You know that saying, sometimes you’re the hammer, sometimes you’re the nail? Well, sometimes you’re neither. As an observation: usually it’s the higher minor affiliates that lose when I write. Tonight, they won, and the lower affiliates lost. Can’t win them all, gotta be happy with having another 2-2 night!
Worcester: W, 6-2
Fun fact: I attended JetBlue Park for a Spring Training game in March, and my little cousins were excited that someone signed a game program for them. I was happy for them, but warned their parents that Caleb Hamilton, the owner of the signature, was a non-roster invitee and would likely not crack the 40-man for the Red Sox, so in other words, don’t go listing anything on eBay. Little did I know, while I was right, since organizationally, I’d say he’s the fifth catcher, behind Wong, McGuire, Alfaro, and Hernandez (in that order) he’s actually been a pretty important instrument in Worcester’s success, and he’s quite versatile. So, hats off to Caleb, and thanks for signing that program for my cousins!
Before I forget about the game, or about this next factoid, I’ll begin with the bad, or at least the bittersweet: Niko Goodrum got caught stealing by none other than old friend Kevin Plawecki. I know we’re better off with the catchers we have now, but I miss the guy.
Now for the win: Matt Dermody gave what I’d call a plucky performance on the mound, pitching well enough to stay in the game for most of his outing behind solid defensive play. 9 hits in 6 innings isn’t incredible, but it’s good enough, and add in that he struck out seven Red Wings (Nationals AAA) and you have to give him a round of applause... or at least half of one. Unluckily for him, the WooSox bats weren’t awesome the entire game; every batter struck out at least once, and the scoring didn’t warm up until the eighth inning via a David Hamilton home run to score his fellow Hamilton, Caleb, who had scored Fitzy on a ground rule double, But at least there was some offense! Another fun fact: with one more stolen base, Greg Allen will become the second player on the team (next to David Hamilton, duh) to reach 20 stolen bases on the young season. Not bad! The WooSox improve to 18-17 on the season.
Portland: W, 6-5 (10)
Usually, I don’t like hearing that the Patriots have lost a game... but when it’s the Yankees AA affiliate, I’ll make an exception... especially to the Sea Dogs. I’ve been waiting all season to make that joke, and the opportunity presented itself. Speaking of presenting itself, when is the opportunity for Shane Drohan to move up to Triple-A going to present itself? Even in a poor performance that didn’t land him a decision, Drohan kept the game within reach, striking out six across 5 innings, even though he gave up 3 runs (including a homer) and walked 3. His ERA stands significantly below 2 in May. Good sign! Also notable is Ryan Fernandes pitching two high-leverage, one-hit innings into extras to land the decision following a walk-off single by Chase Meidroth to score Christian Koss. By the way, Nick Yorke in the leadoff spot is paying dividends for the Sea Dogs, who improved to 20-9 on the season; Nick hit his fourth home run of the season to open the game in the 1st inning, and Alex Binelas followed with one in the 2nd. Ceddanne Rafaela went hitless yet again, but hey, everyone can’t be hot at once, can they?
Greenville: L, 4-9
Answering my last question, no, everyone can not be hot at once. The game just has a lower chance of being won if your starter gives up five runs in five innings. 20-year-old Angel Bastardo did somewhat offset that by striking 9 Dash (Dashes?) (White Sox High-A) out in those five innings, but it’s runs that matter here, and the Drive simply did not have enough runs when it mattered to keep this game winnable. Marcelo Mayer had the night off tonight, and Blaze Jordan may have well have had the night off, as he went 0-for-4 and also committed his first error of the season. At least he wasn’t alone: the Drive had four defensive errors on the night; that diamond play simply has got to get better. 2-for-12 with men in scoring position is also not great. The Drive fall to 12-16 on the season.
Salem: L, 2-3
Finally, the Salem Sox lose in a heartbreaker against the Fireflies (Royals A.) Dalton Rogers gave the team a tremendous performance; he pitched one-hit ball in his five innings and struck out six. Unfortunately, when the bottom third of your lineup combines to go 1-for-12 with seven strikeouts (what are they? The Post-All-Star-Game 2022 Yankees? I kid, I kid...) you get a result that looks like what we saw tonight, with Rogers having just one run in one support via a Luis Ravelo home run, and that didn’t hold. After falling behind 2-1 from a Michael Valera blown save in the seventh, Miguel Bleis got his third hit of the game to tie it back up at 2. Unfortunately, Brock Bell lost the game for the SalemSox on a walk-off balk. You don’t see that every day, and I’ll just leave it there... besides that I’d like to be a fly (a firefly?) on the wall. The team drops to 13-15 on the year, and Bleis appears to be their only genuine and consistent bright spot. I won’t be naming any articles “The Miguel Bleis Game” anytime soon, or at least I don’t think so, but it’s good to know one of the organization’s best athletes isn't disappointing. And at 19, he’s got a lot of room to grow.
Have a good Thursday, everyone!