Believe it or not, the title does not refer to a trip to Connecticut. But indeed, I’ve had the privilege of heading up to Fenway a couple of time while the PawSox were on the road. I had only been there once in my life before this summer and I’m so glad that got to change. (And it didn’t hurt that I got to interview some pretty cool people…see below…)
I imagine most people reading this blog are familiar with Fenway, so I’ll spare just describing the experience. But I must admit that Yawkey Way sets the tone just as well as the new Mondor Way does at McCoy.
And while the sold-out crowds are awesome, Fenway (as most ballparks are) is even cooler when the place is empty.
Two things stood out when I visited in July:
- The Red Sox had one of the better promotions I had ever seen.
- There is a lot of Boston media. Here they are swarming the Red Sox’ new addition at the time, Drew Pomeranz:
Fortunately, I obtained some one-on-one interviews.
First and foremost I spoke with All-Star centerfielder Jackie Bradley, Jr. He spent parts of each of the previous three seasons in Pawtucket and after he heated up at the end of his PawSox stint in 2015, JBJ has finally reached his full potential.
I spoke with JBJ about all sorts of topics, including his time with Pawtucket, seeing his good buddy Bryce Brentz succeed, being in a playoff race and the outfield celebration.
Last week, I was also able to catch up with Jackie’s current (and past) teammate, Travis Shaw. It was barely over a year ago when both men still played at McCoy.
Shaw has played mostly played third base this season after surprising many by both making the big league club out of spring training and then getting off to a tremendous start.
I asked Travis about his mentality coming into the season, his relationship with some PawSox coaches, how the fans have taken to him in Boston and if he is now recognized on the streets.
I caught up with Flemming (the brother of one of our current broadcasters…I’ll let you figure out which one) when the Giants were in town in July.
He spoke about some of his favorite PawSox memories, his younger brother and his favorite ballparks.
I caught up with Speier last week to discuss Boston’s push for the playoffs. He talked about the keys for the Red Sox down the stretch, the PawSox we might see at Fenway next month and some other notable players in the lower levels of the minors.
One point from Speier worth reiterating: Sandy Leon leads the majors in OPS (min. 100 AB)! It was just yesterday (well just shy of three months ago) when I sat down with him at McCoy. It’s worth noting that when I asked him about his offense in that conversation, he told me “I like to catch better than hit.” That still might be the case, but I bet he find hitting pretty cool by now.
He might not be Sandy Leon, but David Ortiz has also been incredible to watch up close this season. In fact, forget the fact that this is his final season…if you want to talk about clutch, he homered in all three games I attended this summer. (Somewhat kidding.) Here’s some shoddy proof (I promise that’s Big Papi pointing to the sky three times):
So, if you guys want me to keep coming to Fenway into the fall, I wouldn’t mind. I’m available. Although, I’m sure Ortiz will find a way to work his magic this October no matter what…as long as the Red Sox can find their way there.
Thanks to the Sox for letting me come out. Now it’s back to McCoy. Only nine home games left. Make sure to come by before it’s too late. As Speier and I discussed, there will be a handful of guys who will (also) make the 45-mile trip to Fenway next month.
by Ryan Young
The PawSox are currently in the midst of very possibly their greatest stretch at McCoy Stadium in club history. Following the 5-1 homestand, the team has won 14 of their last 16 home games. Besides the winning baseball, we saw some fascinating low-budget celebrations, learned more about some red-hot Pawtucket pitchers and witnessed some surreal happenings over the weekend.
Another Win, Another Celebration
The PawSox have clearly had a ton of wins to celebrate at McCoy since the All-Star Break. They almost always involve indulging in a cake from Gregg’s Restaurants in the clubhouse. Of course, they earn those cakes by going through the pain of doing interviews with myself. The player involved in the post-game interview has also been consistently honored with a plastic crown.
Christian Vazquez went 7-for-13 on the homestand as he has begun to rack up the line drives to right field. And we learned that on his day off, he might take the opportunity to douse you postgame.
If anybody has needed to be cooled down this season, it’s Chris Marrero, who tied for the league lead with his game-winning home run on Thursday (his 22nd of the season).
There’s another routine before the game that includes a better use of water.
Of course, I’m still partial to how they mark a victory in Boston.
Getting to Know Your PawSox Pitchers
While guys like Marrero, Vazquez and lately, Rusney Castillo, have been part of Pawtucket’s offensive success, much of the pitching staff has been terrific over the recent run at home. I caught up with a few of them last week and here are some clips of the more interesting/amusing parts of our chats:
Cuevas has pitched much better in recent outings in both relief and starting roles. I spoke with him about his first couple of trips to the majors this season, his parents coming from Venezuela to join him in the U.S. for first time, learning English and how he keeps it loose in the clubhouse.
It was great to see the Cuevas family in attendance for the Durham series. Hopefully they will get to see William pitch at Fenway at some point down the road.
Haley has been absolutely untouchable in his last three outings. He’s tossed 21.0 scoreless innings over those three starts. I spoke with Justin about the glut of double plays he has been inducing, his seamless adjustment to Triple-A, which parts of Rhode Island he has explored on his off days and how he compares to his teammates in Pokemon Go.
Literally the only thing Haley has lost over the last month has been his Pokemon Go username. (He’s 5-0 in his last five starts.)
Hembree was so dominant for the PawSox that you knew it was only a matter of time before he would once again be recalled to Boston. Hembree has struck out half of the batters he has faced in Triple-A this season, while he racked up the saves for Pawtucket. I asked him about pitching in the ninth inning, the success of the PawSox bullpen, who keeps things loose in the Red Sox bullpen and his favorite spot in Providence.
Indeed, Heath rejoined the Red Sox in Ohio yesterday. He certainly has earned the charter flight from Cleveland to Baltimore over the bus ride from Buffalo to Allentown.
Ramirez has also been on a roll with the strikeouts lately (he’s fanned 10 of the last 14 batters he’s faced). He’s been dominant ever since his fourth appearance with Pawtucket. He told me about the new pitch he’s added that has him mowing down Triple-A lineups. I also asked him about who he would like to kick out of the PawSox bullpen, the ‘pen’s reaction to the Pat Light trade and how he spent his off day with teammate Henry Owens.
Three of these four hurlers pitched during an absolutely wild weekend at McCoy…
The weekend began with a surreal third inning on Friday night where the PawSox lucked into 3/4 of the incredibly rare twilight-aided cycle. The Buffalo Bisons outfield lost three balls in the sky that resulted in a double, triple, and inside-the-park home run for Marco Hernandez.
Pawtucket scored 7 runs in the inning and won, 8-2.
The following evening, a 45-minute storm came out of nowhere and ripped its way through Pawtucket. It left a mess throughout the ballpark, but some framable scenes as well.
Much of the field and surrounding areas were flooded, so it was just fireworks on Saturday and a doubleheader on Sunday.
But the highlight of the weekend was learning more of the talents of team President Charles Steinberg.
First of all, he is quite the musician. I present to you the greatest video to ever grace this blog…Dr. Steinberg sings his awesome PawSox anthem: PawSox Baseball:
He is also a great broadcaster as well. I hope you were able to tune in to hear some of his story. (Saturday’s rain delay came at the perfect time!)
He and Will were joined by the great Jerry Remy in the booth when Vazquez cleared the bases.
Haley tossed a complete-game shutout in that seven-inning contest.
Also, quick shoutout to Haley’s college teammate Aaron Judge for homering in each of his first two major league games. He pulled off the historic back-to-back home runs feat with Tyler Austin in the duo’s first major league at-bats. I wrote about Judge in an earlier blog and Austin hit three home runs in a game at McCoy back in June.
Fortunately for Red Sox fans, the Yankees are still a long-shot to grab a playoff spot. (Stay tuned to this blog later in the week for lots more on the Red Sox and their playoff push.)
But for now make sure to stay tuned to Josh and Will on WHJJ and the PawSox Radio Network for the rest of this road trip in Pennsylvania. The PawSox pulled within seven games of the IronPigs in the Wild Card race last night.
by Josh Maurer
Over the past two and 1/2 weeks, the PawSox have won 12 of 16 games to move a season-high eight games above .500 (63-55). The squad just completed a 5-1 homestand on Thursday afternoon, culminating with a 6-5 comeback victory over Durham that gave Pawtucket a three-game sweep of the Bulls.
It was the third three-game sweep of the season for Kevin Boles’ club, which has now won all five of its series at McCoy Stadium after the All-Star break. The PawSox have won a remarkable 14 of their last 16 affairs at home dating back to July 15th. Unfortunately, they have only 9 home games remaining (of their final 25 scheduled contests).
Two of the biggest reasons for the team’s recent success rest right at the top of the order, with leadoff hitter Rusney Castillo and third-hole man Marco Hernandez. Each has played in all 16 games during the current hot stretch, and each has been on fire at the plate.
Starting on July 27th, Castillo is batting .407 (24-for-59) in 14 games with nine multi-hit efforts. Rusney has three doubles and three triples during those 14 affairs, and while he has not walked once during that stretch he has scored 11 runs. The native of Cuba recorded a triple in each of the last two games in the Durham series.
During that same time frame, Hernandez is hitting .358 (19-for-53) in 14 games with seven multi-hit games. Marco has homered twice (including an inside-the-parker last Friday and a game-tying shot in the eighth inning on Thursday against Durham) and collected three triples and a double in those 14. He has 13 RBI in the past two weeks.
With those two providing some series thump at the top of the lineup card, Pawtucket’s offense has flourished during this recent stretch. The PawSox are batting .257 as a team this year, good for fourth-best out of any I.L. club.
Chris Marrero has gotten hot again, having homered in back-to-back games to finish the series against the Bulls. Marrero’s go-ahead blast with two outs in the eighth inning on Thursday gave the team an eventual victory and tied him for the top spot in the I.L. home run race with 22 on the year.
When Marrero has hit long balls this season, they have tended to come in bunches. That would lead you to believe that the Buffalo Bisons pitching staff might be in for a long weekend with Castillo, Hernandez and Marrero all currently mashing the ball at the plate.
Here are a few other roster notes to keep an eye on as Pawtucket prepares for a long road trip:
-The Red Sox outfield situation became muddled this week when Mookie Betts left Wednesday’s game against the Yankees with right calf tightness and was listed as day-to-day. Bryce Brentz was optioned back to the PawSox on Thursday afternoon to make room for Roenis Elias, who may be needed as a long man over the next few days with Clay Buchholz entering the starting rotation.
Chris Young, who began a rehab assignment with the PawSox on Thursday afternoon and went 0-for-2 in five innings as the DH, should resume action on Saturday night in Buffalo. When deemed ready, Young could essentially take Brentz’s spot as a platoon left-fielder with Andrew Benintendi.
–Sean O’Sullivan, who had struggled in three rehab starts with the PawSox since returning from a knee injury, was outrighted off the Boston 40-man roster for the second time this season on Thursday. He returns as a regular member of the Pawtucket roster and should remain in the PawSox starting rotation.
–Allen Craig has been rehabbing his knee injury with Short-A Lowell for the past two weeks. Craig, who has missed 77 consecutive PawSox games since injuring the knee in Buffalo on May 19th, has played in five games for the Spinners since July 28th and gone 4-for-16 with three walks and two RBI.
It would be nice to see Craig play in some games for Pawtucket over the final few weeks of the season. Because of two separate injuries, he has only been able to appear in six contests total for the squad this year.
As mentioned earlier, the PawSox are getting ready for a lot of bus rides around the I.L. North for the next three weeks. They will play 16 of their next 20 contests on the road, beginning with a season-long 10-game trip that will take them to Buffalo, Lehigh Valley and Scranton.
The trip represents an opportunity for Pawtucket to make up some ground on both teams currently sitting in a playoff position from the division – Lehigh (wildcard leaders) and Scranton (North leaders). As of Thursday afternoon, the PawSox had climbed to within 7.5 games of the IronPigs in the wildcard standings.
The RailRiders have played remarkable baseball for three months, and at 74-43 still lead Pawtucket by 11.5 games in the standings after having won their last seven straight games. The PawSox will play each of their final 25 games inside of the North Division.
Will and I are looking forward to our first trip to Buffalo since the weekend before Memorial Day. It will be three days full of baseball, hospitality and wings! We hope you will join us on the radio for the action this Friday as Justin Haley takes the mound for the PawSox at 7:05.
by Ryan Young
The PawSox closed out July with their best homestand (of at least five games) since 2013. Pawtucket went 6-1, beating two of the top teams in the league, Rochester and Scranton, three times apiece. The PawSox even kept hope alive in the playoff race despite looking up at the toughest division in Triple-A.
And it wasn’t just about beating the best…The PawSox also honored the best with their Inaugural Hall of Fame Induction on Friday, one of the highlights of another eventful summer week at McCoy.
The PawSox found several different ways to win their six games last week. In fact three of the games featured come-from-behind victories, while the other three wins came in shutouts.
Brennan Boesch captured Pawtucket’s second straight comeback win to begin the homestand with a walk-off, 11th-inning blast.
Boesch homered again in the third offense-driven win of the week on Saturday, but Chris Marrero had maybe the most impressive jolt of the season. His 20th home run of the season (which at the time tied for the league lead) left the entire ballpark.
Marrero is the first PawSox player to tally 20 home runs in a season since Mauro Gomez had 24 in 2012.
Jantzen Witte also had a great week at the plate for Pawtucket as the third baseman recorded a double in five separate games.
I spoke with Jantzen about his recent success, what stands out about Triple-A and his former teammate at TCU, Cardinals infielder Matt Carpenter.
As you heard me discuss with Jantzen, there has been an incredible amount of roster turnover this season for the PawSox. Witte has stayed on the active roster since he was promoted from Double-A Portland on April 18, but this is a rare example.
In fact, of the 55 players who have been on Pawtucket’s active roster at some point this season, only four have remained on it for the entirety of the season (up to this point): Chris Marrero, Kyle Martin, Roman Mendez and Robby Scott.
Scott and Mendez contributed to the first of three shutouts that the PawSox dealt in a three-game span last week. The pitching staff delivered pair of five-hitters (Wednesday and Friday) and then a one-hitter on Sunday to wrap up the week (Pawtucket’s first nine-inning one-hitter since May 27, 2009.)
Mendez has tossed 19.2 straight scoreless innings.
Heath Hembree closed out all three shutouts, retiring nine of the 10 batters he faced.
Hembree has struck out 16 of the 30 Triple-A batters he has faced this season. That’s almost difficult to comprehend.
It was an incredible feat to sweep the RailRiders and shut them out twice in the process. Scranton been swept only one time all season…way back in April. Pawtucket helped Lehigh Valley catch the RailRiders in the IL North standings.
Hall of Fame Night:
Just before the series with Scranton started, we had our Inaugural PawSox Hall of Fame inductions in a terrific pregame ceremony on Friday evening.
Wade Boggs, Jim Rice and the late PawSox owner Ben Mondor made up the first Hall of Fame class. After Boggs, Rice and Ben Mondor’s widow, Madeleine, each spoke, the 2016 Pawtucket team took the field to pay its respects. A ceremonial first pitch from all three honorees followed.
Boggs and Rice then posed for pictures with fans.
Boggs played two full seasons for the PawSox in 1980 and 1981. He missed out on winning the batting title by one at-bat in 1980 before claiming the title the next season. The story of the final day of the 1980 season is incredible and I dug up a couple articles from that day that retell the incredible story:
That is as close to an “unbelievable” end to a batting title race as you will ever hear. Yet, speaking of inconceivable thoughts, I present to you the following sentence from the first article about the future MLB Hall of Famer without comment:
“Boggs knows exactly what obstacles are built into his upward mobility–he’s not fast, hits with no discernible power and is not blessed with great quickness afield.”
Other Guests at McCoy:
Aside from the Hall of Famers, there were several other special guests at McCoy last week.
Red Sox closer Craig Kimbrel made a rehab start (even if he only faced three batters due to a pitch limit) on Saturday. It was one of the quickest rehab stints you will ever see, but it was fun to have him throwing 98 MPH at McCoy.
Mason Williams returned to McCoy but he has been a guest at the ballpark on several occasions throughout his life. The Scranton outfielder grew up in Pawtucket. He played little league in Darlington and frequented McCoy Stadium before he eventually moved to Florida for High School.
Williams made his debut as a player at McCoy in May of last season before he was called up to the Yankees later in the month. From what we can tell, he’s the first Pawtucket-born player to make the big leagues. Unfortunately, a shoulder injury derailed his season. Williams finally made his way back to the RailRiders last month and I asked him about coming to McCoy as a kid.
Sadly, Williams injured his ankle later that day. Hopefully he’ll return to the RailRiders and then to the Bronx in short order.
We also had thousands of guests (also known as fans) at McCoy throughout the week. One lucky group got an appearance from Deven Marrero, who took pictures, signed autographs and gave out some advice.
Other Notes and Thoughts:
Puerto Ricans Christian Vazquez and Henry Ramos have bonded off the field. In fact, Ramos’ daughter is Vazquez’s goddaughter. The two are frequently seen playing soccer with a cast of other PawSox. (Pictured below, the duo is joined by Rusney Castillo, Ali Solis, Roenis Elias and William Cuevas.)
On the baseball field, Vazquez has shown more power at the plate lately but his offensive game is still a work in progress. The Pawtucket catcher has eliminated a leg kick that he used earlier in the season, simplifying his batting stance so he uses his hands more.
From Further Down on the Farm
Andrew Benintendi, Yoan Moncada and Mauricio Dubon all made their way from Salem to Portland this season. And, of course, Benintendi just made the jump all the way to the big leagues.
I asked Red Sox Minor League Hitting Coordinator, Greg Norton, about the prospects when he was at McCoy last week.
Boston decided not to deal away any of its top hitting prospects this Trading Deadline, but the team did make on deal on Monday:
As Josh detailed in our last post, Pat Light was traded for pitcher Fernando Abad on Monday. He is so great to work (and a pretty darn good closer as well) with and we wish him all the best in the Twins organization.
He had quite the debut for Rochester against the PawSox this week.
The lights turn back on at McCoy tomorrow, as we begin a six-game homestand with a pair of postgame fireworks shows. We hope to see you there or speak to you on the PawSox Radio Network.
by Josh Maurer
Happy August everyone! Right before the MLB trade deadline on Monday, the Red Sox aquired lefty reliever Fernando Abad from the Twins as part of their continuing effort to upgrade the big-league bullpen.
In exchange for Abad, Boston sent Pat Light back to Minnesota. We have gotten to know Light extremely well in Pawtucket over the past two seasons, and it is exciting to see him get a fresh start with an organization that is full of opportunity at the major league level.
Brendan McGair of the Pawtucket Times spoke with Light after he learned of the trade, and it sounds like he is taking the life-altering news in stride.
Pat was putting together a fantastic season with the PawSox. In 25 appearances in relief, he was 1-1 with seven saves (in seven chances) and a 2.32 ERA. Light allowed just 21 hits in 31 innings pitched while recording 36 punchouts. The I.L. was batting just .188 against him at the time of the trade.
Here are some other highlights from Light’s 2016 season, courtesy of Ryan Young and the PawSox Game Notes:
-15 appearances since 5/21: 1.08 ERA (2 ER/16.2 IP)…
-In 9th inn: 16.0 IP, 2 R, 23 K, 7 BB, .183 opponent AVG (11-for-60)…
-Did not allowed more than 1 H in 21 of 25 app…
-19 of 25 appearances were scoreless…
-Reached 101 MPH on final pitch of 5/21 appearance at Buffalo for K and save…
-Tossed consecutive multi-inning appearances (5/16-5/11) for 1st time since he had 4 straight such outings from 8/1/15-8/12/15…
-Had at least 2 Ks in 5 straight games from 4/12-5/2…
-Struck out 7 of 15 batters faced in his 3 appearances from 4/12-4/19, tallying 4.0 scoreless IP
Light was twice called up to the big leagues this season (for the first times of his career), and his struggles during his two appearances no doubt stick out in Red Sox fans’ minds (2.2 IP, 7 H, 8 R). Still, its hard to argue that with his high-90s fastball and sometimes devastating splitter Pat can’t be an effective major league reliever.
I sat down and chatted with the New Jersey native back in May after he had returned from his first MLB stint, and he described in great detail the emotions and the terrific experience it was for him. You can listen to that conversation below:
For a time after returning from that initial journey to the show, Light was as dominant as we had seen him during his two seasons with the PawSox. Here in mid-May he struck out the side in the ninth inning to finish a victory against Gwinnett.
In spring training this year, Will caught up with Pat just a couple of weeks before camp broke and he headed up to Pawtucket. You can see in watching this interview how personable and thoughtful Light is with the media.
In a strange twist of fate, the PawSox will face Pat’s new team for the next three days as we head to Frontier Field for a series in Rochester. It will certainly be a strange feeling to see Light in the opposing team’s bullpen, especially immediately after the trade to Minnesota occurred.
In other news, it looks like the Andrew Benintendi era in Boston will begin Tuesday night. While I’m sure PawSox fans are disappointed they will not get to see the super-prospect play at McCoy for now, Dave Dombrowski obviously felt he was ready to make the leap and the Red Sox should benefit from his bat.
The PawSox meanwhile are looking to extend the moment from a 6-1 homestand as they battle the Red Wings for the next three days beginning on Tuesday night. Here are some tidbits from Sunday’s sweep-clinching 4-0 victory over first-place Scranton:
-Pawtucket claimed its first nine-inning one-hitter since May 27, 2009 at Louisville.
-The RailRiders (67-41), who still hold the best record in Triple-A despite the sweep, suffered only their second sweep of the season. (Also done on April 22-24 at Syracuse.) Scranton dropped three games in a row for the first time since June 4-6.
-The PawSox (57-52) earned the sweep with two shutouts sandwiched around last night’s offensive attack. Pawtucket has not allowed a run in three of its last five games.
Pretty good work by a team that entered the previous homestand having dropped six of seven games on the recent western road swing to Toledo and Columbus. Now that August is upon us the squad will hope to keep its winning ways to try and move up in the I.L. North and I.L. Wildcard standings, where they are currently 10.0 GB in each.
Thanks so much for reading, Will and I look forward to speaking to you from Rochester!
There were lots of tales that came out of our post-All-Star Break homestand between the PawSox and the Columbus Clippers. Henry Owens formed his own on the mound, Chris Marrero shared details from his legendary All-Star experience, Ryan LaMarre filled us in on his time on the mound at Fenway and the Pokemon craze hit McCoy.
Another No-Hit Bid
It’s been quite a month for PawSox no-hit bids. Henry Owens came two outs shy of a seven-inning no-hitter in game one of a doubleheader at McCoy on June 21. Then in the first game of the final series before the All-Star Break in Durham, four Pawtucket pitchers took a no-no two outs into the eighth inning.
Incredibly, we seemingly had a combination of the first two near-misses at McCoy last Saturday. Owens did not allow a hit until two outs in the eighth inning. The first seven frames of his outing might have been the most dominant innings we’ve seen tossed all year.
Owens left to this standing ovation:
By the way, Henry turns 24 today. Happy Birthday!
The All-Star Break of Legends
You might have heard that Chris Marrero maximized his All-Star Break. Well, it wasn’t really a “break,” but here’s a solid recap:
Chris earned a HR Derby Champion belt and a IL Top Star bat. He became the first PawSox player to ever take home EITHER one of those honors. Marrero blasted 44 home runs in the derby and then hit another round tripper for good measure in the All-Star Game, helping lift the IL to a 4-2 victory.
On his first day back at McCoy (following a 7 am flight from Charlotte), I spoke with Chris about his experience:
It’s worth noting that Eric Hosmer took home the MVP trophy for the MLB All-Star Game, so it was a pretty cool week for Deven Marrero as well.
LaMarre’s Pitching Debut
While, Chris Marrero has certainly been the biggest force in Pawtucket’s lineup this year, Ryan LaMarre has quietly been maybe the most consistent cog in the batting order.
He earned a multi-week stay in the big leagues and while he appeared in a handful of games, his most notable contribution came on the mound.
Ryan told me the whole story regarding his relief appearance:
He was able to poke fun at himself as well:
By the way, LaMarre is also currently on a 27-game on-base streak at Triple-A. It’s the longest such streak for the PawSox in over two years and the second-longest in the IL this season. We’ll have to dip even further into the records if he can extend it to 30 games.
Other Notes and Thoughts:
It’s always fun to have the boisterous Joe Kelly around McCoy. He’s been fantastic in his three relief appearances so far (all scoreless, while he has struck out 8 of the last 12 batters he’s faced).
I spoke with him about hit transition into the bullpen and a whole lot more. To hear that, the full interviews with Marrero and LaMarre, and Will’s interview with manager Kevin Boles, listen to PawSox Insider. (Learn why LaMarre has made sure to put Bolesy in his contacts.)
Gotta Catch ‘Em All
Time to make the easiest transition of the year…
That would be Joe Kelly (far left), along with bullpen catcher Dom DiSano, and pitchers Justin Haley and Chandler Shepherd. Yes, they are playing Pokemon Go.
Kelly is the most obsessed of the PawSox players though. He will even admit it:
Apparently, McCoy was crawling with Pokemon last weekend.
However, there’s plenty more than that to be found at the ballpark. Be sure to come by for next week’s homestand, featuring two crucial series with the top two teams (record-wise) in the International League. The week will be highlighted by our first PawSox Hall of Fame Induction on Friday and the Xander Bogaerts Bobblehead Night on Saturday.
Until then, I’ll leave you with my two lasting images from last week at McCoy:
by Josh Maurer
Like most years, the depth at the highest level of the Red Sox farm system has been tested frequently in 2016. Injuries, ineffectiveness and trades have forced new baseball chief Dave Dombrowski to look to Pawtucket time and again to plug various holes for the big-league club.
The PawSox have sent 16 players to Boston since the start of the season. Jeff Rutledge, Marco Hernandez, Heath Hembree, William Cuevas, Noe Ramirez, Roenis Elias, Henry Owens, Pat Light, Sean O’Sullivan, Blake Swihart, Rusney Castillo, Sandy Leon, Deven Marrero, Ryan LaMarre, Bryce Brentz, Mike Miller, and Eduardo Rodriguez have all taken the drive between McCoy Stadium and Fenway Park.
Over the past two weeks, however, some familiar names have trickled back down to the PawSox roster. Since July 6th, Pawtucket has added Christian Vazquez, Joe Kelly, Hernandez, LaMarre and Ramirez back to its active squad.
Throw in veteran MLB reliever Casey Janssen joining the team last week and suddenly Kevin Boles lineup card looks significantly older and more experienced than it did on Independence Day. That would help explain why the team has enjoyed one of its best stretches of the season recently.
The PawSox are undefeated in their last five series (3-0-2) following some great pitching and more long-ball hitting in taking three of four from Charlotte this past weekend. Now at 50-45 overall, they have matched their best overall record this year at five games above .500.
Even after losing starting pitchers Aaron Wilkerson (in the Aaron Hill trade) and Eduardo Rodriguez (back to Boston) during this recent stretch, Pawtucket’s pitching has continued to surge recently.
In the three wins during the Charlotte series, Keith Couch (just back from Portland), Henry Owens and Roenis Elias all collected victories and combined to allow just eight hits and three runs in 21.1 innings pitched.
Elias got this great defensive relay executed behind him to finish his 6.2 scoreless innings on Sunday. What a way to end an outing!
The Pawtucket offense feasted on Charlotte pitching in winning two straight series against the Knights over the past two weeks. The batters clubbed 12 home runs in the seven games against that White Sox affiliate, including two more this weekend from the unconsciously-hot Chris Marrero.
Marrero is now second in the I.L. with 18 long balls, including an amazing six in his last ten games played (not including one in the Triple-A All-Star Game). He has carried the club’s offense for stretches this season, perhaps none more impressive than this past two-week period.
Finally, best of luck to former PawSox infielder Sean Coyle, who was claimed off of waivers by the Angels on Monday. He had been designated for assignment when Boston acquired Michael Martinez two weeks ago.
On Monday night the PawSox begin a western road trip by playing the opener of a three-game series in Toledo. William Cuevas, himself just optioned back from a three-day stint with Boston, will get the start at 7:05pm.
Will and I look forward to talking to you on the radio! Have a great start to your week.