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Minor Lines 8/27/23: Dalbec Dings, Rafaela Rakes

With September roster expansion four days away, Worcester has some usual suspects contributing to a high-offense game.

MiLB: JUL 6 International League - Syracuse Mets at Worcester Red Sox Photo by Erica Denhoff/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Worcester: W, 12-1 (BOX SCORE)

Worcester has been, like their Major League counterpart, a streaky team lately. This could be, as I have stated in my last couple of Minor Lines, because much of the roster has played in Boston this season, and the Triple-A iteration of this club, also known as the best of the rest, has some deep flaws despite being, well, mostly fundamentally sound enough to rack up some Major League experience time.

Brandon Walter, who has been marginal in Worcester between stints of getting shelled in the bigs, looked strong on Sunday against the Rochester Red Wings (Nationals AAA) allowing just one run in a 97-pitch outing that brought him seven innings. Meanwhile, the WooSox got to the Red Wings early and often, they really were cranking the productivity. Ceddanne Rafaela hit his 14th longball since joining Triple-A mid-season, and truly appears primed for a call-up. Never to be outdone, Bobby Dalbec had a home run himself in a four-hit effort, falling just a double short of the cycle. Lastly, Yu Chang continued raking with his home run and that double Dalbec was looking for.

This is not a perfect team, not even at a Triple-A level, but it’s a team that is, for the most part, playing smart... when pitching shows up, that is. As for who will be called up come Friday, I still lean towards wanting to see Rafaela, but perhaps the team opts for a possible home run threat in Dalbec, even with his still-apparent struggles with strike outs. Or maybe Alex Cora gets more utility depth with Chang or Christian Arroyo? It’s exciting to look at potential new faces, but this management team may play it safe due to the Sox still being in the hunt of a Wild Card spot.

Portland, Game 1: W, 5-1 (BOX SCORE)

Portland split a double-header against the Richmond Flying Squirrels (Nationals AA) thanks in part to yet another strong showing by Wikelman Gonzalez. Gonzalez struck out six in five innings in this abbreviated contest, allowing just two hits. What no one knew was, this one was already over in the second inning when Philip Sikes hit one into the stands and Blaze Jordan hit a 2-RBI single with the bases loaded. Add in a Yorke run on a wild pitch in the bottom of the 4th and two 1-2-3 innings to close this one out by Ryan Zeferjahn and Luis Guerrero, and the day was off to a good start.

Portland, Game 2: L, 8-10 (BOX SCORE)

Sadly, the Sea Dogs allowed allowed more offense from Richmond after Gonzalez locked them down earlier in the afternoon. Wyatt Olds allowed a big inning in the 4th to let pull Richmond within a run, and then Alex Hoppe gave up the 8-6 lead in the final frame and Portland could not recover. As vacant as the bats were in the seventh, the game wasn’t a total loss; Philip Sikes, Mr. Sunday, again hit a home run, his second of the day, and Brainer Bonaci left the ballpark to lead off the game. It’s a shame Portland couldn’t close this one out given their twelve hits.

Greenville: W, 10-5 (BOX SCORE)

Runs were rife throughout the day in this organization, as Greenville, despite striking out 11 times against the Hickory Crawdads (Rangers High-A), and despite some pretty poor pitching, pulled a win out Sunday afternoon. The Drive had a grand slam by Gilberto Jiminez, were helped by a big fourth inning featuring a Kristian Campbell solo shot, and simply held the lead throughout Leadoff hitter Roman Anthony did not have his finest day, striking out four times, but he did score in that big fourth inning, so it could have been worse. Plus, Greenville, who snapped an eight game losing streak earlier in the week, won!

Salem: L, 7-8 (BOX SCORE)

Strikeouts contine to be an issue farm-wide, but no worse than in Salem, where the Red Sox struck out 16 times against the Fredericksburg Nationals. Jedixson Paez, who stepped in for five relief ininngs, looked fine enough, but ended up letting what was ultimately the game winning home run go. This game could have been even uglier had any of the 16 batters Fredericksburg left stranded Sunday crossed the plate, and it was still pretty ugly since Salem had three defensive errors, but the Sox, despite all the K’s, also hit three home runs.

Have a happy Monday!