Results tagged ‘ Bryce Brentz ’

Be The Ball: Masterson Looks Strong, Danny Noonan Comes to Charlotte

by Will Flemming

danny noonan

This isn’t Russia. Is this Russia? No, it’s Charlotte.

Caddyshack was the comedy soundtrack of my childhood.  I watched it more than any other film, memorized most of the script, and quoted it constantly to friends and family.  ‘Big hitter, the Lama… long.’ ‘A flute with no holes is not a flute; a donut with no hole is a danish.’ ‘Hey baby you must’ve been something before electricity.’

So when I learned that Wednesday was Caddyshack night at BB&T Ballpark in Charlotte, a lot of memories came back to me.  All the times I watched it on family vacations, the countless laughs I shared with my brother, my father and my uncles re-living the hilarity at Bushwood Country Club.

Michael O’Keefe, the actor who played Danny Noonan, would be at the ballpark.  I took a flier and reached out to Tommy Viola, the fabulous director of media relations with the Knights to see if I could have a few minutes with Noonan. Tommy almost immediately replied: “Not a problem at all. I’ll be happy to set you up with him.”

This was an interview for which I would not need much preparation.  Even though I had never met O’Keefe, it felt like I was going to sit down with an old friend.

Sure enough, around 3:30 on Wednesday, Michael walked into the press box at BB&T.  Tommy made an introduction, and we settled into the auxiliary broadcast booth.  I was tempted to open with “This isn’t Russia. Is this Russia?” We launched into an effortless, fascinating conversation.  We spoke for 15 minutes before recording the official interview.  Michael told me about his stint on Homeland, how he was in awe of the preparation and professionalism of Claire Danes from the moment he set foot on the set.  He spoke of his commitment to meditation, and the ways in which it has impacted his life and his perspective as a new father.  He even shared some great behind-the-scenes stories about Rodney Dangerfield, Bill Murray and Chevy Chase.

You can hear our full interview here; I am so grateful to Michael for being friendly, gracious and generous with his time.  Later in the evening, I introduced my uncle Luther – who lives in Charlotte and had initially introduced me to Caddyshack – to O’Keefe, which was a wonderful, full-circle moment.

On Tuesday, Justin Masterson – one of the few players currently with the PawSox old enough to remember Caddyshack as I do – put forth another strong outing.  He went six innings and allowed just two runs in the band-box that is BB&T Ballpark.  His second consecutive steady start begged an obvious question: what is next for Masterson?

NESN’s Zach Cox explored the decision facing the Red Sox as Masterson’s time on the DL draws to a close.

The Globe’s Pete Abraham indicated in his piece that the Sox are likely to make a decision soon, and that John Farrell thinks Masterson has done enough to warrant a spot on the Boston roster.

Tonight in Charlotte, the PawSox give the ball to Keith Couch and hope to salvage the finale of this three-game series.  The status of Bryce Brentz is unknown; he left the game with a left thumb injury last night after singling in the go-ahed run in the seventh.  You can watch the play here:

In the last three games (all losses after a four-game winning streak) the PawSox have left 31 runners on base.  The bright side, of course, is that the Sox are giving themselves myriad opportunities to score.

A few other notes from Charlotte: in the 106th home game at their new home, the Knights welcomed their millionth fan.  We will have an in-depth look at one of the IL’s crown jewels later in the week – and explore the many ways it offers a glimpse into what PawSox fans could have in downtown Providence.

It is easy to imagine a scene like this in Providence

It is easy to imagine a scene like this in Providence

A night after his older brother won the NBA championship with the Warriors, Trayce Thompson had a big night.  He’s now hit four of his nine homers against the PawSox.

And Kevin Boles has been named the manager for the International League in the All Star Game in Omaha.  A well deserved honor for the skipper.  We’ll get Bolesy’s thoughts on the honor and share them on the broadcast tonight.

Josh and I will talk to you at 6:50 tonight on WHJJ and throughout the PawSox radio network.

Until then, be the ball.

PawSox Home Schedule Opens With Sweeping Success

by Josh Maurer

Happy Patriots Day everyone! The PawSox will have to wait another day to continue their seven-game opening homestand, as Monday’s scheduled opener of a three-game series against Buffalo has been postponed due to rain.  There will now be a doubleheader on Tuesday at McCoy beginning at 5:05pm.

Each team is red-hot coming into the set, with the PawSox having just completed a four-game sweep of Rochester while Buffalo swept four from Lehigh Valley and has won six straight overall.

Pawtucket holds the best record in the IL at 8-3 through the first three series of the year (Buffalo and Charlotte are 0.5 games behind at 7-3).  After dropping a doubleheader in Buffalo last Wednesday and not having scored in 19 consecutive innings to end that series, the PawSox came home last Thursday to face a Rochester squad that had opened the season 5-1.

opening night ceremony

The home opener at McCoy on April 16th featured lots of pregame ceremonies

Thursday’s home opener began with a championship ring presentation ceremony, as approximately 20 players, coaches and support staff members received some jewelry for winning a Governors Cup title last September.  The ring has drawn rave reviews from everybody.

championship ring

The 2014 PawSox championship ring is an incredible piece of jewelry

After falling behind by scores of 3-0 and then 7-3 on Thursday, Pawtucket’s offense roared to life and scored the final five runs of the contest.  Deven Marrero and Sean Coyle hit back-to-back homers to begin the rally, while Blake Swihart’s two-out, two-run double in the seventh tied the score at 7.

Then in the ninth, Bryce Brentz stepped front and center with one out and the score still tied. Facing former Red Sox farmhand Ryan Pressly, Brentz fell behind in the count 1-2, but struck a no-doubt-about-it shot over the bullpen in left field to end a memorable opening night.

Friday’s game two saw more of the same, as again Pawtucket was forced to play from behind after Rochester’s Eddie Rosario drove a grand slam home run against Henry Owens in the fifth inning to put the Red Wings in front 4-2.  But Quintin Berry’s RBI single scored Marrero on a beautiful slide in the sixth cut the deficit in half.

Then it was Brentz again striking with a longball to give the PawSox the lead, this time in the seventh against tough reliever A.J. Achter. It was his second game-winner in as many nights and third on the young season. It’s been fun to watch Bryce get off to such a hot start.

Coyle would homer again the eighth, his third of the season, and recently-optioned Tommy Layne tossed a scoreless ninth to earn a save in his season debut with the club. Pawtucket won the contest 6-4.

On Saturday afternoon Pawtucket scored early and often against a tiring Rochester pitching staff. Veteran catcher Humberto Quintero gave the Sox the lead for good with a two-run homer in the second against starter Mark Hamburger. Quintero later drilled his second of the day in the fifth against Stephen Pryor to make the score 6-2.

The PawSox were far from finished mashing home runs against Pryor. In the sixth Berry smacked his first of the season, a two-run shot to right. Four batters later Matt Spring, activated from the DL right before the game began, hit a moonshot inside the pole in left to make the score 11-2 and chase Pryor after he allowed three blasts.

Pawtucket would win the game 13-3 and collect a season-high 17 hits. Starter Eddie Rodriguez was strong in earning his first Triple-A victory, striking out five batters in six innings of work.  Swihart led the charge with four hits including a pair of doubles.

The PawSox completed the four-game sweep on Sunday afternoon, plating a pair of of runs in the bottom of the eighth on a wild pitch and an error to earn a come-from-behind 4-3 victory. With two outs and the go-ahead run at third base, Quintero hit this ground ball to shortstop that former Red Sox farmhand Argenis Diaz booted to allow the winning run to score.

Pawtucket did not sweep a single series last season until after the All-Star break (July 17th-20th). The squad only swept two four-game series throughout the entire 2014 regular season. It didn’t take long to get one in 2015.

In the Rochester series the PawSox offense totaled 31 runs, 44 hits and nine home runs. The Red Wings bullpen, which had allowed only one run in 21 innings over the team’s six games before heading to McCoy, was tagged for 19 runs in 11.1 innings this series. Pressly took two losses and two blown saves in his two appearances.

Blake Swihart has hit safely in all 8 games he has played in this season

Blake Swihart has hit safely in all 8 games he has played in this season

Swihart, Brentz and Coyle led the way for Pawtucket in the four games against Rochester. Blake especially had an unbelievable series, playing all four contests (one as the DH) and hitting 10-for-17 with three doubles and seven RBI. Brentz went 6-for-12 with two walks, two game-winning homers, two doubles and four RBI in three games played. Coyle also homered twice and went 5-for-14 (.357) with three walks and six runs scored in four games.

Here are a few other notes for you to before the Buffalo series begins:

-There have already been three birthdays celebrated in the PawSox clubhouse during this homestand: Travis Shaw’s 25th on Thursday (4/16), Jackie Bradley, Jr.’s 25th on Sunday (4/19) and Garin Cecchini’s 24th on Monday (4/20).  It looks as though the team has decided to do some princess-themed decorating in the clubhouse for the birthday boys this season.

Pretty creative, huh?

-I loved this quote from an unnamed scout talking about Mookie Betts‘ unlimited potential from Michael Silverman’s article in Sunday’s Boston Herald.  The scout was comparing Betts’ future to that of Xander Bogaerts:

“I’d bet on Betts without hesitation, for sure, to have the All-Star type of career you’re talking about over Bogaerts. And I’d still give Bogaerts a better than 50-50 chance of doing the same thing. I think Bogaerts has a good shot to be above the norm in his career, but Mookie — Mookie Betts makes quicker adjustments to his game than anybody I’ve seen in the last 20 years. I couldn’t sit here and tell you what he’s not capable of doing.”

-This is somewhat old now, but here is an interview with PawSox utilityman Jeff Bianchi from last week in which he describes the crazy circumstances surrounding his three-inning pitching outing at Lehigh Valley on April 12th.  Noteworthy from the conversation: he really wanted to pitch and also seemed to love every minute of it!

-The PawSox roster has already lost two opening-night starters to the DL with shoulder injuries.  Rusney Castillo has missed the last eight games with right shoulder inflammation, while Cecchini has been out since last Friday (4/17) with a left shoulder problem.  Hopefully each will return shortly.

That’s all for now.  Check back to “45 Miles” later this week for a “Where Are They Now” on several members of last season’s Governors’ Cup championship squad.  Talk to you Tuesday late afternoon for some doubleheader baseball!

Josh M

Archer Stymies PawSox; Catching Situation Murky

Saturday afternoon the PawSox followed the big league club about 40 miles north to Port Charlotte and played a spring contest against Durham. It was a terrific starting pitching matchup with Eduardo Rodriguez throwing for Pawtucket against Tampa Bay’s scheduled opening day starter Chris Archer.

TB complex

The back side of Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, FL

TB back fields

The PawSox and Bulls played at the back fields on Saturday

The southpaw Rodriguez did not have his best stuff early.  He allowed a run on two singles and two walks in the first, then did not get an out in the second inning and allowed a pair of tallies.  Durham collected four straight hits to start the frame, then Rodriguez walked a batter and reached his inning pitch limit to stop the threat.  The lefty then settled down and tossed scoreless ball in the third and fourth.

Overall, Rodriguez lasted 3.0 innings and allowed three runs (all earned) on seven hits and four walks.  He struck out three Durham hitters.  Mike Aguilera followed and allowed three runs and four hits in 3.2 innings.

lineup at Durham

The PawSox lineup at Durham on Saturday

Pawtucket’s lineup featured Bryce Brentz and Garin Cecchini for the first time this spring.  Cecchini played the entire game at third base and went 1-for-3 with a single, while Brentz was 0-for-4 with four punchouts.

Archer was dominant in what may be his final spring tuneup.  He shutout the PawSox for 6.2 innings while allowing just four hits (all singles) and two walks.  He fanned eight and earned the win in Durham’s 7-1 victory.

Here is the Pawtucket box score from the contest:
Sean Coyle, 2B: 0-for-4, K
Marco Hernandez, SS: 0-for-1 (played 1 inning)
Henry Rodriguez, SS: 1-for-3, double
Travis Shaw, 1B: 0-for-0, 2 walks (played 5 innings)
David Chester, 1B: 1-for-2
Bryce Brentz, DH: 0-for-4, 4 Ks
Garin Cecchini, 3B: 1-for-3, K
Blake Swihart, DH: 0-for-2, HBP, R, GIDP
Henry Ramos, RF: 0-for-3, K
Keury De La Cruz, LF: 1-for-2, BB
Shannon Wilkerson, CF: 0-for-3, GIDP, K
Mike Brenly, C: 1-for-3

Archer pitching

Chris Archer pitched 6.2 shutout innings against the PawSox on Saturday

The big news of the day came in the morning when Red Sox catcher Christian Vazquez informed the media that an MRI on his ailing elbow “found something” but he has yet to be firmly diagnosedRyan Hanigan is now slated to open the season as the #1 catcher in Boston.

There has been some speculation that Blake Swihart could be an option to open the season as Hanigan’s backup if Vazquez lands on the DL.  I wonder about that; it seems to me the Red Sox would rather Swihart stay in the minor leagues for at least a few months to get more seasoning.

Swihart w. Archer pitching

Blake Swihart was the DH on Saturday against Durham/Chris Archer

UPDATE: Alex Speier of the Boston Globe lays out the catching options for the Red Sox here.  I agree wholeheartedly with his assessment of the situation.

Sunday is a camp day for the minor league side, so the PawSox will not have a game until Monday afternoon.  We’ll continue to have updates from the Fort on “45 Miles” through the end of next week.  Have a great rest of your weekend!

Josh M

Thursday at JetBlue: PawSox Roster Taking Shape

Hi all, Josh Maurer here again.  In case you missed the news yesterday Will Flemming and I will be co-authoring “45 Miles From Fenway” this season.  Today I spent a full day at the JetBlue complex and have plenty to report.

Thursday morning began with the news that the Red Sox had optioned Garin Cecchini and Bryce Brentz along with relievers Heath Hembree and Zeke Spruill to the Pawtucket roster. Super-prospect starting pitcher Henry Owens was also reassigned to minor league camp and is expected to work with the PawSox group.


Garin Cecchini was optioned back to the PawSox on Thursday morning. John Farrell says he will play some third base, first base and left field this season.

None of these moves come as a big surprise, as it has been widely anticipated that all five of these men would open the season in Pawtucket.  They join catcher Blake Swihart, first baseman Travis Shaw, infielder Sean Coyle and starter Eduardo Rodriguez as players recently optioned from big league camp.

This afternoon the PawSox hosted Rochester at the minor league fields, a game that ended in a 3-3 tie after a very exciting finish.  With Pawtucket trailing 3-2 in the bottom of the ninth, infielder Carlos Asuaje lined a game-tying solo home run against former PawSox reliever Ryan Pressly.

Shannon Wilkerson’s solo blast in the bottom of the eighth against Rochester’s Michael Tonkin snapped a 1-1 tie, but the Red Wings rallied to take the lead with two outs in the top of the ninth on James Beresford’s two-run single against Deryk Hooker.

All three of Pawtucket’s runs came via a solo blast, with Keury De La Cruz hitting the first in the bottom of the fifth.  Craig Breslow started for the PawSox and allowed a run on two hits in the first inning.

Dana Eveland throw the second and pitched around two singles to record a scoreless frame, getting a double play to end a Rochester threat when right-fielder Henry Ramos throw out a tagging runner at the plate.

Breslow pitching

Craig Breslow started today’s PawSox game against Rochester

Keith Couch, fighting to make the PawSox roster when camp breaks, fired four scoreless relief innings.  He allowed three hits and walked a pair but struck out three.  Miguel Celestino did not allow a hit or a run in two scoreless frames behind Couch, picking up three strikeouts in the process.

Asuaje, who spent the majority of 2014 in Low-A Greenville, went 3-for-3 with a walk and two stolen bases.  He played both second and third base during the contest.

Here are some notes and observations from a full day at the JetBlue complex:

-I had a chance to speak with Manager Kevin Boles this morning.  He has been assisting John Farrell and his staff in major league camp all spring and has thoroughly enjoyed the experience.  The skipper said he may not join the Triple-A group until only a few days before camp breaks.

Boles says he feels reinvigorated after taking off from working in winter ball this offseason.  You’ll be able to hear the full interview with him this Saturday at 1pm on PawSox Insider.

nice crowd at JetBlue

There was a big crowd on hand for the Major League game at JetBlue Park on Thursday afternoon

-Late this morning Farrell and Torey Lovullo presided over a unique batting practice session at one of the minor league fields, with the participants being the majority of the anticipated major league starting rotation.  It was nice to see knuckleballer Steven Wright included in the group, which also had Clay Buchholz, Rick Porcello and a few others.  Jason Varitek throw the big league pitchers several rounds of BP.

pitchers BP in spring

The Red Sox starting pitchers took some BP this morning with Jason Varitek throwing

-Red Sox catcher Christian Vazquez did some light throwing over at the minor league fields late this morning with Farrell and members of the training staff watching.  Vazquez is trying to work his way back from a sore elbow.  Farrell said this morning that the team isn’t quite sure if the backstop will be ready for opening day.

Vazquez throwing in spring

Christian Vazquez did some light throwing late this morning

That’s all for today.  The PawSox play Norfolk on Friday at JetBlue at 1pm.  It will be interesting to see if some of the guys recently optioned from major league camp like Cecchini and Brentz are ready to join the squad.

Thanks for reading, enjoy the Sweet 16 NCAA action tonight!

Josh M

Back from Vacation, Fall League Begins

After a fun visit to my homeland of St. Louis, it’s back to work at rainy McCoy Stadium. A vacation is always nice, but a vacation after broadcasting over 150 baseball games is the best kind. I love my job and can’t imagine doing anything else, but there’s no doubt that those who work in sports sacrifice friends, family, and a social life in order to live out their dreams.

I love going home to my parents and their two dogs. Buddy (left) and Lilly (right) are Australian Shepherds I could play with all day!

Tuesday night was Opening Day for the prospect driven Arizona Fall League. The following Red Sox minor league farmhands are in the AFL playing for the Surprise Saguaros:

Additionally, Portland Sea Dogs’ hitting coach Dave Joppie is serving as one of the team’s hitting instructors. In the first game of the season, Brentz finished 1-for-4 with a triple while Huntzinger was dealt the loss (2 runs, 4 hits, 2.0 IP). It was 84 degrees at first pitch.

Last year the PawSox very own Arnie Beyeler managed Scottsdale in the AFL where he worked with players such as Alex Hassan,Will MiddlebrooksMike Trout, and Bryce Harper.



Bryce Brentz entered 2012 as the Red Sox No. 5 prospect and seems destined to open 2013 with the PawSox. (Kelly O’Connor)

That’s a Touchdown?

Just like in your office, the big topic of conversation this morning around McCoy Stadium centered around Golden Tate’s catch/no-catch/offensive pass interference/blown call/touchdown. One of the best tweets I read following the catch came from Luke Rodgers (@thelukerodgers): “In Golden Tate’s defense how incredible is it to make a no-handed catch?”

It’s a…touchdown? (Timothy Burke via ESPN)

PawSox Notebook:

  • The off-season is off to a fast start in Buffalo where the Bisons recently announced they are the new Triple-A affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays. The Bisions, who have spent the past four seasons as the Mets’ top affiliate, are essentially swapping parent clubs with Triple-A Las Vegas — the Jays’ top affiliate for the past four years. For Toronto, the affiliation change brings them back to upstate New York where they spent 30 years with Triple-A Syracuse before moving to Sin City. Distance between Las Vegas and Toronto: 2,256 miles. Distance between Buffalo and Toronto: 100 miles.
  • Have questions about Jose Iglesias in 2013? Wonder about the future of Bryce Brentz, Xander Bogaerts, and other top prospects? Ian Browne covers all that and more in his latest Inbox column.
  • In addition to writing about delicious cider donuts yesterday, I also listed the Red Sox minor league award winners. Among them was Single-A third baseman Garin Cecchini who was named the Red Sox Baserunner of the Year after topping all Boston farmhands with 51 stolen bases. Brian MacPherson (@brianmacp) of the Providence Journal wrote a nice piece on Cecchini Tuesday morning that is well worth a read.
  • If you’re like me, you love a good hamburger. If that’s the case, you’ve no doubt wondered where in Japan you can get the best hamburger, right? Today is your lucky day because my brother-in-law (and die hard Sox fan), Stephen, is living in Japan for a year and keeping a blog. In his latest entry, “Stephen-san” tells us where to track down Japan’s best hamburger.  You’ll also be shocked to learn how much peanut butter costs.



Governors’ Cup Finals: Game 2 Preview

Governors’ Cup Finals
PawSox Lead Series, 1-0
Wednesday, September 12, 2012
McCoy Stadium | Pawtucket, Rhode Island | 7:05 p.m.

With their 7-2 win Tuesday night over the South Division champion Charlotte Knights, the PawSox are now 4-1 in the playoffs and have outscored their opponent 27-13. Just like they successfully did against the Yankees in Round 1 of the playoffs, the PawSox have a chance to leave McCoy Stadium up 2-0 in the series with a win Wednesday night.

As the PawSox prepare to play their last game inside McCoy in 2012, here’s another post-season edition of the PawSox Notebook:

  • Of the PawSox 27 post-season runs scored, 15 have crossed home plate thanks to a homer.
  • In five playoff games, Pawtucket has homered nine times, five of them have come with at least one man on base.
  • The PawSox will face Charlotte starter Charlie Shirek Wednesday night. In his one start against Pawtucket this year, the righty allowed two runs over six innings for a no-decision.
  • Hard-throwing reliever Josh Fields was a welcomed sight Tuesday night. Pitching for the first time since suffering a minor groin injury on the final day of the regular season, Fields struck out two of the four batters he faced in a scoreless ninth inning.
  • Over the last four games, Pawtucket starters have gone 2-0 with a 1.65 ERA (5 ER/27.1 IP) with six walks and 26 strikeouts.

Zach Stewart, a former Chicago White Sox farmhand, pitched in one game for the Knights in 2011. (Kelly O’Connor)

  • Wednesday night’s starter, Zach Stewart, made his best start of the year against the Knights his last time out on August 23. The former White Sox pitcher allowed two runs over a season-high seven innings but was dealt the loss.
  • Take away Game 3 against the Yankees when the PawSox bullpen allowed all four runs and suffered a blown save, the Pawtucket ‘pen has worked 10 scoreless innings this post-season.
  • Combine the work of the rotation and the bullpen, PawSox pitchers have a 2.62 post-season ERA.
  • Bryce Brentz the PawSox post-season MVP? You could make a strong case. The Red Sox No. 5 overall prospect per Baseball America has hit .471 (8-for-17) with two homers, five runs batted in, two doubles, and a triple. In fact, Brentz has at least one extra-base hit in each playoff game.

If you can’t make it to McCoy tonight, you can always join us on the broadcast along the PawSox Radio Network, or by listening online. Pre-Game coverage begins tonight at 6:50.





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