Worcester, Game 1: W, 4-3 (Continued from 7/29) (BOX SCORE)
This game didn’t get very far Saturday night, picking up from the second thanks to storms that saw my home area get a rare tornado touchdown, so the rest was picked up yesterday. Despite a Nick Robertson blown save from a home run in the 9th inning, the WooSox quickly loaded the bases and David Hamilton drove Wilyer Abreu home to walk it off and hand Robertson the decision. The middle of the lineup was the key to Worcester’s success Sunday, as Bobby Dalbec got two hits, scoring both times, Ceddanne Rafaela recorded three, and Stephen Scott hit a home run. Due to the delay, this Brandon Walter start turned into an opener, but fringe 26-man pitcher Norwith Gudino held it down in restarting the game. We know by now from Alex Cora’s post-game press conference that Joely Rodriguez is heading to the IL for 15 days; if it’s not Gudino getting the call, look for Robertson, an acquisition in the trade that sent Hernandez to the Dodgers, to join the Major League team in Seattle. Then again, I could be all wet!
Worcester, Game 2: L, 1-2 (8) (BOX SCORE)
Sadly, the second part of the double header did not live up to the high expectation the first half set. Be this as it may, the WooSox, led by Brian Van Belle’s possible best start in Triple-A thus far, still held the Red Wings (Nationals AAA) to two runs despite offering ten hits, and did not walk a single batter. In fact, this game was decided in “extras.” You could pin the blame on the offensive woes, including Trevor Story going 0-for-4 in what is likely to be one of his last rehab appearances, and you could be upset that they left 11 men on base in 7 innings, or that they went 0-for-11 with runners in scoring position. You could do all those things, but a series split is not the worst thing in the world, and AJ Politi’s loss in “extras” is uncharacteristic. By the way, David Hamilton went hitless, but he did draw two walks, and also stole 2 bases to boost his season total to 38: that’s fifth in Triple-A, and he spent a fair amount of time in the Majors. Plus, a scoreless Justin Hagenman appearance. Better luck next trip!
Portland: L, 5-7 (BOX SCORE)
While the Giants were struggling to score runs on our starting pitching this weekend, their Double-A affiliate, the Richmond Flying Squirrels, took advantage of Portland’s for most of this past week, as the Sea Dogs dropped five of six. Sunday’s starter, Chih-Jung Liu, was forced out of the game after allowing five runs across just four outs. Middle reliever Dylan Spacke came in to stabilize the game, and it worked: Nick Yorke hit a two-run shot in the third, Phillip Sikes had a longball of his own in the next inning, and Alex Binelas scored two with a line drive double in the fifth to make the score 5-5. Unfortunately, Brendan Cellucci gave up a couple of runs in the 6th, and the Sea Dogs could not make it up. I’m sure striking out fifteen times did not help.
Greenville: W, 8-2 (BOX SCORE)
I’m liking a lot of what I’m seeing from Bradley Blalock. He kept the Drive in the game Sunday afternoon, giving up just a two-run shot in the first inning to the Bowling Green Hot Rods (Rays High-A) cleanup hitter and putting together a respectable five innings despite the shaky start. Greenville thanked him by hanging 5 on the board in the sixth, making the most of a Roman Anthony leadoff walk and an Allan Castro follow-up double. Brainer Bonaci drove Anthony home, and he’s another Drive player to watch. This team, more than any affiliate in the organization, simply knows how to get on base and make the most of their baserunners.
Salem: L, 2-3 (BOX SCORE)
Another loss for Noah Dean, his seventh of the season to match his 7 ERA. But this time, the loss is not his fault by a long shot, despite the lack of longevity in his start. The only hit he surrendered in his four innings was a homer to Jose Devers, and he struck out seven Lynchburg Hillcats (Guardians A). I’ll place this loss more on the bullpen and Nathanael Cruz, who gave up a two-run shot in the 5th inning, and the bats for simply just not putting enough together in the same inning. Try as Jhostynxon Garcia might, grabbing two of the team’s six hits despite coming on as a pinch hitter, the team only reached second base in the 6th inning, the very same frame where Yorberto Mejicano drilled a home run to put Salem on the board. Baseball is a game where enough of the team has to be hot on the same day, and it just didn’t happen for this affiliate Sunday.