by Will Flemming (@WillFlemming)
What a summer it’s been for Dick Such. The man who has stepped in on two occasions as the PawSox pitching coach spent the bulk of the 2015 campaign as the pitching coach for the Red Sox’ Gulf Coast club – a team that yesterday won its second consecutive league championship. Dick first joined the PawSox in May when Bob Kipper’s father passed away, and has been with Pawtucket since Kip was named the interim bullpen coach in Boston.
Such has had a remarkable career in the game. I find it so interesting that a man who was the pitching coach for two World Series champions has spent a large part of his summer tutoring kids barely old enough to drive a car; a man who once helped decide to send Jack Morris out for the 10th inning in Game 7 of the 1991 World Series (more on that later) now monitors the development of Anderson Espinoza.
You can listen to my entire conversation with Dick below; here are a few highlights:
- A report on Espinoza, who today was promoted to Greenville and has made more headlines than any pitching prospect not named Eduardo Rodriguez (at the 45 second mark)
- The book on William Cuevas, who has made five strong starts for Pawtucket (around 4:50)
- Jack Morris in Game 7 of the 1991 World Series and the decision to keep him in the game for the 10th (7:20)
- Kirby Puckett’s role on the Twins’ championship teams (8:40)
Over the last two weeks, the offense has made life easier on Such’s staff. Winners of eight of 11, the Pawtucket bats have come to life. In the eight wins – all of which have come in three series sweeps during the last four sets – the PawSox have scored 40 runs and ripped 83 hits.
A couple names stand out:
- Chris Marrero is 10 for his last 31, with power. He has blasted three homers and three doubles in the last six games and taken a hold of the cleanup spot with Allen Craig promoted to the big leagues. The ProJo’s Kevin McNamara had this great profile of Chris’s baseball reunion with his cousin Deven.
- Speaking of Deven, he has led off in 23 straight games and taken to the role. Deven has three straight two-hit games, has been on base in nine of his last 15 plate appearances, has batted .309 in the leadoff spot and scored 16 runs with an on-base percentage of .368. He also played the second game of his career at third base and handled all three of his chances there, including this brilliant play that ended the game:
- Marco Hernandez is in the midst of a late-season surge. The lefthander – who has been moved to second base with Marrero the everyday shortstop and shown real defensive growth at a new spot – is riding an eight-game hitting streak during which he is 12-for-36 with six runs scored, a double, a triple and four RBIs.
The Sox welcome Rochester tonight at 7:05 for the finale of a two-game series. A few final notes and links before the ballgame:
- Alex Speier took this great look at the youth movement in Boston and what it might mean for 2016.
- It seems like Dave Dombrowski is leaning toward an outfield alignment of Bradley CF/Betts RF/Castillo LF but Jackie has shown comfort in Fenway’s difficult and quirky right field.
- Though they were technically already the champions when Pawtucket beat Rochester, Scranton celebrated the IL North title with this final out:
The PawSox have won six straight at McCoy, with four left on the 2015 slate. Josh and I will talk to you on WHJJ at 6:50.
by Josh Maurer
Every year on the September 1st, the Major League rosters expand and teams in the International League get a very different look for the end of the regular season. This week four members of the PawSox were promoted to the big leagues: Allen Craig, Sandy Leon, Noe Ramirez and Ryan Cook.
To take their spots in Pawtucket, the Red Sox promoted three players from Double-A Portland (and activated reliever Dayan Diaz from the disabled list). Here are some capsules of the newest PawSox, who should all be regular contributors for the final week of the season:
ANEURY TAVAREZ – OF
2015: Made Triple-A debut on 9/1 vs. LHV, went 1-for-2 with BB, HBP, 2B, R…Promoted to PAW on 9/1…Split season between Salem and Portland, playing in 106 total games and batting .246 with 7 HR, 32 RBI, 12 SB and 21 2B…Played in 67 games with POR, batting .226 with 5 HR and 14 RBI…Led POR in OF assists (7)…Hit walk-off homer on July 30th vs. Harrisburg (led off the ninth)…Placed on temporary inactive list from July 8-21 (Pan-Am Games)…Promoted to Portland on May 24th from Salem (Gragnani to DL)…Hit .280 (59‐for‐132), 2 HR, 18 RBI, 8 2B, 4 3B, 17 BB, 28 SO, 8 SB in 39 games with Salem…Reached base safely in his last 16 games with Salem: 17‐for-55, .309, 3 2B, 3 3B, HR, 4 R, 11 RBI.
2014: Spent entire season with High-A Salem, leading the club in home runs and ranking second in steals…Hit .250 (86-for‐344) with 11 homers, 50 RBI, 16 doubles, 5 triples and 18 stolen bases…Was on the disabled list from April 10-‐18 and August 15 through the remainder of the season…Hit .345 (19-for‐55) with 10 R and 3 HR during a 13-game hitting streak from June 2-19.
Personal: Signed by the Red Sox as an International free agent on October 18, 2010.
LUIS MARTINEZ – C
2015: Since return from POR on 9/1 (2 games): 3-for-7, BB, 3 R, 2 RBI, 3K…Went 2-for-4 with 2 R, RBI in return to PAW on 9/1 vs. LHV…Promoted back to PAW on 8/1…With POR has played in 65 games and batted .219 with 1 HR and 23 RBI…Transferred back to POR on 7/31, played in 15 games in August and batted .196 (10-for-51) with 5 RBI…Had first RBI (1B in 5th inn) with PAW on 7/5 at SYR…Started 5 of team’s first 6 games after promotion from POR (6/28-7/3)…Got first 2 hits with PAW on 6/30 at ROC (each off Ervin Santana)…Made PAW debut on 6/28 vs. GWN, went 0-4 with K…Promoted to PAW on 6/28 (H. Quintero on DL)…Played in 50 G for Portland to start season…Signed by Boston as a minor league free agent on 1/23/15.
2014: Combined with Triple-A Salt Lake (LAA) and Triple-A Sacramento (OAK) to hit .242 (56-for-231) in 67 games. Threw out 23 of 66 (34.8%) attempted base stealers. Began the season with the Bees, hitting .392 (20-for-51, 8 2B, 2 HR) during a 15-game stretch from 4/16-5/13 and .326 (15-for- 46) in a 12-game span from 6/27-7/25. Released by LAA on 8/2, but signed the following day with OAK as a minor league free agent.
2013: Claimed off waivers by the Baltimore Orioles from the Rangers on 1/4. Spent majority of season with Double-A Bowie, hitting .325 (39-for-120) in his first 35 games with the club (4/4-7/1). Threw out a career-best 39.0% (16 of 41) of attempted base stealers. Placed on the DL from 6/10-20. Signed by the Angels as a minor league free agent on 11/20.
2012: In his 1st season in the TEX organization, played in 10 games (6 starts) over 2 stints with the Rangers. Did not commit an error for TEX (54 TC). Rangers pitchers produced a 2.95 ERA with Martinez catching. Spent majority of season with Triple-A Round Rock, where he hit .316 (24-for-76) in his final 22 games with the Express.
Personal: Originally selected by San Diego in the 12th Round of the 2007 draft out of Cumberland (TN) University…Has seen ML action with SD (2011) and TEX (2012).
MADISON YOUNGINER – RHP
2015: Promoted to PAW on 9/1…Appeared in 38 games with POR (all in relief), going 7-4 with 2 saves and a 2.72 ERA (72.2 IP, 60 H, 22 ER, 22 BB, 53 K)…Last 11 games w. POR: 1.64 ERA (4 ER/22.0 IP)…2-for‐10 in SV opportunities: 3‐3-1, 4.27 ERA (10 ER/21.1 IP), 29 H, 2 BB, 16 SO…4-1 in all other appearances (28): 2.10 (12 ER/51.1 IP), 31 H, 20 BB, 37 SO…Posted a 0.00 ERA in June – just the 5th pitcher in franchise history to have a 0.00 ER (min. 50 batters faced)…Retired 20 straight batters over 3 IP (6 SO) from May 29-June 11…Allowed his first run on April 16th at Trenton (Aaron Judge walk-off homer in the 10th inning) and second run on April 24th vs. Trenton…Made regular season debut in Double-A on April 12th vs. Reading (2.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, BB, 2 SO).
2014: Made his Double-A debut in Game 4 of the Eastern Division Championship Series against the Binghamton Mets, working 3 scoreless on one hit and one strikeout…Promoted to Portland on September 5th from High-A Salem (3-3, 4.08 ER in 35)…Allowed an earned run or less in 31 of 35 appearances…Season-high 5 strikeouts on May 27th at Myrtle Beach…Following the season, played for Surprise in the Arizona Fall League, going 1-0, 7.36 ERA (6 ER/7.1 IP) in 7 games.
ACQUIRED: Selected in the 7th Round of the 2009 Draft from Mauldin High School (South Carolina).
PERSONAL: Attended Mauldin High School in South Carolina…Is the cousin of former Red Sox infielder Brandon Snyder.
Tavarez has recorded hits in each of his first two games played, plus the right-fielder made a leaping catch just in front of the fence to save a victory for the PawSox over Lehigh Valley on Wednesday night.
Martinez has delivered RBI hits in each of the his first two games since returning to Pawtucket, including a big one in the second inning on Tuesday that gave the PawSox an early lead.
The PawSox swept two games from the IronPigs and won the season series against Lehigh Valley, 10-8. Pawtucket has now swept three of its last four series and overall has won 12 of 20 games since August 14th. Looks like it will be a good finish to an otherwise tough season on the field.
Starting on Thursday night Kevin Boles’ squad welcomes Rochester for two games. LHP Edwin Escobar takes the ball for his final start of the season in game one. First pitch comes at 7:05pm. It is the first of the final five games of the 2015 season.
Hope to see you at McCoy, but if not Will and I look forward to speaking with you on the radio!
by Will Flemming (@WillFlemming)
Where did the season go? It is hard to believe that this evening brings the PawSox’ final road game of 2015. On the field, the Sox haven’t piled up as many wins as they would have liked, but that does not mean Pawtucket has lacked excitement away from McCoy. In today’s installment of 45 Miles from Fenway, I look back at the top 5 highlights of the 2015 road slate. The title of today’s blog is an homage to John Updike; yesterday during the broadcast, Josh and I talked about what would have been Ted Williams’ 97th birthday, and a wonderful piece Updike penned in The New Yorker on the day of The Splendid Splinter’s final game at Fenway. You can read the whole story here, but my two favorite excerpts are:
Fenway Park, in Boston, is a lyric little bandbox of a ballpark. Everything is painted green and seems in curiously sharp focus, like the inside of an old-fashioned peeping-type Easter egg. It was built in 1912 and rebuilt in 1934, and offers, as do most Boston artifacts, a compromise between Man’s Euclidean determinations and Nature’s beguiling irregularities.
The affair between Boston and Ted Williams has been no mere summer romance; it has been a marriage, composed of spats, mutual disappointments, and, toward the end, a mellowing hoard of shared memories. It falls into three stages, which may be termed Youth, Maturity, and Age; or Thesis, Antithesis, and Synthesis; or Jason, Achilles, and Nestor.
What a beautiful use of the English language. With a nod to Mr. Updike, on we go to the top 5 moments on the road in 2015:
5. Eddie’s Coming Out Party April 25, Scranton, PA
Eduardo Rodriguez was the story of the 2015 season’s first two months. When the 25th of April dawned, Eddie had made two strong starts for the PawSox; he had allowed just nine hits and three earned runs over 11.2 innings. But on this afternoon at PNC Field, Eduardo was at his very best. He pitched a seven-inning complete game and fanned seven RailRiders. Here are the video highlights:
When the dust settled on the road trip, JBJ had given Red Sox’ fans a preview of things that would come in mid-August: 4 homers, 10 RBIs and 12 hits in six games between Durham and Norfolk. Sound familiar?
4. Blake Walks ‘Em Off April 11, 2015 Allentown, PA
When this 2015 season began, the PawSox had a roster as loaded as any team in any AAA season. And right at the top of the list of talented core was Blake Swihart. The PawSox had won the first two games of the campaign, and went into the 13th inning in their third. And that’s when Swihart delivered:
3. Henry Turns a Corner July 18, Durham, NC
Henry Owens came into 2015 riding a wave of expectations. The lefthander led all of Minor League baseball with 17 wins in 2014, and most expected him to dominate the International League. But Henry struggled to find a consistent delivery and had a bout of wildness. In his first 12 starts, Owens had walked four or more seven times. Beginning with a start on June 14 against Toledo, Henry turned a corner. He walked only one in six innings; over his next six starts, he would walk two or fewer. Remarkably, when the Sox took the field on July 18 in Durham, Henry had not won a game since May 5th in Toledo (mostly due to a lack of run support). On that Saturday night, Owens took everything into his own hands and dominated. He showed off his new slider, found command of the dominant changeup, and overpowered the Bulls:
2. Jackie Plays a Home Game July 20, Norfolk, VA
When we all look back at the 2015 campaign, Jackie Bradley, Jr, may well be the number one headliner. For a guy who was under such intense scrutiny, who played underneath a constant cloud of doubts from the fans and media in Boston, Jackie handled himself beautifully. And after a monster series in Durham, Bradley took the field on this Monday night in Norfolk in front of nearly 50 friends and family. The minute he took his first swing, Harbor Park felt like the Bradley family living room:
1. The Ninth August 1, Buffalo, NY Coming into this Saturday night at Coca Cola Field, the PawSox had lost 14 of 15. And going to the 9th inning, they trailed 6-3. There were two outs, and the bases were empty. And then it happened: The best moment in any game away from McCoy – and likely of any game, period. Take a listen:
In the end, so much of AAA baseball is about the individual performances – about graduating players to the Major Leagues. And when you look back at the high-water marks on the road in 2015, it’s easy to see that the PawSox have done a tremendous job of that. Rodriguez, Swihart, Shaw, Owens, Bradley, Castillo…all are making major contributions in Boston. And that, my friends, is what it’s all about.
It’s been fun taking to the road with these Pawtucket Red Sox in 2015. Josh and I will talk to you over the radio waves as visitors one last time at 6:50 on WHJJ.
by Josh Maurer
Since being optioned back from his second Major League stint earlier this month, PawSox shortstop Deven Marrero has been filling a role he had never before been asked to fill as a professional. Now every night for two straight weeks, Deven has served as the team’s leadoff batter.
Hitting in the top spot seems to have ignited Marrero’s offensive game. In the first 15 games with the shortstop batting first, Deven is 20-for-64 (.313) with six walks, one home run, 11 runs scored and five RBI. In his final six games for the PawSox before moving to the leadoff spot, the former Arizona State Sun Devil was just 2-for-23 at the plate.
Marrero celebrated his 25th birthday on Tuesday night. While he went hitless in two at-bats and recorded a walk, he did make a nice leaping catch to finish a 2-0 shutout victory over Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. In Monday’s victory against the RailRiders, Marrero capped a two-run sixth inning with this base hit.
On Sunday against Lehigh Valley, Marrero put his power on display in the third inning against tough right-hander Severino Gonzalez by connecting on his sixth home run of the season.
Largely because of the hamstring injury to Dustin Pedroia, the former Red Sox first round pick in 2012 has recorded his first big-league time in Boston earlier this season. While with the club for the better part of a full month, Marrero only entered into six games (only making one start) and batted 1-for-7.
When asked why he moved Deven into the leadoff spot after being optioned back on August 11th, Pawtucket Manager Kevin Boles said on Sunday that the Red Sox really wanted to help Marrero make some some at-bats he missed earlier in the season while sitting on the bench in Boston.
Another factor that may be adding to Marrero’s recent hot stretch has been the addition of his first cousin and great friend, Chris Marrero, to the PawSox roster. Chris was signed by the Red Sox after being released by the Chicago White Sox earlier in the month and has become an everyday outfielder for Boles since his August 15th arrival.
Chris Marrero, a former first round pick of the Nationals, grew up right near Deven in the Miami area and as children the two spent lots of time together. It must be quite the treat for the two Marreros to play together in the pros for the final month of the International League season.
One down side for Deven Marrero all season, but especially of late, has been throwing the baseball from shortstop. He has been charged with two throwing errors this week, including one in the tenth inning on Sunday against Lehigh Valley that brought home the game winning runs.
Marrero has been charged with 18 errors with the PawSox this season, with a good many of those occurring on throws. For a man who made his name as a top prospect with his defense, the high error total is a bit surprising.
The good news is that the majority of those miscues seem to be made due to a lack of concentration – a problem that would be seemingly very correctable. As the calendar turns to September next week, one would imagine that Deven would be a very likely MLB call up with the rosters expanding.
Marrero, like the rest of the youngsters already playing nightly in Boston, should be able to impress Dave Dombrowski and the Red Sox front office team if he continues his strong play into the season’s final month.
-I had a very thoughtful chat with Pawtucket reliever Pat Light for last week’s PawSox Insider show. Pat talked about his splitter, his mental work with Bob Tewksbury and his love for his home state of New Jersey. Check out the conversation below:
After a winning homestand (5-4) that included a series sweep against Scranton from Monday through Wednesday, the PawSox next head to Buffalo and Rochester for their final road trip of the season. It will be a five-game stretch that begins on Thursday night at 7:05 from Coca-Cola Field.
Thursday’s game can be seen throughout New England on NESN. As always, you can also listen on the radio to Will and me on the PawSox Radio Network. Talk to you then!
by Josh Maurer
Friday night Rick Porcello will make what the Red Sox hope will be his final rehab start before being able to rejoin the big league rotation, as he faces Lehigh Valley at McCoy Stadium. According to Torey Luvullo, the Sox are hoping to get six innings from the right-hander.
In 20 Major League starts this season, Porcello is 5-11 with a 5.81 ERA – which would be the highest earned run average among all American League starting pitchers if he had enough innings to qualify. He has been on Boston’s 15-day disabled list with a right triceps strain since August 2nd.
Getting Porcello back to his previous form when with the Tigers will be one of the keys to turning around the Red Sox starting rotation next season. After signing a four-year, $82.5 million extension (through 2019) this April, it would seem very likely that the New Jersey native will be back in Boston for the foreseeable future.
Interestingly enough, it was new Red Sox President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski who originally drafted Porcello in the first round in 2007 and watched him develop into a reliable young starter for the Tigers for his first six years in the big leagues.
It was then Dombrowski who traded Porcello to Boston last December when it became apparent that Detroit would not be willing to give the young hurler the kind of money that the Red Sox would eventually spend on him. The new Sox boss will almost certainly be watching Porcello’s efforts closely not just tonight, but throughout the remainder of his season to figure out the best way to proceed with the 26-year-old.
Here are some other quick notes to get you ready for a three-game weekend series against Lehigh Valley:
–Carlos Rivero has been a big boost to the PawSox lineup since being reacquired in a trade from Seattle earlier this month. Rivero, who on Friday will start/bat 3rd for an 11th-consecutive game, is currently on an 8-game hitting streak during which he is batting .333 (12-for-36) with eight runs scored and six RBI.
-Even with back-to-back losses to Syracuse on Tuesday and Wednesday, the PawSox have still gone 4-3 over their last seven games (including victories in 3 of 4 against the IronPigs in Allentown last weekend).
The biggest reason for the winning week was improved offense; Pawtucket has batted .262 (66-for-252) in the past seven games and averaged 4.7 runs/game. The previous 25 games (a stretch during which the team went just 3-22), the PawSox batted just .207 as a team and scored just 2.4 runs per contest.
-With Steven Wright still struggling with concussion-like symptoms, it seems like RHP Matt Barnes will remain in the Boston starting rotation for at least one more turn this weekend. When Wright returns to the active roster, it would seem likely that Barnes would return to the PawSox rotation for the remainder of the IL season.
-Best of luck to former Pawtucket OF Quintin Berry, who on Thursday elected to opt out of his contract with the Red Sox. Berry, who leads the IL with 35 stolen bases, will certainly try and latch on with a Major League team in need of speed once the rosters expand on September 1st.
-After spending two months struggling in the bullpen, LHP Edwin Escobar has rejoined the Pawtucket starting rotation and has pitched his best baseball of 2015 in that role. Here are some notes from the PawSox game notes about Escobar’s recent work:
Last 3 appearances 8/7-pres (2 starts): 1-0, 0.69 ERA (13.0 IP, 9 H, 1 R/1ER, 7 BB, 9 K)…Last 2 app, and 3 of last 4, have been starts after first 12 PAW app came in relief (6/12-7/30)…Tossed 5 shutout IP and earned 1st PAW victory on 8/17 vs. SYR (4 H, 2 BB).
It’s a big weekend at McCoy. Saturday night the PawSox will host some special championship trophies – and our friend “Rollin’ With Rick” has all the details on that. We look forward to seeing you at the ballpark as the season begins to wind down. If not, as always, Will and I will talk to you on the radio!
by Will Flemming
What a weekend for the PawSox in Allentown. The fact that the ballclub snapped an 11-game losing streak and took three of four from the Lehigh Valley in the span of 40 hours took a back seat to all of the news off the field.
Just before batting practice on Friday, the news that rocked Red Sox Nation began to trickle in from Boston: John Farrell had been diagnosed with Stage 1 Lymphoma. The immediate reaction within the PawSox clubhouse was a mirror-image of the scene at Fenway: first shock, then confusion, and lastly a whole lot of questions. I was standing by Kevin Boles on the field as he prepared to hit ground-ball fungoes when the players trickling out of the visitors’ clubhouse shared the news with the Pawtucket skipper.
You have to understand this about John Farrell: he has always been a great partner to Kevin and his entire staff. Throughout much of spring training, Boles and his coaches (Bob Kipper and Rich Gedman) are with the Major-League club. Farrell treats them with respect and accords them real responsibilities; he essentially acts as the patriarch of a big baseball family. Bolesy was a floored as anyone by the news, but as usual, he had the perfect way of articulating his feelings on the matter. Listen to what he shared with Josh before Saturday’s game:
Everyone in the PawSox family is thinking of John and encouraged that the early detection seems to offer a bright prognosis.
Sunday morning, the PawSox had every reason to be dragging. On top of the lingering emotions over the big-league skipper, the Sox had played two nine-inning games on Saturday. Pawtucket took Game One 5-2 thanks to Quintin Berry’s third home run of the roadtrip and a big two-run single from Allen Craig (more on those two later). In the nightcap, Berry scored again in the first inning Pawtucket fell behind 5-1 after three ininings as the IronPigs got to spot starter Mike McCarthy. But the Sox summoned an inspired rally in their seventeenth inning of a marathon day; they sent nine men to the plate, scored four times and had the bases loaded before striking out for the game’s final out.
When the next morning dawned, the Sox girded themselves for the series finale – and sought a series win. But before David Buchanan and Wiliam Cuevas took the mound, the final domino fell from Boston: Bob Kipper would be joining the Red Sox as their bullpen coach after Dana LeVangie was named the interim bench coach for interim skipper Torey Lovullo. Kip’s phone was ringing off the hook with congratulatory calls and he scrambled to iron out logistics. By the time the game began, the PawSox dugout essentially became a receiving line for Kip. Bob could be seen grinning ear to ear, shaking hands and hugging one Pawtucket player after another. Here’s a view inside the dugout before the game (with Matt Spring and Noe Ramirez congratulating Bob):
As we have said many times in this space and over our airwaves, it is almost impossible to overstate how respected Bob is by his players, by his collegues and by yours truly. Bob’s stint comes at a great time for the pitching staff in Boston; you can be certain that Eddie Rodriguez, Henry Owens and the many other pitchers with whom he worked in Pawtucket will benefit from time with Kip in the ‘pen. Josh and I are indebted to Bob for his generosity, the information and time he shared with us and, more broadly speaking, for just being as great to be around as he was all season.
William Cuevas – one of Kip’s newest pupils – gave Bob one last outing to savor on Sunday in Allentown. For the third time since joining the club, Cuevas went at least five innings and allowed two or fewer runs. We’ve quickly learned that Cuevas is a great kid to have around; his journey from Venezuela is a fascinating one and he brings a joie de vivre to the ballpark each day. Here is the conversation I had with Cuevas on Wednesday in Scranton:
Cuevas’s start was just one element of an uplifting weekend in Pennsylvania; the PawSox offense really came to life, too. In four games, the Sox ripped 41 hits and plated 24 runs (in fact, in a span of the last five games, the PawSox have ten or more hits three times – that after they did not post double-digit hits from July 26 until Friday night, the 14th of August). Three names warrant extra mention: Allen Craig, Quintin Berry and Sandy Leon. Berry blasted his third home run in a six-day span, has gotten on base in 15 of his last 37 plate appearances and scored seven runs. Leon is 7-for-his-last-20 and belted a three-run, ninth-inning homer on Friday night. And then there’s Craig, who looks more and more like the man who was a National League All Star in 2013. He is 7 for his last 11 with RBIs in four straight; over his last five games, Allen is 9-for-19 with one line drive after another; he has ripped three doubles, driven in five runs and scored three times. In his last eight games, Craig has raised his on-base percentage 22 points.
The Sox also played fabulous defense, highlighted by this incredible Berry grab:
A few other notes and links before the PawSox look for the second straight series win (which, remarkably, would be the first time they’ve won back-to-back sets all year):
John Tomase wrote this fascinating examination of the Indians’ long road developing pitchers and explored how it may offer the Sox a guide in the year to come.
Jackie Bradley Jr. has made some spectacular plays in the last week, and yet none may have been more athletically jaw-dropping than the one he couldn’t quite make last night:
Travis Shaw is certainly making the most of his opportunity in Boston; he blasted his fifth homer last night at Fenway:
Consider this: Shaw hit five homers in 77 Pawtucket games and posted a .249/.318/.356 slash line. He’s matched the homer total in 21 Boston games and has slashed to the tune of .328/.365/.621.
Is there a scenario that sees the Red Sox break Spring Training in 2016 with Shaw the everyday first baseman and Bradley an everyday outfielder? That seemed virtually impossible a month ago; it is at least more plausible today, and that is a true credit to the work both have done.
Amazingly, the PawSox have twenty games remaining including tonight’s. Josh and I will talk to you on the PawSox Radio Network at 6:50.
by Josh Maurer
As the season winds down and the PawSox hope to change their recent string of misfortune, the minor league brass for the Red Sox have gone back to the well so to speak. Two players who were big parts of last season’s Governors Cup championship squad have been brought back to Pawtucket this week – INF Carlos Rivero and LHP Rich Hill (reportedly).
Rivero rejoined the team in Scranton and made his 2015 debut on Tuesday night, going 1-for-4 with a walk. Hill has not been added to the roster but has reportedly signed a minor league deal with Boston. The team could certainly use pitching help with a day-night doubleheader scheduled for this Saturday at Lehigh Valley.
In case you need a refresher, here are some notes on each player and the contributions he made to the club in 2014:
2015: Made ’15 PAW debut on 8/11 at SWB and went 1-for-4, BB, R…Acquired in trade by BOS from Seattle on 8/9, joined PAW on 8/10…Played in 96 games for Triple-A Tacoma, batting .256 with 8 HR, 40 RBI and 13 doubles….Signed a minor league deal with SEA in 12/14.
2014: Combined between Pawtucket and Double-A Portland to hit .264 with 7 HR and 53 RBI in MiLB 105 games played…With the PawSox, played in 74 games and hit .286 with 5 HR, 14 doubles and 36 RBIs…Had contract selected by Boston on 8/25/14 and played in 4 MLB games, going 4-for-7 (.571) with 1 HR, 2 doubles and 3 RBI…Was claimed off waivers by Seattle on 11/3/14, then was waived again in December.
Personal: Originally signed by Cleveland as a free agent in March 2005…Was claimed off waivers by Philadelphia in November 2010, then claimed off waivers by Washington in November 2011….Signed as a free agent by Boston in December 2013, then claimed off waivers by Seattle in November 2014.
2015: Signed with Long Island of the independent Atlantic League on 7/29, made 2 starts for the Ducks, going 1-0 and did not allow a run in 11 IP (2 H, 3 BB, 21 K)…Was released by WAS on 6/24…Began the season with Triple-A Syracuse in the Nationals organization…Compiled a 2-2 record with a 2.91 ERA in 25 appearances with SYR (21.2 IP, 12 H, 9 R, 21 K).
2014: Split time in the majors with the Angels and Yankees, combining to post a 3.38 ERA in 16 games out of the bullpen…Signed with BOS in Jan. and spent three months with PAW (Apr-Jun)…With the PawSox, made 25 relief appearances and went 3-3 with two saves and a 3.23 ERA (39.0 IP, 29 H, 15 R, 17 BB, 45 K)…Was acquired by LAA on 7/1, then pitched in 2 games and was DFA’d on 7/5…Signed with NYY on 7/17 and pitched in 4 games with Scranton/WB (4 IP, 0 R)…Was promoted to NYY on 8/5 and made 14 app, going 0-0 with a 1.69 ERA (5.1 IP, 6 H, 1 R).
PERSONAL: Holds 10 years of MLB experience, including four with the Chicago Cubs (2005-08) and three with the Boston Red Sox (2010-12)…Has a career big league record of 24-22 with a 4.72 ERA and 451 strikeouts in 197 games (70 starts)…Was originally drafted by the Cubs in the fourth round of the 2002 amateur draft out of the University of Michigan.
Another recent addition to the PawSox had never before been a part of the Boston organization, but instead had been living in the area nearly his entire life. New starting pitcher Shawn Haviland is a Harvard graduate who makes his home in Beantown.
Haviland, acquired in a trade last week, made his Pawtucket debut against Syracuse last Saturday. Here is more about the right-handed starter:
2015: Made PAW debut and took L on 8/8 vs. SYR (5.0 IP, 8 H, 4 R)…Was acquired by BOS in a trade from Colorado on 8/8…Was traded by CWS to Colorado in exchange for cash considerations on 7/22 but did not appear in a game with Rockies organization…Made 19 appearances (13 starts) for Triple-A Charlotte;, going 4-5 with a 4.19 ERA…Over 77.1 IP, allowed 83 hits (10 HR) w 59 K and 19 BB…Won consecutive starts against PawSox June 9 and 18…6/9 at PAW pitched 6 shutout innings with season-high 8 Ks…Over 11.0 IP v PAW allowed 2 ER on 8 hits w 11 K and 5 BB…Signed with Chicago White Sox as a free agent in January.
2014: Combined to go 8-9 with a 3.82 ERA (69 ER/162.2 IP) and 109 strikeouts in 28 starts between Class A Stockton and Class Double-A Midland in the Oakland organization…Spent majority of season in Midland, his third season there, and made 25 starts and went 7-7 with a 3.87 ERA (146.1 IP, 137 H, 70 R).
PERSONAL: Was selected by Oakland in the 33rd round of the First-Year Player Draft. Graduated from Harvard University…is a 2004 graduate of Farmington (Conn.) High School.
The PawSox eight-game road trip over seven days continues Wednesday night in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. LHP Edwin Escobar will make his second start of the season, taking the spot of the injured Keith Couch who was placed on the DL Tuesday with a right thumb contusion. Here are a few more noteworthy items for your perusal:
-Reports say that the Red Sox have hired former Angels GM Jerry DiPoto as a front office consultant. DiPoto abruptly left Anaheim last month after a reported dispute with Angels Manager Mike Scioscia.
-If you didn’t get a change to see it yet, here is the grand slam last week that made Mike Hessman the all-time minor league home run king.
Hessman, 37, drilled his record-breaking 433rd MiLB long ball against Lehigh Valley and set off a pretty wild celebration with his teammates. A very cool moment for the International League as a whole.
-Last weekend on PawSox Insider I sat down for the lengthy chat with Pitching Coach Bob Kipper. Ever the great teacher, Kip had some very interesting things to say about the progression made this season by Henry Owens, among other topics. It’s a good listen if you have a few minutes:
Have a great rest of your Wednesday. Will and I look forward to speaking to you tonight at 6:50pm from PNC Field.