Results tagged ‘ Steven Wright ’

With Kelly and Wright Added, PawSox Rotation Looking Robust

by Josh Maurer

At the beginning of this season, the PawSox starting rotation was being touted as one of the best in Minor League Baseball.  Guys like Matt Barnes and Eduardo Rodriguez were headlining a five-man group that fans felt could compete with some of the lower-end major league units.

But soon Barnes, Rodriguez and Steven Wright went to Boston.  And the names in the Pawtucket rotation were not turning as many heads every time the team rolled into a new city.

Now, after recent changes at made at the top by Boston, the PawSox starting pitching group seems as robust as it has all year.  How about this for a group of five: Brian Johnson, Joe Kelly, Steven Wright, Henry Owens and Keith Couch.  Zeke Spruill, a 40-man roster member and a reliever all season until last homestand, has also stayed in the rotation because of this week’s doubleheader in Rochester.

Pawtucket’s terrific starting pitching was on full display during last week’s seven-game homestand.  Today we’ll take a closer look at how well each starter pitched, starting with a man who many Red Sox fans are calling for to get a big-league opportunity.

Brian Johnson:

Johnson had one of, if not his best, start of the season last Wednesday against Rochester.  He allowed only one hit and one unearned run in 6.2 innings of work.  The lefty was in complete command of all his pitches, throwing 71 of his 93 pitches for strikes.  The only runner who scored reached base on Johnson’s own throwing error.

Brian currently ranks 1st in the IL in wins (8) and WHIP (1.07), 4th in ERA (2.57), T-2 in strikeouts (76) and 4th in opponent batting average (.207).  He has followed up his breakout season in Double-A last season with another gem of a first half in 2015.  A call up to the next level may not be too far away.

Joe Kelly:

Kelly made his PawSox debut on Sunday after being optioned from Boston a few days earlier (Justin Masterson took the right-hander’s spot in the big-league rotation).  The Red Sox were hoping for a quick turnaround from a man who was expected to be a huge part of their rotation this season but had struggled, especially of late (final three starts with Boston: 0-1, 6.75 ERA, 14.2 IP, 20 H, 11 R).

Kelly was sharp against Gwinnett on Sunday, tossing seven strong innings and allowing just five hits and two runs (one earned).  He struck out four of the first nine batters he faced, but then did not record a punch out after the third inning.  Still, pitching on a damp day at McCoy, the former Cardinals hurler made the Gwinnett batters look over-matched for much of the afternoon.

Steven Wright:

Wright’s first start after being optioned from Boston last week was perhaps his best ever in a Pawtucket uniform.  The knuckleballer was unbelievable on Friday night against Gwinnett, tossing a nine-inning complete-game and allowing just one run on four hits.  Wright took a two-hit shutout into the ninth, then allowed a single and an unlucky bloop double to plate the game’s lone run.

The amazing thing about Wright’s outing was his command of the knuckleball and ability to throw it for strikes.  Steven needed only 87 pitches to get through NINE innings, and 70 of those were strikes.  It was a brilliant performance, and one that could get him recalled to Boston in the very near future.

Henry Owens:

Owens could not hold an early 3-0 lead against Rochester on Thursday night, giving up two runs in the fourth and then a game-tying home run in the fifth inning to the Red Wings.  He lasted a season-high 6.2 innings and threw a season-high 103 pitches in the outing, giving up three runs and five hits while walking only one and punching out six. And check out the great camo-colored uniform he wore on Armed Services Night.

Owens’ command has improved greatly of late.  While he still leads the IL with 46 walks issued, the lefty has only issued four bases on balls in 19 innings over his last four outings (Last 3 starts (6/14-pres): 0-0, 2.84 ERA (19.0 IP, 13 H, 6 R/6 ER, 4 BB, 14 K).  Owens has been ridiculously hard to get hits against all season, and he still leads all IL hurlers in opponent batting average (.195).

Keith Couch:

Couch, maybe the forgotten man in the PawSox rotation, had arguably his best outing of the season last homestand when he no-hit Rochester for the first six innings of the contesst on Tuesday night.  Couch, who would end up allowing two runs in the seventh to tie the contest, pitched 6.2 innings on June 23rd and allowed just two earned runs and three hits.

While his season win/loss record stands at 3-7, Couch has generally pitched well enough to keep his team in the game when he has taken the ball.  He has pitched at least five innings and allowed three runs or fewer in seven of last nine starts (beginning May 12).  He should remain in the Pawtucket rotation moving forward regardless of changes made to the rest of the group.

Pretty impressive starting rotation, huh?  The PawSox will look for continued success from their hurlers in a difficult week in which they will play nine games in the next eight days (four at Rochester Monday through Wednesday, two vs. Scranton on Thursday and Friday, three at Syracuse Saturday through Monday).

Hope to talk to you on the radio from Rochester for Monday’s doubleheader.  Pregame coverage for game one (a continuation of a rain-suspended game from June 5th with the Red Wings leading 1-0 after two innings) begins at 4:50pm.

Have a great start to the week!

Josh M

Three Men Up: Bradley, Marrero and Aro Get The Call

by Josh Maurer

On Thursday morning the Red Sox promoted three Pawtucket players – Jackie Bradley, Jr., Deven Marrero and Jonathan Aro – to replace Dustin Pedroia (disabled list), Joe Kelly (optioned) and Erik Kratz (designated for assignment).  So today I thought I’d take a close look at the season all three of those players have put together for PawSox.

Jackie Bradley, Jr.:

Jackie Bradley dives for ball

Simply put, Jackie has been an MVP candidate in the International League (and perhaps the favorite for the award).  He is the overall IL leading vote getter (among position players) for the Triple-A All-Star Game.  Bradley is currently second in the league in batting average (.322), second in on-base percentage (.398) and fourth in slugging percentage (.468).

Mix all of that in with his usual gold glove-type defense and you can make an easy argument that Jackie has been the best player in the IL this season.  Check out the catch Bradley made at McCoy Stadium on Tuesday night:

UPDATE: Here is a great column from terrific baseball writer Richard Justice speaking about Bradley’s promotion.  I agree with just about all of his points.

Here are the bullet points on Bradley from the PawSox game notes:

Had 6th 3-hit game of season on 6/23 vs. ROC…Has started 27 of team’s 28 games since return from MLB (5/25-pres, day off 6/14), those 27: 32-for-106 (.302), 14 BB, 3 HR, 9 2B…Hit walk-off RBI 2B in 12th in on 6/12 vs. TOL…Had 19-game on-base streak & 9-gm hitting streak snapped 6/6 in SYR…15-game stretch from 4/27-6/2: 9 multi-hit, 26-61 (.426), 3 HR, 5 2BHit HR and 2B on 5/27 vs. M. Tanaka (SWB) in 1st 2 inn of game…Promoted to BOS on 5/10, played in 6 games, went 0-for-11 w.2 K, optioned back 5/22 (R. Castillo recalled)…Promoted to BOS on 4/28, optioned back 4/29 (DNP)…Hit leadoff in 18 of first 19 games (4/9-4/27).

Deven Marrero:

Marrero flipping ball playing D

Marrero has had somewhat of an up-and-down campaign, both with his bat and his glove.  He has gone through some extreme hot and cold streaks offensively, and at the time of his first big-league promotion was just 4-for-23 (.174) with five strikeouts in his last six games played for Pawtucket.

Deven has also made a PawSox-leading 15 errors, most of which have come at shortstop.  It’s interesting – Marrero has the ability to make spectacular plays at short but this season has shown some very atypical lapses in being able to complete the routine ones.  I don’t think the error totals are anything to worry about long term; I assume his recent defensive issues will be temporary.

Here is Marrero’s in-season summary from the PawSox game notes:

Snapped a 0-for-8 with a 3-for-4 night on 6/23 vs. ROC; Has 5 multi-hit games over last 14 games played (only had 1 multi-H gm from 5/16-6/6)…Had 8 SBs on 5/16, only 1 since…6/7 at SYR: 3-for-4, BB, HR off D. Fister…9-game stretch from 5/29-6/6: 4-for-29, 2 BB, 4 K…Batted 2nd in 5 straight games from 6/1-6/6IND/LOU trip 5/18-5/24 (5 games): 3-for-22, BB, 8 K…7-game stretch from 5/9-5/15: 10-for-23 (.435), 4 BB, HR, 2B, 4 RBI…Started 19 str games before off day 5/18 in Indy (4/28-5/17)…9-game stretch from 4/29-5/8: 3-for-32, HR, 2 RBI, 11 KBatted above 6th in batting order for 1st 2 times in Triple-A career on 5/2 & 5/6 (2nd)…Played 3B for the first time in career 5/6 at TOL…Played first career game anywhere other than at SS when started at 2B on 4/25 at SWB…Reached base safely in 1st 9 games (4/9-4/19, .321 BA).

Jonathan Aro:

Aro is the most interesting promotion of the bunch.  At this time last season the right-hander was pitching for Low-A Greenville in the South Atlantic League.  After beginning this year with Double-A Portland, he earned a quick promotion to Pawtucket in May and after a couple of shaky early outings Aro has been unhittable.

Aro has not given up a run since May 18th, tossing eight straight scoreless appearances that spanned at total of 19 innings.  Most impressive has been his strikeout/walk ratio: which in 22.1 innings pitched has been 30 punch outs and just 3 bases on balls.

He has shown the ability to miss a lot of bats despite not generally throwing his fastball harder than 92-93 miles per hour.  Aro has advanced through the Boston system about as quickly as any player in recent memory.  It will be interesting to see how fast he adjusts to MLB hitters.

Here are the Aro vitals from the PawSox game notes:

Last 8 appearances (5/21-pres): 0-0, SV, 0.00 ERA (19.0 IP, 10 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 27 K)…Recorded first Triple-A save with 3.0 scoreless IP on 6/19 at GWN (2H, 1BB, 5K)…Pitched multiple innings in his first 9 appearances with PAW…Made Triple-A debut on 5/15 vs. COL and allowed 3R and 4H in 2IP (inherited 5-0 lead in 7th inn)…Promoted to PAW on 5/14…Appeared in 8 games with Portland (all in relief) and went 3-2 with a 2.82 ERA (22.1 IP, 15 H, 12 R, 7 ER, 8 BB, 19 K)…Held opponents to a .181 batting average.

So there you have the information on the three newest members of the Boston roster.  In other news, Pawtucket has announced that recently-optioned pitchers Steven Wright and Joe Kelly are going to join the PawSox rotation.

Steven Wright pitch2

Wright will start on Friday night at McCoy Stadium against Gwinnett, while Kelly will make his Pawtucket debut on Sunday afternoon at 1:05 versus the G-Braves.  They join Brian Johnson, Henry Owens and Zeke Spruill in the five-man rotation, with Jess Todd moving to the Pawtucket pen.

Thursday night is Armed Services Night at McCoy; one of the most moving and inspirational nights to be held at the ballpark annually.  Make sure to get your tickets at pawsox.com, or come in person to the box office prior to the contest – first pitch is slated for 7:05pm.

Hope to see you at McCoy this weekend.  If not, as always, Will and I will speak to you on the radio with all the broadcast coverage.  Thanks for reading!

Josh M

Pitching Changes A-Plenty, Rusney Returns!

by Josh Maurer

Happy Wednesday everyone!  The PawSox have won back-to-back games at McCoy against Syracuse and are back with the best record in the International League at 13-7.  The squad continues to win despite some serious roster turnover over the past few days.

With the announcement that relievers Tommy Layne and Dalier Hinojosa have been promoted to Boston on Wednesday, the PawSox pitching staff has seen five players called up to the Majors in the past five days.  Overall six players have been promoted since Saturday.

mattbarnes2

Matt Barnes was optioned back to Pawtucket on Sunday after pitching two scoreless innings for Boston Saturday in Baltimore

Matt Barnes (Saturday), Heath Hembree (Sunday), Steven Wright (Monday) preceded Layne and Hinojosa, who is making his first foray to the big leagues.  Hinojosa allowed three runs in his first appearance this season, then pitched three straight scoreless outings of exactly two innings from April 15-24th.

It was only a one-day stint with Boston for Barnes, Hembree and Wright as each hurler was promptly optioned back to the PawSox the following day (Barnes and Hembree are back active, Wright should be on Thursday).  We’ll see how long Layne and Hinojosa can stick in the Red Sox bullpen – one that could certainly use some fresh arms.

Steven Wright pitch2

Steven Wright should be back in the PawSox rotation in the next few days

It was also just a one-day stay with the big league club for Jackie Bradley, Jr., who was recalled on Tuesday and optioned back Wednesday afternoon.  Jackie has played so well early in the season – both offensively and of course with his glove – but John Farrell said he would only be used as a reserve in Boston.  It makes sense to have him in Pawtucket playing every day.

There is some more good news for the PawSox outfield, as Rusney Castillo has been activated off the disabled list.  The electrifying native of Cuba had missed the previous 17 games after injuring his right shoulder during the third game of the season in Lehigh Valley.  Castillo adds some serious thump to the order.

Rusney Castillo in dugout in jacket

Rusney Castillo is expected to be back in the lineup for the PawSox on Wednesday night

The PawSox have welcomed several newcomers this week.  Relievers Jess Todd and Robby Scott joined in time to help lead the PawSox to a 4-1 win over Syracuse on Tuesday night.  Todd made a spot start (his first since 2008!) and threw four scoreless innings, while Scott made a trip for Portland in the morning and then earned a win at McCoy with three innings of one-run ball.


Jonathan Roof, a veteran utilityman who had been in Portland to begin the season, came before the start of the homestand and made his PawSox debut on Monday night.  He made a very nice defensive play at second base to help the team to a 3-1 victory.

Finally, Kevin Boles’ squad has lost two players to the disabled list in the past two days. Valuable reliever Noe Ramirez has been placed on the DL Wednesday (retroactive to April 27th) with tightness in his back. Utilityman Jeff Bianchi went on the DL Tuesday with a left shoulder problem.

Got all that?  Good!

If you didn’t get to listen over the weekend, check out my interview with International League President Randy Mobley in which we discussed at length the new pace of play regulations in Triple-A baseball:

Also, a heads up for those of you who live in Central Mass: our PawSox broadcasts on Charter TV 3 are scheduled to begin on Thursday afternoon with a 12:00 matinee against Syracuse.  Check out the complete schedule of games that Charter will air this season right here.

Game three of the seven-game homestand is scheduled for Wednesday night at 6:15 as the PawSox try to take three in a row from visiting Syracuse.  It will be Henry Owens’ fourth start of the season, and he’ll look to improve upon some command issues he has battled over the first three.  Owens has not walked fewer than four batters in a start thus far in 2015.

Henry Owens pitching

Henry Owens is on the bump for the PawSox on Wednesday night

Looking forward to speaking to you on the radio at 6:00pm tonight!

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.

Cecchini

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

Lars Anderson Traded to Arizona

After being traded to Cleveland at the deadline this year for knuckleballer Steven Wright, former PawSox first baseman Lars Anderson is on the move once again.

Part of a three-team, nine-player trade, Anderson has been sent to the Arizona Diamondbacks in a deal that involves some talented players:

MLB   Major League Baseball Teams  Scores  Stats  News  Standings  Rumors   ESPN

Red Sox fans remember when, on the same day Lars was traded, Matt Albers and Scott Podsednik were dealt to Arizona for lefty Craig Breslow.

Meanwhile, PawSox fans remember seeing potential ace Trevor Bauer pitch against Pawtucket in the Gildan Triple-A National Championship Game in Durham when he started for the Reno Aces. A top-rated prospect, Bauer struggled with command that night, using 101 pitches, firing only 49 strikes, and issuing 7 walks over 4 2/3 innings.

Bauer is maybe best known for his warm-up routine where plays long toss from pole-to-pole (it’s worth a look).

Didi Gregorious, 22, played in eight games with Cincinnati in 2012 and sure did look good the handful of times he faced the PawSox. In four games versus Pawtucket, the Netherlands native hit .294 with a double, a home run, and three runs batted in.

As for Anderson, his stay with Triple-A Columbus proved to be brief. Lars hit .196 over 18 games with the Clippers with five doubles and seven runs batted in. However, his last game of the season was on August 22 because of a concussion suffered when hit on the helmet by a pitch.

All the best to Lars on what we all hope will be a successful career with Arizona.

-AG

@aaronmgoldsmith
agoldsmith@pawsox.com

Anderson played three seasons with the PawSox and had his best year in 2011 when he hit .265 with 14 HR and 78 RBI. (Kelly O'Connor)

Anderson played three seasons with the PawSox and had his best year in 2011 when he hit .265 with 14 HR and 78 RBI. (Kelly O’Connor)

Governors’ Cup Finals: Game 1 Preview

Governors’ Cup Finals
Tuesday, September 11, 2012
McCoy Stadium | Pawtucket, Rhode Island | 7:05 p.m.

For the first time since 2003, the Pawtucket Red Sox are back in the Governors’ Cup Finals, looking for their first championship since 1984.

In order to win the 2012 Governors’ Cup, Pawtucket will need to win three games against the South Division champion Charlotte Knights (White Sox). At 83-61, the Knights finished the regular season with the third-most wins in the I.L. and recently defeated the best team in the league, Indianapolis, in four games to advance to the finals.

Pitching has been the constant for the Knights this season. They finished tied for first with Indianapolis for the best ERA in the league at 3.15. Furthermore, as a staff they were second in fewest home runs and hits allowed, tied for second in WHIP (1.26), third in strikeouts, and allowed fewer earned runs than anyone else.

After being acquired at the deadline this year from Cleveland for Lars Anderson, Steven Wright makes his first playoff start of the year. (Kelly O’Connor)

Against the PawSox this year, Knight’s pitchers have gone 5-3, 1.85 ERA (15 ER/73.0 IP) while allowing just two homers in eight regular season games.

The PawSox can pitch a little, too. In the last three playoff games, Pawtucket starters have combined for a 1.33 ERA (3 ER/20.1 IP) with four walks and 20 strikeouts. Tuesday night’s PawSox starter is knuckleballer, Steven Wright, pitching for the first time in seven days. Wright’s only loss of the season (in four starts) came in Charlotte where he allowed one earned run over four innings in a 2-1 loss.

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.

-AG

@aaronmgoldsmith
agoldsmith@pawsox.com

PawSox Roster Moves – August 24, 2012

One game into the the current eight-game road trip, the PawSox have the following roster moves:

  • Knuckleballer Steven Wright has been activated from the disabled list (shoulder) and will start Friday night in Charlotte. Wright has made one start for the PawSox since being called up on August 8 from Double-A Portland. The right-hander was acquired at the deadline from Cleveland for Lars Anderson.
  • Outfielder J.C. Linares has been placed on the disabled list (retroactive to August 21) with a broken thumb. The injury occurred on August 19 against Buffalo when he was hit by a pitch. In 50 games with the PawSox, Linares is batting .298 with seven home runs and 27 runs batted in.
  • Reliever Will Inman has also been placed on the disabled list (retroactive to August 21) with a thumb injury. The righty tops the PawSox bullpen with 35 relief appearances and has walked 34 while striking out 60 over 48 and one-third innings of work.

-AG

@aaronmgoldsmith
agoldsmith@pawsox.com

Linares hit a team-best .340 in July over 25 games, with four home runs and 14 runs batted in. (Kelly O’Connor)

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