Results tagged ‘ Will MIddlebrooks ’

Top-10 PawSox Moments in May

Between the late nights, early morning flights, bumpy bus rides, and countless other factors, a minor league baseball season can quickly become a blur. Today, as we flip the calendar to the start of June, we’ll begin by rewinding to the beginning of May to rank the Top-10 moments from the month that was.

#10 – Nava Gets Second Call-Up to Boston (May 10)

Even though there wasn’t a grand slam this time, Daniel Nava’s return to the Major Leagues was, to some, maybe as unthinkable as his historic slam in his big league debut in 2010.

Never mind the fact that Nava wasn’t invited to Major League camp, he wasn’t even in the PawSox Opening Day lineup. After a slow start to the year, Nava caught fire and has continued to produce with Boston.

#9 – Gomez Delivers in the Eighth Inning (May 10)

The PawSox trailed the Rochester Red Wings at McCoy Stadium by a run going into the bottom of the eighth inning. With two outs, Jose Iglesias singled, then Lars Anderson reached on an error by former PawSox second baseman, Joe Thurston. That’s when Mauro Gomez ripped a two-run double that bounced off the right-field wall to plate two runs and give the PawSox the lead and the eventual win, 7-6.

Gomez has had plenty to smile about this season. Not only has he received his first Major League call-up, but he leads the PawSox in home runs, runs batted in, doubles, and hits. (Kelly O’Connor).

#8 – Mathis Nearly Perfect, Youkilis Rehabs (May 21)

After struggling in April, Doug Mathis flipped the switch in May and dominated the Norfolk Tides in his ninth start of the year.

The former Texas Ranger had maybe the best outing of any Pawtucket starter this year by tossing seven-innings scoreless, allowing just one hit – a fifth-inning triple that was almost caught with two outs.

The PawSox blanked the Tides 4-0 and were aided by rehabbing Kevin Youkilis who finished 1-for-2 with an RBI double and a pair of walks.

#7 – Middlebrooks Gets the Call (May 2)

After thrashing International League pitching throughout April, PawSox third baseman, and Red Sox No. 1 prospect, Will Middlebrooks received his first-ever call-up to Boston.

Since joining the Red Sox, Middlebrooks is batting .316 (30-for-95) in 24 games with six homers and 21 runs batted in. Safe to say it’s looking less likely he’ll see Pawtucket again this season.

In 24 games with the PawSox, Middlebrooks hit .333 with nine homers and 27 runs batted in. Five of is home runs came with two men on base. (Kelly O’Connor)

#6 – Hassan Delivers on Mother’s Day (May 13)

On a beautiful Mother’s Day at McCoy, the PawSox and Columbus Clippers were tied 4-4 in the bottom of the eighth inning. With his mom in the stands, Alex Hassan homered to left-field with one out to give Pawtucket a 5-4 lead and the eventual win.

Hassan finished the day 3-for-3 with two runs batted in, three runs scored, and was a triple shy of the cycle.

#5 – PawSox and Bulls Take Center Stage in Japan (May 17)

In front of over 10,000 fans, plus thousands more watching on Japanese sports cable channel J SPORTS, two of the Pacific Rim’s biggest  baseball stars squared off at Durham Bulls Athletic Park.

Rehabbing Daisuke Matsuzaka pitched for the PawSox as Hideki Matsui played his third-career game in the Tampa Bay Rays’ system. Although Pawtucket lost 5-0 and never moved a runner past second base, the media hype and overall buzz within the ballpark made it one of the more memorable games this season.

There were over 35 Japanese media members in Durham to report on Matsuzaka vs. Matsui. (Kelly O’Connor).

#4 – PawSox Homer Five Times (May 27)

Not only did the PawSox club five home runs, but three of the first four batters in the bottom of the first inning went deep.

Pedro Ciriaco hit a lead-off homer to left, followed by Nate Spears’ home run to right. After Darnell McDonald smoked a line drive to third base, Lars Anderson went deep to right field.

Anderson homered again to begin the sixth inning, followed by Alex Hassan’s 2-run shot in the eighth. For Anderson, it was his third-career two-homer game, his first since 2009.

#3 – PawSox Take Down Andy Pettitte (May 6)  

Originally scheduled to be played at Dwyer Stadium in Batavia, Ny., the PawsSox and Yankees dueled in front of a record crowd at Frontier Field in Rochester. Because of the media and fan interest, the Yankees, PawSox, and Red Wings all agreed to move the contest to Rochester where, in a matter of days, the Wings sold 13,584 tickets to watch Andy Pettitte.

With the Triple-A Yankees’ ballpark under season-long construction, the PawSox dealt the five-time World Series champion a loss. In fact, the first four PawSox batters recorded hits off Pettitte: Pedro Ciriaco (double), Jose Iglesias (infield single), Ryan Lavarnway (RBI double), and Lars Anderson (RBI single).

Iglesias went 2-for-3 with an RBI against Pettitte and the Yankees. Even more impressive, the PawSox shortstop hit .341 in May with his second-career homer and nine runs batted in. (Kelly O’Connor)

#2 – Lavarnway’s Bomb Caps Seven-Run Inning, and the Win (May 26)

The PawSox went into the bottom of the eighth inning trailing Toledo 5-1. When the inning was over, they lead 8-5. Ryan Lavarnway’s 3-run homer was the bow on top of  a 7-run, 7-hit inning – the most runs scored in a single frame this season by Pawtucket.

Not only was Lavarnway’s home run a first pitch no-doubter, it was his first home run since April 17 (99 at-bats).

#1 – Lars Anderson Makes SportsCenter’s Top 10 Plays (May 29)

For the first time in the history of McCoy Stadium, a home run was hit of the HD video board in right-center field. As part of his third-career, five-RBI night, Anderson pounded a two-run shot in the fourth inning that blew out a small portion of the two-year old board.

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

For his efforts, Anderson was among the Top-10 plays that night (and the next morning) on SportsCenter.

There were plenty of noteworthy moments throughout May for the PawSox, who ended the month 18-12. Tonight June begins with Game 1 of a brief four-game road trip to Lehigh Valley to face the Iron Pigs. Brandon Duckworth (5-1, 4.22) will be opposed by righty Scott Elarton (5-2, 3.44).

First pitch tonight from Coca-Cola Park is scheduled for 7:05, we hit the air with the pre-game show at 6:50.

Talk with you then.



Nate Spears Heating Up

In his second year in Pawtucket, utility-man Nate Spears has settled into the role of everyday third baseman for the PawSox since Will Middlebrooks was promoted to Boston on May 2.

“Most of the games in my career are at second base, but I’ve familiarized myself with a number of other positions to become more versatile and valuable to a ball team,” said Spears from the PawSox dugout.

In 2011, Spears appeared at six different defensive positions: second base (37 games), right field (23), third base (16), left field (13), shortstop (four), first base (one).

Spears made his Major League debut last season on September 6 at Toronto. He totaled three games with the Red Sox in 2011. (Kelly O’Connor)

While he has helped the PawSox all year with his versatility, Spears is in the midst of his best offensive stretch of the season. He’s batting .400 (8-for-20) over his last eight games and is currently riding a season-best seven-game hitting streak (his previous best as a PawSox was six games last year,  Aug. 17 -22).

Of his recent offensive success, what stands out the most is that three of his four home runs this season have come in his last five games.

“I really haven’t changed a whole lot,” Spears remarked about his approach. “I’ve been working on using my hands a little bit more and seeing the ball, letting it travel, and getting a good pitch.”

Spears is already halfway to his home run total from a year ago with the PawSox where in 96 games he hit eight out of the yard (his second-highest total outside his 20 home run season with Double-A Portland in 2010).

Originally drafted by Baltimore in the 5th Round in 2003, Spears played in his 1,000th career professional game yesterday where he went 1-for-3 with a two-run homer.

The PawSox play Game 2 against Norfolk tonight from McCoy where righty Ross Ohlendorf (4-3, 4.07) will be opposed by Tides’ right-hander Eddie Gamboa (1-0, 0.00). First pitch is slated for 7:05, pre-game coverage starts at 6:50.



Spears received his second-career call-up to Boston this year on April 15 and appeared in four games. (Kelly O’Connor)

Inside Daniel Nava’s Surge

Just about two weeks ago, PawSox outfielder Daniel Nava was batting .188 in the International League. Through April 28, the switch-hitter was just 1-for-30 on the road. Unlike Will Middlebrooks, Nava got off to anything but a hot start.

However, since April 23, Nava has been on fire and has raised his average from .188 to .316 over the course of 14 games. Here are his numbers over that stretch:

  • Nava went undrafted out of Santa Clara University and was playing independent league baseball in California when the Red Sox signed him. (Kelly O’Connor)

    Batting .420 (21-for-50)

  • Of his 21 hits, 10 have been for extra bases (7-doubles, 1-triple, 2-home runs)
  • In his last 14 games, Nava has connected on at least two hits seven times

Over 27 games this season, Nava …

  • Has 14 walks to 15 strikeouts
  • Has a staggering on-base plus slugging (OPS) of .926
  • Is second among active PawSox hitters with 30 hits (Mauro Gomez has 39)

To be clear, the Red Sox are yet to send out an official release stating that Nava has been promoted. That said, virtually every Boston media outlet is reporting that Daniel has not only been called up, but is in tonight’s lineup batting sixth and playing left field.

If true, who knows what could happen …



Reactions to Middlebrooks on Twitter

Will Middlebrooks was shredding International League pitching when he was called up to Boston on May 2. In his first four major league games, the Red Sox No. 1 prospect is 8-for 21 with three home runs and nine runs batted in. Last night in Kansas City, Will homered feet shy of the foul pole in right field, smoked a double off the center field wall, and then dinged a home run off the foul pole in left.

Are you serious?!

Middlebrooks had an “all fields” approach here in Pawtucket with two homers to right, one to center, and the remaining six to left field. Of his nine home runs, five came with two runers on base. With that in mind, it shouldn’t surprise us that he connected on a three-run opposite field homer last night against the Royals.

Middlebrooks celebrating his first major league home run – a fifth inning grand slam against Baltimore. (Jessica Rinaldi/Reuters photo)

Not only has Will been the talk of Boston, but he’s also been a hot name on Twitter. Here is what local and national media members are saying about the Red Sox newest third baseman:

Jeremy Lundblad, Senior Researcher for ESPN Stats & Info (@JLundbladESPN):

Will Middlebrooks is 1st #RedSox player with 3 HR in his 1st 4 career games since Billy Conigliaro in 1969.

Tim Britton, Red Sox Beat Writer, Providence Journal (@TBritton_Projo):

The Rangers lead the AL with seven three-run homers this season. Between Pawtucket and Boston, Will Middlebrooks has six by himself.

D.J. Short, Writer for Hardball Talk on (@djshort):

Lucas Duda has six extra-base hits in 102 plate appearances. Will Middlebrooks has six in his first four MLB games.

Tom Caron, NESN Studio Host (@TomCaron):

The legend of Will Middlebrooks grows. 3 HRs/ 9 RBI in the last 2 games. Think he’s ready for the bigs?

 Major League Baseball (@MLB):

On Sunday morning, Will Middlebrooks had 0 career homers. Now, he has 3.

We’ll be keeping an eye on what Middlebrooks does tonight as the PawSox and Red Wings play Game 2 from McCoy Stadium. Ross Ohlendorf gets the start and will be opposed by Liam Hendriks, recently send down from Minnesota. First pitch this evening is scheduled for 6:15, we’ll hit the air at 6:00.

Talk with you then.



PawSox Players on Twitter

If you’re not on Twitter yet, what are you waiting for? (New Media Blog)

Although the PawSox have dropped the first two games here in downtown Toledo, I’m sure many of you might be interested in knowing what the guys are up to day-in and day-out. With that in mind, what better way to get to know the PawSox than by following them on Twitter? Of the club’s 25 players, here are the socialites chatting on Twitter.

Daniel Nava (@dnavs33): One of the nicest guys in all of baseball, Daniel has over 7,000 followers.

Justin Germano (@JustGerm): With over 1,000 tweets, Justin is one of the most active PawSox players on Twitter.

Jose Iglesias (@JoseIglesias_SS): Jose announced his recent call-up via Twitter, “Got the call to the Majors! Thanks to all for your well wishes. Looking forward to help the #redsox put up more W’s.”

Will Middlebrooks (@16WMBrooks): Yeah, yeah, I know. Will is with Boston now, but come on!

Tony Thomas (@GoldGlover2B): Not only is Tony active on Twitter, but he posts plenty of pictures.

Alex Hassan (@AEHassan27): A Milton, Ma. native, Alex is a must-follow for all New England Red Sox fans.

Let me know if I missed anyone, and be sure to give these guys a follow. By the way, the PawSox Twitter account (@PawSox) is approaching 10,100 followers.

Pawtucket has dropped six of its last seven games and looks to turn things around with Tony Pena Jr. making his first start of the year tonight. First pitch in Game 3 of the series is set for 6:30, we hit the air at 6:15

Talk with you then.



Greetings From Toledo

We all woke up this morning to multiple rumors surrounding a number of potential call-ups to Boston. Will third baseman Will Middlebrooks be called up today because of the health of Kevin Youkilis? Will Aaron Cook be promoted to Boston now that the Red Sox are down to the wire and have to make a decision regarding his contract opt-out? If these moves happen, who will the PawSox get to replace them?

Regardless of what happens, it’s great knowing the Red Sox and PawSox haven’t been short on interesting storylines during the first month of the season.

PawSox Notebook

  • It’s been a thrill watching Middlebrooks this season and I’m rooting for him no matter when his time comes. However, if he is called up, it will be following the poorest stretch of games he’s had to date (really the only time he’s been cold). In Will’s last five starts, he’s batting .190 (4-for-21) with one home run, two runs batted in, and eight of his 18 strikeouts. Of note, the PawSox have lost all five games.
  • I could spot that mustache from a mile away! Arnie looking good during his playing days here in Toledo. (

    The PawSox starting pitching has been terrific this season. Last night marked just the fourth time this year where a Pawtucket starter was dealt the loss. Overall, the starters are 10-4 with a 3.45 ERA. Through the first 26 games of the season, Pawtucket starters are yet to lose back-to-back games.

  • Mauro Gomez finished last night 0-for-4, marking just the fourth time this season he has failed to record a hit. Of his 31 hits this year, over half (16) have been for extra-bases (8-HR, 7-2B, 1-3B). For comparison, Middlebrooks, who also has 31 hits, has 13 for extra-bases. Both are extraordinary.
  • PawSox manager Arnie Beyeler has a past life here in Toledo. An infielder in the Detroit Tigers’ system, Arnie played in 29 games for the Mud Hens in 1991 before his playing career ended. He then served as an area scout for the Tigers from 1992-96.
  • There’s a good chance you’ve seen former Denver Bronco’s offensive lineman, and current ESPN NFL analyst, Mark Schlereth on television. His son, Daniel, was a former first round draft pick of the Arizona Diamondbacks and now plays in the Tigers’ system. Daniel is currently in Toledo on the Mud Hens DL, but has spent parts of the last four years in the major leagues pitching out of the bullpen.

The PawSox and Mud Hens keep things going tonight with a 6:30 first pitch from Fifth Third Field (my favorite fraction). We hit the air at 6:15 with the pre-game show.

Talk with you then.



Mark and Daniel Schlereth at Fenway Park last season. (

Homestand Photos, April 20-25

Although the PawSox fell short yesterday of what would have been a franchise-record ten consecutive wins, the team still has the top record in the International League at 15-6.

Since the PawSox have today off before leaving tomorrow morning for a ten-day road road trip, this seemed like the perfect chance to share some photos from the recent homestand where club went 5-1. Special thanks to PawSox contributing photographer Kelly O’Connor (@sittingstillsox) for these great images.

Will Middlebrooks did a lot of this over the last six games. The Red Sox No. 1 prospect finished the home stand with four home runs.

Middlebrooks wasn’t the only one to go deep often. Mauro Gomez received plenty of high fives following each of his five homers over the last six games.

The PawSox first-ever “Bark in the Park” was a huge succes!

Infielder Jon Hee showing off some Matrix ball skills.

Mark Melancon made his Pawtucket debut during the homestand. The righty made three appearances and collected his first save of the year.

We had a chance to see Alex Hassan make some great plays in the outfield with both his glove and his arm.

It was great to watch Rich Hill pitch for the PawSox as he continues to recover from Tommy John Surgery.

As his bat is heating up, outfielder Josh Kroeger made a couple of terrific plays defensively. 

So Will Rhymes doesn’s play for the PawSox, this was too good to pass up. Lots of credit goes to Kelly for noticing that Will shaved his mustache during the middle of the game! (This was later confirmed via Twitter.) I guess he wasn’t hitting well enough with the ‘stache.

Thanks once again to Kelly for these great pics. The PawSox open up the road trip tomorrow night from Columbus in Game 1 against the Clippers. First pitch it set for 7:05 p.m., we’ll be on-air with the pre-game show at 6:50.

Talk with you then.



For the First Time Since 1973 …

There have been Hall of Famers, Cy Young winners, and MVPs play for the PawSox since the franchise was founded in 1973. However, despite the wealth of talent that has passed through McCoy Stadium over the last 39 years, something the Pawtucket Red Sox have never had is a ten game winning streak.

That could change this afternoon.

For the sixth time in club history, the PawSox have won nine games in a row – it’s the first time since August 8-17 of 2000. The team’s current winning streak dates back to April 17 at Syracuse which happened to be the start of a four-game series the Sox would eventually sweep. Pawtucket then swept the Durham Bulls at McCoy Stadium, marking the first time in franchise history the PawSox have swept back-to-back four-game sets.

Here are some notes from the PawSox last nine wins:

  • Since the start of the winning streak, Will Middlebrooks is batting .393 (11-for-28) with five home runs and 14 runs batted in. (Kelly O'Connor)

    The PawSox have outscored their opponents by a total of 55-30

  • They have outhit their opponents by a total of 87-69
  • The club has pounded 17 home runs
  • That home run count is equal to, or greater than, the home run total for ten of the remaining 13 teams in the International League through the first 20 games of the season.
  • They have homered in every game but one (Game 1 of Monday’s doubleheader)
  • Eight homers were hit over the first two games against Durham – three from Mauro Gomez
  • In five separate games, the PawSox have scored 4+ runs in a single inning
  • The rotation has combined for five quality starts
  • In six of the nine wins, the opposition has been held to three runs or less
  • Twice the PawSox have pitched a shutout
  • Until the bottom of the first inning in Game 4 against the Chiefs, the PawSox had not trailed for 29 innings.

The PawSox are on a remarkable ride and could make history today from McCoy Stadium. Righty Doug Mathis takes the ball for Pawtucket and will be opposed by right-hander Adam Warren. First pitch this afternoon is set for 12:05, we’ll be on-air with the pre-game show at 11:50.

Talk with you then,



Homers, Hits, and Runs Scored

Since the middle-part of the previous road trip, the PawSox offense has exploded. For a team with the third-best ERA (2.99) in the 14-team International League, it’s pretty remarkable how well this club is hitting.

Leading with the Long Ball

  • The PawSox lead the I.L. with 22 home runs
  • Have eight homers in the last two games
  • Six straight games with a home run
  • At least one homer in nine of the last 10 games

There has been a lot of this lately for Mauro Gomez and the rest of the PawSox offense. (Kelly O'Connor)

Running Home
  • The club has scored at least one run in 14 of the last 17 innings
  • PawSox hitters have tallied 55 hits over the last four games (an average of 14 hits/game)

Gone Streaking

  • Will Middlebrooks – has a homer in four-straight games, at least one hit in 12 of his last 13.
  • Mauro Gomez – seven game hitting streak, three homers in his last two games, at least one hit in 14 of 15 games.
  • Ryan Lavarnway – five game hitting streak with nine total hits.
  • Lars Anderson – six game hitting streak, leading the club with five doubles.

The bats will have to swing through some rain this afternoon in Game 3 vs. Durham. First pitch time has been moved up to 12:30 with pre-game coverage beginning at 12:15. Rich Hill will start in his second rehab appearance, followed by scheduled starter Justin Germano.

Talk with you then,



Middlebrooks Talks About His Hot Start

Last week I wrote about the terrific start Will Middlebrooks is having to this 2012 season. Since that time Will has played even better and is downright dominating International League pitching. Over the first 14 games of the season, the PawSox third baseman is batting .368 (21-for-57) with five home runs and 16 runs batted in. He has gone hitless in just three games and has at least two hits in 8-of-14 starts.

Middlebrooks has proven the ability to go deep to all fields: three homers to left, one to center, and one to right. In an interview I did with Will yesterday, he told me that if he could draw up a perfect pitch to see, it would be right down the middle. “I can do anything with it,” he said. “If it’s off-speed I can go to left, if it’s a really good fastball you can go to right.”

(Of course, as I was interviewing Middlebrooks in the dugout, the Syracuse grounds crew began mowing the grass directly in front of us. Sorry for the additional background noise.)

I was eager to ask Will about his work at third base – something that often gets overlooked because of his great offensive numbers.

“I take tons of pride in my defensive play,” he told me. “When I moved from shortstop to third base after my first year of pro ball, I swore I wanted to be one of the best third basemen in the game, and that’s something I work on day-in and day-out.”

The All-Star third baseman went on to credit current Angels’ field coordinator, and former Lowell Spinners manager, Gary DiSarcina for much of his defensive development.

Will, who has 11 hits over his last six games, takes the field tonight as the PawSox return home after a highly successful 7-2 road trip. First pitch against Durham is set for 6:15. We hit the air with the pre-game show at 6:00.

Talk with you then,



Middlebrooks had just nine hits in 16 games when called up to Pawtucket late last season. He has already managed 21 hits in 14 games in 2012. (Kelly O'Connor)


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