Homestand Recap (7/14-7/17): Mid-Summer Tales

by Ryan Young

There were lots of tales that came out of our post-All-Star Break homestand between the PawSox and the Columbus Clippers. Henry Owens formed his own on the mound, Chris Marrero shared details from his legendary All-Star experience, Ryan LaMarre filled us in on his time on the mound at Fenway and the Pokemon craze hit McCoy.

Another No-Hit Bid

It’s been quite a month for PawSox no-hit bids. Henry Owens came two outs shy of a seven-inning no-hitter in game one of a doubleheader at McCoy on June 21. Then in the first game of the final series before the All-Star Break in Durham, four Pawtucket pitchers took a no-no two outs into the eighth inning.

Incredibly, we seemingly had a combination of the first two near-misses at McCoy last Saturday. Owens did not allow a hit until two outs in the eighth inning. The first seven frames of his outing might have been the most dominant innings we’ve seen tossed all year.

Owens left to this standing ovation:

By the way, Henry turns 24 today. Happy Birthday!

The All-Star Break of Legends

You might have heard that Chris Marrero maximized his All-Star Break. Well, it wasn’t really a “break,” but here’s a solid recap:

Chris earned a HR Derby Champion belt and a IL Top Star bat. He became the first PawSox player to ever take home EITHER one of those honors. Marrero blasted 44 home runs in the derby and then hit another round tripper for good measure in the All-Star Game, helping lift the IL to a 4-2 victory.

On his first day back at McCoy (following a 7 am flight from Charlotte), I spoke with Chris about his experience:

It’s worth noting that Eric Hosmer took home the MVP trophy for the MLB All-Star Game, so it was a pretty cool week for Deven Marrero as well.

LaMarre’s Pitching Debut

While, Chris Marrero has certainly been the biggest force in Pawtucket’s lineup this year, Ryan LaMarre has quietly been maybe the most consistent cog in the batting order.

He earned a multi-week stay in the big leagues and while he appeared in a handful of games, his most notable contribution came on the mound.

Ryan told me the whole story regarding his relief appearance:

He was able to poke fun at himself as well:

By the way, LaMarre is also currently on a 27-game on-base streak at Triple-A. It’s the longest such streak for the PawSox in over two years and the second-longest in the IL this season. We’ll have to dip even further into the records if he can extend it to 30 games.

Other Notes and Thoughts:

Joe Kelly

It’s always fun to have the boisterous Joe Kelly around McCoy. He’s been fantastic in his three relief appearances so far (all scoreless, while he has struck out 8 of the last 12 batters he’s faced).

I spoke with him about hit transition into the bullpen and a whole lot more. To hear that, the full interviews with Marrero and LaMarre, and Will’s interview with manager Kevin Boles, listen to PawSox Insider. (Learn why LaMarre has made sure to put Bolesy in his contacts.)

Gotta Catch ‘Em All

Time to make the easiest transition of the year…

That would be Joe Kelly (far left), along with bullpen catcher Dom DiSano, and pitchers Justin Haley and Chandler Shepherd. Yes, they are playing Pokemon Go.

Kelly is the most obsessed of the PawSox players though. He will even admit it:

Apparently, McCoy was crawling with Pokemon last weekend.

However, there’s plenty more than that to be found at the ballpark. Be sure to come by for next week’s homestand, featuring two crucial series with the top two teams (record-wise) in the International League. The week will be highlighted by our first PawSox Hall of Fame Induction on Friday and the Xander Bogaerts Bobblehead Night on Saturday.

Until then, I’ll leave you with my two lasting images from last week at McCoy:

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Big Names Back With PawSox After The Break

by Josh Maurer

Like most years, the depth at the highest level of the Red Sox farm system has been tested frequently in 2016.  Injuries, ineffectiveness and trades have forced new baseball chief Dave Dombrowski to look to Pawtucket time and again to plug various holes for the big-league club.

The PawSox have sent 16 players to Boston since the start of the season.  Jeff Rutledge, Marco Hernandez, Heath Hembree, William Cuevas, Noe Ramirez, Roenis Elias, Henry Owens, Pat Light, Sean O’Sullivan, Blake Swihart, Rusney Castillo, Sandy Leon, Deven Marrero, Ryan LaMarre, Bryce Brentz, Mike Miller, and Eduardo Rodriguez have all taken the drive between McCoy Stadium and Fenway Park.

Bryce Brentz slides home

Bryce Brentz is one of a plethora of PawSox who have gone up to the Majors this season and helped Boston

Over the past two weeks, however, some familiar names have trickled back down to the PawSox roster.  Since July 6th, Pawtucket has added Christian Vazquez, Joe Kelly, Hernandez, LaMarre and Ramirez back to its active squad.

Christian Vazquez catching

Christian Vazquez is back catching for the PawSox and controlling opposing running games

Throw in veteran MLB reliever Casey Janssen joining the team last week and suddenly Kevin Boles lineup card looks significantly older and more experienced than it did on Independence Day.  That would help explain why the team has enjoyed one of its best stretches of the season recently.

The PawSox are undefeated in their last five series (3-0-2) following some great pitching and more long-ball hitting in taking three of four from Charlotte this past weekend.  Now at 50-45 overall, they have matched their best overall record this year at five games above .500.

Even after losing starting pitchers Aaron Wilkerson (in the Aaron Hill trade) and Eduardo Rodriguez (back to Boston) during this recent stretch, Pawtucket’s pitching has continued to surge recently.

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Aaron Wilkerson pitched so well with Pawtucket that the Brewers traded veteran Aaron Hill to acquire him

In the three wins during the Charlotte series, Keith Couch (just back from Portland), Henry Owens and Roenis Elias all collected victories and combined to allow just eight hits and three runs in 21.1 innings pitched.

Elias got this great defensive relay executed behind him to finish his 6.2 scoreless innings on Sunday. What a way to end an outing!

The Pawtucket offense feasted on Charlotte pitching in winning two straight series against the Knights over the past two weeks. The batters clubbed 12 home runs in the seven games against that White Sox affiliate, including two more this weekend from the unconsciously-hot Chris Marrero.

Marrero is now second in the I.L. with 18 long balls, including an amazing six in his last ten games played (not including one in the Triple-A All-Star Game). He has carried the club’s offense for stretches this season, perhaps none more impressive than this past two-week period.

Chris Marrero makes contact

Finally, best of luck to former PawSox infielder Sean Coyle, who was claimed off of waivers by the Angels on Monday.  He had been designated for assignment when Boston acquired Michael Martinez two weeks ago.

Sean Coyle jumps to give high 5s in dugout

Sean Coyle is now a member of the Angels organization

On Monday night the PawSox begin a western road trip by playing the opener of a three-game series in Toledo. William Cuevas, himself just optioned back from a three-day stint with Boston, will get the start at 7:05pm.

Will and I look forward to talking to you on the radio! Have a great start to your week.

Josh M

Homestand Recap (6/30-7/3): Sunshine State, Sully and Sandwiches

by Ryan Young

The four-game homestand that spanned the 4th of July weekend will most likely be remembered for the epic 16-inning game that closed it out. And to read more about that game, which launched crazy hot-streaks for Chris Marrero and Henry Ramos, read Will’s post from Charlotte. Considering, Marrero was [part of a two-man] wrecking crew at BB&T Ballpark this week, it will really be fun to see what he can do in the Triple-A Home Run Derby and the All-Star Game from the same location next week.

Sean O’Sullivan was also supposed to be heading to Charlotte next week, but circumstances have changed with his call-up and solid start in Boston. O’Sullivan and Mike Miller both had weeks that they’ll always remember and I’m pretty sure you will enjoy my conversations with them. And if you’re not into that…you’ll definitely want to keep scrolling for [more?] sandwich talk with PawSox players!

Mike Miller

Miller_PawSoxClippers722016JillianSouza_6248The Red Sox needed some temporary infield depth so Miller got the call last week (while on a bus to Rochester.) So he got to spend the next few days in the Sunshine State instead of upstate New York. He seemed fine with the exchange. Miller made his debut as a defensive replacement at second base and grounded out in his first major league at-bat.

If there’s one interview I encourage you to listen to all year, it would likely be this one. Miller talks about how he found out about his promotion (and it was in unusual fashion), how his data plan played into it, his family’s great reactions, entering the clubhouse and taking the field for the first time, and what the whole experience meant to him.

Such a moment is what all these players work towards and there is nothing more fun (at least to me) than getting to vicariously live through their experiences.

Sean O’Sullivan

O’Sullivan has had a great deal of big league experience, but he has thrown the ball better over the last month than he had for much of his career. Right before he was called upon to start for Boston last Sunday (although we had the suspicion that would be the case), I sat down with O’Sullivan to talk about several topics, including this improvements since his last stint with the Red Sox, reverting to a pitch he hasn’t thrown since 2013, the Red Sox organization and pitching at Fenway.

Sully knows what he’s doing on the mound and we hope he continues to make the most of his time in Boston.

Describing The Ideal Sandwich

In possibly less compelling news, O’Sullivan also believed he could win a PawSox hot dog eating contest. Once again, you can read more about that survey, here.

But we didn’t only ask PawSox players about one specific type of sandwich last weekend. We had them describe their perfect sandwich.

I’m personally a big fan of the grinders they have everywhere up here. But I will leave it to the PawSox to give far better answers.

The best response came from the recently-traded Aaron Wilkerson. We hope Wilkerson continue to thrive on the mound and wish him the best moving forward, but I find it only appropriate that this video shall contain his final (and maybe best) take with the Red Sox:

If you have liked these videos from the last two posts, be sure to come out to McCoy. We’ll be playing more clips like these before the games for the remainder of the season. You’ll get to know you PawSox very well.

Other Notes and Throughts

Cycling

I just feel it is necessary to point out that what occurred in Charlotte this week is truly what makes baseball great. Ramos delivered Pawtucket’s first cycle in 17 years (with a bunt, no less) on Monday. Then on Tuesday, Chris Marrero nearly made it two cycles in two days! He only needed a home run…and he homered on Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Thursday. That’s the essence of baseball…you never know what is going to happen on a given day.

Shockwaves from Canada

Last Friday was Canada Day, so fortunately the Blue Jays began their game against the Indians in Toronto at 1 p.m. because it lasted 19 innings. Cleveland used Trevor Bauer to pitch the final four innings of the contest, but he was scheduled to start the next day. This set up an incredible chain of events, most notably featuring an Indians intern driving to Akron to fetch a passport…but read about it here.

Anyway, this is all relevant because the Columbus Clippers were in Pawtucket and they were the center of this mess. In fact, the Indians needed to send in help all the way from Single-A because the Clippers hardly had a bullpen. (And it just so happened the pitcher they called up–David Speer–is one of the few pro baseball players from my alma mater, Columbia. He also is from Connecticut and grew up a Red Sox fan who frequently came to PawSox games. He also earned the win.)

This was really one of those stories you only hear about in minor league baseball.

Minor League baseball is also cool because of the amazing sights of any given ballparks. You’ve probably seen photos of the sunset at McCoy on Sunday evening…it truly was breathtaking.

IMG_4479IMG_4480And on the next homestand, another four-game series that follows next week’s All-Star breaking, you can get a glimpse an awesome sunset in addition to great promotions!

There are more fireworks on Friday night (1980’s themed this time) and then I’m personally a big fan of the replica jersey we are giving away on Saturday.

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Hope to see you at the ballpark as we open up the “second half” (or more accurately, the final third) of the season.

Oh, Henry – A Cycle in Charlotte

by Will Flemming

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The PawSox’ final home game of the first half was a memorable one: a taut pitchers’ duel between Eduardo Rodriguez and Adam Plutko was interrupted only by a Chris Marrero solo home run in the second inning; Jesus Aguilar launched a three-run blast in the eighth to give the Columbus Clippers a lead; Pawtucket tied the game with two in the bottom of the ninth…and then things got crazy.  Pawtucket received a sterling effort from Justin Haley while Clippers manager Chris Tremie emptied his bullpen, using a new pitcher for each extra inning.  By the time we reached the 15th, the Columbus pen had been totally exhausted and the Clippers turned to infielder Yoxhian Medina on the mound.  Medina – soft-tossing strikes from a sidearm angle – retired the PawSox in order in the 15th.  In the next half inning, Giovanny Urshela broke the tie with a double and it felt like the sellout McCoy crowd would watch fireworks after a loss.  Henry Ramos had other ideas.  After Chris Marrero drew a one-out walk, Ramos began an incredible 24 hours with this:

And yet that swing of the bat would become a footnote by the time the sun set the following day.

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Pregame on the 4th: BB&T Ballpark in Charlotte was about to see some history

In the first inning in Charlotte on Independence Day, Ramos hit a deep drive to left field.  It caromed off the metal railing above the wall and bounced back into play; third-base umpire Chris Segal raced out, saw the bounce and ruled it a home run.  As often as we comment on the calls umpires miss, Segal deserves immense credit for getting this difficult call right; as the game wore on, the gravity of that savvy piece of umpiring only grew.

Ramos doubled in the next inning, then came to the plate in the fifth and did this:

After that swing of the bat, Ramos was unaware he needed a single for the cycle.  Jose Vinicio made sure that changed, as you will hear in the interview we conducted yesterday.  In the seventh, Ramos struck out swinging.  That brought us to the ninth inning.  In his final time at bat, Henry Ramos made a little PawSox history with this:

Ramos became the first PawSox hitter to bat for the cycle since Michael Coleman on June 4, 1999.  A little research revealed some amazing facts about that day for Coleman: he went 7-for-7 with three home runs, he drove in seven and led the PawSox to a 25-2 win over Norfolk.  In the small-world department, the only runs Norfolk produced that day came on a two-run homer off the bat of Andy Tomberlin… who is currently the hitting coach for Charlotte and was in the ballpark for Ramos’s cycle.

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Before yesterday’s ballgame, I sat down with Henry and chatted about his cycle, his 2016 season and the remarkable run he’s been on at the plate.  Here is that conversation:

It has been a phenomenal two weeks for Ramos: over his last 14 games, he is 17-for-56 (.303) with four homers, three triples and 20 RBIs.

Chris Marrero appears to have once again entered one of his hot streaks; the All Star, for whom extra-base hits have come in bunches, has two homers and two doubles over the last three games.  The PawSox’ leader in home runs (14) and RBIs (37) will participate in the AAA Home Run Derby right here in Charlotte on July 11th.

Josh and I will be on the air tonight at 6:35 as Henry Owens looks to pitch the PawSox to a series sweep in the Queen City.  Look forward to talking to you then!

 

 

 

 

 

Is a Hot Dog a Sandwich?

By Ryan Young

No. That would be the short answer according to most in this PawSox survey. But in the spirit of the 4th of July, we must delve further than that.

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Taking part in this highly scientific survey were: 17 players (who were at McCoy this weekend), manager Kevin Boles, coach Bruce Crabbe, General Manager Dan Rea and 45 Miles From Fenway contributors (and occasional broadcasters) Josh Maurer and Will Flemming.

Is a hot dog a sandwich?

Here’s the full list of those who answered no (mostly with a glare or a bewildered look):

INF Ryan Court, RHP William Cuevas, bullpen catcher Dom DiSano, INF Chris Dominguez, INF/OF Chris Marrero, INF Deven Marrero, RHP Kyle Martin, INF Mike Miller, RHP Sean O’Sullivan, LHP Robby Scott, RHP Chandler Shepherd, INF Jose Vinicio, RHP Aaron Wilkerson, INF Jantzen Witte, LHP Wesley Wright, Boles, Crabbe, Rea and our two bloggers (Maurer and Flemming).

Now, let’s laud our only two respondents, both pitchers, who nobly accepted the notion that a hot dog is a sandwich: Joe Kelly and Noe Ramirez.

Now, by no means was either pitcher adamant about this stance, but they are on the same side as the dictionary, which has to feel pretty good.

If a sandwich can be defined as “two or more slices of bread or a split roll having a filling in between,” then there isn’t all that much to argue. Does the anti-hot-dog-is-a-sandwich crowd also believe that open-faced sandwiches aren’t a thing?

And yes, I understand that you would never expect to receive a hot dog after you ask for a sandwich. But this debate would have never arisen in recent years if people didn’t start questioning our perception of sandwiches.

However, considering the overwhelming support in Pawtucket for the not-a-sandwich side, we’ll consider this still open for debate.

Now, before we tackle some more hot-dog-related questions, here is video proof (with a big assist from Zach Rothfeld) of some of the responses:

Yes, Joe, “technically” is really all that matters. We’ll get back to that final question from the video in just a bit, but first we must address…

Ketchup or mustard on your hot dog?

Team Ketchup: Court, O’Sullivan, Kelly, Miller, Scott, D. Marrero, DiSano, Boles, Maurer

Team Mustard: Shepherd, Vinicio, Crabbe, Rea (spicy brown only)

Team Both: Cuevas, Wright, Dominguez, Ramirez, Martin, Flemming (more mustard than ketchup)

Team Neither: Witte (ketchup if he had to choose)

Team Honey Mustard: C. Marrero

I’m aware that this debate can be just as passionate, but at least this one is very much split.

It’s crazy that those participating in the hot dog eating contest in Coney Island today don’t get to use condiments. I think we can all agree that ketchup or mustard is better than dipping the bun in water.

But what if we held our own contest in Pawtucket…

Who would win a PawSox hot dog eating contest?

Nobody ran away with this vote. Henry Owens (with four votes) was actually the consensus. International League All-Stars Chris Marrero and Sean O’Sullivan each received a pair of votes as well. Here are the full results:

Boles [after thoroughly examining his roster]: Vinicio

Court: Strength and Conditioning coach Kirby Retzer

Crabbe: Gedman

Cuevas: Owens

DiSano: Ramirez

Dominguez: C. Marrero

Kelly: Owens

C. Marrero: hitting coach Rich Gedman

D.Marrero: catcher Dan Butler

Martin: Scott

Miller: Owens

O’Sullivan: himself

Ramirez: C. Marrero

Scott: Witte

Shepherd: catcher Ali Solis

Vinicio: Owens

Witte: O’Sullivan (who Witte says has claimed to once eat 38 Big Macs) or himself

 

Well, I suppose the only way to find out who was right is to make this happen at some point. Whether it does or doesn’t take place, 45 Miles From Fenway will be sure to bring you any future hot dog takes from the PawSox that we were unable to gather this weekend.

Be sure to come enjoy some wieners when the PawSox return to McCoy following the All-Star Break beginning Thursday, July 14. Lord knows how many sandwiches–er, hot dogs and hamburgers–were consumed by the sell-out crowds this weekend, especially in last night’s wild 16-inning marathon. At least we got the fireworks before the calendar actually turned to Independence Day.

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In the mean time, Happy 4th of July! Make sure to bring the radio out by the grill this week and listen to our… (fine…) esteemed radio duo, as Josh and Will bring you all the action from North Carolina to close out the first half.

Homestand Recap (6/20-6/26): All Rise as Judge Enters and Court is in Session

by Ryan Young

The longest homestand of the season at McCoy (eight games due to Tuesday’s doubleheader) featured beautiful weather as we officially entered summer. The week featured a slew of PawSox rising to and delivering in Boston, several former Portland SeaDogs (including Ryan Court) delivering for Pawtucket and a couple of top prospects surging at McCoy (including Aaron Judge). Alright, now that I’ve tried to rationalize my convoluted headline, let’s get started:

Portland to Pawtucket ✈️

For much of the week, two-thirds of Pawtucket’s starting lineup was composed of players that began the year with the Double-A SeaDogs. (Even with the rehabbing Brock Holt and Ryan Hanigan in the lineup for most of the week.)

Both infielder Ryan Court and relief pitcher Chandler Shepherd came straight from Portland on the first day of the homestand.

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In Court’s Triple-A debut, he went 3-for-4 with RBI singles in each of his first two at-bats and a triple in his final at-bat. I’m sure he’ll cherish the night he got to spend as a .750 hitter in Triple-A.

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Not only did Court deliver offensively, but he started at a different infield position in each of his first four games and made some terrific defensive plays.

Court was ready to play his second straight year of independent ball before getting the call that the Red Sox had signed him in early May. He was literally going to drive all his belongings to Sioux City the next day, but instead had them shipped up to Maine.

I spoke with Ryan about his remarkable journey over the last two months:

 

Meanwhile, Shepherd has not allowed a run in his first three appearances. In fact, he’s retired the last 19 batters he’s faced! The righthander shined in Double-A, sporting a 1.80 ERA in 22 games with Portland.

Here is some of my interview with Shepherd from last week where I chatted with him about his success, moving up to Triple-A and his favorite player growing up:

 

Last week can also be known as the week that Henry Ramos emerged. Ramos, who was promoted from Portland on June 6, started all eight games of the homestand and went 10-for-29 with a double, triple, two home runs and eight RBI.

And then in his first game of the road trip, he smacked another triple and tallied his second four-RBI performance in three games. Ramos, a switch-hitter who has shown power from the left side but done damage from both sides of the plate, is someone to look out for over the next month.

Pawtucket to Boston ✈️

(BTW, I know that these guys don’t generally need to fly from Portland to Pawtucket or from McCoy to Fenway thanks to their #blessed New England locations, but why don’t any of the vehicular emojis drive from left to right?!?)

Of the PawSox who have spent time in Boston over the last few weeks, nobody has made more of an impact than catcher Sandy Leon. Leon, who was recalled to replace the injured Hanigan on June 5, has made as significant an impact as possible with the Red Sox.

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He went 9-for-13 (.692) in his first five games with Boston and his currently batting .483 through 11 games. He has also caught five of eight attempted base stealers.

Leon’s biggest big league at-bat came last Friday with the Red Sox. On the 11th pitch of the AB, he doubled helping Boston’s rally along and leading to a big comeback win.

That also happened to be Bryce Brentz‘s first major league game of the season. He recorded a hit and got to partake in the famed Red Sox outfield celebration after the victory.

I asked the rehabbing Holt for his assessment of Bryce’s performance in the celebration. Holt had no criticism whatsoever, but admitted that of the recent left fielders, Chris Young is the best at doing it. Holt didn’t establish any criteria for critquing the performances but he admitted that Chris Young was easily the best of the recent left field crew that has featured both Brock and Blake Swihart.

While Brentz has taken advantage of some Red Sox injuries by hitting .467 over his first four games, Ryan LaMarre has also seen some time in the Boston outfield.

His entire team huddled around the clubhouse TV to watch his first major league at-bat of the season.

Congratulations also go out to Mike Miller for making his major league debut this week.

While many PawSox starters have seen time with the Red Sox this season, Pat Light really deserved his recent call up. He has tossed 13 straight scoreless inning and hasn’t allowed a run in the ninth inning (in Triple-A) all season long!

On the Cusp of the Bigs

We saw two of the top prospects in baseball at McCoy last week: the Nationals’ Trea Turner and the Yankees’ Aaron Judge. Both were named to the International League All-Star Team and  can’t be too far away from spending some time in the big leagues.

Turner has already had a couple of quick stints with Washington. He had a game-winning hit and a two-run home run in the final two games of the Syracuse-Pawtucket series. Before he did that damage, I asked him about what he’s been focusing on in Triple-A, how he deals with the hype around him and his favorite players growing up:

Meanwhile, Judge came to Rhode Island as the hottest hitter in the league. He then hit two home runs in the series, including one of the longest blasts at McCoy in a long time.

The fans were in hot pursuit of obtaining an Aaron Judge autograph. Fortunately for them, he was more than willing to partake in a McCoy tradition.

I obtained a few quick thoughts from Judge regarding his teammate Nick Swisher, the longest ball he’s ever hit and playing at Yankee Stadium and Fenway.

 

Other Notes and Thoughts

All-Stars

The PawSox also have a couple All-Stars of their own: Chris Marrero and Sean O’Sullivan.

Marrero has been among the league leaders in home runs and total bases all season.

O’Sullivan had his best week of the season, going 2-0 with a 0.60 ERA (1 ER/15.0 IP), 10 strikeouts and no walks in 15 innings of work.

Light might have also had a chance to make the squad had he not been called up. There was a significant push for Light (#FightForLight) and Robby Scott (#WhyNotScott) among PawSox players and fans.

Robby Scott

Scott earned the #WhyNotScott movement thanks to his success on the mound this season. He has 32 strikeouts and no walks in his last 13 appearances. (He issued his last walk on May 7!)

But he has been even more valuable off the field. Here are three very diverse topics I spoke with Robby about: thinking about the big leagues while pitching well in Triple-A, being so passionate about his community work and watching LeBron bring a title to Cleveland as a Miami Heat fan.

 

Boys of McCoy

Finally, I must give a shoutout to our intern boy band that performed during 90’s Night on Friday. Here is a look at their final rehearsal before their big performance:

Full disclosure: my favorite Backstreet Boys song was As Long As You Love Me. Though, I don’t recall any dabbing in that music video.

There will be more fun to be had at McCoy this weekend, highlight by post-game fireworks on Friday…and Saturday….and Sunday! There will be no better place to spend the holiday weekend.

Getting Closer – Moncada Joins Benintendi in Portland

by Josh Maurer

The Red Sox have one of the top (if not the absolute best) farm systems in baseball currently.  At some of the lower levels of the organization, players like pitcher Anderson Espinoza and third-baseman Rafael Devers have the potential to be big impact players in the years to come.

The two top names among Boston prospects, however, are OF Andrew Benintendi and second-baseman Yoan Moncada.  Each is considered one of the prime “can’t miss” talents in the sport today, and each appears close to reaching Pawtucket.

Yoan Moncada

Yoan Moncada

Benintendi was promoted to Double-A Portland last month, while Moncada joined him earlier this week.  Yoan’s Double-A debut was a strong one on Tuesday night, as he went 1-for-5 with an RBI and several standout defensive plays.

Here is the audio of Moncada’s first press conference in Portland, held just hours before he made his debut with the club yesterday:

Benintendi, meanwhile, has turned up the offense after struggling at the outset of his Sea Dogs tenure.  Over his last 10 games, he is 15-for-41 (.366) with 3 HR, 11 RBI, and 5 doubles.

It will be very fun and interesting to follow those two prized prospects in Portland over the weeks (and possibly months) to come.  It would not be a stretch to think that each could potentially see time with the PawSox before the 2016 season comes to an end.

Andrew Benintendi

Andrew Benintendi

Meanwhile, Pawtucket had a five-game winning streak snapped in game two of a doubleheader against Syracuse on Tuesday night in dropping a close 3-2 decision.  In the opener, lefty Henry Owens came within two outs of a seven-inning no-hitter before allowing a single to the Chiefs’ cleanup batter Matt Skole.

Henry Owens throws pitch w.crazy face

Instead, Owens settled for a complete-game one-hitter in which he struck out five and walked three batters. You can see the highlights from his dominant performance below.

On Thursday night, our friends at NESN will televise the finale of the five-game series against the Chiefs following a day game for the Red Sox at Fenway.  Will and I will be providing the TV play-by-play on a simulcast with the radio broadcast.  We are each looking forward to it!

Overall, the PawSox have won 14 of their last 21 games (dating back to May 31st). They have continued to excel with terrific pitching and solid defense. On Wednesday, Aaron Wilkerson looks to continue his Triple-A dominance as he takes the mound against a struggling Syracuse lineup.

Aaron Wilkerson pitch

First pitch on Wednesday is slated for 7:05 pm on another beautiful evening at McCoy. We hope to see you at the park. If not, Will and I look forward to speaking to you on the radio!

Josh M