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More Movement For PawSox Roster

Another day and another move for the PawSox here in August. Since the trade deadline July 31, the PawSox have already been involved in 47 player transactions.

Today, the PawSox added Dan Butler after he was optioned from Boston earlier with C David Ross coming off the DL for the Red Sox. In the clubhouse now sit four catchers, Blake Swihart, Butler, Ryan Lavarnway and Matt Spring who is currently on the disabled list. Butler was recalled to Boston on August 2 when Ross went on the DL and he made his Major League debut with the Red Sox on August 10 in Anaheim. In 3 games for the Red Sox (all as catcher) he was 0-for-11 with a walk. In 76 games for the PawSox (47 as catcher) he is hitting .227 with 17 2B, 4 HR and 28 RBI.
This move is on the heels of Mookie Betts and Jackie Bradley Jr. swapping spots, in essence, on Monday. The numbers on JBJ in Boston this year have been well documented, as have Betts’ in Double-A and Triple-A for that matter, and this promotion for Betts gives him a two-week, uninterrupted opportunity with the Red Sox. For Bradley, it’s a chance to get his bat going before September hits. JBJ was hitting just .216 in 112 games with Boston before being optioned. He hit .275 in 80 games with a career high 10 homers in 2013 with the PawSox.

A PawSox roster spot for Butler became available late this afternoon when Alex Hassan was recalled to Boston (the Red Sox optioned RHP Steven Wright back to Pawtucket – although Wright has not yet been added to the PawSox roster). Hassan will be making his second trip to Boston this season as he was recalled on May 30 and made his big league debut with the Red Sox on June 1 going 1-for-3 vs. Tampa Bay at Fenway. In 2 games with the Red Sox (both in the outfield) he was 1-for-7 before being optioned back to Pawtucket on June 9. Hassan has been one of Pawtucket’s hottest hitters since his return batting .367 in June, .330 in July, and .290 in August. Overall in 104 games for the PawSox he is hitting .282 with a team-high 29 doubles along with 8 HR & 50 RBI (his 50 RBI tied for the PawSox lead with Garin Cecchini).
Rehabbing Red Sox OF/1B Allen Craig did not play last night but will play RF and bat 2nd tonight. He was Pawtucket’s DH Monday night going 0-for-2 with a walk. Craig, 30, who was placed on the disabled list on August 5 (retro to August 2) with a left foot sprain, injured his foot while running the bases in the 8th-inning during the Red Sox game against the Yankees on August 1 at Fenway Park (he hit first base awkwardly). Acquired from St. Louis along with RHP Joe Kelly for RHP John Lackey on July 31, Craig went 1-for-4 with a double in his Red Sox debut on August 1 (his only game played to date with Boston). In 97 games for the Cardinals and 1 game for the Red Sox this season he is hitting .237 with 18 2B, 1 3B, 7 HR and 44 RBI.

A 2013 National League All-Star, Craig ranked 4th in the NL with a .312 batting average combined over the last three seasons (2011-13) while helping St. Louis reach the post-season in all three years – including the World Series title in 2011 and a World Series loss to the Red Sox in 2013.

INF Ryan Roberts was also activated from the PawSox DL two days ago (left ankle sprain) and INF Mike McCoy was placed on the disabled list with a left calf strain.

Get all that? There may even be more moves in the coming days as well.

Matt Barnes will get the start for the PawSox Wednesday night against Lehigh Valley. He has been spectacular since the All-Star break going 2-1 with a 1.95 ERA (7ER/32.1IP) allowing just 18 hits, 10 BB while striking out 25 batters. Opponents are hitting just .161 against him in that time as well.

Only 13 games to go and the PawSox are just 3 games back in the North Division behind Syracuse and 2 games up on Rochester in the Wild Card.

Thanks for reading,


Sunday News and Notes

The PawSox look to end a brief two-game losing streak against the RailRiders this afternoon at 1:05pm, but they won’t have knuckleballer Steven Wright on the mound. Originally scheduled to start this afternoon, Wright was recalled to Boston prior to the game to provide bullpen depth for the Red Sox. As a result, lefty Ryan Verdugo will make his 2nd “spot” start of the season and his 8th overall appearance with the PawSox. Verdugo has picked up a win and two saves out of the bullpen in his last three games. He made a spot start back on August 3rd, the day Wright was recalled the 1st time this season.

A few long games up in Boston has them scrambling for available arms. Alex Wilson, recalled while the team was in Gwinnett, picked up the win for the Red Sox last night tossing 2.1 scoreless innings.

To fill Wright’s spot on the roster, RHP Jose Valdez (sidelined with a shin contusion) was activated from the disabled list.

It has also been reported that INF/OF Allen Craig will begin a rehab assignment with the PawSox on Monday. Battling a sprained left foot, Craig was one of the key members of the John Lackey trade with the Cardinals, the other, today’s Red Sox starter Joe Kelly. It is believed that Craig will be with Pawtucket for about three days.

Ian Browne of did a fine piece on lefty reliever Tommy Layne, who is proving to be a key piece to the Boston bullpen since he was recalled for a 2nd time at the beginning of the month.
Layne was lights out in his time with PawSox…it’s no surprise that hes pitching as well as he is in Boston.

And while the PawSox are in the think of a playoff push with just 17 game to go in the season (trailing in the North by 2.5 games and leading the Wild Card by 2.5 games over both Buffalo and Rochester), the Double-A Portland Sea Dogs have a magic number of TWO entering their game today. Good luck to the fellas in Portland as they vie for a playoff position in the Eastern League.

Home Cooking? The PawSox are 1-6 at home this month but 7-1 on the road thus far in August. The Sox have lost three in a row at home (the past two nights to the RailRiders and the finale of their last homestand on August 5 to Columbus) and they have dropped 6 of their last 7 at McCoy since August 1 after ending July on a 6-game home winning streak. In contrast to their home struggles, the PawSox are coming off a 7-1 roadtrip, have won 14 of their last 17 away games since July 13, and they own the best road record in the International League at 38-28. We’ll see if their luck will change this afternoon against a club that has already clinched a season-series victory over Pawtucket.

The RailRiders, by the way, are doing to the PawSox what the PawSox did to them in 2013…Win on the opposition’s home turf. In the first year of the newly minted PNC in Moosic, PA, the PawSox took 7 of 8 from the ‘Riders. This season, Scranton/WB has redemption on their minds having won 5 of their first 6 games at McCoy.

Thanks for reading and enjoy your Sunday!


Hoping to End the Road Trip in Style

A win tonight and the PawSox will go 7-1 on the 8-game southern swing.

After yet another come from behind victory last night, thanks to another go-ahead RBI 2B by Blake Swihart in the 9th inning, Pawtucket has come from behind to win in 6 of their last 7 games. Tied 3-3 in the 9th, Swihart delivered another clutch 2-out RBI to give the PawSox the lead for good (the second time he’s done so on the road trip).
The 22-year-old switch hitter is batting .276 (8-for-29) with a homer and 6 RBI through his first 7 Triple-A games. Most of his damage has come from the right side of the plate as he’s 4-for-8 with a homer, a triple, a double and 5 RBI.

Pawtucket also got another impressive start from lefty Edwin Escobar who fired 7 innings allowing just two runs (one on a lead-off solo homer on the 2nd pitch he threw) on 5 hits while striking out 6 Wednesday night in Gwinnett. He walked only one. So far in his 3 starts with the Red Sox organization, Escobar still is without a decision, but owns a 1.89 ERA (4 ER/19 IP) with 16 strikeouts against just 4 walks. He was even recalled by Boston over the weekend as bullpen insurance after their 19 inning game in Anaheim. Despite not appearing in a game, it was his 1st major league recall of his career.
Now, after tonight’s game (and hopefully another victory), the PawSox will return home to McCoy Stadium for their final long homestand of the regular season, an 8-gamer starting Friday night at 7:05pm. Lefty Henry Owens is expected to make the start, his 2nd at home, against the RailRiders.

Not only is “Big Hank” starting, but a ton of specialty nights are coming as well.

Friday night, the first 4,000 fans coming to McCoy to see the PawSox play Scranton/Wilkes-Barre at 7:05 pm will receive a PawSox Cap. This quality 100% cotton red cap comes compliments of the Rhode Island Lottery & WEEI-FM.

Saturday, the final Free Youth Clinic of the season at McCoy Stadium will take place from 2:00-3:15 pm. The clinic is open to youngsters of all ages free of charge. PawSox manager Kevin Boles, pitching coach Rich Sauveur, hitting coach Dave Joppie, coach Bruce Crabbe, and several players will be on the field at McCoy to offer youngsters instructions and tips on the game of baseball. The 6:05 pm game against Scranton/Wilkes-Barre follows.

Immediately after the conclusion of this Sunday afternoon’s game, the PawSox invite all fans to join us for our 17th Annual PawSox Fan Appreciation Fan Festival at McCoy Stadium. The FanFest will feature PawSox Player Autograph Booths, a chance to meet PAWS & SOX, free samples & coupons, music, games for kids, and other surprise treats. The FanFest is available to all fans free of charge after the game on Sunday at McCoy.

With school starting soon, the first 4,000 youngsters (aged 14 & under) coming to McCoy on TUESDAY when the PawSox play Lehigh Valley at 7:05pm will take home a PawSox back-to-school kit compliments of Citizens Bank, Pepsi, and LITE Rock 105. The kit contains PawSox items such as a ruler, pencil, eraser and other back-to-school items.

Wednesday, the first 3,000 youngsters (aged 14 & under) entering McCoy on August 20 when the PawSox play the Lehigh Valley IronPigs at 7:05 pm will receive a PawSox back-to-school notebook compliments of the Rhode Island Shrine, 630 WPRO and 99.7 FM . The notebook features PawSox & Red Sox pitcher Anthony Ranaudo and catcher Christian Vazquez on the cover.

Sounds too good to be true, right?!

Lots going on at McCoy when the club returns Friday, you won’t want to miss it!

Thanks for reading and for supporting the PawSox and their 2014 playoff push.


Another Week and Another Streak

The PawSox have done it again. They’ve put together another long winning streak, this one is currently at 5 games and could be 6 after tonight’s game against Gwinnett.

Monday night’s 15-9 win against the G-Braves was both frustrating and impressive.

After jumping out to a 9-0 in the 5th, the PawSox led 9-1 into the 8th. That’s when the G-Braves’ bats woke up. They scored 8 runs on 6 hits while scoring runs on a bases load walk and a wild pitch to tie the game 9-9.

Now, some other teams would throw in the towel after giving up a nine run lead. Not this club. Pawtucket responded with six runs of their own in the top of the 9th. Here’s how the 9th went down:

Cecchini ground out (1 out)
Marrero single
Swihart double
Gibson RBI single (10-9)
Betts double (11-9)
McCoy intentional walk, bases loaded
Brentz 2-run single (13-9)
Shaw strikeout (2 out)
Rivero walk
Cecchini 2-run single (15-9)
Marrero walk
Swihart strike out (3 outs)

In all, 6 runs on 6 hits and 12 batters came to the plate. That doesn’t sound like a roll over at all. The result was another win; their 5th straight to begin their final 8-game road trip of the season. Pawtucket has now plated the go-ahead runs in the 9th inning in 3 consecutive games and have scored a total of 12 runs in the final frame in that time span. In fact, of their 5 straight victories, the PawSox have gone ahead in the 8th inning or later in 4 of the 5.

Even better, the offense has come alive again. During the streak, the PawSox are hitting .333 as a team and averaging 9 runs a game. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the offensive production spiked with the return of Mookie Betts. He’s hitting .409 (9-for22) with 5 RBI and 6 runs scored since his return from the Red Sox. When he’s in the lineup, Pawtucket has won 18 of their last 20 games. That’s a catalyst.

3B/OF Garin Cecchini has also come to life of late and Monday night was no exception. A 3-for-6 night with a pair of doubles and matching a career high with 5 RBI. The last time he had accomplished that was May 26th, 2012 when he was with Greenville. He’s got 7 hits in his last 14 at-bats over his last 3 games and has driven in 7 runs. He’s going to be a key to the PawSox offense down the stretch.
The PawSox now own the best road record in the league, 36-27, and are in a 1st place tie with Syracuse atop the North Division. Their lead in the Wild Card is 2 games over Rochester and 3.5 over Buffalo. Also, their 69 wins are the most in the International League. Not bad for a team that was not above .500 for a month from May 25 to June 23. And for all the roster turmoil since the trade deadline, Pawtucket has remained consistent.

A few notes about the PawSox against the Gwinnett Braves heading into tonight’s 6:35pm game. Pawtucket has won 14 of the last 18 games vs. Gwinnett dating back to the 2012 season. The PawSox won the final five games vs. Gwinnett during the 2012 season (finishing 6-2) and the first five meetings of the 2013 season (also finishing 6-2) to compile a 10-game winning streak against Gwinnett. They are 3-2 vs. the Braves thus far this season. And, the PawSox have not lost a game at Coolray Stadium since August 13, 2011 (11 straight wins)…Well, today is the 12th of August, we might as well stretch this streak to 3 years without a loss in Georgia by winning tonight!

Thanks for reading and rooting!


On The Road Again; Welcome to Charlotte

It’s time for the last LONG road trip of the year; an 8-day, 2-city trip to Charlotte and Gwinnett.

We’ve been waiting all season for this one because of the brand, spanking new park in Uptown Charlotte (it’s not Downtown in south, it’s Uptown).

Uptown Charlotte, North Carolina

Uptown Charlotte, North Carolina

Previously located in Ft. Mill, South Carolina, the Knights made the move to Uptown in April 2014 to open the season. The 10,200 seat stadium cost roughly $54 million to complete and it could not have been placed in a better location in the heart of Charlotte with the best skyline in the league (and arguably anywhere in the minor leagues)

Here is a photo tour of the park starting from behind the plate to the Home Run Porch in right field. Sadly, the weather didn’t cooperate today, thus the gloomy skies.

From the top row of seats in front of the VIP suite behind the plate

From the top row of seats in front of the VIP suite behind the plate

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From the front row of seats in left...the ball FLIES out to left and left center

From the front row of seats in left…the ball FLIES out to left and left center

Across the field from the bleachers in left

Across the field from the bleachers in left

Looking straight in from center.

Looking straight in from center.

The 3rd largest video board in the league behind Buffalo and Durham. Still Mighty impressive

The 3rd largest video board in the league behind Buffalo and Durham. Still Mighty impressive

From the front row in right center. Measured appx. 360 feet from home

From the front row in right center. Measured appx. 360 feet from home

The short porch in right

The short porch in right

This park directly behind the ballpark (behind right field) was built last year and is packed to the gills most evenings.

This park directly behind the ballpark (behind right field) was built last year and is packed to the gills most evenings.

only 315 feet down the right field line...enticing for left handed power bats

only 315 feet down the right field line…enticing for left handed power bats

A panoramic shot from the Home Run Porch in right. This place was ROCKIN' on Thursday night...Dollar Beer Night

A panoramic shot from the Home Run Porch in right. This place was ROCKIN’ on Thursday night…Dollar Beer Night

Visually this place is spectacular. The skyline is remarkable and the Uptown area has been revitalized thanks to the Carolina Panthers (Bank of America Stadium being just a block away) and now the Knights.

Charlotte has had a professional baseball team going back to 1892, then known as the Charlotte Hornets. The Knights did not forget their roots as they painted murals of the old teams and ballpark parks in which their clubs played on the outside of BB&T Ballpark.
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Latta Park was the first stadium in which the Hornets played before moving to Wearn Field and Hayman Park from 1908-1940.
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In 1940, Griffith Park was Built in Charlotte for $70,000 and was later named Crockett Park. Charlotte clubs played at this facility until a fire destroyed it in 1985. The Team was originally affiliated with the Washington Senators and later was affiliated with the Minnesota Twins until 1973.
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From 1946-1953 the Hornets played in the Tri-State League (Class-B Ball) before returning to the South Atlantic League in 1954. Another league shift happened in 1964 as Charlotte joined the Southern League (Double-A). Such stars like Tony Oliva, Graig Nettles, Charlie Manuel and IL Manager in Norfolk in 1997 and 1998 Rick Dempsey all played in Charlotte with the Twins.

In 1973, Baseball left the city until Frances Crockett brought it back to the Queen City in 1976. Now an Orioles affiliate, the Charlotte O’s were in existence until 1988. The O’s won titles in 1985 and 1987.

As mentioned before, a fire destroyed Crockett Park in 1985 and the O’s had to play in a temporary facility until 1987 when the team was sold. Former Orioles’ legends Cal Ripken Jr., Eddie Murray, Pete Harnisch, Curt Schilling and Steve Finley spent their summers in Charlotte on their way to the big leagues.

The city of Charlotte continued to grow in the 80’s and 90’s and their new owner, George Shinn, changed the name of the club to the Knights thanks to a “Name the Team” contest in 1989. The switched from the Orioles to the Cubs that year and moved into their new digs at “The Castle”, Knights’ Stadium in South Carolina. A handful of notable Cubs played in Ft. Mill like Steve Trachsel, Derrick May and Heathcliff Slocumb (thanks Red Sox for trading him to Seattle for Derek Lowe and Jason Varitek).

Old Knights' Stadium

Old Knights’ Stadium


Knights' Stadium

Knights’ Stadium

The Knights’ franchise led all of Double-A (still in the Southern League) in attendance in 1991 and 1992 before the Knights’ became the Triple-A franchise for the Cleveland Indians. In their 1st year in the league, Charlotte won the Governors’ Cup in 1993 thanks to IL MVP Jim Thome (he went on the have a decent career, right?). The following year, Manny Ramirez came to town and, along with Thome, Charlotte combined to win 163 in two season as the Indians top minor league club.

In 1995, the Marlins came to town and future Red Sox stand out Brian Daubach honed his skills donning the Knights’ uniform. As did current Portland Sea Dogs manager Billy McMillon who set a franchise record batting .352 in 1996 with Charlotte. 1997 World Series standouts Livan Hernandez and Edgar Renteria (the game winner over the Indians in the series over the glove of Charles Nagy) also spent time with the Knights in the Marlins’ years.

Another Knight’s ownership change happened in December 1997 as Don Beaver (who also owned Winston-Salem, New Orleans and Hickory at the time) bought the club from Shinn and changed affiliations again in 1999 to the White Sox, a switch that has stayed intact since.

The 2013 season was the last in the old Knights’ Stadium and the club was happy to cross over the border back to North Carolina for the opening of BB&T Ballpark, the first time the club had been in the city since 1988.

Now you know the history and I can say, unequivocally, that the new ballpark is outstanding. Great crowds, great atmosphere and the sight lines with “Uptown” as the back drop are spectacular.

It’s a shame we only come here once a year because the city is fantastic.

Oh, and it’s been good for a couple wins already…and 8-6 come-from-behind win Thursday and hanging on to an 11-8 win on Friday. Anthony Ranaudo picked up his IL Leading 13th win Friday and 22-year-old catcher Blake Swihart launched his 1st Triple-A homer in the same game.

Back to work Saturday at 7:05 where Matt Barnes looks to duplicate his previous outing against Columbus, 7 innings of no-hit ball. Should be a fun one to watch (for me) and for you to listen to (I hope).

Thanks for reading!


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!



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