Results tagged ‘ Portland Sea Dogs ’

Homestand Recap (7/25-7/31): Honoring and Beating the Best

by Ryan Young

The PawSox closed out July with their best homestand (of at least five games) since 2013. Pawtucket went 6-1, beating two of the top teams in the league, Rochester and Scranton, three times apiece. The PawSox even kept hope alive in the playoff race despite looking up at the toughest division in Triple-A.

And it wasn’t just about beating the best…The PawSox also honored the best with their Inaugural Hall of Fame Induction on Friday, one of the highlights of another eventful summer week at McCoy.

Winning Ways:

The PawSox found several different ways to win their six games last week. In fact three of the games featured come-from-behind victories, while the other three wins came in shutouts.

Brennan Boesch captured Pawtucket’s second straight comeback win to begin the homestand with a walk-off, 11th-inning blast.

Boesch homered again in the third offense-driven win of the week on Saturday, but Chris Marrero had maybe the most impressive jolt of the season. His 20th home run of the season (which at the time tied for the league lead) left the entire ballpark.

Marrero is the first PawSox player to tally 20 home runs in a season since Mauro Gomez had 24 in 2012.

Witte_PawSoxRedWings7252016JillianSouza_7734

Jantzen Witte also had a great week at the plate for Pawtucket as the third baseman recorded a double in five separate games.

I spoke with Jantzen about his recent success, what stands out about Triple-A and his former teammate at TCU, Cardinals infielder Matt Carpenter.

As you heard me discuss with Jantzen, there has been an incredible amount of roster turnover this season for the PawSox. Witte has stayed on the active roster since he was promoted from Double-A Portland on April 18, but this is a rare example.

In fact, of the 55 players who have been on Pawtucket’s active roster at some point this season, only four have remained on it for the entirety of the season (up to this point): Chris Marrero, Kyle Martin, Roman Mendez and Robby Scott.

Scott and Mendez contributed to the first of three shutouts that the PawSox dealt in a three-game span last week. The pitching staff delivered pair of five-hitters (Wednesday and Friday) and then a one-hitter on Sunday to wrap up the week (Pawtucket’s first nine-inning one-hitter since May 27, 2009.)

Mendez has tossed 19.2 straight scoreless innings.

Heath Hembree closed out all three shutouts, retiring nine of the 10 batters he faced.

Heath Hembree

Hembree has struck out 16 of the 30 Triple-A batters he has faced this season. That’s almost difficult to comprehend.

It was an incredible feat to sweep the RailRiders and shut them out twice in the process. Scranton been swept only one time all season…way back in April. Pawtucket helped Lehigh Valley catch the RailRiders in the IL North standings.

Hall of Fame Night:

LMZ_0145

Just before the series with Scranton started, we had our Inaugural PawSox Hall of Fame inductions in a terrific pregame ceremony on Friday evening.

Wade Boggs, Jim Rice and the late PawSox owner Ben Mondor made up the first Hall of Fame class. After Boggs, Rice and Ben Mondor’s widow, Madeleine, each spoke, the 2016 Pawtucket team took the field to pay its respects. A IMG_4693ceremonial first pitch from all three honorees followed.

Boggs and Rice then posed for pictures with fans.

Boggs played two full seasons for the PawSox in 1980 and 1981. He missed out on winning the batting title by one at-bat in 1980 before claiming the title the next season. The story of the final day of the 1980 season is incredible and I dug up a couple articles from that day that retell the incredible story:

Boggs Story 1

Boggs Story 2

That is as close to an “unbelievable” end to a batting title race as you will ever hear. Yet, speaking of inconceivable thoughts, I present to you the following sentence from the first article about the future MLB Hall of Famer without comment:

“Boggs knows exactly what obstacles are built into his upward mobility–he’s not fast, hits with no discernible power and is not blessed with great quickness afield.”

Other Guests at McCoy:

Aside from the Hall of Famers, there were several other special guests at McCoy last week.

Red Sox closer Craig Kimbrel made a rehab start (even if he only faced three batters due to a pitch limit) on Saturday. It was one of the quickest rehab stints you will ever see, but it was fun to have him throwing 98 MPH at McCoy.

Mason Williams returned to McCoy but he has been a guest at the ballpark on several occasions throughout his life. The Scranton outfielder grew up in Pawtucket. He played little league in Darlington and frequented McCoy Stadium before he eventually moved to Florida for High School.

Williams made his debut as a player at McCoy in May of last season before he was called up to the Yankees later in the month. From what we can tell, he’s the first Pawtucket-born player to make the big leagues. Unfortunately, a shoulder injury derailed his season. Williams finally made his way back to the RailRiders last month and I asked him about coming to McCoy as a kid.

 

Sadly, Williams injured his ankle later that day. Hopefully he’ll return to the RailRiders and then to the Bronx in short order.

We also had thousands of guests (also known as fans) at McCoy throughout the week. One lucky group got an appearance from Deven Marrero, who took pictures, signed autographs and gave out some advice.

Other Notes and Thoughts:

Soccer Stars

Puerto Ricans Christian Vazquez and Henry Ramos have bonded off the field. In fact, Ramos’ daughter is Vazquez’s goddaughter. The two are frequently seen playing soccer with a cast of other PawSox. (Pictured below, the duo is joined by Rusney Castillo, Ali Solis, Roenis Elias and William Cuevas.)

On the baseball field, Vazquez has shown more power at the plate lately but his offensive game is still a work in progress. The Pawtucket catcher has eliminated a leg kick that he used earlier in the season, simplifying his batting stance so he uses his hands more.

From Further Down on the Farm

Andrew Benintendi, Yoan Moncada and Mauricio Dubon all made their way from Salem to Portland this season. And, of course, Benintendi just made the jump all the way to the big leagues.

I asked Red Sox Minor League Hitting Coordinator, Greg Norton, about the prospects when he was at McCoy last week.

 

Boston decided not to deal away any of its top hitting prospects this Trading Deadline, but the team did make on deal on Monday:

Lights Out

As Josh detailed in our last post, Pat Light was traded for pitcher Fernando Abad on Monday. He is so great to work (and a pretty darn good closer as well) with and we wish him all the best in the Twins organization.

 

He had quite the debut for Rochester against the PawSox this week.

 

The lights turn back on at McCoy tomorrow, as we begin a six-game homestand with a pair of postgame fireworks shows. We hope to see you there or speak to you on the PawSox Radio Network.

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.

Court_PawSoxChiefs6202016JillianSouza_3009

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.

IMG_4392

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.

Leon_PawSoxBraves5152016JillianSouza_9048.jpg

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

No Rest for Red Sox Farmhands

After hours of rain postponed game one of the current series from Coca-Cola Park in Allentown, Pa., the PawSox and ‘Pigs split yesterday’s double-header, with each team winning a one-run affair.

In total, the two teams combined for 22 runs on 45 hits over two games, spanning 14 innings (5 hours, 8 minutes). It could have been worse, the High-A Salem Red Sox dropped both games of their twin-bill last night against Myrtle Beach (Rangers) and played a total of 16 innings (5 hours, 29 minutes).

Even Double-A Portland played a pair yesterday, winning the first and dropping the second against Altoona (Pirates). After a long Saturday at the ballpark, the top-three levels of the Red Sox farm system combined for the following totals:

 

Games: 6

Innings: 44 innings

Time: 15 hours, 13 minutes

Won-Lost: 2-4

Home runs: 5

Doubles: 15

Hits: 60

Runs: 24

Of course, the odd-man left out is the Single-A Greenville Drive who got to bed early after topping Charleston 10-4 in a brisk 2 hours, 25 minutes (9 innings).

Hopefully it will be a shorter day at the yard for the PawSox, Sea Dogs and Red Sox. The PawSox and IronPigs wrestle this afternoon at 1:35 with Doug Mathis (3-3, 4.86 ERA) getting the start.

Talk with you then.

-AG

@aaronmgoldsmith
agoldsmith@pawsox.com

Lars Anderson Homer on SportsCenter Top 10

In the 70 year history of McCoy Stadium, no batter has ever hit the video board in right-center field with a home run.

Until last night.

Even if the video board hasn’t been there since 1942, history was still made last night in the fourth inning. That’s when PawSox first baseman/left fielder Lars Anderson unloaded on a pitch that smacked off the two-year old HD board which now needs some new parts.

It was such a blast, ESPN SportsCenter ranked it among last night’s Top 10 Plays.

“Makes me feel good, man,”  said Anderson in a post-game interview. “[Pedro] Ciriaco and I have a competition of who has the most Top 10 Plays, so that’d be awesome if I could have that as a step up on him.”

Photo taken of the video board at McCoy Stadium seconds after Anderson’s blast. (Jillian Souza)

Lost in the hype surrounding his home run is the fact that Anderson tied a career-high with five runs batted in. He drew a bases-loaded walk in the first, connected on a two-run single in the second, and then the 2-run homer in the fourth (he later struck out and grounded out).

It’s the third, five-RBI game of Anderson’s career, his first since April 26, 2009 with Double-A Portland.

Last night’s performance comes on the heels of Anderson’s two-homer night against Toledo on Sunday, May 27. It marked his third-career game with a pair of home runs, his first since May 16, 2009 with the Sea Dogs.

In related long ball news, the PawSox have homered 12 times over their last four games and now lead the International League with 57 bombs – the 5th-highest total in the minor leagues. The High Desert Mavericks, in the hitter-friendly California League, are  pacing everyone with 77 round-trippers.

Congrats to Lars. Now we just need to see Ciriaco hit one a foot higher.

-AG

@aaronmgoldsmith
agoldsmith@pawsox.com

Anderson has hit three of his six home runs this season over his last three games. He hit a career-high 18 homers in 2008 between Lancaster and Portland. (Kelly O’Connor)

Goodbye, Ft. Myers

My first Spring Training was a blast.  I saw nine different games, met some terrific people, and learned a lot. I’m timing things right because this morning it’s raining for the first time all week.

Yesterday I went to the PawSox game at the Twins’ facility with my friend Mike Antonellis, the “Voice of the Portland Sea Dogs.” Here are some pics from yesterday’s game.

Former PawSox and Red Sox player, Aaron Bates. Now with the Twins, Aaron was the first player I ever covered to get called up to the big leagues.

Aaron talking with Mike after the game.

Red Sox outfield prospect Alex Hassan playing in his first minor league game since being sent down from big league camp.

Billy Buckner, no relation to Bill Buckner, pitched yesterday for the PawSox. The 28-year-old has appeared in 36 major league games (21 starts) since 2007 with Kansas City and Arizona.

Jeremy Kehrt appeared in seven games (two starts) for the PawSox last year.  The righty pitched for Scottsdale in the prospect-driven Arizona Fall League this past off-season.

The PawSox fell to Rochester 6-2 yesterday with Kehrt getting the start, pitching two innings, and suffering the loss. Both of Pawtucket’s runs came on RBI groundouts in the fifth inning. The only real offensive highlight was a sixth-inning triple by J.C. Linares to right-center. The ground shook when he slid into third base.

This will do it for me from beautiful Ft. Myers.  Today is a camp day for the PawSox (no games), but tomorrow they’ll host Rochester at 1:00 p.m. EST. My broadcast partner Steve Hyder will be down here for a week starting  tomorrow and will have lots of coverage on his blog which can be read here.

Thanks for your terrific readership this week – it’s been a privilege writing for you each day. I’m sure Spring Training 2013 will be even better, but before then, I’m counting down the 11 days until Opening Day 2012 on April 5th at McCoy Stadium.

Hope to see you there.

-AG

@aaronmgoldsmith
agoldsmith@pawsox.com

PawSox Fan of the Week

If this beacon of health enters, he will automatically win (baltimoresportsreport.com)

The thing I love most about working in the Red Sox farm system is the fans.  There’s a good chance that you love your minor league teams more than any other fans out there.  I experienced this firsthand during the 2009 season when I worked for the Portland Sea Dogs and we had fans in the ballpark for all nine innings during those cold, rainy April nights.

I’ve been told that fans here in Rhode Island are just as passionate as those in Maine and I’m wanting to see it first hand.  That’s why we’ve created a new contest where we’re seeking out the PawSox Fan of the Week.

It’s pretty simple: send me a picture showing why you are the biggest PawSox fan out there.  We launched this contest yesterday and I’ve already received about 15 emails.  While some of the pictures are good, none have blown me away.  Although pictures of you, the fan, from  McCoy Stadium cheering on the PawSox are nice, what I’m really looking for is a picture taken specifically for this contest.  Deck yourself out in all your PawSox gear.  Dress your brother and sister up like Paws and Sox.  Build a replica McCoy Stadium in your backyard (too much?).  Bottom line, do something over the top.

If Matt Damon enters, he'll also automatically win (Man Crush).

What will you win if selected?  The winner receives four tickets to the PawSox double-header on April 7. Plus you’ll be entered to win the GRAND PRIZE of 4 tickets to an upcoming 2012 Red Sox game at Fenway Park with a limo ride to and from the game!  Of course, you’ll also get your picture posted to our Facebook wall.

Email your (over the top) picture to me at agoldsmith@pawsox.com with the headline “PawSox Fan of the Week.”  Tell me you heard about the contest from this blog and you’ll get extra credit points.

The winner will be announced Friday afternoon.

Don’t let me down.

-AG