I’m begging you guys to give me some wins to write about so I’m not the biggest pessimist on this site! As you’ll see, though, the lower-league teams did their thing.
Worcester: L, 5-10
For a few years now — since 2017 to be exact, when he was 18-years-old — Bryan Mata has been in conversations as a guy who could make a difference as a Red Sox starter someday. With velocity that occasionally tickled 100 mph, and a wide arsenal of pitches, how could he not? Then, Mata needed Tommy John’s surgery in 2021, and that vision got a bit murkier. But a few weeks shy of turning just 24, he is still a notable arm in Worcester’s rotation.
Last night was not a good indicator of his skillset.
In just over 3 innings of work, Mata gave up 4 earned runs to the Clippers (Guardians AAA,) walked 3, and struck out just 2. His replacement, Jake Faria, again looked even shakier, as he gave up two long balls in two innings of work, bringing his ERA to over 10. There was no good pitching to speak of from the WooSox’s side of the mound, aside from Ryan Sherriff’s scoreless frame in the eighth after the game had already been decided.
Offensively, the WooSox blew some prime scoring opportunities by way of Jorge Alfaro being caught on a try for second base on a passed ball, leaving 14 guys on base including a bases loaded opportunity for David Hamilton, and Enmanuel Valdez finally heating up with two hits on the night to bring his season average over .100, but not heating up quite enough.
The team was 2-15 with runners in scoring position and did nothing to convince a Red Sox fanbase that is seeing their team experience more injuries that help is on the way. And, maybe even more importantly: they lost on Woof Woof Wednesday!
Portland, L, 2-3
As you can see from the Sea Dogs’ season averages, getting base hits is not exactly their thing. Sure, the season is young, and they’re scoring some runs, and in fact, this was their first loss! but almost the entire lineup tonight ended the game .250 or below. Phillip Sikes has consistently been the bright spot whenever I write about Portland. In the leadoff spot, Boston’s 18th round pick in 2021 has provided some trouble for pitchers, as he went 3-4 last night with a 2-out triple to score a run while also stealing a base. With the offense only managing 3 hits all night, the pitching needed to stand out, and they did not disappoint. Sterling Sharp held the Fisher Cats to 3 hits and 1 earned run in six innings, before the relief unraveled the game.
The loss saw Portland fall to 4-1 on the year against a team just an hour and a half away from them. At least New Hampshire (Blue Jays AA) won on Wear It Wednesday.... whatever that means.
Greenville: W, 5-2
I’m going to set aside my wonder at the fact that a team is called the Tourists (Astros High-A) hailing from a town like Asheville (no hate at all, just strange!) for a second, and swear at my screen for Marcelo Mayer striking out four times in one game. Lack of discipline is a trait young promising batters face too often, and Mayer’s strikeouts are beginning to become a bit concerning. This is compounded (though it’s not his fault) by the fact that the major league team has a glaringly obvious issue at shortstop right now, that even more obviously, could have been prevented by throwing some money at a certain guy around the same time we drafted Mayer fourth overall. Marcelo is still young, of course, but that he’s struggling to hit A-level pitching to the point where his OPS hovers around .500 leaves one to wonder exactly how long it’ll be until he arrives in the show. Being that, all too often, Red Sox fans will tout Mayer as the reason we didn’t lock Xander up longterm, the answer to this question may not be satisfactory to most.
Salem: W, 2-0
Perhaps the most impressive performance of the day goes to the Salem Red Sox... and they captured this win with a start time of 11:05 ET for my favorite day as a kid, Education Day. While the batting was nothing to write home about (though Miguel Bleis is kind of raking down in Salem) the pitching was phenomenal. They allowed just one Mudcats (Brewers A) hit, a double, and that was in the first inning. After that, the pitching was lights out. Between four pitchers, the Red Sox struck out 14. At least some pitching in the Red Sox’s system is doing great work, it’s a shame these guys are probably four years from cracking any 26-man roster!
Have a good Thursday, everyone!