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Red Sox Minor Lines: The summer of Howlett continues

And the starting pitching looks good throughout the system.

Worcester W 5-4

Jarren Duran, RF: 2-4, 1 3B, 1 R, 1 K

Yairo Muñoz, 3B: 3-4, 1 2B, 3 R, 1 RBI, 1 SB

Franchy Cordero, LF: 3-4, 1 2B, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 K, 1 SB

Jeter Downs, SS: 0-4

Chris Hermann, C: 1-4, 2 RBI, 3 K

Tanner Houck (SP): 4 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 3 K (62 pitches)

Daniel Gossett (W): 4.1 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 7 BB, 3 K (81 pitches)

Kaleb Ort (SV): 0.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 2 K (22 pitches)

Things got a little bit dicey here at the end of this game with Worcester having almost blown a four-run lead, but they were able to hang on for the end with Ort eventually closing this one out. Muñoz had another strong day at the plate, including another stolen base to give him five over the last three games, and Cordero continued to make his case for a call-up as well. The mound is where we want to concentrate, though, as Houck continues to try and make his way back to full strength from injury. It does not appear he’s there yet, as the workload is still being limited. The righty has made four starts since coming back from injury, with this being his second straight of four innings. That he was seemingly able to limit hard contact is good, and that he seemingly struggled a little to miss bats is not as good, but right now I’m mostly focused on the innings for Houck. And on that front, it appears he’ll need at least one more appearance before being ready for the majors.

Portland G1 W 9-4

Jeisson Rosario, CF: 2-2, 2 BB, 1 R

Pedro Castellanos, DH: 1-4, 1 2B, 2 RBI, 1 K

Triston Casas, 1B: 1-4

Joey Menses, RF: 2-3, 1 2B, 1 BB, 2 R, 1 K

Hudson Potts, 3B: 1-3, 1 HR, 2 R, 2 RBI, 1 E

Ronaldo Hernández, C: 3-4, 1 HR, 2 R, 2 RBI

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

Grant Williams, 2B: 2-4, 1 R, 1 RBI

Kutter Crawford (SP): 4.1 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 7 K (74 pitches)

Durbin Feltman (W): 0.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K (5 pitches)

Seth Blair (SV): 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K (16 pitches)

Portland G2 SUSP

Rain was in the way all week for this series, and it reared its head once more in the finale by suspending the second game in the fourth. But in the game that was completed, there were a few notes to make, starting on the mound. Crawford hasn’t been totally consistent this season, but coming off Tommy John surgery, and also dealing with the COVID list this year for whatever the reason may be, he’s showing flashes that his breakout from back in 2018 shouldn’t be forgotten. This was his second start since a roughly three-week absence, and he has 12 walks and one walk over eight innings in those two starts. There are still some questions about whether or not he can stick in a rotation long-term, but at the very least it appears right now his stuff is indeed playing. At the plate, it was nice to see a big day for Hernández, who has been struggling to get anything going this year. And for what it’s worth, Fitzgerald did hit another homer in the game that was suspended.

Greenville W 11-1

Christian Koss, SS: 2-4, 1 2B, 1 HR, 1 BB, 1 R, 2 RBI

Cameron Cannon, 2B: 1-5, 1 RBI, 1 K

Tyreque Reed, 1B: 1-5, 1 R, 2 K

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

Tyler Dearden, LF: 3-3, 1 BB, 2 R

Nick Sogard, DH: 2-3, 1 HR, 1 BB, 2 R, 2 RBI

Elih Marrero, C: 2-5, 1 2B, 2 R, 2 RBI, 1 SB

Chris Murphy (SP; W): 5 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 6 K (82 pitches)

Brendan Cellucci: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K (11 pitches)

A huge day all-around for Greenville, with the bulk of the damage offensively being done by the bottom portion of the lineup. That wasn’t entirely true, however, with Howlett continuing to make strides at the plate. The third baseman has been having big games all year, with his homer being number eight on the season. The 2018 21st round pick and breakout from that summer is showing those same kinds of flashes this season, getting his OPS up to .933. He’s among my favorite non-top-20 prospects in the organization right now. And over on the mound, Murphy is red-hot right now. The southpaw has pitched to a 1.19 ERA over his last four starts, striking out 23 and walking only three over 22 23 innings. Brayan Bello has taken most of the spotlight for Red Sox pitching prospects this season, but Murphy’s performance hasn’t been too far behind.

Salem W 4-3

Nick Yorke, 2B: 0-3, 2 BB, 1 K

Matthew Lugo, SS: 1-5, 1 RBI, 1 K, 1 SB

Gilberto Jimenez, RF: 1-3, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 K

Joe Davis, DH: 2-4

Stephen Scott, 1B: 2-4, 1 2B, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 K

Alex Erro, C: 2-4, 1 R, 1 RBI

Ceddanne Rafaela, CF: 0-4

Bradley Blalock (SP): 4 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 4 K (46 pitches)

There’s not really all that much to discuss in this game. This was a weirdly encouraging day for Yorke, who went hitless but still managed to get on base twice. That is the type of thing that typically doesn’t happen when a hitter is faltering, but Yorke has been getting out of his slump to start the season for a few weeks now. On the mound, Blalock continued what has been an up-and-down season with a trend upward, while Davis and Scott both continue hot streaks with multi-hit days.

Player of the Day: Brandon Howlett

Player of the Day Chart