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The Future of the Red Sox Now Star in Pawtucket

We learned a couple of days ago that lefty Henry Owens, the prized pitching prospect in the Red Sox system, was promoted to Pawtucket. He’ll make his Triple-A debut tonight against Columbus and try to get the PawSox off of their current 3-game losing skid.

Owens was 14-4 with a 2.60 ERA in 20 starts for Portland this season. He led the Eastern League in wins – his 14 victories are currently the most in all of professional baseball – and strikeouts (126 SO in 121 IP) and was 2nd in the league in ERA to teammate Brian Johnson (who has a 2.05 ERA). Owens also paced the EL in complete games (3), lowest batting average against (.201) and highest SO/9 IP ratio (9.37). He was 3rd in the league in WHIP (1.12) and 4th in fewest baserunners/9 IP ratio (10.34).

The 6’6”, 205 lbs. California native was Boston’s supplemental-round selection (#36 overall) in the 2011 June draft as compensation for the Red Sox losing Victor Martinez to free agency. He entered this season as Boston’s #2 ranked prospect and the #2 left-handed pitching prospect in baseball according to Baseball America.

Kelly O'Connor

Kelly O’Connor

In 2013, he led all full-season minor league qualifiers with a .177 opponent average against in 26 starts between Salem (high-A) and Portland (AA). He ranked 2nd among all minor leaguers with 169 strikeouts (the most by a Red Sox farmhand since Clay Buchholz had 171 SO in 2007). And Henry also topped full-season minor league Red Sox pitchers with a 2.67 ERA (going 8-5, 2.92 in 20 GS for Salem and 3-1, 1.78 in 6 GS for Portland last season).

This season, Owens helped lead 1st-place Portland to a 71-42 record as his 14 victories were already a new Portland franchise-record. He began the year with a complete-game, 6-inning no-hitter in an Opening Night victory at Reading, 5-0 on April 3 as the game was called after 6-innings due to rain. Owens struck out 9 and walked just 2 batters (both of those coming in the 1st-inning). He retired the final 16 batters he faced and did not allow a ball out of the infield. He followed that up with 6.2 scoreless innings (also with 9 SO) in a win at Trenton in his next start on April 9.

Henry posted a 9-game winning streak (a Portland record) from May 24 – July 19 and during that stretch also put together a Sea Dogs’ record 27.2 consecutive scoreless inning streak (over four starts) from May 24 – June 14. He tied his career-high with 11 strikeouts in a win vs. New Britain on July 6 when he also matched his career-high working 8-innings (allowing 1 run). Owens was a consistent 6-2, 2.54 in 9 starts at home and 8-2, 2.66 in 11 starts on the road.

Owens started the Futures Game on July 13 in Minnesota (1 IP, 1 H, 1 SO) and was named an Eastern League mid-season All-Star but did not participate in the game.

Joining Owens on the PawSox roster today is the top catching prospect in the Red Sox system, Blake Swihart. The 22-year-old began the season with Double-A Portland batting .300 with 12 HR (career high), 23 2B, 55 RBI, 47 runs and 7 SB in 92 games. He was also an Eastern League All-Star and was leading Eastern League catchers in nabbing 47.5% (28 of 59) of would be base stealers.
The 22-year-old was rated as the 5th overall prospect in the system prior to the season and the 27th best prospect in all of baseball according to Owens was #23 on that same list which was produced at the All-Star Break. He was a 1st round pick (26th overall) in 2011 out of V. Sue Cleveland High School in New Mexico…10 spots ahead of Owens.

Swihart is in the starting lineup and batting 8th tonight. Of the 10 played in the lineup, including Owens on the mound, 6 began the season in Portland (Shaw, Rivero, Marrero, Swihart, Gibson, Owens).

Should be an exciting night at McCoy!


The Aftermath of the Trade Deadline

I feel like Will Ferrell’s character, Frank “The Tank” Ricard, in “Old School” after he debated the “Ragin’ Cajun” James Carville on the role of government in supporting innovation in the field of biotechnology at the end of the movie…Very sophisticated response…”What happened? I blacked out”…

It was the MOST exciting Trade Deadline with more major moves that I can ever remember. The Tigers, wow, what a steal. The Cardinals got better with their rotation. The Rays, WHAT was that?! The Pirates, quietly made a couple big moves. And the Red Sox…some people hate it, some people love it, I think it’s a solid move and the Red Sox will be a better team, especially in 2015.

So, if you decided to take a break from technology yesterday and happened to not hear the news, well, the Red Sox are now the Boston PawSox.

Here’s a recap of yesterday’s events, JUST FROM THE RED SOX…
Acquired outfielder Yoenis Cespedes and 2015 compensatory draft pick from Athletics in exchange for Jon Lester, Jonny Gomes, and cash
Acquired righty Joe Kelly and first baseman/outfielder Allen Craig from Cardinals in exchange for righty John Lackey, lefty Corey Littrell, and cash
Acquired lefty Eduardo Rodriguez from Orioles in exchange for lefty Andrew Miller
Acquired infielder Kelly Johnson from Yankees in exchange for infielder Stephen Drew and cash
And today INF/OF Mike Carp was designated for assignment

This happened on Thursday…
Acquired player to be named later from Cubs in exchange for lefty Felix Doubront

This happened last week…
Acquired lefty Edwin Escobar and righty Heath Hembree from Giants in exchange for righty Jake Peavy

If this were the Oprah Show…Everyone would get a puppy.

Did you get all that? I’m still trying to figure it all out.

What I do know is how this all effects the PawSox. Boston’s new pitching rotation, including the Major League debut of Anthony Ranaudo tonight against the Yankees is now four-fifths PawSox from this year. Clay Buchholz, Allen Webster, Rubby De La Rosa, Brandon Workman and Ranaudo. Joe Kelly will take one of those rotation spots when he reports to Boston, so someone will come back to Pawtucket. Kelly is a great player with a very good arm. I saw him as he was coming up Double-A Springfield and he sat 94-97 with the fastball with sink. Red Sox Nation should be excited to see him every 5th day.

The trade of Stephen Drew shifts Xander Bogaerts back to shortstop and allows Will Middlebrooks to finally end his rehab assignments (4 of them) and be activate for the first time since May 16.

LHP Tommy Layne and RHP Alex Wilson have been recalled to Boston to fill the spot of Andrew Miller (traded to Baltimore). INF/OF Mookie Betts was recalled earlier today…

Allen Craig, just acquired from the Cardinals, will play in the outfield and can fill in at first base when Napoli need a day off. Yoenis Cepedes is now in the outfield (RF or LF, to be determined). Kelly Johnson, when activated from the DL, can fill in at second, third and short (basically Brock Holt lite).

So who’s left and who’s coming in for the PawSox…

- INF Ryan Roberts was placed on the DL after re-aggravating his left ankle sprain.
– INF/OF Derrik Gibson transferred from Portland
– RHP Jose Valdez (who has been on the DL since July 19) was activated from the disabled list.
– RHP Mike McCarthy was transferred from Portland (9-4, 4.64 ERA in 22 games, 12 starts with the Sea Dogs) and will be available tonight out of the bullpen. He’ll more than likely piggy back with John Ely, who’s making a spot start to fill Ranaudo’s spot.
– Top Red Sox pitching Prospect, LHP HENRY OWENS, is Pawtucket bound. The Sea Dogs ace was leading professional baseball with 14 wins and owned 2.60 ERA in 20 starts (126 k’s in 121 IP) while holding Double-A batters to a .201 batting average. He is tentatively scheduled to pitch for Pawtucket Monday night against Columbus.

So, that’s all…whew…I’m a little tired just thinking about it.

Oh yeah…and the PawSox are now tied for 1st in the North Division after their walk-off win Thursday afternoon.

Pawtucket looks for a sweep against the Chiefs tonight at 7:05pm…and the PawSox haven’t lost a game at home since July 3rd!

Thanks for reading, keep the faith!


Red Sox Trade Jake Peavy to Giants

The Boston Red Sox today traded right-handed pitcher Jake Peavy and cash considerations to the San Francisco Giants in exchange for a pair of minor league pitchers, left-hander Edwin Escobar, and right-hander Heath Hembree. Both Escobar and Hembree have been optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket.

Executive Vice President/General Manager Ben Cherington made the announcements.

In 20 starts for the Red Sox this season, Peavy, 33, went 1-9 with a 4.72 ERA (65 ER/124.0 IP) and 100 strikeouts. Entering today, his run support average of 2.76 placed second-lowest among all American League starting pitchers (5th-lowest in MLB) in 2014. Acquired by the Red Sox in a three-team, seven-player deal with the Chicago White Sox and Detroit Tigers at the 2013 non-waiver trade deadline, Peavy contributed to Boston’s World Series Championship run last year. As a Red Sox, Peavy was 5-10 with a 4.48 ERA (94 ER/188.2 IP) and 145 strikeouts in 30 starts. For his major league career, the 2007 National League Cy Young Award winner is 133-107 with a 3.58 ERA and 1,969 strikeouts in 326 games (325 starts) between the San Diego Padres (2002-09), White Sox (2009-13), and Red Sox (2013-14).

Escobar, 22, has spent the entire 2014 season with Fresno in the Giants organization, his first experience at Triple-A. Working out of their starting rotation, he has gone 3-8 with a 5.11 ERA (63 ER/111.0 IP) and 96 strikeouts in 20 games. He entered the season as San Francisco’s second-best prospect according to Baseball America, after posting a 2.88 ERA (83 ER/259.1 IP) between 2012 and 2013. Originally signed by the Texas Rangers as an international free agent in July 2008, Escobar was traded to the Giants in April of 2010. For his minor league career, he is 25-40 with a 4.12 ERA (243 ER/530.1 IP) and 528 strikeouts in 114 games (106 starts).

A reliever throughout his entire professional career, Hembree, 25, was 1-3 with 18 saves, a 3.89 ERA (17 ER/39.1 IP), and 46 strikeouts in 41 appearances this year, all for Triple-A Fresno. Named a 2014 Mid-Season Pacific Coast League All-Star, he ranks first in the PCL in games finished (35) and second in saves. He entered the season ranked by Baseball America as the No. 7 prospect in the Giants’ system after making nine scoreless appearances over 7.2 innings in his major league debut with San Francisco in 2013. A fifth-round selection of the Giants in the 2010 June Draft, Hembree is 4-10 with 105 saves, a 3.30 ERA (74 ER/202.0 IP) and 252 strikeouts in 205 career minor league games.

The PawSox have not made any roster moves to reflect the transaction, but details should be available prior to Sunday’s game in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

Tonight, the PawSox look for their 11th straight win after pounding the RailRiders 10-2 Thursday night to set a new franchise record with their 10th straight victory. Pawtucket is just 1.5 games behind division leading Syracuse.

LHP Chris Hernandez will make the start this evening for the PawSox as Allen Webster has been pushed back.

Thanks for reading and we wish Jake nothing but the best with the Giants.


Nine Games; Nine Wins…

Three straight sweeps…Nine straight wins…and the PawSox are just 2.5 games back of the North Division lead.

The up to the minute Wild Card leading PawSox have shaved 7.5 games off their deficit in the North thanks to sensational play over the last 27 games. Since being a season high 10 games back of Syracuse on June 24th, Pawtucket has gone 20-7. The team average is up from .240 to .255, the team ERA has gone down from 3.53 to 3.47 and the PawSox are outscoring their opponents 153-92 since the 24th of June.

To take that just a bit further, since the All-Star break, the PawSox pitching staff has allowed no more than 3 runs in any game and have outscored Buffalo, Syracuse and Lehigh Valley by a combined 35-16 over the last 8 games. Overall during the nine game winning streak, Pawtucket is outscoring IL competition at a 53-25 tally. Oh yeah, and they HAVEN’T LOST!!

Justin Lafleur, Lehigh University

Justin Lafleur, Lehigh University

So, a little history lesson on the franchise tying nine-game winning streak. It’s the 1st 9-game winning streak in more than two years ago (April 16-24 of 2012). The PawSox have now had seven 9-game winning streaks in franchise-history…two in 1984, and one each in 1991, 1996, 2000, 2012 and now. A victory tonight against the RailRiders in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and this PawSox club will be the first to ever reach 10 straight wins.
Justin Lafleur, Lehigh University

Justin Lafleur, Lehigh University

Pawtucket will have a good chance to extend their streak this evening in Moosic, PA with, arguably, their ace on the mound, Anthony Ranaudo. The 6’7″ righty is now 11-4 with a 2.54 ERA in 20 starts. His 11 wins are tied for the league lead, his ERA ranks 2nd and his opposing batting average (.208) leads the circuit. Against these RailRiders (who has won 5 straight games), Ranaudo is 0-1 with a 2.13 ERA (3ER/12.2 IP) with 13 strikeouts and 6 walks. The last time he pitched at PNC Field, Ranaudo earned a tough no-decision going 7 strong innings allowing 2 runs on 4 hits with 6 strikeouts back on June 20th.

In roster news, Pawtucket will have C/1B Ryan Lavarnway join the club on a rehab assignment. He last played with the PawSox on May 24th in Syracuse before getting called up to Boston. He played in 4 games with the Red Sox going 0-for-4 before breaking his hamate bone in his left wrist May 29th in Atlanta. Lavarnway has played in 5 rehab games (2 in the Gulf Coast League and 3 in Portland) going 5-for-16 with a 2B, HR and 4 RBI. With Pawtucket, he was batting .265 with 2 HR and 11 RBI in 44 games, mostly at 1st base. He’s in the PawSox starting lineup tonight batting 5th and he’ll catch for Ranaudo.

Enjoy the weekend and let’s make it 10-in-a-row tonight…Records were made to be broken, right?!


How “Sweep” it is

The PawSox are on some kind of roll. Winners of 10 of their last 12 including six straight games (matching a season high), with a four game sweep of Buffalo over the weekend, and a 9th inning victory against Syracuse Monday night to kick start another 3-city road trip. Maybe most impressive, the PawSox are in the midst of playing 18 of 22 on the road, a stretch that began on the 4th of July.

In Monday’s game, Pawtucket built a 3-0 lead after four and half innings. Two in the 1st on a two-out RBI single by Alex Hassan and a throwing error by former big leaguer Manny Burriss, and a solo homer by Carlos Rivero in 5th (his 4th of the season).

Allen Webster, who made his first start in 13 days Monday night, at one point retired 10 straight batters from the 1st inning into the 5th. But what could have been just a single run scoring frame, a pair of two-out RBI singles by the Chiefs tied the game 3-3.

Webster finished his outing after 7 innings allowing the 3 runs on 6 hits (4 in that 5th inning) while walking just one and striking out 3. If you take out that 5th inning, Webster threw no more that 16 pitches in any other frame and allowed just 2 hits to the league’s top offense.

Corey Brown changed that in the 9th with just one swing of the bat…the first pitch of the inning, as a matter of fact.

Alex Wilson, who had come in to pitch a scoreless 8th, did the same in the 9th to pick up the victory.

With the win Monday, Pawtucket is in sole possession of the lead in the Wild Card race 1/2 a game up on Rochester. The PawSox even pulled to within 4 1/2 games of the division leading Chiefs. The Sox are now 8 games over .500 for the first time this season, a new high-water mark.

A victory Tuesday and the Sox would be within just 3 1/2 of Syracuse and at that point, it’s anybody’s race.

Matt Barnes will make the start this evening against Blake Treinen, who is 6-0 with a 2.25 ERA in 11 Triple-A starts. Barnes, meanwhile, is looking to bounce back after matching a season high with 7 runs allowed and establishing a new high with 9 hits allowed in a loss against Toledo on July 12. Nine days between starts has given Barnes a chance to work out some kinks and the PawSox/Red Sox brass is hopeful he’s made the adjustments necessary to improve upon what has been, in all sincerity, an underwhelming season (4-7 record, 5.06 ERA in 15 games).
One big key to Barnes possible success tonight will be limiting the free passes issued. Over his last 4 starts, he’s walked 15 batters. In his previous 11 appearances, he’d walked 16…total. This Chiefs offense is one that takes advantage of freebies and Barnes will have to keep those to a minimum against a guy like Treinen who is stingy on allowing runs.

Also, a win tonight would be Pawtucket’s 7th straight establishing a new season high AND they’ll finish off a sweep of Syracuse in this mini two-game series.

In roster news, INF Ryan Roberts was activated from the disabled list (left ankle sprain) prior to Monday’s game. To make room on the active roster, OF Andres Torres was placed on the inactive list.

Here’s to breaking out the brooms tonight!


PawSox Stay Hot as Tempers Flare

It’s normal to have the offense cool down about after three days off…I guess someone forgot to tell the PawSox.

After clobbering Toledo on the last day before the All-Star break 13-8 while pounding out a season high 22 hits, they’ve picked up right where they left off. They beat Buffalo 5-2 Thursday and 4-3 Friday and homers had a lot to do with it.

Thursday, Alex Hassan put the PawSox on the board in the 2nd with a mammoth shot to left center, his 5th of the season and 3rd in as many days. He did it again on Friday against Buffalo hitting a high, towering solo homer in the 6th to tie the game 3-3.

For Hassan, it continues a stretch where he’s been white hot at the plate. He’s now hit in a PawSox team high 12 straight games hitting .425 (20-for-47) with 6 doubles and 4 homers. And he has at least one hit 20 of his last 21 games played.
His stretch of hitting 4 homers in 4 straight days is the second longest streak in PawSox HISTORY. The last player to homer in 4 straight games was Will Middlebrooks back in 2012 April 18, 19, 20 and 21. Only one PawSox hitter has hit a homer in 5 straight games, Michael Coleman from August 22-26 in 1999. Hassan is a homer away from tying Coleman’s franchise mark. Lefty Raul Valdes will make the start for Buffalo tonight.

So, I said temper’s flared. Still on a rehab assignment, Will Middlebrooks was thrown at twice last night, and was hit by a pitch on the second attempt in the 5th inning. Obviously frustrated, Will tossed his bat down and walked to first. Buffalo starter Esmil Rogers and Middlebrooks have a little history as Rogers was the one that hit Middlebrooks in the hand in 2012 ending his rookie season prematurely. Rogers was with the Indians and there was no intent with that delivery two years ago. There was Friday.

After Hassan’s game tying homer in the 6th, the next pitch whizzed high and tight on Deven Marrero. This is where the umpires should have warned both clubs. There was no warning, however. Marrero nearly hit the next pitch over the center field fence. A batter later Corey Brown struck out, and as he was going towards his dugout, Rogers glared into the Pawtucket dugout, said something, grabbed near his groin and benches/bullpens cleared. No punches were thrown, but there were LOTS of words exchanged. Take a look for yourselves…

Personally, I liked the response by the PawSox and their bench. You never let anyone show you up. Rogers tried and the PawSox responded. It’s refreshing to see a team have each others back…and this club legitimately cares about one an other. It will, however, be interesting to see how the next two games play out against the Bisons.

Dan Butler homered in the 7th to provide the winning run…his 4th of the season.

MEANWHILE….Steven Wright continues to deal. A week after being named the International League Pitcher of the Week, Wright shut down the Bisons last night for 8 innings. It was the 3rd consecutive start that he’s thrown 8 innings and he’s gone at least 6 frames in all but one start with the PawSox (the only time he didn’t, the game was suspended due to rain). And, if teams don’t get to Wright early, good luck. He owns an ERA of 9.00 in the 1st inning (9 ER/9 IP)…in all other innings COMBINED, his ERA is 1.04 (6 ER/52 IP). Knuckle on Wrighty!
The Thermanator is finally digested (thank goodness) and it’s nice to be home for a couple days before we hit the road again after our game Sunday night.

Time to stretch this winning streak to four straight…what do you say?


Let’s Head to the All-Star Break

32 straight days of games…That’s what the PawSox will finish up tonight after their game against Toledo at 6pm.

To put that into perspective, the World Cup hadn’t started when this stretch began and will finish before game time tonight. And it feels like the World Cup has been going forever, right?

There are a lot of tired bodies in that PawSox clubhouse…players that are ready for a couple days off. And they’ll get that starting tomorrow through Wednesday.

Only one player will represent the PawSox in the All-Star game in Durham and that is lefty reliever Tommy Layne. The newly minted Pawtucket closer has a 5-1 record, including 8 saves in 8 tries along with a 1.65 era in 43 2/3 innings pitched this season with the PawSox. He replaces righty Anthony Ranaudo on the roster as the Red Sox are holding the righty out after taking a line drive off his left foot in the first inning of his last start in Toledo.

Make no bones about though, Tommy has earned the right to be in Durham Wednesday night. He has been lights-out out of a bullpen that, at times, has been shaky. He’s been the rock that has solidified it. Tommy had his contract purchased by Boston as was the 26th man during their doubleheader with Baltimore last weekend. He recorded two outs in his Red Sox debut.

On to tonight where the PawSox have a chance to earn a series split with Toledo after losing back to back games. Brandon Workman will get the start, his 1st with Pawtucket since May 17th, and his 1st since being being optioned from Boston 4 days ago. His lone loss in a PawSox uniform this season came against these same Mud Hens back on May 7th when he went 7+ innings allowing 4 runs on 4 hits (all solo HR’s).

Also, with a win tonight, the PawSox will go 6-4 on their 10-day, 3-city road trip…their longest since 1996.

Good news for fans in Pawtucket once this road trip and All-Star break concludes, the PawSox start a four-game set at McCoy Stadium Thursday against Buffalo. Don’t forget that Saturday the 19th, is David Ortiz Bobblehead night. The first 4,000 fans (aged 14 & under) will receive this popular collector’s edition Bobblehead of Big Papi compliments of Bristol County Savings Bank & NBC-10. You won’t want to miss this giveaway!

Enjoy the break…we’ll be back to 45 Miles from Fenway on Thursday!

Go Sox!


The Thurmanator Dominator

So I wasn’t kidding about the lunch I was going eat yesterday…The Thurmanator from Thurman’s Cafe in Columbus. A restaurant featured on Travel Channel’s “Man vs. Food”…and yesterday, Man Won…as in, I destroyed the Thurmanator.

Visual evidence as to my utter domination (that I’m not super proud of).

This is what the monstrosity entails

This is what the monstrosity entails

A little more than "Two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun

A little more than “Two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun

I'm scared...very scared

I’m scared…very scared

All done now...and about 10 pounds heavier

All done now…and about 10 pounds heavier

Man defeated food...but Thurman's will always have a special place in my heart...and stomach

Man defeated food…but Thurman’s will always have a special place in my heart…and stomach

Holy Cow! Literally…I will say that once I was done, I felt ok…I was upright and walked just fine. No serious problems with the digestive process, which is nice, but I didn’t have the desire to eat until lunch time today. Needless to say, I had a salad for lunch and will have fruit or a salad for dinner. As Josh Maurer has described me, “I’m going to become a rabbit soon”.

Food habits aside, the PawSox won last night 3-1 in Columbus. Steven Wright was masterful tossing 8 shutout innings for the second straight start and picked up 4th win in 8 starts. He also struck out 8 and allowed just ONE Clippers batter to reach 2nd base. That’s remarkable.

Wright said to after the game that, “I was just throwing the knuckleball and it was moving a lot. A lot more than it has all year. I had a little trouble keeping in the zone early on. But as the game went on, I started throwing it for strikes, and when I’m throwing it for strikes, it works pretty well.”

He also credited his improved defense as a big reason why he’s pounding the strike zone more. “A lot of it has to do with the defense. I consider myself to be a contact pitcher. That’s what I strive to be. The strikeouts are great, but for me, I want to go deep into games. If I can pitch to contact, that’s my bread and butter. The way we’ve played defense, it’s given me the extra confidence to throw it over the plate, let them hit it and know we’ll have a chance to get an out. That’s the biggest difference between this year and last year. Last year, I got caught up in being a swing-and-miss pitcher. … This year, my whole mentality is to throw the pitch for a strike all the time.”

The PawSox won their first road series since Mother’s Day weekend with the 3-1 win in Columbus and have now won three straight games (the longest current streak in the league).

The 10-day, 3-team road trip hits it’s last destination when Pawtucket plays in Toledo tonight at 7:00pm. Anthony Ranaudo is on the hill tonight looking to rebound after his first poor start since April (6 IP, 5 ER, 7 H, and 6 K in Syracuse July 5th). He still owns the 5th best ERA in the league at 2.66 and the 2nd best opposing batting average (.208). Ranaudo beat Toledo May 5th at McCoy Stadium.

The PawSox face lefty Kyle Lobstein who set a career high with 9 strikeouts at McCoy May 7th in a 4-0 Mud Hens win. That was the same night that Brandon Workman pitched into the 8th inning and the only runs and hits allowed were on four solo homers.

And finally, a belated congrats to Christian Vazquez who made his Major League debut with the Red Sox last night and played a big role in Boston’s come from behind victory over the White Sox. A well deserved honor for a tremendous defensive catcher and a great guy.

To replace Vazquez on the PawSox roster, catcher Matt Spring was transferred to Pawtucket today. Spring was hitting .233 with 6 HR and 23 RBI in 31 games with the Portland Sea Dogs.

Thanks for reading…time for some vegetables!


News and Notes from the Road

The PawSox had yet another come from behind win last night in Columbus, 5-3 in 10 innings, to take the first two of three in the series. What’s at stake tonight? A chance to win a road series for the first time since Mother’s Day Weekend in Louisville.

Pawtucket started the season taking three of four games in three of their first four road series. Since then, they lost three straight before splitting the last four. Oh the tides, they are a changing…we hope.

Allen Webster had a real gritty start in last night’s victory. While he didn’t factor in the decision, he worked through 7 innings while allowing just 2 runs on 7 hits. He walked 4 for the first time since April 18 vs. Buffalo and threw a season high 108 pitches (the most he’d thrown in a game since 2012 when he threw 110 while pitching for Chattanooga in the Dodgers system). It was a grind for Allen, mostly because his command was not sharp for much of the outing (only 64 strikes in those 108 pitches). But considering he’d thrown 42 pitches through the first 2 innings while allowing 8 base runners…his final 5 innings were VERY impressive. Troubling still, though, is the lack of offense he receives when he starts. While he is physically pitching, the PawSox have scored just 53 runs for Allen over his league leading 19 starts (2.8 per game).

The PawSox scored a couple runs in the 6th to tie the game on back to back pitches as Will Middlebrooks doubled down the left field line to drive in one and Alex Hassan singled on the next pitch to plate the other.

Into the 10th we went after scoreless relief by Dalier Hinojosa and Drake Britton. Andres Torres blasted a two run, no-doubt homer, and Travis Shaw followed with an opposite field shot to give Pawtucket a little insurance. It was the 1st time this season the PawSox hit back-to-back homers. This is how they sounded…

In other news, as expected, Rubby De La Rosa will start for the Red Sox tonight against the White Sox. This became apparent when the righty went just one inning on Sunday in Columbus. The slightly surprising news was that Brandon Workman was optioned to Pawtucket to clear the space necessary for Rubby.

This move has been deemed just at temporary to Workman who was 1-3 with a 4.13 ERA in 11 games, 8 starts.

Pawtucket’s offense has been on a roll lately. And despite losing 5 of 8 (by a total of 6 runs), they have at least 10 hits in five of of those games, including the last three in a row. A good sign as the team’s batting average now sits at .248.

The PawSox will send knuckleballer Steven Wright to the hill tonight at 7:05 in search of that elusive road series victory. Wright has won three of his last 5 starts and has pitched at least 6 innings in every start this season. The only time he didn’t was in Rochester when the game was suspended due to rain. And he’s allowed 2 runs or less in all but one start (4 vs. Durham June 28, all in the 1st inning)

Here’s to hoping for some more gorgeous weather in Columbus too…
Oh, and I think I’m going to try and take down the Thumanator for lunch today with the legendary Rollin’ with Rick!

Thanks for reading!


Sights from the Beginning of a 10-Day Road Trip

So the PawSox are amidst their longest road trip of the season, a 10-game, 3 city odyssey before the 3-day All-Star break next week.

First stop Syracuse for two days. Pawtucket took game one 3-2 in 10 innings thanks to the heroics of newcomer Deven Marrero. He flashed the glove at shortstop and his 2-out RBI double in the 10th put the PawSox in front for good.
Steven Wright had another brilliant start allowing just two runs over his 8 innings of work (both scoring in the 3rd inning with two outs). He limited the powerful Chiefs lineup to 2 hits over his final 5 innings while retiring 14 of the last 15 batters he faced, including the last 8 in a row.

Gorgeous sunset from the 4th of July in Syracuse

Gorgeous sunset from the 4th of July in Syracuse

Funk 'N Waffles...a must have in Syracuse. Bacon infused waffles with honey, bananas and peanut butter.

Funk ‘N Waffles…a must have in Syracuse. Bacon infused waffles with honey, bananas and peanut butter.

Pawtucket lost a tough one Saturday night in Syracuse, 7-6. The PawSox fought back to tie the game 6-6 in the 9th on a wild pitch to score Ryan Roberts, who had led off the 9th with a double. However, the Chiefs drew a lead off walk in the bottom of the 9th against Drake Britton before a sacrifice moved the winning run to 2nd base. A base hit followed, but right fielder Alex Hassan fired a dart home to nab the winning run at the plate. An infield single and an intentional walk later loaded the bases. Britton did not throw Tyler Moore a strike in the final at-bat to force in the winning run from third on a walk.

A tough loss, but the Sox have still won 7 of their last 11 games.

On to Columbus to face the Clippers for the first time in 2014 (a team the PawSox took 6 of 8 from in 2013, including a 4-game sweep in Columbus).

We rode the bus through the night arriving in Ohio’s Capitol City at about 6:30am. For the first time in my career, we took a sleeper bus. Stacked three high and three long with a coaches area with cots in the front of the bus. It was pretty sweet to say the least. Felt like we were on a tour bus of the band/musician of your choice.

Each 'cabin' had it's own light, TV screen, air conditioning and curtain

Each ‘cabin’ had it’s own light, TV screen, air conditioning and curtain

The coaches area from my bottom bunk with the satellite TV

The coaches area from my bottom bunk with the satellite TV

My bunk stocked with pillow and blanket too...nice set up

My bunk stocked with pillow and blanket too…nice set up

Just in time to see the sunrise in Columbus

Just in time to see the sunrise in Columbus

We arrived, as mentioned at about 6:30am after leaving Syracuse at about 11pm. I stayed up for a couple hours to finish off the game notes, grabbed a couple more winks of sleep and then when to one of my favorite spots in the league, Tasi, for some brunch…
No table numbers, just dog breeds

No table numbers, just dog breeds

My favorite, the Huevos Rancheros with black bean toast

My favorite, the Huevos Rancheros with black bean toast

Now, to watch the final set of the Men’s final at Wimbledon and then time to head over to the park for the series opener with the Clippers. Rubby De La Rosa makes the start for the PawSox at 6:05pm tonight!

Thanks for reading, hope I didn’t make you hungry



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