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Thoughts on the Passing of a Legend

Tony Gwynn left the world too soon.

A battle with cancer in his cheek took the life of one of the best baseball players and best human beings of our lifetime.

He had, arguably, the sweetest left handed swing in the history of baseball. That may be a blasphemous comment to make considering that I work within the same Red Sox organization that produced Ted Williams, but it’s true.

When I grew up, I had the pleasure of seeing Tony Gwynn play a good amount as his Padres played in Northern California against the Giants. I saw him in person a handful of times, but even watching him on TV I marveled at his ability to hit a baseball.

Pitches inside, he pulled…pitches away, he pounded his patented “5.5 hole” between short and third…pitches down the middle, he did whatever he wanted to. He wasn’t flashy and he didn’t need to be. When I started swing wood bats in high school, I wanted to pattern my approach after his and even wrote 5.5 on the knob of my bat and on my spikes. That’s about the only thing (other than being left handed) that I had in common with Gywnn, writing 5.5 on my cleats.

Folks on the east coast missed out on seeing the brilliance that was Tony Gwynn sweet swing on a consistent basis.

Gwynn was lucky to have played collegiality in the city that he grew up in (San Diego State)…then play his entire 20 year career in that same city. He could have made millions more, but he was home and he was happy. And he played that way. Carefree, easy going and always smiling.

That smile. That alone made him a Hall of Famer. And that is something that is, more often than not, lost with today’s players. You don’t see a lot of them smile when they play. Gywnn loved the game, loved playing and loved the challenge.

The world lost a great man yesterday and way too soon at the age of 54. I’ll never forget his famous meeting at the mound with the rest of the 1999 All-Stars at Fenway Park with Ted Williams. Two of the best left-handed hitters of all time, shaking hands and talking hitting. There will be nothing better.

My words don’t do it justice, honestly. ESPN’s Tim Kurkjian put together a great piece that aired last night. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

On the Red Sox front, the rehabbers (Shane Victorino and Will Middlebrooks) continue their assignments tonight in Rochester. Victorino is leading off and playing right field while Middlebrooks is batting 3rd as the DH. Both are 1-for-15 with the PawSox over their two rehab stints.

And Clay Buchholz has been named the PawSox starter for the final game of this series on Thursday afternoon. “We need to get him up to 90 pitches or so in this next outing,” said Red Sox manager John Farrell.

In his first rehab start with the PawSox, Buchholz went 4 2/3 innings, allowing three runs, including a pair of solo shots, on four hits. He tossed 62 pitches, 42 for strikes.

“Clay went out and accomplished some of the delivery adjustments he’s been working on. Overall strikes were improved,” Farrell said. “Higher percentage of strikes and better power overall. He also had more defined shape to his pitches.”

Thanks for reading,


Rehab Weekend at McCoy

Clay Buchholz will start Game One of today’s double header…Will Middlebrooks is penciled in the third spot as the DH of the lineup and Shane Victorino is batting 2nd in right field. That’s not a normal game one of a double header for a PawSox contest in 2014.

For Victorino, he’s battling his hamstrings again, this time the right one. He’s expected to play five to seven innings in right field.

If things go well today, Victorino will play with Pawtucket on Monday and Tuesday in Rochester. He’ll likely be the designated hitter in one of those contests.

Buchholz was slated to start last night, as was Middlebrooks, but the game was postponed due to poor weather.

Anthony Ranaudo is scheduled to start Game Two of the double dip today. Over his last 8 starts, he’s 5-2 with a 1.90 ERA (10ER/47.1IP) with 39 strikeouts. However, he hasn’t started in 7 full days (June 6th in Durham) because of off-days and big league rehabs.

Speaking of which, Felix Doubront will start the homestand finale tomorrow afternoon at 1:05pm against Charlotte. He last pitched on Tuesday (4.2 IP, 2 ER) in a no decision against Louisville. That outing was his 2nd in coming back from a sore left shoulder.

“It’s a great day to win TWOOOOOOOO!” Bruce Levering, in Appleton, WI in 2003 cheering on the eventual D-III National Champion Chapman Panthers.

Happy Father’s Day Weekend!


More Rehabbers on the Way?

Felix Doubront started for the PawSox on Tuesday afternoon and pitched ok. 4.2 IP, 2 ER, 6 H, BB and 3 k’s in his 2nd rehab appearance in an attempt to come back from a sore shoulder. He may pitch for Pawtucket Sunday as well.

Rumors have swirled in recent days that Clay Buchholz will start for Pawtucket tomorrow in his comeback from a hyper-extended knee injury that he sustained in Atlanta. That will not be made official until tomorrow, if/when it happens.

And even more rehabbers may be on the way over the weekend…Third baseman Will Middlebrooks has been rumored to be set to begin a Minor League rehab assignment with the PawSox on Friday, and the club is “hopeful” that right fielder Shane Victorino will join him at some point this weekend, according to’s Ian Browne.

Middlebrooks has been out since May 17 with a fractured right index finger. And Victorino is in the midst of his second stint on the disabled list due to a right hamstring strain.

“The last couple of days have been encouraging,” said manager John Farrell. “Things have ramped up quite a bit. Like I said, hopefully some time on the weekend, he initiates a rehab assignment.”

“The Red Sox will need to determine a role for Middlebrooks when he returns, now that shortstop Stephen Drew is back with the club and Xander Bogaerts has moved to third,” says Browne.

“He took BP yesterday,” said Farrell. “He’s going to DH on Friday initially. He swung the bat, at least in a BP session, very well. We’re still working to get full range of motion and I’m sure there will be some exam on that finger just to make sure that once he initiates a throwing program more in earnest, there’s not going to be any pushback from it.”

Should be a fun weekend, the say the least, at McCoy Stadium against the Charlotte Knights.

In other Red Sox news, the team agreed to terms on a Minor league deal with outfielder Andres Torres. Torres, a switch-hitter with 650 games of Major League experience with the Tigers, Giants and Mets, hasn’t played since Aug. 21, 2013, when he was shut down with bone spurs in his left heel and wound up having surgery over the winter.

The 36-year-old Torres will start with Boston’s short-season Class A affiliate in Lowell on Friday and work his way up the ladder before presumably getting a chance in Boston.

Torres was an integral part to the Giants run to the World Series in 2010 when he hit .263 while belting a career high 16 home runs, driving in 63 and stealing 26 bases.

Tonight, the PawSox get a four-game series started with Charlotte. Knuckleballer Steven Wright is scheduled to make the start for Pawtucket.

The rest of the lineup is as follows:

Mookie Betts 2B
Mike McCoy CF
Travis Shaw 1B
Carlos Rivero SS
Corey Brown RF
Garin Cecchini 3B
Christian Vazquez C
Alex Hassan LF
Dan Butler DH

Thanks for reading, and check back in with further updates on the possible rehabs over the weekend.


Chris Hernandez Stringing Together Great Starts

PawSox starter Chris Hernandez has been flat out dealing in his last two starts at McCoy Stadium.

Back on May 28th against Gwinnett, Hernandez fired 7 scoreless innings allowing just 3 hits while matching a career high with 8 strike outs. Impressively, he did this after throwing just 2.2 inning in his previous start when he replaced Brandon Workman in the rotation. Of his 8 k’s on May 28, 6 were to the last 8 batters he faced. Hernandez had struck out no more than TWO in any of his previous 12 appearances.

Then, he started in Durham: 5.1 innings allowing 5 runs, only 2 earned because of some poor defense, as he ran into some bad luck in a 4 run 6th inning where only one ball got out of the infield.

A return to McCoy Stadium yesterday put him up against a veteran laden offensive Louisville team that had had a 5-game winning streak snapped a night prior. AND Pawtucket on the verge of their first three-game winning streak since the middle of April.

Hernandez did not disappoint. Not at all. Even with a major league rehabbing former National League MVP Joey Votto in the line up, Hernandez took a no hitter into the 7th inning. He was so good, he allowed just ONE baserunner over the first 6 innings (a 2nd inning walk) and had retired 14 in a row. Votto, however, broke up the ho-hitter in the 7th.

The lefty was not flustered after the crowd gave him a standing ovation for his accomplishment as he struck out the next batter, his 8th matching his career high, and induced a double play to get through the inning.

He’d go out for the 8th, just the 3rd PawSox pitcher to do so, and struck out Neftali Soto establishing a new career high with his 9th strikeout. Hernandez walked the next batter Thomas Neal to see an end to his outing after 7.1 innings, 1 hit and 2 walks to go along with those 9 k’s. The 7.1 IP, his longest in his Triple-A career.

The bullpen gave up a couple late homers, one scoring the Hernandez 8th inning walk, to bring the Bats within just a run, but Chris Resop was able to get the final out in the 9th to preserve the win for Hernandez, his 3rd of the year.

PawSox manager Kevin Boles was glowing in his remarks about Hernandez to after the game. “There was a lot of life to his pitches. There was a lot of sink to his fastball. But the thing behind his success, I think, was his cutter. There was a lot of depth and tumble to it. It was a little bit different than what we’ve seen lately, and that’s certainly encouraging. The stuff [Hernandez] showed, he would have pitched well even out of the stretch. You could tell [a no-hitter] was definitely a possibility. It was an exciting pitching performance. But then Votto got the single, and he got a very good reaction by the crowd. Everyone in our dugout was impressed by him. If you’re going to lose a no-hitter, it’s not too bad to lose it to a guy like Joey Votto.”

The underlying fact is that Hernandez has been absolutely dominant at McCoy this year. Here are the splits…

Home numbers: 3-1, 1.09 ERA in 8 games, 2 starts… 24.2 IP, 16 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 9 BB, 23 k’s and opponents are batting just .193 (16-for-83) against him. And his last two starts: 14.1 IP, 1 ER, 4 H, 5 BB and 17 k’s.

Utter domination.

And the Hernandez streak adds to the starting pitchers success in the last 5 games, and it’s no surprise that Pawtucket is 4-1 in that time frame. Since June 4, Game 2 vs. Durham, PawSox starters are 3-0 with a 1.06 ERA (4 ER/34IP) on 21 hits, 8 BB and 30 k’s. That is GREAT work!

Tonight, the PawSox face another big league rehabber in Mat Latos. He’s coming off of injuries to his knee and right elbow.

Pawtucket will send this lineup up against Latos:

Mookie Betts CF
Mike McCoy 2B
Travis Shaw 1B
Carlos Rivero SS
Corey Brown RF
Garin Cecchini 3B
Christian Vazquez C
Dan Butler DH
Shannon Wilkerson LF

And Allen Webster makes the start…another starter on a roll as he’s allowed just 2 runs in his last 2 starts (14 IP) with 11 k’s and just 4 walks with 10 hits allowed. His 2.81 ERA is the 10th best in International League entering play tonight.

Thanks for reading!


The Bumpy Road to Durham

Yes, the PawSox have been in Durham for two days already, but getting here was slightly tricky.

After losing 3 of 4 in Norfolk over the weekend (all three losses by the same 3-1 score) the PawSox boarded the bus to make the rough three hour, 15 minute drive to Durham.

The first snag came when we couldn’t get onto highway 85…the entrance for a 10 mile stretch had been shut down because a semi had jack knifed.

Detour city…

The local police in the middle of Emporia, VA (AKA, where?!) gave our bus driver a “back way” to bypass the accident and get to 85.

After 10 miles on a rural road meant for passenger cars (buses and trucks are forbidden from driving this road, but since it was 1am, the police gave us a pass) we finally hooked up with 85.

At this point I fell asleep thinking we were 2 hours away and I’d wake up and be in Durham. What felt like 10 minutes went by (actually 40 minutes of drive time) before I was awakened by the rumble strip on the side of the road. You know, the grates that are designed to wake you up if you drive over them if you fall asleep at the wheel. However, this was an intentional pull over by the bus driver as the computer to the bus’s engine went on the fritz.

This was at 2am Tuesday morning. Our bus had broken down. Nothing the bus company could do. Nothing the driver could do to prevent it…just a wacky thing within the engine that shut down the flow of gas…SLIGHTLY important to a motor vehicle transporting 34 people.

Flashers go one, confusion within the bus sets in and the players go to twitter…This ensues (in chronological order)…

Needless to say…it was entertaining and frustrating at the same time.

To the bus company’s credit they had a replacement bus to come and get us within 90 minutes and, honestly, that was remarkable considering we were in the middle of no where.

The police that provided the road flares and protection were very helpful. Lord knows that if our flashers went out, which they did a couple times when the power was cut, the trucks flying by us no more than 5 feet away could have been a BIG problem if they didn’t see us.

So, we eventually made it in after a (pardon the term) “3 hour tour” turned into a 5 hour and 30 minute ordeal.

Again, lots a credit goes to the bus company for having a replacement at that hour get to us quickly. Credit goes to our Athletic Trainer Jon Jochim, who also doubles as our travel coordinator, for keeping an even keel and, most importantly, keeping the players from getting themselves in trouble by straying away from the bus.

Most important lesson in this whole thing…we made it. It took a while, but we made it…SAFELY!

Back to baseball…Allen Webster starts tonight for the PawSox. He is from Madison, North Carolina, just 70 miles from Durham, so he’ll most assuredly have a lot of friends and family here to watch him tonight. He’s coming off his best outing of the season where he went 8 innings allowing just 1 run on 3 hits with 7 strikeouts against Norfolk on Friday.

Let’s hope he replicates those numbers tonight as the PawSox have lost 4 in a row and 16 of their last 21 games.

Also noteworthy, Ryan Roberts will be starting in left field tonight. It’s his 70 career appearance in the outfield in more than 1,200 career games and his first game outside the infield since 2012 when he did it witht he Arizona Diamondbacks.

Let’s go PawSox!


Roster Moves? We’ve Got Plenty

Does it feel like you don’t recognize the PawSox anymore?

That makes two of us.

Here’s the transaction log over the last 12 days…

May 20
Delete OF Bryce Brentz placed on 7-day disabled list (retro to May 16) with a right hamstring strain.
Add RHP John Ely reinstated from disabled list (had been rehabbing with Single-A Greenville since May 4).
May 23
Delete RHP Alex Wilson recalled to Boston (Red Sox option INF Stephen Drew to Greenville).
May 24
Delete OF Daniel Nava recalled to Boston (Shane Victorino on DL with right hamstring strain).
Add RHP Jeremy Kehrt reinstated from disabled list.
May 25
Delete RHP Brandon Workman recalled to Boston (Mike Napoli on DL with left fourth finger sprain).
Add OF Shannon Wilkerson transferred from Portland.
May 26
Delete 1B/C Ryan Lavarnway recalled to Boston (Alex Wilson optioned).
Add RHP Alex Wilson optioned from Boston.
Add 1B Travis Shaw transferred from Portland.
May 28
Delete RHP Alex Wilson recalled to Boston (Clay Buchholz on DL with knee injury).
Add INF Stephen Drew transferred from Greenville.
May 29
Delete LHP Drake Britton placed on 7-day disabled list with left elbow inflammation.
Add RHP Jose Valdez transferred from Portland.
May 30
Delete OF Alex Hassan recalled to Boston (Ryan Lavarnway placed on DL with broken Hamate Bone)
May 31
Add RHP Steven Wright on 20-day major league rehab assignment (sports hernia surgery)
Delete RHP Rubby De La Rosa recalled by Boston (Daniel Nava Optioned)
Add OF Daniel Nava from Boston
Add C Jayson Hernandez transferred from High-A Salem
June 1
Delete 3B Garin Cecchini recalled by Boston
Add RHP Alex Wilson optioned from Boston

That’s 21 moves since May 20th. RHP Alex Wilson has been up and back from Boston 3 times now since the end of April.

Four players got their first recalls of the season in Ryan Lavarnway (now on the Boston DL with a broken hamate bone in his hand), Alex Hassan (his first career recall), Rubby De La Rosa (who DOMINATED in his first start since 2011 in the big leagues) and now Garin Cecchini who swaps roster spots with Wilson today to provide infield depth in Boston while Dustin Pedroia deals with his ailing wrist.

The Cecchini isn’t deemed to be a long term promotion as Stephen Drew is eligible to be recalled Monday, June 2nd (Drew had to spend at least 10 days in the minor leagues after clearing optional waivers once he was signed by Boston May 21st). He may not play today, but it’s still a tremendous honor…especially for a 23-year-old.

Of course Garin’s mom is one proud parent today…

So, while the roster has turned over dramatically, the PawSox have seen players step up in the absence of some of their key players from early in the season.

Corey Brown had a big month with the power numbers leading the team with 6 homers and 17 RBI in May. Travis Shaw has come up from Portland and has been on base in all six games he’s played. He even hit his first Triple-A homer last night in Norfolk. And, maybe, the most impressive in his first week in Triple-A has been Shannon Wilkerson. He’s injected a lot of life into the bottom of the PawSox order. He’s on a 5-game hitting streak batting .389 (7-for-18) during that time and he’s driven in 5 runs from the 7-8-9 spots in the lineup. For a team that was struggling to score runs for a little while, the additions of Shaw and Wilkerson have helped big time.

Meanwhile, Stephen Drew is deeming his time in the minor leagues as his spring training…and he has to. He hadn’t played in an actual game since the World Series last year until this recent stint. It explains his rust at the plate (1-for-10 with the PawSox), but he’s working deep counts and his defense has been solid. The “D” is one of the reasons why the Red Sox signed him to a pro-rated $14.1 million contract for the season.

At any rate, a couple of consistent figures have been pitchers Allen Webster and Anthony Ranaudo. Webster pitched his best game of 2014 two nights ago in a 7-2 victory over Norfolk. He tossed a PawSox season high eight innings allowing just one run on three hits while striking out seven.He now owns a 3-2 record with a 2.93 ERA in 12 starts.

For Ranaudo, who starts this afternoon, he is 5-3 with a 2.90 ERA in 11 starts so far this year, but he’s been most impressive over his last six starts. During that time, he’s 4-1 with a 1.78 ERA (7ER/35.1IP). Completely domination. On top of that, he’s allowed just ONE run over his last 3 starts (19.1 IP). He;s looking more and more like a better version of the 2013 Eastern League Pitcher of the Year. We’re hopeful he can get the PawSox back into the win column in a couple hours against the Tides.

Enjoy the rest of your Sunday!


Alex Hassan is Boston Bound

The Boston Red Sox today placed first baseman/catcher Ryan Lavarnway on the 15-day disabled list with a left hamate fracture. To fill his spot on the 25-man roster, outfielder/first baseman Alex Hassan was recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket. Hassan will wear No. 68 and will be active for tonight’s game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Fenway Park, which begins at 7:10 p.m.

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

Lavarnway, 26, was recalled by Boston for his first major league stint of the year on Monday and is 0-for-4 in four games for the Red Sox this season. In last night’s game against the Atlanta Braves at Fenway Park, he made his first career major league start at first base but left the game in the bottom of the fifth inning due to a sore left wrist. The right-handed batter has a .265 average (43-for-162) with seven doubles, two home runs, and 11 RBI in 44 games for the PawSox this year. Defensively, he committed only two errors between 26 games played at first base and 10 at catcher at the Triple-A level. Lavarnway has appeared in 92 big league games, all with the Red Sox over the past four seasons from 2011-14.

For Hassan, 26, this marks his first career major league stint. In 45 games with Pawtucket this season, he has hit .217 (33-for-152) with 10 doubles, one home run, and 19 RBI. The right-handed batter is leading the PawSox with 10 doubles (tied), 22 walks, and 22 runs scored, and he has hit .288 (15-for-52) against left-handed pitching. Defensively, he has combined for a .984 fielding percentage (2 errors/127 total chances) while appearing in right field (25 games), left field (11 games), and first base (7 games). Born in Quincy, MA and a four-year letter winner at Boston College High School, Hassan was signed by the Red Sox as a 20th-round selection in the 2009 June Draft. He has hit .285 (455-for-1,598) with 109 doubles, six triples, 35 home runs, 231 RBI, 266 walks, and 232 runs scored in 469 career minor league games. Over his six minor league seasons from 2009-14, he has compiled a .393 on-base percentage. His .431 on-base percentage in 55 Triple-A games last season led all International Leaguers with at least 125 at-bats.

A Fun Thursday Read

The following link is an article written by ESPN’s Tim Kurkjian about the Unwritten Rules of Baseball.

The list is honestly endless, but he outlines the top five with anecdotes from players in the game now and former players who share stories about how the game was policed back when THEY played.

Here’s an excerpt from the piece…

Diamondbacks pitcher Brandon McCarthy asks, “But aren’t there unwritten rules in every industry? In journalism, you can’t steal sources, right? In hockey, guys don’t take their skates off and slash an opponent’s throat with the blade. In football, you never see a guy take off his helmet and just bludgeon an opponent. We’ve been playing baseball since the 1800s. We just have more unwritten rules.”

And every one of them is debatable and fluid and arbitrary.

To some, it’s an unwritten rule that a hitter shouldn’t dawdle before he gets into the batter’s box.

“I’ve yelled at hitters, ‘Let’s go! Get in the box!'” Baker says. “But they have a certain walk-up song. They have to mimic a certain part of it, so they wait until that part of it plays. It’s like they’re on a runway getting into the box, instead of just playing the game.”

McCarthy says, “That pisses me off, too. The rhythm of the game stops when that happens. Baseball becomes bad entertainment. The same thing applies with a pitcher that doodles around out there. That drives me just as nuts. Clay Buchholz is a really good pitcher. I love his stuff, but I can’t watch him because he takes so damn long between his pitches.”

The read the whole article, and it’s well worth it, click the following link…



Stephen Drew Joins the PawSox Roster

The PawSox struggling offense will get a big-league boost as Stephen Drew joins the roster for tonight’s game against Gwinnett.

Drew had a solid three-game stint for Class A Greenville in which he went 3-for-8 with 2 doubles and 2 RBI.

Drew took Tuesday off, and could return to the Red Sox on June 2 in Cleveland. He needs to be in the minor leagues for at least 10 days because he was optioned, not on a rehab assignment.

He will stay with Pawtucket until he is ready to be in Boston’s lineup. The PawSox have two more games on this homestand before they go on the road to Norfolk and Durham May 30-June 6.

“Seven to nine innings at shortstop tomorrow, followed by a DH, then shortstop again,” said manager John Farrell of the plan for Drew. “In talking with him [yesterday], he’s starting to feel like he’s getting his legs underneath him. We can’t skip any steps along the way to do that. He’s progressed as we had hoped.”

Drew, who was signed by the Red Sox on May 21, was optioned to Single-A Greenville on May 23 and played in three games for the Greenville Drive (May 23 & 25 at SS and May 26 as the DH). The club has to make a corresponding roster move as Drew is not on a rehab assignment. That move will be announced Later.

The 31-year-old Drew is an eight-year major league veteran who helped the Red Sox to the 2013 World Series Championship. He played in 124 games (all at SS) for the Red Sox last season hitting .253 with 29 2B, 8 3B, 13 HR and 67 RBI. His slugging pct. of .443 was the best in a season for a Red Sox shortstop since Nomar Garciaparra in 2003 (.524). Drew finished second among AL shortstops with a .984 fielding pct. as he made just 8 errors last season. Stephen started all 16 of Boston’s post-season games last fall and in World Series clinching Game 6 he became the second Red Sox shortstop ever to hit a home run in the World Series (along with Rico Petrocelli in 1967).

Selected by Arizona in the 1st round of the 2004 June draft (#15 overall out of Florida State University) Drew played for the Diamondbacks (2006-12) and Oakland Athletics (2012) before joining Boston in 2013. In 936 career regular-season games he has a .264 average with 210 doubles, 60 triples (5th most in the majors since the start of 2006), 90 HR & 416 RBI.

He joins a club that is in the middle of dropping 8 of their last 9 games and 11 of 14 overall.

May overall has been a struggle. The PawSox are 10-16 in the month of with 4 games remaining this month so they will suffer a losing month (after a 16-11 April). The Sox had just one losing month all of last year (going 9-19 in July). Pawtucket batters are hitting .231 in May (191-for-828) with 16 HR while Sox pitchers are 10-16 with a 4.12 ERA this month (102 ER in 223 IP) with 16 homers against. Pawtucket hit .243 in April but went 16-11 thanks in large part to a Team ERA of 3.34 and a Team Defense that had the best fielding pct. in the league for much of the first month of the season.

Tonight’s lineup, which will try to provide some run support for starter Chris Hernandez:

Ryan Roberts 2B
Garin Cecchini 3B
Stephen Drew SS
Corey Brown RF
Travis Shaw 1B
Christian Vazquez DH
Alex Hassan LF
Dan Butler C
Shannon Wilkerson CF

Thanks for reading!


The Runs, They Will Come…

Despite popular belief, the PawSox will score runs this season.

This “one-run-over-their-last-30-innings” thing will come to an end soon. It has to, right?

Yes, it will come to an end. The bats will get hot and the PawSox will cross home plate with more frequency.

A couple of major factors to this recent funk are the losses of Brock Holt to the big leagues and Bryce Brentz to the disabled list. Losing your lead-off hitter, who was hitting .315 and leading the team with 21 runs scored at the time of his promotion a week ago today, is never easy. Neither is losing your top RBI man, Brentz had 28 RBI (no one else on the team with more than 19) and a guy who could hit the ball out of the ballpark at any given moment.

Certainly those are not excuses to the dip in offensive production, but they do explain it a little better.

Now, the PawSox will have another hole to fill in the lineup with the news that Daniel Nava was recalled to Boston to take the place of Shane Victorino (strained hammy, again). Nava hit .253 (21-for-83) with 3 doubles, 3 homers and 14 RBI in 24 games. He had just two multi-hit games.

Maybe the biggest issue with the offense this year is that they just haven’t been getting on base very frequently. Coming into tonight’s action, the team’s total on base percentage is .317…and the team batting average is just .236. The Red Sox system preaches plate discipline, taking pitches and getting the starter out after five innings because he’s thrown too many pitches. And, while this PawSox team does have 176 walks drawn this season (4th most in the league), they’ve stranded the 5th most runners on base (335) and bounced into the 2nd most double plays (42).

And even with all that said, this club will score runs. Brentz will come back from his hamstring strain. Brandon Snyder has been hot of late. Corey Brown is not a .207 hitter. Ryan Lavarnway will have to pick up his run production (11 RBI in 43 games). Garin Cecchini is now hitting higher than 6th in the order (hitting 2nd tonight), and Ryan Roberts will continue to set the table.

The offense will come…it has to.

The good news, it’s still very early in the season. There are three months to go and hitting in contagious. When it’s going well, everyone seems to be going well. But, when it hits a rough patch, it seems like everyone struggles. Also, the team is still over .500 at 25-24 and EVERYONE in the North Division is within three games of 1st place.

The club just needs to stay positive and stick to their approach.

Meanwhile, Rubby De La Rosa starts tonight for the PawSox against the Chiefs looking to snap their 5-game losing skid, the team’s longest since July of 2013 when they lost nine straight.

De La Rosa struck out a season high 8 his last time out, the most he’d had in a game since 2011…he also allowed 9 nits, the most he’d allowed since…2011. Pawtucket will need him to go deep into tonight’s game due to their thin bullpen. Chris Hernandez started last night for Brandon Workman (who was scratched) and Matt Barnes went just 3+ inning on Thursday night.

Here’s Manager Kevin Boles lineup for tonight’s game:

Ryan Roberts 2B
Garin Cecchini 3B
Ryan Lavarnway 1B
Brandon Snyder DH
Christian Vazquez C
Corey Brown RF
Mike McCoy CF
Carlos Rivero SS
Justin Henry LF

And, if you’re keeping score at home, this is game #50 for the PawSox…Boles has a used a different lineup in 49 of the 50 games.

Let’s go get a “W”…even if it is a 2-1 win!

Thanks for reading,



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