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!
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?
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!
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).
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 MILB.com 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!
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)
Thanks for reading!
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.
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.
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…
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
The International League today announced the members of its 2014 All-Star Team. The squad of 30 IL standouts will take on the Pacific Coast League’s best in the 27th Annual Cree Triple-A All-Star Game on July 16 in Durham, North Carolina. The matchup will be broadcast live from Durham Bulls Athletic Park on MLB Network, the American Forces Network, and the Triple-A All-Star Game Radio Network beginning at 7:00 p.m. eastern.
Pawtucket had two players selected by International League Manager Charlie Montoyo, starter Anthony Ranaudo and catcher Christian Vazquez.
For Ranaudo, he’s been one of the league’s best pitchers all season. His 2.35 ERA ranks 5th in the league, opposing batters are hitting .202 (best in the IL) and his 9 wins are tied for 2nd most. But most impressive, over his last 12 starts, Ranaudo is 8-2 with a 1.63 ERA (13 ER/72.0 IP) allowing just 43 hits and striking out 56. To take the numbers just a bit further, over his last 9 starts, Ranaudo has allowed just SEVEN runs in 55 innings pitched (a 1.15 ERA).
Catcher Christian Vazquez enjoyed a break-out month of June where he batted .299 with all 3 of his homers. Overall, he’s batting .275 with 16 doubles (2nd most on the team) with 19 RBI. But maybe his largest contribution to the club has come behind the plate. He’s gunned down 39% (18 of 46) of base stealers, the 3rd best mark in the league, and he leads the league with a .995 fielding percentage (2 errors in 424 total chances).
Congrats to both players as they are both very deserving of this great honor representing the Red Sox in the All-Star Game.
The PawSox, meanwhile, continue their 10-game homestand with a 2-game set against division rival Rochester tonight at 6:15pm. Matt Barnes will make the start for Pawtucket.
Thanks for reading, and congrats again to Anthony and Christian!
Pawtucket third baseman/shortstop Carlos Rivero led the International League with 12 hits this past week while sparking the PawSox to six wins in seven days. Rivero hit safely in all seven games last week (pushing his overall streak to nine), and heʹs also scored a run in each of the past six contests. Rivero and the PawSox have now climbed to three games over .500 and are within just 2.0 games of the top spot in the Leagueʹs Wild Card standings. He is the first member of the PawSox to claim an IL weekly award this season
26‐year‐old Carlos Rivero is in his first season in the Boston organization after signing as a free agent this past December. He was an International League All‐Star in his first full season at the Triple‐A level in 2012 with Syracuse. He has yet to make his Major League debut. Rivero is a native of Barquisimeto, Venezuela.
Rivero has been an RBI machine lately. To prove it; he didn’t have an RBI in his first 12 games with the PawSox. In his last 23 games, he’s got 22 RBI! During the month of June, alone, he’s hitting .319 (30-for-94) with 4 2B, 2 3B and 2 HR. Even better, he’s been coming up in the clutch with runners in scoring position and two outs. He’s hitting .478 (11-for-23) with 10 RBI, and it feels like all of those hits have come in the last two weeks. Two-out RBI’s are killers for opposing teams, and Rivero has been the PawSox assassin in this department during their recent hot streak.
As a club, the PawSox have won seven of their last 10 games and are using their offense to get back into the race. During the last 10, Pawtucket is hitting .277 and averaging 5.8 runs a game. As told above, Rivero is hot as are Dan Butler (.370, HR, 7 RBI in his last 7), Ryan Roberts (.344, 2 HR, 7 RBI in his last 8), Alex Hassan (.353, HR 6 RBI in his last 9) and Travis Shaw (2 HR and 8 RBI in his last 9).
Oh, and Mookie Betts made his big league debut last night in the Bronx helping the Red Sox to an 8-5 victory over the Yankees. He went 1-for-3 with a run scored and a walk. Not too shabby for a 21-year-old that played just 23 Triple-A games before his call up.
Congrats to Carlos and here’s to hoping the PawSox run their season high winning streak to six games tonight with Anthony Ranaudo on the hill against Durham.
Thanks for reading!
After back to back wins against the Tides (and in commanding fashion, I might add), the PawSox have a chance to win their first series since June 7-10 against Louisville.
Two nights ago, the PawSox pounded out a season high 16 runs on 15 hits. And it wasn’t as if it was one huge inning that brought the run total up. They scored in every inning but the 2nd and the 8th. The Tides even used two position players to cover the final two innings. Oddly enough, it was the 1st time the PawSox had scored 16 runs in a game in exactly one year. They accomplished the feat June 25, 2013 at home against Toledo…one year later, a 16-5 win over Norfolk. Sounds like June 25th is a good day to score runs.
Last night, the PawSox rode a five run first inning to a 7-2 win. An RBI single by Carlos Rivero (who now has 20 RBI in his last 20 games played) and a grand slam by Garin Cecchini. For Garin, it was just his 3rd homer of the season, but this one was impressive. A lefty/lefty match-up, a pitch on the inner part of the plate and into the wind. For a guy not known for his power, he hit this one well.
That grand slam was more than enough for Matt Barnes who had, arguably, his best start since June 7th when he went 6.2 innings allowing 2 runs against Louisville. This time around, a season high 102 pitches/69 strikes, in 5.2 innings he gave up just 2 runs on 5 hits with 5 strikeouts. He breaking ball was as sharp as it has been all season and he mixed and matched his change up effectively and efficiently. He earned his 3rd win of the season in the 7-3 PawSox victory.
Last night was also Armed Services Night, and the PawSox know how to do it right in honoring the men and women who keep this country safe. Members of all five military branches were represented as well as veterans from World War II, The Korean War, The First War in Iraq and the War in Afganistan.
Tonight, the PawSox send Allen Webster to the mound, he and his 9th best league ERA at 2.97 ERA in 16 starts.
Today’s the last day to vote for your favorite PawSox players to get into the All-Star Game. Visit http://www.pawsox.com or http://www.milb.com/milb/events/asg/y2014/ballot/ballot.jsp to vote! There are plenty of deserving players who should represent the club, so vote early and often.
And TOMORROW (Saturday), PawSox Insider will be live at Dave and Buster’s in the Providence Place Mall. Josh Maurer and myself will be on hand from 2-3pm with PawSox pitcher Anthony Ranaudo and a couple other special guests to record our show. Ranaudo will also be available to sign autographs during the event. So come on by and enjoy an afternoon at Dave and Buster’s and hear PawSox Insider.
Thanks for reading!
The PawSox look to snap a quick two-game losing streak tonight at 7:05pm in Moosic, PA against the RailRiders.
It has been an interesting road trip as the PawSox are currently 3-4, but have had late leads evaporate and, in turn, have become losses. So, that 3-4 could easily be 5-2, but, nonetheless, a win tonight could see them come home to a 10-game homestand with a .500 trip, which is never a bad thing. That’s the old adage, “Win at home and split on the road”.
Yesterday’s 5-4 loss raised some eyebrows as Pawtucket had runners on the corners (Shannon Wilkerson at 3rd and Mookie Betts at 1st) with two outs and Mike McCoy at the plate. McCoy was battling at the plate in a 2-2 count against a tough reliever in Danny Burawa. On the last pitch of the game; however, Betts took off for 2nd base, and with a right hander at the plate, the shortstop left his position to cover the bag. McCoy hit a one-hop seed right to where the shortstop was moving to cover the base. It turned out to be a 6-3 ground out and the game was over. Had Betts not been in motion, the ball would have been into center and the game would have been tied. Instead, the game was over with a loss.
To my knowledge, Betts was on his own at 1st. And while I understand his desire to get into scoring position representing the go-ahead run, running in that situation may not have been the best decision. There are arguments to both sides, but it’s one of those situations where, if it works, you look like a genius, if it doesn’t…well, you know. He’s 21 with a tremendous skill set. The little things will come. That’s why he’s in the minor leagues, to make mistakes, so that he doesn’t make them in the big leagues…and he might be there in the very near future. This is purely my opinion and should not be taken as views of the organization, by the way.
On to tonight where Steven Wright makes his 5th start of the season for the PawSox. He’s been brilliant since coming off a late start to the season because of Sport Hernia surgery in February.
His numbers – 1-1, 1.57 ERA (4ER/23IP), 18 hits and 23 strikeouts and just SIX walks. The low walk total is incredible considering the time missed and that he throws a knuckleball, the most unpredictable pitch a guy can throw. His feel for that pitch has been incredible thus far.
Wright was dominant in his 4 starts against the RailRiders in 2013 to the tune of a 2-0 record and a 1.08 ERA (3 ER/25IP) including a complete game shutout July 1st where he used just 96 pitches and had four double plays turned behind him.
The PawSox will need a solid start out of him tonight as they finish off their 8-game road trip and come home to their longest homestand of the season.
Thanks for reading!