After an early season rainout in Buffalo, the Woo Sox split a seven-inning doubleheader on Thursday with the Buffalo Bisons. While “bisons” is allegedly not incorrect grammatically, I’m offended by its usage over the more standard “bison” as the plural. This isn’t nearly as offensive, however, as Bryan Mata’s control has been thus far in 2023.
In Game One, Mata threw 44 strikes on 86 pitches, walking six and striking out just one over four innings of two-hit ball. Mata now has a 24:21 BB:K ratio in 23 1/3 innings, which does not include the four batters that he hit in a single inning earlier this year. His Triple-A pitching numbers, according to Eno Sarris’ model with 100 being average, are a 100 Stuff+ and a 78 Location+, which is in the bottom 10% of all of Triple-A. It’s hard to imagine a move to relief isn’t imminent for Mata to try to harness his control in shorter outings. Joely Rodriguez began his rehab assignment with a shutout fifth to gain the win, allowing one hit and striking out one before Chase Shugart picked up his third save. On the offensive side, David Hamilton’s scorching start continued as his fourth inning home run (#6 of season) increased a 2-1 lead to 4-1 and that was all Worcester needed. Bobby Dalbec, playing third base, went 2-for-3 for the only multi-hit game on the Worcester side.
In Game Two, the Bison(s) were the home team and prevailed 2-1. Matt Dermody deserved better, going the distance, allowing two runs in six innings to take the loss. Greg Allen had the lone RBI on a single to put Worcester ahead 1-0 in the top of the sixth, before Buffalo scored two in the bottom of the inning. David Hamilton was 0-for-3 with a walk but he, of course, stole his 15th and 16th bases in his lone appearance on base.
I discussed Drohan a bit more in depth at the bottom of April’s Prospect Report and all he’s done since then is dominate over six innings twice more. On Thursday, he allowed only one hit in six innings, striking out four and taking a perfect game into the fifth. Drohan has now allowed only 20 baserunners in 29 innings all season, with 30 strikeouts. He is quickly ascending into the top pitching prospect in the organization and at 24 years old could be closer to a path to Boston than we realize.
The Akron RubberDucks managed just that one hit all game, going down 2-0 to the Sea Dogs. Portland managed just six hits themselves, with an early Corey Rosier home run, followed by a Nick Yorke RBI single leading the offense. Ryan Miller and Luis Guerrero dominated the final three innings, with Guerrero picking up his fifth save and now has a 1.80 ERA. Sox Prospects has Guerrero as their 23rd ranked prospect.
Juan Daniel Encarnacion fell to 2-1 on the season, taking the loss against the Asheville Tourists. He gave up seven runs (six earned) in the first three innings, but, to his credit, settled down in the final two innings to get through five. On the offensive side, top prospect Marcelo Mayer was 1-for-5 but knocked in two on a single. Chase Meidroth and Eduardo Lopez (two stolen bases) also had RBI singles, as the Drive scored four in the fifth to get back to get to 7-5 and the game finished at that score.
The box score says it all so we’ll keep it quick in Salem. The Low-A Red Sox were one-hit by the Fayetteville Woodpeckers as Albert Feliz broke up a no-hitter with a ninth inning single in a 7-0 loss. Jose Ramirez allowed two unearned runs in five innings to get a tough luck loss. He has allowed only one earned run in 18 innings on the season (0.50 ERA), with eight walks and 18 K’s.