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Red Sox Minor Lines: Kutter Crawford is the hottest pitcher in the system

While Tanner Houck struggled a bit.

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Worcester L 1-9

Jarren Duran, CF: 0-4, 1 BB, 3 K

Marcus Wilson, RF: 0-3, 1 BB, 1 K

Franchy Cordero, 1B: 2-3

Johan Mieses, LF: 1-4, 1 RBI, 2 K

Connor Wong, C: 0-4, 2 K, 2 PB

Jonathan Araúz, 3B: 1-4, 1 K

Tanner Houck (SP; L): 3.1 IP, 3 H, 5 R, 4 ER, 4 BB, 3 K (76 pitches)

Kevin McCarthy: 1.2 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 0 K (37 pitches)

Matt Hall: 1 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 0 K (23 pitches)

Zac Grotz: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K (28 pitches)

There was not a whole lot of positive to take out of this one, with Worcester getting beat in just about every sense. It’s a bit disappointing to see a start like this from Houck, who is expected to be a part of the Red Sox pitching staff on the other side of the break. He’d been struggling to get length of late, but the performance had mostly been there before this outing. I suspect if we do see him in the second half, it won’t be as a starter, at least not at first. The one positive in this game is that Duran was back in the lineup after being a late scratch due to minor back issues on Friday.

Portland G1 W 8-2

Jeisson Rosario, CF: 1-4, 1 R, 1 K

Pedro Castellanos, LF: 1-4, 1 R, 2 K

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

Hudson Potts, 3B: 1-1, 1 BB, 1 R, 2 RBI

Ronaldo Hernández, C: 2-3, 1 HR, 1 R, 5 RBI

Roldani Baldwin, 2B: 2-2, 1 2B, 1 R

Kutter Crawford (SP; W): 6 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 10 K (78 pitches)

Joan Martin: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K (12 pitches)

Kutter Crawford
Kelly O’Connor

Portland G2 W 5-3

Devlin Granberg, CF: 1-3, 1 R, 1 K

Pedro Castellanos, LF: 0-3

Triston Casas, 1B: 1-3, 1 2B, 1 R, 1 SB

Hudson Potts, 3B: 0-0, 1 HBP

Ronaldo Hernández, DH: 1-3, 1 R

Ryan Fitzgerald, SS: 2-3, 1 HR, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 K

Tanner Nishioka, 2B: 1-2, 1 HR, 1 R, 1 RBI

Frank German (SP): 4 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 3 K (80 pitches)

Zack Kelly (SV): 1 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 0 K (15 pitches)

Portland was finally able to get clear enough weather to play two full (well, seven-inning) games on Saturday, and it went very well for them. Crawford in particular stands out here as he continues a red-hot run on the mound. The righty, who is coming back from Tommy John surgery he underwent back in 2019, also missed some time this year on the COVID list. He’s made three starts since returning from there, allowing six runs over 14 innings, but doing so with great control of the strike zone, striking out 22 while walking only one. Crawford is quickly becoming one of the most interesting prospects in the system to watch for in the second half. As for Potts, he was hit by a pitch in his first at bat of the second game and had to leave the game. I have not seen where he was hit or how serious it could be, but it’s a tough break for a guy who missed so much time to start the year.

Greenville L 3-11

Nick Sogard, 2B: 2-5, 1 K, 1 CS

Cameron Cannon, SS: 0-4

Brandon Howlett, 3B: 0-4, 2 K, 1 E

Tyler Dearden, LF: 1-3, 1 BB, 1 R, 1 E

Kole Cottam, DH: 3-4, 1 R

Wil Dalton, RF: 2-4, 1 2B, 2 RBI

Chris Murphy (SP; L): 5 IP, 7 H, 6 R, 0 BB, 7 K (86 pitches)

Jose Espada: 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K (26 pitches)

Prior to this outing, Murphy had been one of the hottest pitchers in the Red Sox system, allowing two or fewer earned runs in each of his last seven starts coming into this one, missing plenty of bats in particular over the last three. Here, the strikeout and walk numbers look good still, and that last part is important. Coming into the year, control was among the biggest concerns for the lefty, but he’s walked only two over his last four starts and only four over six starts going back to the start of June. But he was hurt by the long ball here, as he has been for the last couple of months. He allowed three in this game and has allowed eight in the six starts since June started. In the first month of the year, he allowed just one homer but also walked 12 in 23 innings. From the outside, it appears he is looking for a balance between hitting the zone and not issuing walks while also working the edges enough to avoid barrels. The results have been mostly good, but clearly things got away from him in this one.

Salem L 2-7

Gilberto Jimenez, CF: 1-3, 1 R, 1 K

Matthew Lugo, SS: 1-4, 2 K, 1 E

Joe Davis, 1B: 2-3, 1 BB

Nick Decker, RF: 0-3, 1 BB, 1 R, 1 K

Nicholas Northcut, 3B: 1-4, 1 RBI

Bradley Blalock (SP; L): 2 IP, 4 H, 6 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 3 K (60 pitches)

Roberto Kwiatkowski: 4 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 3 K (48 pitches)

I’ll be honest, there’s really not much of note here. Davis did have another multi-hit game as he gets up to a .970 OPS. I’ve said before, and this is just speculation, but it makes a ton of sense once Casas leaves for the Olympics to send Tyreque Reed up to Portland and Davis to Greenville, because both could use some new competition. Davis has multiple hits in seven of his last 11 games. On the more negative side of things, Lugo is up to a whopping 21 errors on the season. I can’t find error leaderboards for the minors anywhere, but I can’t imagine there are too many players at any position with that high of a total.

FCL W 4-3

Brainer Bonaci, SS: 1-4, 1 2B, 1 R, 2 K

Antoni Flores, 2B: 0-3, 1 BB, 1 R, 2 K

Blaze Jordan, 3B; 0-3, 1 BB, 1 R, 2 K

Darel Belen, 1B: 1-3, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 1 K

Bryan Gonzalez, DH: 2-4, 1 R, 2 RBI, 2 K

Eduardo Vaughan, CF: 1-4, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 2 K

Freddy Valdez, RF: 0-3, 1 BB, 1 K

Juan Daniel Encarnacion (SP): 4 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 6 K

Zach Schellenger (W): 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K

Miguel Suero (SV): 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K

The offense did enough here for the complex squad, but the pitching was the story. Encarnacion had a great start in his first appearance Stateside. The righty was fine in his first taste of pro ball in the DSL back in 2019, but the stuff didn’t really stand out. At least in this start, he was able to get some strikeouts, instantly putting him as a player to watch on this team. Over in the bullpen, Suero has been good to start the year while Schellenger looks ready to be pushed back up. The righty has been a personal favorite of mine for a few years now, but he just can’t stay healthy. He’s currently on a rehab assignment and should be back in Portland for next week, I’d imagine.

Player of the Day: Kutter Crawford

Player of the Day Chart