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Red Sox honor organization's best with Minor League Awards

Posted by Craig Forde September 22, 2012 02:49 PM

Prior to Saturday’s Red Sox-Orioles game at Fenway Park, the organization handed out its annual Minor League Awards, with seven players being honored for their contributions in the system this year.

Brandon Workman, a 2010 second round selection, picked up Pitcher of the Year honors following a 10-8 season with a 3.50 ERA between High-A Salem and Double-A Portland.

“Mt first year I was kind of getting tired by the end of the year,” said Workman, a 6’4” right-hander from Texas. “Going into last offseason I knew I needed to be in better shape and be stronger so I could hold up to the increased innings. It’s something I’m going to have to continue to do every offseason.”

Workman pitched 138 2/3 innings this year, fourth most in the organization and had 130 strikeouts, tied for second most.

Shortstop Xander Bogaerts was named the Offensive Player of the Year after batting .307 in 127 games between Salem and Portland, including a .326 mark in 23 games with the Sea Dogs.

“I feel I’m pretty good right now after the good season that I had,” said the 19-year-old Bogaerts. “I just enjoyed it very much. It was also a learning experience for me, going through struggles and going through slumps. But it’s all a part of baseball. You have to know how to challenge it.”

Bogaerts was second in the organization in hits (145) and home runs (20), third in RBIs (81) and fourth in doubles (37).

Rated by many as the top prospect in the organization, Bogaerts was a Carolina League All-Star and represented the World Team at the All-Star Futures Game in Kansas City.

“The mental part of it is pretty hard,” said Bogaerts, who says that he may play for the Netherlands in the World Baseball Classic scheduled for March of 2013. “You can be physically good, but you need to be strong mentally. You got to keep focused and keep doing the best you can.”

The Defensive Player of the Year award went to outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. , another player who took the Salem-Portland route this season.

In 115 games, 114 of which were played in center field, Bradley committed only seven errors in 260 chances, giving him a .973 fielding percentage.

“My only expectations were to stay healthy and play as hard as I can,” said Bradley of his goals coming into the season. “I think it was a pretty decent season. I’ll try to reap the benefits later.”

Bradley, who also hit .315 with 55 extra-base hits, could be a factor at Fenway in the near future, and it’s something he is okay with.

“I like that plan,” said Bradley on getting to Boston sooner rather than later. “It’s always good hearing that, but I’m going to continue to work hard. I feel like I got a long ways to go and I want to get better every day.”

Garin Cecchini, who spent his entire season with Low-A Greenville, was the Base Runner of the Year award recipient after swiping an organizational high 51 steals, having only been caught six times.

“I was at 49 the last game and I stole four times and got caught twice,” said Cecchini. “I was wanting to get [fifty]. It was one of the goals I set in my head but I didn’t say anything about it. Obviously I got there, so it’s good.”

Cecchini, who missed much of his first pro season with Lowell after being hit in the wrist by a pitch, was a South Atlantic League All-Star and hit .305 for the season with 46 extra-base hits, 62 RBIs and 84 runs scored.

“That was my main goal and that is the hardest thing to do is stay healthy,” said Cecchini who played in 118 games this season after playing in just 32 a year ago. “Sometimes injuries you just can help. The season is so long and staying healthy is the biggest key.”

Daniel Nava was honored with the Lou Gorman Award, which is bestowed upon a Red Sox minor leaguer “who has demonstrated dedication and perseverance in overcoming obstacles while working his way to the Major League team.”

Keivin Heras, an 18-year-old right hander, won the Minor League Latin Program Pitcher of the Year, while Dominican Summer League teammate Manuel Margot, a 17-year-old outfielder, picked up Minor League Latin Program Player of the Year honors.

Aces pull out clubs against PawSox in Triple-A Championship

Posted by Craig Forde September 18, 2012 10:40 PM

It was a great season for the Pawtucket Red Sox, who captured their first Governors' Cup title in 28 years, but unfortunately they couldn't close it on the highest of notes by winning their first ever Triple-A National Championship as the Reno Aces scored early and often to take the title, 10-3, in Durham on Tuesday.

PawSox starter Nelson Figueroa got roughed up in the first two innings, allowing six earned runs on seven hits, including a first inning home run by Brent Clevlen that set the tone for Reno.

The Aces had eight runs on the board before the PawSox could counter with one run in the fourth and another in the fifth on a monster solo home run from Tony Thomas.

In the bottom of the fifth Reno put themselves back up by eight on a two-run shot from Keon Broxton that cleared the Blue Monster in left field, knocking the wind out of any momentum the PawSox may have created for themselves.

Despite drawing eleven walks on the night to go along with seven hits, Pawtucket could not string everything together at the right time, leading to 13 men left on base and only three runs on their side of the scoreboard.

The Aces follow their first ever Pacific Coast League title with their first Triple-A Championship and first for the PCL in four years.

Final: Reno Aces 10, PawSox 3

Posted by Craig Forde September 18, 2012 06:27 PM

Final: Aces 10, PawSox 3: Alas, the ultimate prize was not Pawtucket's for the taking. However, it was a story book season for Arnie Beyeler and his legions of players that put on the Pawtucket uni this season...and there were many of them. It wasn't a pretty final game from either side, but congratulations to the Reno Aces on capturing fourth Triple-A title for the Pacific Coast League.

Top 9th, PawSox 3, Aces 10: Jonathan Albaladejo on to close the door for the Aces. LaRoche reaches on an infield single to start the ninth. Brentz goes down on strikes for the third time tonight. Butler hits a bomb off the Blue Monster in left, but LaRoche tries to score from first and is gunner down for the second out. Replays show clearly that LaRoche was not tagged, but that doesn't help anyone, so the PawSox are down to one out in their historic 2012 campaign. Broxton makes a diving catch in left on a sinking Lin liner to end the season and the Aces mob each other in a driving rain as they celebrate their first ever Triple-A National Championship.

Bottom 8th, PawSox 3, Aces 10: Tony Pena Jr. gets the ball for Pawtucket. Kuhn becomes the PawSox tenth strikeout victim of the night. Bell grounds out to second. Jacobs flies to shallow left and the PawSox get their first (and only) 1-2-3 inning of the night.

Top 8th, PawSox 3, Aces 10: Jensen Lewis now pitching for Reno. Thomas flies out to the right field corner. Linares grounds out to short and is 0-for-4 on the night. Ryan Dent pinch hitting for Valencia as Arnie starts to give his bench players some time. Dent pops up to second and the PawSox are down to three outs in their season.

Bottom 7th, PawSox 3, Aces 10: Jose De La Torre on for Pawtucket. Bortnick with yet another leadoff hit for Reno, a double. He is 3-for-4 with two doubles and two runs on the night. Budde strikes out for the second time tonight. Braxton Ks as well but not before Bortnick takes third on a passed ball. Pollack swings and misses at strike three as De La Torre tallies three Ks in his inning of work.

Top 7th, PawSox 3, Aces 10: LaRoche quickly grounds to short for the first out. Brentz is PawSox walk number nine...yet they somehow only have two runs. Unimaginable. Butler hits a grounder to third which forces Brentz out at second. Hee fouls off a batch of pitches before becoming the tenth walk of the night for Pawtucket. The PawSox have 10 walks and four hits while Reno has 12 hits and one walk. Lesson learned = HIT THE BALL! Lin singles back through the box and Butler scores a two-out run for Pawtucket. Hazelbaker avoids the sombrero with a ground out to first.

Bottom 6th, PawSox 2, Aces 10: Alex Wilson is the fourth PawSox pitcher of the night. Bell with a leadoff infield single. For the fifth time in six innings the Aces have their leadoff man on. Brentz gets to the Jacobs liner for out number one. Clevlen gets called out on strikes for the second out. Harbin flies to center to end the inning.

Top 6th, PawSox 2, Aces 10: Lin is erased with a ground out to short. Hazelbaker pulls himself one K shy of the golden sombrero. Thomas reaches first after Clevlen loses the third out in the lights. Have to assume that Bryce Brentz is telling his teammates "told you so" on the bench. A passed ball advances Thomas. Linares draws the eighth PawSox walk of the night. Valencia strands two more runners was he misses a pitch away for strike three. Rain is coming down pretty good now in Durham, tarps on the bullpen mounds.

Bottom 5th, PawSox 2, Aces 10: Brock Huntzinger comes on for the PawSox, but Reno gets another leadoff guy on as Bortnick doubles for his second hit of the ballgame. Budde strikes out looking. Braxton hits one over the big wall in left for a two-run homer and the PawSox are looking at an eight run deficit once again. Pollack grounds to Hee for out number two. Kuhn Ks to end the inning.

Top 5th, PawSox 2, Aces 8: Tony Thomas with a SOLO HR on the first pitch of the inning and the lineup showing some signs of life. Linares with some awful swings to strike out for the second time tonight. Valencia is out number two with an easy fly to left. LaRoche gets a two-bagger down the third base line, a favorite spot for PawSox hitters tonight. Another walk for Bauer, his sixth, this time Brentz. And another as Butler earns a free pass to load things up. Brett Butler thinks that seven walks is enough and yanks Bauer from the game.

Mike DeMark comes on for Reno with two outs and the bases loaded. Hee is blown away by strike three and the PawSox can do no more damage, leave the bases loaded for the second straight inning.

Bottom 4th, PawSox 1, Aces 8: Bell grounds out to Hernandez who then strikes out Jacobs. Brentz charging for a fly ball in the right corner over runs it, then reaches back and misses the ball allowing Clevlen to get to second base. Brentz has had a rough night out in right field tonight. He does however handle the final out from Harbin before any damage is done. For the first time tonight the Aces fail to score.

Top 4th, PawSox 1, Aces 8: Another leadoff walk for the PawSox as Valencia gets on for the second time tonight. It's the third straight inning that Pawtucket has put their leadoff man on. LaRoche with a can-of-corn popup to second base for the first out. Brentz gives the Aces another easy popup out, this time to shallow center. Butler puts one down the third base line for a two-out single, putting Valencia at third. Hee walks to load the bases. Lin takes four straight balls and the PawSox are on the board! Hazelbaker strands three as he whiffs to end the inning. Bauer has been far from impressive tonight, walking five through three innings.

Bottom 3rd, PawSox 0, Aces 8: Hernandez comes on in relief for Pawtucket, but Reno continues with the leadoff hits as Clevlen singles for his second hit of the game. Harbin follows with a walk. Hee's only play on a tough grounder is to first for out number one, but Clevlen and Harbin move up a base. Linares catches out number two right against the left field wall, but Budde does sacrifice in Clevlen from third. All the rolls seem to be going in Reno's direction as Braxton's slow roller to second is enough to keep the inning alive. And just like that, another break scores more runs for the Aces as Brentz lets the final out of the inning pop out of his glove. A big error that scores another run and puts runners on second and third. The inning mercifully ends on a squib grounder that Hernandez handles. The PawSox will need to chip away at this thing starting with their next at-bat.

Top 3rd, PawSox 0, Aces 6: John Hee draws a four-pitch leadoff walk, and the PawSox might do right by taking a bunch of pitches from Bauer moving forward. Work his pitch count up a bit. Lin takes four straight balls as well and the PawSox have guys on first and second with no outs. Hazelbaker gets punched out on a check-swing third strike. A first pitch fastball to Thomas gets away and Hee and Lin advance a base. Thomas held up with his swing but is called out on strikes and Bauer will have a chance to get out of another threat. Linares aids him with a weak grounder to third to end the inning without a run. Only bright side of that inning for Pawtucket was getting Bauer to burn 20 pitches.

Bottom 2nd, PawSox 0, Aces 6: Tyler Bortnick drops one into left field for another Aces leadoff hit. Che-Hsuan Lin looked to lose his footing for a second before catching the first out of the inning off the bat of Ryan Budde. Keon Broxton hits one to right field that holds up enough to Brentz to camp under it for the second out. Back around to the top of the Reno order. Bortnick breaks for second and gets in under Butler's high throw. Pollack flares a broken bat single into left, scoring Bortnick and no one is covering second for Pawtucket so the speedy Pollack earns another base off of a PawSox gaffe. Kuhn with a solid lined single to center field, Lin's throw home is a weak one and Pollack scores easily while Kuhn moves up to second. Rich Sauveur with a visit to the mound and Chris Hernandez warming in the pen. And another broken bat single scoring a run, this time from Bell and things are officially out of hand. Jacobs flies out to the infield grass to end the two-out rally. Figueroa has faced thirteen batters through two innings and his night may be over.

Top 2nd, PawSox 0, Aces 3: Danny Valencia blisters a 3-1 pitch down the third base line for a double, the first PawSox hit of the night. Valencia advances to third on a wild pitch by Bauer. After running the count 3-0, Andy LaRoche Ks for the first out. Bryce Brentz shows a bit of his youth by swinging at the first pitch and popping it foul to the catcher for the second out. Dan Butler takes one for a ride, but it is tracked down in front of the center field wall, stranding Valencia at third.

Bottom 1st, PawSox 0, Aces 3: For those watching on TV, yes that is former Red Sox infielder Rick "Rooster" Burleson coaching first base. He serves as the Aces hitting coach.

A.J. Pollack hits one off the top of the wall in right-center for a leadoff triple. Had the PawSox hit the cutoff man on that play they would have had a great shot at getting Pollack at third. Tyler Kuhn hits an opposite field single to left to drive in Pollack for the first run of the game. Josh Bell is an easy out on a four pitch K. A pickoff try of Kuhn at first by Figueroa, but he gets in just ahead of the tag. Mike Jacobs goes down looking on an inside fastball for the second out. Kuhn steals second on a swinging strike by Brent Clevlen, solid effort by Dan Butler on the throw. Clevlan deposits one to dead center field for a two-run jack. Taylor Harbin ends the inning with by grounding out to second base.
Figueroa has his toughest inning of the postseason as Reno is quick to jump on the scoreboard in this one with a couple of hard hit balls.

Top 1st, PawSox 0, Aces 0: Trevor Bauer gets Jeremy Hazelbaker to ground out to second base for the first out of the game. Tony Thomas rips a 2-1 pitch that is handled at third base on one hop for the second out. J.C. Linares has trouble with Bauer's breaking balls and strikes out swinging at a ball in the dirt for a 1-2-3 inning. Bauer very sharp out of the gate and not afraid to use his hook often.

Pregame: It all comes down to this. Arnie's Army looks to secure one more win and return to Pawtucket with yet another piece of hardware before calling it a season. If the offense can slug their way to some early runs, as has been the case in most of their playoff wins, then it will go a long way in backing starter Nelson Figueroa. It's been a long time coming since the PawSox made a mark like this, and thanks to the early demise of the big club this season, there has been some much deserved local hype behind their run. Brett Butler leads his Reno squad into Durham with one of the best young pitchers at his disposal in Trevor Bauer. Offensively the Aces will look for a lift from vets Josh Bell and Mike Jacobs, but could be sparked at the top of their order by Diamondbacks top outfield prospect A.J. Pollack. It'll be all hands on deck tonight for both sides in this winner-take-all affair from Durham Bulls Athletic Park.

Triple-A National Championship: PawSox vs. Reno Aces

Posted by Craig Forde September 18, 2012 05:26 PM

Here are tonight's starting lineups:

PAWTUCKET RED SOX
Jeremy Hazelbaker DH
Tony Thomas 2B
J.C. Linares LF
Danny Valencia 3B
Andy LaRoche 1B
Bryce Brentz RF
Dan Butler C
Jone Hee SS
Che-Hsuan Lin CF

Nelson Figueroa RHP

RENO ACES
A.J. Pollack CF
Tyler Kuhn 2B
Josh Bell DH
Mike Jacobs 1B
Brent Clevlen RF
Taylor Harbin SS
Tyler Bortnick 3B
Ryan Budde C
Keon Broxton LF

Trevor Bauer RHP

Game time: 7:05 p.m

Expected game time temp: 71 degrees, with possible thunderstorms

Notes: PawSox hurler Nelson Figueroa has started the wild card clinching game for Pawtucket, as well as the first round clincher and the Governors’ Cup clincher. The 38-year-old Brandeis product is pitching in his 18th season of professional baseball having spent all of his time prior to this season with National League organizations. Figueroa started the season in the New York Yankees organization and went 7-2 at Scranton-Wilkes/Barre before being released in mid-July. The Red Sox snapped him up and added him to the PawSox staff where he went 5-3 with a 3.77 ERA over eight appearances, six of them starts…Reno starter Trevor Bauer was all of four-years-old when Figueroa was starting his professional baseball career. The 21-year-old out of UCLA has lived up to his billing since being selected with third overall pick by the Diamondbacks in the 2011 draft. He has compiled a 13-4 record with a 3.00 ERA and 200 strikeouts over 156 innings of work in the minors. He did also make four starts for Arizona this season, going 1-2 with a 6.06 ERA. Bauer was ranked as the ninth best prospect in the game by Baseball America prior to the 2012 season…This will mark the latest into any season that the Pawtucket Red Sox have played. Before tonight it was September 15th, 1977 when they lost in the Governors’ Cup to Charleston…Reno is the home team for tonight’s game after the Pacific Coast League beat the International League, 3-0, in the Triple-A All-Star game earlier this season…The PawSox have outscored their opponents 33-14 over their seven playoff games thus far. The pitching staff is holding batters to a .179 batting average to go along with a 2.01 ERA and a 0.85 WHIP...The game will be televised live on NBC Sports Network (check your local listings).

PawSox set to face Reno in Triple-A Championship on Tuesday

Posted by Craig Forde September 17, 2012 12:49 PM

TripAatMcCoy.bmp
In the last Minor League Baseball game of the season, at any level, the Pawtucket Red Sox square off against the Reno Aces on Tuesday night in the seventh annual Triple-A National Championship in Durham, North Carolina.

Established in 2006, the format features the champions of the International League and Pacific Coast League playing in a one-game, winner-take-all battle and both Pawtucket and Reno will be making their first appearance in the event.

Getting to Tobacco Road
The PawSox journey to Durham started with a three-games-to-one defeat of the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees in their first round playoff series, followed by a sweep of the Charlotte Knights in three games to capture their first Governors’ Cup in 28 years.

It took the Aces a full five-games in the first round of the PCL playoffs to dispatch of the Sacramento Bears, and then they needed four games to take down Omaha and capture their first ever Pacific Coast League crown.

Reno will pull a solid ace from their deck as the third overall pick in the 2011 draft, Trevor Bauer, will get the start on Tuesday. Bauer is a combined 12-2 with a 2.42 ERA and 157 strikeouts between Double-A Mobile and Triple-A Reno this year.

The PawSox have just announced that Nelson Figueroa, winner of game three’s clincher versus Charlotte last Thursday, will get the start on Tuesday night.

Each league has won captured three Triple-A Championships, with the Columbus Clippers (Cleveland Indians) winning the last two. Past game MVP’s include Scott Hairston (Tucson, 2006), Lou Merloni (Sacramento, 2007) and Jeremy Hellickson (Durham, 2009).

Where to watch
If you can’t wait until next season to get back to McCoy Stadium, then you are in luck as they will open the gates for fans to come and watch the game at the ballpark on the videoboard for free. The Governors’ Cup will also be on hand and you can be one of the first people to get your picture taken with the latest piece of hardware to hit the region. Gates open at 6:00p.m. and fans are allowed to watch the game from the outfield grass or the seating bowl.

If you are unable to make it Pawtucket for the festivities, the game is also available on the NBC Sports Network (check your local listings) starting at 7:00 p.m. and we will be providing live updates throughout as well.

PawSox's pull out brooms to claim Governors' Cup title

Posted by Craig Forde September 13, 2012 11:28 PM

It's hard to believe that Ben Mondor wasn’t smiling down on Fort Mill, South Carolina on Thursday night.

The longtime owner of the Pawtucket Red Sox, who passed away in 2010, had only witnessed his club win one International League Championship, back in 1984.

On Thursday night the PawSox reclaimed the Governors’ Cup for the first time in 28 years after sweeping the Charlotte Knights with a 4-1 victory in game three at Knights Stadium.

For the third straight game Pawtucket got a solid effort out of their starting pitcher as 38-year-old Nelson Figueroa held back the Knights for six innings, allowing only one run while scattering seven hits and striking out five.

J.C. Linares helped keep the Knights in check when he came up with a big first-inning assist, cutting down Greg Golson to end an early threat and keep the game scoreless.
The bats wasted little time in staking Figueroa a lead, posting up two runs in the second inning behind an RBI single by catcher Mike Rivera and a sacrifice fly from Che-Hsuan Lin.

The Knights pulled within one in the bottom of the fifth inning when Carlos Sanchez drove in Jared Mitchell on a single to right field. Sanchez tried to advance to second on Bryce Brentz’s throw to the plate, but first baseman Andy LaRoche cut off the throw and gunned him down to end the inning.

Linares also contributed on the offensive end of things, following up Jeremy Hazelbaker’s RBI triple in the seventh with an RBI single of his own to score Hazelbaker and give Pawtucket a three-run cushion for the final three innings.

As has been the case all postseason, the bullpen came on and held down the fort with Will Inman, Jose De La Torre and Josh Fields all working one scoreless inning to clinch the title.

The team will remain in North Carolina as they await the winner of the Pacific Coast League series for the one-game, Triple-A National Championship next Tuesday in Durham.

The Omaha Storm Chasers and Reno Aces are tied at one game apiece in the PCL series which resumes on Friday night.

The championship is the third in Pawtucket Red Sox history (1973, 1984, 2012).

Governors' Cup, Game 3: Charlotte Knights at PawSox

Posted by Craig Forde September 13, 2012 06:44 PM

Here are tonight's starting lineups:

CHARLOTTE KNIGHTS
Carlos Sanchez SS
Drew Garcia 2B
Greg Golson DH
Seth Loman 1B
Josh Phegley C
Trayce Thompson CF
Jared Mitchell LF
Tommy Manzella 3B
Brandon Short RF

Matt Zileski RHP

PAWTUCKET RED SOX
Jeremy Hazelbaker DH
Tony Thomas 2B
J.C. Linares LF
Danny Valencia 3B
Bryce Brentz RF
Andy LaRoche 1B
Mike Rivera C
Ryan Dent SS
Che-Hsuan Lin CF

Nelson Figueroa RHP

Game time: 7:15 p.m

Expected game time temp: 75 degrees

Notes: Starting pitcher Nelson Figueroa, like much of his PawSox teammates, has caught fire at the right time. After breezing through his last two regular season starts, the 38-year-old won game four of the first round against Scranton/Wilkes-Barre by tossing eight inning of two-hit ball where he allowed only one run. Figueroa was spotted leaving McCoy Stadium prior to last night’s game, so that he could fly down to Charlotte yesterday as the rest of the team did not arrive until this morning…The PawSox are 5-1 in the postseason and won all four games that they played at McCoy. As a team they have 46 hits in the playoffs, 21 of which went for extra-bases, included ten home runs. The PawSox have only committed three errors in their six postseason games…The latest into any season that Pawtucket has played is September 15th, which occured in 1977 when they lost to Charleston in the Governors' Cup series...The Omaha Storm Chasers (Royals) evened up the Pacific Coast League Championship series with a 9-6 win over the Reno Aces (Diamondbacks) on Wednesday night. The PCL champ will play the IL champ in the one-game Triple-A National Championship next Tuesday, September 18th in Durham, North Carolina.

There will no live blog tonight, but check out the Red Sox-Yankees live game blog at Extra Bases as I will be sure to give continuous updates on the PawSox game as well.

PawSox win puts them one away from first title since 1984

Posted by Craig Forde September 12, 2012 10:03 PM

PAWTUCKET – It only took two hours and nineteen minutes for the PawSox to push themselves to the brink of history with a 2-0 win over the Charlotte Knights in game two of the Governors’ Cup Championship series at McCoy Stadium on Wednesday.

The PawSox got an exceptional effort out of starter Zach Stewart who paced the shutout by holding the Knights scoreless through the first six innings, striking out four and allowing only four hits and a walk.

“He did a great job,” said Pawtucket manager Arnie Beyeler. “He minimized a couple of innings, kept the ball down and worked ahead [in the count]. Couldn’t have asked for anything more.”

“It was just one of those nights where the ball was coming out of my hand good,” said Stewart. “I had a good defense behind me and a good offense to go at their guys.”

His counterpart, Charlie Shirek was equally as good for the Knights, but gave up two run on the four hits he allowed in his seven innings of work, including a big fly to Dan Butler in the second that made all the difference.

“It was a very well-pitched game on both sides,” said Beyeler. “They’re going to pitch and we’re going to have the make the most of our opportunities. We did that tonight.”

Butler took a 2-1 offering over the Pawtucket bullpen in left field to put the PawSox up, 1-0, early. As fate would have it, it would be all the scoring that Pawtucket would need. It was also the tenth home run hit by the PawSox in six postseason games.

“Anytime you get an early run like that it’s going to help,” said Butler. “It was a good run.”

The only other run of the game was scored again by Butler, who hustled all the way home from first base on a Che-Hsuan Lin double to left-center in the fifth inning. It was Lin’s first hit of the postseason.

The rest was handled by the bullpen, with Pedro Beato, Alex Wilson and Jose De La Torre all contributing a scoreless inning to the effort.

“Those guys came in and pounded it,” said Butler of the relief corp. “They hit their spots real well. Those guys all throw hard and when they’re throwing the ball as well as they are right now, it’s very hard to hit.”

“It’s been a real good run,” said Stewart. “We got one more game to win and were focused on that right now and trying to get a championship.”

The remainder of the series shifts to Charlotte, with game three set for Thursday night at 7:10 p.m. Nelson Figueroa will start for Pawtucket while Charlotte counters with Matt Zaleski.

Final: PawSox 2, Knights 0

Posted by Craig Forde September 12, 2012 06:55 PM

Final: PawSox 2, Knights 0: The PawSox are on the brink of history as they win games one and two at home in the Governors’ Cup Championship Series. They now need to capture one win in Charlotte for their first International League title since 1984. Tomorrow night’s game three will be a 7:10 p.m. start time and if a game four of five are necessary, they will begin at the same time.

Top 9th, Knights 0, PawSox 2: Jose De La Torre in to close the door on this one for the PawSox.

Loman goes down looking on three straight pitches. Phegley grounds out to second for out number two. Thompson grounds to Hee who boots the ball and can't get it to first in time to end the game. Mitchell grounds down the line at first, handled by De La Torre who flips to Spears to end the game.

Bottom 8th, Knights 0, PawSox 2: Anthony Carter comes on in relief of Charlie Shirek who allowed only four hits and two runs in seven innings of work for the Knights.

Lin gets his second hit of the game, a single up the middle that shortstop Carlos Sanchez made a nice play on in the hole, but couldn't come up with a strong enough throw. Hazelbaker moves Lin over to second with a groundout to third base. Thomas pushed Lin to third on a groundout to second. Linares stands Lin by striking out to end the inning.

Top 8th, Knights 0, PawSox 2: Short reaches base for the third time tonight with a leadoff walk. Short then steals second on the second pitch to Golson.

Golson proceeds to sky one to the mound which is handled by Spears and Beyeler comes out to make a pitching change, bringing Alex Wilson in from the pen.

Garcia strikes out and Morel flies to center to end the inning. Knights will be down to their last three outs in their next at-bat.

Bottom 7th, Knights 0, PawSox 2: For the second time in three innings Spears grounds to first to start the inning. Butler is retired, 4-3, for the first time tonight. Hee goes down swinging on a 94 mile-per-hour fastball from Shirek who now has three 1-2-3 frames through seven.

Top 7th, Knights 0, PawSox 2: Pedro Beato on to pitch for Pawtucket

Stewart's line - 6 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 4 Ks, 87 pitches/58 strikes

Hazelbaker calls off Hee in short left on Phegley's shallow fly out. Thompson pops up to Butler in foul ground for the second out. Mitchell walks, but Sanchez grounds to third to end the inning.

Bottom 6th, Knights 0, PawSox 2: Thomas strikes out looking, his second whiff of the night, this time on a 94 mile-per-hour heater. Linares flies out to right. Valencia rips one down the third base line for a double. It's the PawSox fourth hit of the night and third for extra-bases. Brentz with a lazy po-up to second ends the inning.

Top 6th, Knights 0, PawSox 2: Garcia rolls one down to second for the first out. Morel with an easier grounder for Stewart to handle from the hill. Loman grounds to first on the first pitch he sees. Very short inning for Stewart, his third 1-2-3 of the night.

Bottom 5th, Knights 0, PawSox 2: Spears grounds out to first base. Butler picks up his second hit of the game, a single through the box. He has both of Pawtucket's hits and is only a double and triple from the cycle. Hee lines out to right for the second out. Lin laces a double into the gap in right-center and Arnie Beyeler brings out the windmill to wave in Butler who scored all the way from first base. Butler has scored both PawSox runs. Hazelbaker takes one for a ride to left, but it is caught at the foot of the warning track for the third out.

Top 5th, Knights 0, PawSox 1: Mitchell ends Stewart's leadoff batter strikeout streak with a single to left-center. Sanchez flies out to center and while Hee had faked out Mitchell that a play was going on at second, Lin had plenty of time to double him off of first. Maybe too much time as Lin seemed to throw in a panic to Spears at first, bouncing it only a few feet from where he caught it. Luckily it was rolling fast enough to beat Mitchell back to first.

Short singles, but Golson grounds to third to end the inning.

Bottom 4th, Knights 0, PawSox 1: Linares swings at the first offering and hits a solid ground ball to short for an out. Valencia follows suit with a ground out to short of his own. Heck, even Bryce Brentz isn't immune to the magnet at shortstop named Carlos Sanchez. Shirek has retired all seven batters since allowing the HR to Butler.

Top 4th, Knights 0, PawSox 1: Morel Ks on a breaking ball by Stewart. He has struck out the first batter of all four innings so far. Garcia smacks on right back at Stewart who is ready for it, tosses to first for out number two. Phegley gets on via an infield single after rolling one to Valencia's left at third. Thompson ends the innings with a ground out to second. Stewart is working very quickly and has been very effective in doing so.

Bottom 3rd, Knights 0, PawSox 1: Che-Hsuan Lin lines out to right on the second pitch of the inning for out one. Hazelbaker strikes out and Thomas does the same to end the inning. Shirek looking solid except for the one bad pitch to Butler in the second. He has four Ks through three.

Top 3rd, Knights 0, PawSox 1: Jared Mitchell becomes the third leadoff hitter to whiff against Stewart. Carlos Sanchez is the first Knights batter to reach base with a solid base-knock up the middle. Short walks to put two runners on with one out. Golson lines one right at Lin in centerfield. Garcia flies out to right to end the threat.

Bottom 2nd, Knights 0, PawSox 1: Brentz takes one deep to right-center field but it is tracked down by Brandon Short just in front of the wall. Second ball hit to that part of the park by the PawSox tonight, winding blowing out.

Nate Spears goes down on three quick strikes.

Dan Butler gets the PawSox on the board first with a solo shot to left, over the bullpen. That was hit in the same spot where last night's three long balls went.

Jon Hee harmlessly grounds to second to end the inning.

Top 2nd, Knights 0, PawSox 0: Seth Loman goes down looking at strike three. Josh Phegley flies out to Hazelbaker for the second out. Trayce Thompson makes it six in a row with a slow rolling ground out to short. Stewart looks sharp through the first two innings.

Bottom 1st, Knights 0, PawSox 0: Jeremy Hazelbaker gets the start tonight against the right-handed Shirek, and reaches on a throwing error by Morel to lead off the inning. A wild pitch advances Hazelbaker to second. Tony Thomas gets some real good wood on an opposite field shot to left-center, but it is tracked down at the wall. Hazelbaker advances to third on the sac-fly. Linares grounds one to a drawn in Carlos Sanchez at shortstop who goes home with the ball to cut down Hazelbaker. Danny Valencia Ks to end the inning.

Top 1st, Knights 0, PawSox 0: The first pitch from Zach Stewart comes at 7:04 p.m. (we're leaving early tonight folks) and is fouled off by Greg Golson. Game time temps are 75 with winds out of south at 7-miles-per-hour.

Both Bryce Brentz and Dan Butler gaffe on foul pop-ups that were catchable off the bat of Golson, but Stewart gets him to chase at a strike three in the dirt for the first out of the game. Drew Garcia lofts one out to Lin in center for out number two and Brent Morel grounds out to third on the first pitch he sees to end the inning.

Pregame: With all due respect to those who play 45 minutes north of McCoy Stadium, the Pawtucket Red Sox are gearing up for the last meaningful baseball game of the 2012 season to be played in New England. The PawSox are hoping to head to Charlotte with a two game lead in their best-of-five series and a solid start by Zach Stewart will go a long way against an inexperienced Knights lineup, with six of the nine positional starters having only played in 36 or less games in Triple-A. Stay tunes for live updates all night long and you can also follow along with the streaming audio feed of the game here.

Governors' Cup, Game 2: Charlotte Knights at PawSox

Posted by Craig Forde September 12, 2012 04:36 PM

Here are tonight's starting lineups:

CHARLOTTE KNIGHTS
Greg Golson DH
Drew Garcia 2B
Brent Morel 3B
Seth Loman 1B
Josh Phegley C
Trayce Thompson CF
Jared Mitchell LF
Carlos Sanchez SS
Brandon Short RF

Charlie Shirek RHP

PAWTUCKET RED SOX
Jeremy Hazelbaker LF
Tony Thomas 2B
J.C. Linares DH
Danny Valencia 3B
Bryce Brentz RF
Nate Spears 1B
Dan Butler C
Jon Hee SS
Che-Hsuan Lin CF

Zach Stewart RHP

Game time: 7:05 p.m

Expected game time temp: 70 degrees

Notes: In round one of the playoffs PawSox starter Zach Stewart allowed four runs on two walks and seven hits, two of which were home runs, in a game one win over Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. He will need to pitch more like his August 23rd start when he threw a season-high seven innings against these very Knights. In that outing Stewart allowed only four hits and two runs and did not allow any walks. This will be his 13th start for Pawtucket since being acquired from the Chicago White Sox in the Kevin Youkilis deal...Due to the early injury of Knights starter Charlie Leesman last night and the subsequent move to bring in scheduled game two starter Andre Rienzo, manager Joel Skinner has bumped his staff up one game. So Charlie Shirek moves from game three to tonight, Matt Zaleski will pitch in game three and Scott Carroll will get the game four call if necessary. A game five starter has not yet been determined...After a 2-for-3 performance last night with a double, triple and a walk, Bryce Brentz is now batting .471 in the playoffs. Outfield mate J.C. Linares is at .438 after a 2-for-4 night which included his second home run of the postseason...Nelson Figueroa, Pawtucket's game three starter, left McCoy Stadium prior to tonight's game and will depart for Charlotte in advance of the team...The PawSox are 3-0 at home in the postseason after last night's victory. They have outscored their opponents 27-13 in their five playoff games thus far and their pitching is holding opposing batters to a .181 batting average...In game one of the Pacific Coast League Championship Series last night, the Reno Aces (Diamondbacks) handily defeated the defending champion Omaha Storm Chasers (Royals), 13-1. The PCL champ will play the IL champ in the one-game Triple-A National Championship next Tuesday, September 18th in Durham, North Carolina...This will be the final game played at McCoy Stadium this season. It will be seven months before the Triple-A Red Sox return to Pawtucket when they face the Rochester Red Wings on April 11th in their 2013 home opener.

PawSox take game one of Governors' Cup

Posted by Craig Forde September 11, 2012 10:24 PM

PAWTUCKET – It had been 28 years since the Pawtucket Red Sox picked up a win in the Governors’ Cup Championship Series and on Tuesday night they used the arm of Steven Wright and some heavy lumber to break that slump with a 7-2 win over Charlotte in game one of the Governors’ Cup Championship Series at McCoy Stadium.

After a first inning in which the Knights put good wood on the ball and scored a run, Wright fell into a groove and proceeded to throw six scoreless innings after that, striking out six batters on the night.

“I felt good after the first inning,” said Wright. “I kind of got a little excited and a little amped up. I started rushing and once I rushed everything stays up. Once I calmed down and stayed back I was able to keep the ball down in the zone.”

Despite drawing first blood with a run in the top of the first inning, the opening frame was not kind to the Knights who lost starting pitcher Charlie Leesman after freak collision with his first baseman, Seth Loman, on the third batter he faced.

With runners on first and second and no outs, J.C. Linares hit a slow chopped to first. As Loman came in on the ball, Leesman was crossing over to cover the bag and stopped on a dime, jamming his knee. Leesman lay on the ground clutching his left knee for about five minutes before being escorted from the field, ending his night.

“They’ll do all the diagnostic stuff tomorrow,” said Charlotte manager Joel Skinner. “He broke off the mound and broke for the ball and when he stopped to avoid the collision and that’s when he hurt himself.”

The PawSox knotted the game in the bottom of the first inning on a Danny Valencia sac-fly, scoring Nate Spears. Then Valencia hit what would turn out to be the game-winning blow in the third inning, a two run homer that cleared everything in leftfield, giving the PawSox a 3-1 lead.

Pawtucket maintained a two run lead, 4-2, heading into the seventh inning, but Tony Thomas added the insurance they needed to breathe easier, a two-run homer to left to make it 6-2.

On the very next pitch J.C. Linares lines a solo shot to almost the same part of the ballpark and the PawSox cruised the rest of the way behind scoreless frames pitched by relievers Alex Wilson and Josh Fields.

“The guys swing the bats,” said Pawtucket manager Arnie Beyeler. “We got some good counts and got some good swings on the ball. Danny got us going early and going back-to-back was big.”

Zach Stewart will face off against Charlie Shirek (0-0, 15.43) in game two on Wednesday night, with the first pitch schedules for 7:05 p.m. at McCoy Stadium. This will be the final home game of the season for the PawSox as games 3, 4 and 5 will be played in Charlotte as needed.

Final: PawSox 7, Knights 2

Posted by Craig Forde September 11, 2012 07:00 PM

Game over: PawSox 7, Knights 2: The Pawtucket Red Sox pick up their first win in a Governors’ Cup game since their game five title clincher in 1984. Steven Wright was spectacular, calming down very nicely after getting hit hard in the first inning. The long ball backed him nicely as well with Valencia’s two-run third inning homer setting the tone and Thomas and Linares’ seventh inning back-to-back effort sealing the deal. Zach Stewart gets the ball in game two for Pawtucket tomorrow at McCoy Stadium with a 7:05p.m. start time. With Rienzo forced into action in game one, Charlotte’s game two starter is currently TBA.

Top 9th, Knights 2, PawSox 7: Josh Fields on the hill to try and close out game one for the PawSox.

Thompson misses a 94 mile-per-hour fastball for strike three. Mitchell with a high fly out to Linares in left. Sanchez walks to extend the Knights lifeline for at least another batter. Short strikes out to end game one.

Bottom 8th, Knights 2, PawSox 7: Butler draws a leadoff walk, his second free pass of the game. Repko grounds to the pitcher whose only play was to first, so Butler advances to second. Hee Ks for the second time tonight. Spears flies out to shallow center to end the eighth.

Top 8th, Knights 2, PawSox 7: Alex Wilson on in relief for the PawSox.

Wright's line - 7 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 6 Ks, 107 pitches/61 strikes

Morel grounds to second for the 12th straight Knights out. Wilson makes it a bakers dozen with an off-speed strikeout of Loman. And Phegley hits a broken bat pop-up to short for the fourth straight 1-2-3 inning.

Bottom 7th, Knights 2, PawSox 7: Ryan Kussmaul enters the game in place of Rienzo for Charlotte. Rienzo put in a solid effort on very short notice. He went 5 2/3 and allowed three earned runs and struck out seven.

Hee lines out to centerfield to start the inning. Spears hits a slow roller that third baseman Morel tries to field barehanded, but is unable to come up cleanly with the ball. It's Spears' second single of the night. Thomas launches a two-run home run to left field and Linares lines a solo shot on the very next pitch to make it 7-2 in favor of Pawtucket. The ball has flown out of the yard in the direction of the PawSox bullpen tonight. That is the insurance that Pawtucket desperately wanted.

Valencia strikes out swinging. LaRoche looked as if he would end an inning for the fourth time tonight, but Sanchez throws wide at first to keep the inning going. Brentz grounds to second to end the inning, but the damage is done.

Top 7th, Knights 2, PawSox 4: Short lifts one to dead center for the first out of the inning. Golson Ks for the second time tonight and is thrown out at first after Butler dropped the pitch. Garcia grounds out to short for another 1-2-3 inning. Wright has retired eleven Knights in a row.

Bottom 6th, Knights 2, PawSox 4: Brentz leads off an inning for the third time tonight and draws a walk after running the count full. Rienzo was a lot more careful with the red hot Brentz in this at-bat.

Butler then wastes no time in grounding into a 6-4-3 double play. Repko sends a long drive to the wall in left-center that Mitchell was able to catch up to to end the inning.

Top 6th, Knights 2, PawSox 4: Thompson, for his second straight at-bat, grounds out to Valencia at third base. Mitchell lines one to Repko in center who takes one step to his right and one step back to make the catch. Sanchez grounds back to Wright for out number three and the second straight 1-2-3 for Pawtucket.

Wright looks very comfortable now. Maybe he was waiting for things to dip into the 50s? Regardless he is handling this Knights lineup very well right now and working quickly, which is more important for those of us who lived through that long first inning.

Bottom 5th, Knights 2, PawSox 4: Spears strikes out for the second time, but a wild pitch allows him to reach first to lead things off. Thomas lofts an easy fly ball to right for the first out. Linares Ks for the second out. He is Rienzo's sixth strikeout victim on the night. Valencia walks to put two on with two out, but LaRoche grounds out to third to end an inning for the third time tonight.

Top 5th, Knights 2, PawSox 4: Wright gets Morel by way of strikeout for the second time tonight, Loman grounds out to Spears at second and Phegley hits a warning-track shot to Linares to end the inning. It is the second 1-2-3 of the game fore Wright.

Bottom 4th, Knights 2, PawSox 4: Bryce Brentz continues his hot streak, pounding a leadoff triple out of the reach of Short in right field. It's his sixth extra-base hit of the postseason, second tonight.

Butler strikes out on a check swing that the fans did not seem to agree with...neither did Butler who was slow back to the dugout. Four Ks for Rienzo.

Repko grounds to third and Bryce breaks home. The throw comes to the plate but Brentz's slide knocks it lose from Phegley's glove and the run counts.

The inning ends on a stike-out-throw-out double play as Hee goes down swinging and Repko gets gunned down at second.

Top 4th, Knights 2, PawSox 3: Jared Mitchell gets an opposite field, lead off double. It's the Knights first extra base hit of the Knight. Sanchez moves him over with a sac-bunt that was handled cleanly by Butler.

Brandon Short hits a solid single up the middle, scoring Mitchell and pulling Charlotte within one. Wright almost gets Short napping at first base on a pick off.

Wright blows his 86 mile-per-hour heater past Golson looking for out two. A passed ball moves Short to second, but Wright makes a great snag on a comebacker from Garcia to end the inning.

Bottom 3rd, Knights 1, PawSox 3: Spears becomes Rienzo's third strikeout victim of the night. Thomas with a hiiiiiiiiigh fly ball that is caught right behind the second base bag for out number two. Linares hits a hard grounder into the hole that shortstop Sanchez makes a great diving play on, but he knew he had no play and held on to it.

Danny Valencia cranks a two-run jack over everything and into the parking lot - his second straight game with a long ball - collecting Linares in the process to give Pawtucket a two-run lead.

LaRoche ends the inning with a deep flyout to the track in center field.

Top 3rd, Knights 1, PawSox 1: Garcia with a grounder right to
LaRoche for an unassisted out at first. Wright Ks Morel for out number two, and his third strikeout of the game. A walk to Loman ends a streak of six straight retired by Wright. Phegley takes the first pitch he sees to center field on a rope for his second single of the night. But Thompson grounds out to third to end the Knights two-out rally.

Bottom 2nd, Knights 1, PawSox 1: Bryce Brentz takes a 2-1 offering right down the third base line for a very solidly hit double. His seventh hit of the postseason and fourth extra-base hit. Brentz is on fire at the right time.

Dan Butler runs the count full before drawing a walk from Rienzo to put PawSox on first and second without an out. Jason Repko swings at a bad third strike for the first out of the inning. Jon Hee grounds into a 4-6-3 double play, despite Carlos Sanchez almost messing up on the turn. Only fifteen minutes to play the second inning!

Top 2nd, Knights 1, PawSox 1: Wright gets Carlos Sanchez to swing and miss on a 2-2 knuckle ball for the first out of the inning and his first strikeout. Then Brandon Sheet goes down swinging and Golson flies out to center for a quick half inning to make up for the first.

Bottom 1st, Knights 1, PawSox 1: Nate Spears pushes a leadoff single through the right side of the infield. Tony Thomas follows that with a single that drops in front of Mitchell in left. Two on and no outs for Pawtucket.

Linares chops a slow grounder to first base and is tagged out by Seth Loman who in the process ran into pitcher Charlie Leesman who was coming over to try and make a play. Leesman stays down on the ground, holding his left knee in pain. Replays show that it may have been a knee-on-knee hit. Leesman is up after a couple of minutes, but is being helped off the field and is not putting much weight on the left leg. A very tough break for the Knights to lose Leesman just three batters into the game.

In for the Knights is Andre Rienzo, a 6-foot 3-inch right-hander who was scheduled to start game two for Charlotte.

Valencia battles Rienzo and after fouling off five pitches he lifts one deep enough to right field to score Spears on the sac fly, tying the game at one.

Andy LaRoche strikes out to end a very interesting first inning that took over half an hour to complete.

Top 1st, Knights 1, PawSox 0: The first pitch from Wright is a 76-mile-per hour knuckle ball, inside on Greg Golson for ball one at 7:06 p.m. The temperature at game time was 64 degrees.

Golson smacks one right back up the box, through the infield for a leadoff single, then advances on a passed ball on the first pitch to Drew Garcia.

Garcia lines a shot right at Danny Valencia at third base for the first out.

Brett Morel finds the hole between third and short, putting runners at the corners with one out.

Seth Morel laces a lined shot out to J.C. Linares in left field for out number two, but in the process scores Golson who tagged from third. Josh Phegley rips a solid single to centerfield to put runners on first and second with two outs. The Knights batters are getting very solid wood on Wright's knuckler so far tonight. Pitching coach Rich Sauveur makes a visit to try and calm Wright.

Trayce Thompson walks and the Knights get a bases loaded situation. Jared Mitchell flies out to Linares to end the inning and squash a very viable threat.

Pregame ceremonies - The PawSox welcomed thirteen local police and fire department color guards onto the field prior to the game to bear the flags. Sgt. Shane Brodeur from the RI National Guard threw out the ceremonial first pitch. Michael Khouri from Barrington, Rhode Island sang the National Anthem in a Paul Simon-esque acoustic way. It's almost game time here at McCoy.

Pregame: We have something to play for at McCoy Stadium in Pawtucket tonight as the PawSox host game one of the best-of-five Governors' Cup Series against the Charlotte Knights. Steven Wright, who came to the PawSox from the Indians organization back on July 31st in exchange for Lars Anderson, gets the start tonight. He will be opposed by lefty Charlie Leesman who is ranked by MLB.com as the third best prospect in the White Sox organization, and best pitcher. The Knights also boast the White Sox best positional prospect in outfielder Trayce Thompson who has belted 24 home runs this season, but none since being called up to Charlotte late in the season. It’s going to be a crisp, fall-like evening here in Rhode Island, but we’ll keep the fire going on the live blog this evening, so please follow along and feel free to leave comments.

Governors' Cup, Game 1: Charlotte Knights at PawSox

Posted by Craig Forde September 11, 2012 04:20 PM

Here are tonight's starting lineups:

CHARLOTTE KNIGHTS
Greg Golson DH
Drew Garcia 2B
Brent Morel 3B
Seth Loman 1B
Josh Phegley C
Trayce Thompson CF
Jared Mitchell LF
Carlos Sanchez SS
Brandon Short RF

Charlie Leesman LHP

PAWTUCKET RED SOX
Nate Spears 2B
Tony Thomas DH
J.C. Linares LF
Danny Valencia 3B
Andy LaRoche 1B
Bryce Brentz RF
Dan Butler C
Jason Repko CF
Jon Hee SS

Steven Wright RHP

Game time: 7:05 p.m

Expected game time temp: 65 degrees

Notes: Knuckleballer Steven Wright will get his first start of the postseason for the PawSox. It's his fifth start for Pawtucket and sixth since being traded from Cleveland for Lars Anderson. He has made a combined 25 starts between Akron, Portland and Pawtucket and has a 10-7 record with a 2.54 ERA, 119 strikeouts and 69 walks...Knights starter Charlie Leesman was 12-10 with a 2.47 ERA in 26 regular season starts for the Knights. In a game one win of their first round series against Indianapolis, he struck out six and allowed one run on six hits in eight innings of work. Charlotte won the season series, 3-5...The last two times Pawtucket appeared in the International League Championship Series (1991 and 2003) they were swept by the Durham Bulls, three games to none. Their last win in the Governor's Cup series came back in 1984 when they won it all...Bryce Brentz has six hits in the postseason including two home runs and a double...Pawtucket's pitching rotation for the remainder of the series - Game 2: Zach Stewart, Game 3: Nelson Figueroa, Game 4 (in necessary): Chris Hernandez, Game 5 (if necessary): Billy Buckner.

PawSox get set for Governor's Cup finals

Posted by Craig Forde September 10, 2012 12:26 PM

JNkFSAuf.jpgThe PawSox get the honors of closing out the season after extending things with a first round playoff series win over the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees. They kick up their Governor’s Cup series against the Charlotte Knights (White Sox) on Tuesday night (7:05 p.m.) at McCoy Stadium in a best-of-five series.

It is the first time since 2003 that Pawtucket has been to the International League finals, with their last Governor’s Cup title coming in 1984.

This season the PawSox were 3-5 against the I.L. South champion Knights who are making their first finals appearance since 2006.

Some names of note for Charlotte include outfielder Conor Jackson who played in 12 games with the Red Sox last season, outfielder Trayce Thompson who MLB.com ranks as the White Sox top prospect and pitcher Charlie Leesman, ranked as the White Sox best pitching prospect per MLB.com.

Leesman (12-10, 2.47 ERA) will get the ball for Charlotte in game one. The PawSox have not yet released their pitchers for the series.

McCoy Stadium will host game two on Wednesday at 7:05 p.m. I will be in Gov Cup.jpgattendance for at least game one and will provide pre and post-game updates as well as a live running blog of the game itself. If all works out we'll do it again for game two.

The winner of the Governor’s Cup will play the champion of the Pacific Coast League in a one-game Triple-A National Championship on September 18th in Durham, North Carolina.

The Pacific Coast League finals will pit the defending league champion Omaha Storm Chasers (Royals) against the Reno Aces (Diamondbacks). The Storm Chasers feature outfielder Wil Myers who was recently named Minor League Player of the Year by Baseball America. The Aces are led by hurler Trevor Bauer, the third overall pick in the 2011 draft.

Once the PawSox put out the lights on the 2012 MiLB season, we will go ahead and give individual wrap-ups for each team in the Sox system, and then start looking at the fall leagues, the offseason and how some of these prospects might impact the Red Sox moving forward.

About the author

Craig Forde covers baseball talent as it develops into the next big thing. He has covered high school and college sports for the Boston Globe, and the minor league teams More »

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