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Governors' Cup Game 4 preview

Posted by Craig Forde  September 14, 2013 05:05 PM

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Game 4, Saturday, 6:05 p.m. at McCoy Stadium
Durham leads series, 2-1

Let’s be quick to leave last night’s marathon game in the past. It’s a new day, the sun is shining and we are blessed to have at least one more game left this season. The PawSox will be looking to make it two more games as they try to even the series after a frustrating offensive performance last night. In 14 innings Pawtucket only managed 4 hits, a single in each of the first and second innings, then nothing until extras.

Bryce Brentz had one of the toughest nights I’ve had to witness a player have. Heading into the 14th he was already 0-for-5 with a ‘Golden Sombrero’ to his credit. Then he makes the three-base error on leadoff hitter Kevin Kiermarier’s playable fly to right, setting up the Bulls for two runs. Then, after Pawtucket loaded the bases in the bottom of the 14th, Brentz had the opportunity to be the ultimate redeemer, but struck out for the fifth time on the night, ending the game. He is 0-for-14 in the series and is not in the starting lineup tonight.

So the big question should be where will the Pawtucket offense come from? Neither team has had much of it all this playoffs. Durham is batting .194 as a team while Pawtucket is at .208 and we have had only seven total runs scored in three games. So we shouldn't anticipate either side to suddenly break out the heavy lumber tonight.

Of course all credit due to the pitching, which has been outstanding on both sides and has ultimately made this a fantastic, high-intensity series over the first three games.

Durham looks to Merrill Kellly to close things out. The 24-year-old righty was 8-4 for the Bulls in the regular season and he tossed 5 2/3 scoreless against Indianapolis in Game 3 of their semifinals. He went 5 1/3 innings against the PawSox on July 20th, but earned a loss after allowing nine hits and six runs.

Pawtucket will lean on Charlie Haeger to not only pitch like all the other starters have so far, but to also maybe eat some innings after they used seven relievers last night, He picked up the win in the Game 5 clincher versus Rochester last Sunday, allowing just four hits and no runs in 5 1/3 innings. Haeger faced Kelly in that July 20th game, picking up the win over the Bulls after going 7 2/3 innings.

Not that 5-plus hours of baseball is a horrible way to spend a night, but let’s hope for a nice, quick affair, then maybe we can come back again tomorrow and do this one more time before it’s all said and done.

I’ll crank up the live blog here in a bit, but you can also catch the action at MiLB.TV (subscription required) and check your local radio listings here .

STARTING LINEUPS (with playoff averages)

Durham Bulls
CF Kevin Kiermaier (.200)
3B Cole Figueroa (.240)
SS Tim Beckham (.321)
1B Vince Belnome (.235)
LF Jason Bourgeois (.231)
RF Brandon Guyer (.231)
DH Shelley Duncan (.091)
2B Mike Fontenot (.048)
C Craig Albernaz (.333)

RHP Merrill Kelly (1-0, 0.00)

Pawtucket Red Sox
LF Justin Henry (.350)
2B Jonathan Diaz (.120)
RF Alex Hassan (.107)
1B Mark Hamilton (.148)
C Dan Butler (.316)
2B Tony Thomas (.333)
DH Jeremy Hazelbaker (.278)
CF Shannon Wilkerson (.000)
SS Heiker Meneses (.250)

RHP Charlie Haeger (1-0, 0.00)

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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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