Casas to come around, but Howlett is starting to adjust to full-season ball. Meanwhile, Scherff struggled with efficiency in this game but eight strikeouts is more like what we’re looking for from him.

Lowell W 6-5 (F/10)

Luke Bandy, LF: 2-5, 1 3B, 1 BB, 1 R, 1 RBI, 2 K

Gilberto Jimenez, CF: 2-6, 1 2B, 1 3B, 1 R, 1 RBI, 2 K

Nicholas Northcut, 3B: 0-4, 1 BB, 1 K

Nick Decker, RF: 1-5, 1 3B, 1 R, 2 K

Jonathan Diaz, C: 2-5, 1 2B, 1 R, 2 RBI

Antoni Flores, SS: 1-4, 1 E

Kervin Suarez, 2B: 2-5, 1 2B, 1 3B, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 K, 1 E

This was a nice all-around effort from Lowell, whose offense smacked seven extra-base hits in this game and ended up pulling out the win in extra innings. Jimenez continues to stand out statistically very early in the year. With this latest big game the outfielder is now hitting .440/448/.600. It’s just seven games so the numbers don’t mean a ton, but he’s clearly seeing and hitting the ball well.

Player of the Day: Sunday was a good day for the Red Sox farm system, but you always have to give this to the guy who hit two dingers. In this case, that’s Luke Tendler, who made one of his homers the walk-off piece in Portland. Tendler is a 27-year-old in his third season at Double-A, and is just an organizational piece. Those guys are still important, though, and sometimes they carry teams like Tendler did on Sunday.