Worcester: W, 5-4 (BOX SCORE)
The farm’s only win of the day came with a strong start against the Bison (Blue Jays AAA) - at noon, with Garrett Whitlock on a pitch count on what will likely be his final rehab appearance before returning to the Red Sox. Shane Drohan had a poor five innings, but it was enough to keep the game in Worcester’s control. Luckily, Wilyer Abreu hit a home run to put Worcester ahead and Nick Sogard smacked another one the next inning, and the lead never diminished. Abreu, by the way, contributed three of Worcester’s seven hits. The Wilyer Abreu game? Maybe. But, it’ll just be good to have Garrett Whitlock back in the swing of things. As for his role on the Major League squad, the scarcity of starters right now may propel either him, Tanner Houck (also on rehab) or both into the opener/bulk roles, ramping up to full-length starts, despite their effectiveness coming out of the pen. But, of course, Whitlock is light years better than our current options, so let’s rejoice that he’s joining the club on Sunday for another noon game!
Portland: L, 3-5 (10) (BOX SCORE)
Continuing their homestand against fellow New England team the Hartford Yard Goats (Rockies AA), the Sea Dogs could simply not hold on Wednesday as this one went to extras. This is not a discredit to closer Jacob Webb, as he pitched two effective innings, but his two walks eventually did him in as he allowed two runs (including the Manfred runner) in the 10th and the Sea Dogs could not recover.
I’d also like to acknowledge Sterling Sharp had one of his better outings of the entire season: he struck six Yard Goats out and didn’t walk anyone in six innings. Chase Meidroth contributed three hits including an RBI single, and Elih Marrero chipped a clutch double to put Portland ahead in the 7th. I’d say watch Marrero for the remainder of the season, but this organization has a logjam in the middle of its depth at the catcher position; Ronaldo Hernandez, Stephen Scott, and Nathan Hickey are all ahead of Marrero with Kyle Teel nipping at their heels. Strikeouts continue to be a big problem for Portland, as they struck out 19 times in this one (30 batters) but any time you strike out that much and stay in a game, the defense and bullpen is in good shape.
Greenville: L, 4-14 (BOX SCORE)
Boy, did this game look awful. This farm continues to show strikeouts are a big problem; the Drive struck out 16 times against the Greensboro Grasshoppers (Pirates High-A) pitching staff. The Drive pitching staff also walked ten Grasshoppers, and did not look any better after their starter gave up seven runs (albeit only two earned; he had three walks) in less than two innings. It was a home run derby, as Greensboro tagged Greensville for six home runs, four in the first two innings. The bats weren’t even that bad, but they are floundering after most of their intriguing names (Marcelo Mayer, Blaze Jordan, Brainer Bonaci) were promoted to Portland. Of course, the 19 strikeouts is indicative of a lot of this roster trying to figure out High-A pitching and is likely not much to worry about, but seeing it organization-wide for a long stretch doesn’t exactly stem too much patience.
Salem: L, 4-6 (BOX SCORE)
Hosting the Augusta Green Jackets (Braves A), the Salem Red Sox simply did not win their game. It didn’t appear as anything particularly ugly despite Jose Ramirez again giving up five runs (but none earned, as this team can’t stop committing errors.) Relievers Luis De La Rosa and Caleb Bolden did a great job of keeping this game within reach of Salem the remaining five innings, giving up just one hit. Sadly, Salem was not immune from the strikeout bug, as they punched out 13 times yesterday. Augusta bullpen arm Zack Austin walked two runs in with the bases loaded to get Salem on the board and then Austin balked to bring a third Salem run in, but, besides a Luis Ravelo solo shot, that is where the luck ended for Salem. Much like the remainder of the organization, you can’t win if you strike out with the frequency Salem did, and the defense has to be better, too.... but at least these are players bound to get better as time goes on!
Have a happy rare Red Sox non-off-day Thursday, everyone!