As noted in our earlier post, Pat Light is a bit of a Christmas nut, something he readily admits.
His recent move to Hoboken, New Jersey has allowed him to take in all the pomp of New York City’s holiday flourish over the past few weeks.
From the tree lighting at Rockefeller Plaza to Santacon, his recent Twitter (@Pat_Light) timeline is awash in some of the most famous Christmas traditions and pageantry around.
Excited to go into the city today with the family to see the tree, dinner and the radio city Christmas spectacular! #tradition— Pat Light (@Pat_Light) December 8, 2013
Whose going to santacon Saturday in manhattan? #cantwait— Pat Light (@Pat_Light) December 13, 2013
Before we let Pat slug down another egg nog and deck more halls, he was kind enough to give us his Top 5 Christmas movies prior to his family's annual tradition of seeing the Radio City Christmas Spectacular.
Without further ado, here is what Pat Light enjoys watching most this time of year...
5. The Santa Clause 2 – “Tim Allen…the Nutcracker…big Santa taking over!”
4. Home Alone 2 – “I love that it was in New York City. I grew up in the area, I was just at Rockefeller Plaza for the tree lighting. It’s home for me.”
3. The Santa Clause – “I love Tim Allen! He was hilarious. I grew up with this one as a little kid, so it has that spirit of Christmas for me.”
2. Home Alone – “An instant classic. Every kid wants to be home alone…although probably not for Christmas. But every kid has thought about doing that. I loved the crazy uncle and the older brother, they were great side characters.”
1. Elf – “I love Will Ferrell, he’s just the best in this. I was in the 6th grade when this came out, so I got to seeing it more as I got older. It never disappoints, it has a great backdrop with New York City and it always makes me laugh.”
What Pat, no Charlie Brown? No Rudolph? No Griswolds?
I guess you go with what you grew up on. I'd probably still have the Yogi Bear special on my list.
Say what you will about his list…and feel free to share your own Top 5…there is no denying that Pat understands and appreciates the joy of the holiday season, and isn’t that what it’s all about?!
The give and take of baseball is something that Pat Light learned a lot about in his second season in the Red Sox system.
The 37th overall selection in the 2012 draft, Light was hoping to make his first full season as a pro a stepping-off point in his career.
Instead, a tough start and a hamstring issue allowed him only 34 1/3 innings of work.
“It was by far my toughest year,” said Light. “It reminded me a bit of my freshman year [at Monmouth University], which was my least successful year. But I was at least able to pitch then.”
Starting his campaign with the Class-A Greenville Drive, a 4.80 ERA in April gave way to a 12.17 ERA in May and in his lone start in June he faced just one batter before suffering a torn left hamstring that kept him out of action for more than two months.
“It was a rough start,” said Light. “Then to be sidelined…it was tough because I had never been through something like that."
Light went down to the Red Sox complex in Fort Myers, Florida to rehab the injury and it was there that he learned a lot more about his body and how to maintain it, reminiscent of the path that fellow New Jersey hurler Anthony Ranaudo took when he was rehabbing a shoulder injury in 2012.
“The Red Sox have a really good rehab program,” said Light. “The hamstring was kind of an after-thought once I got going. We worked a lot on anchor mobility and working with the hips.
“There were so many things I learned about my body and I learned a lot more on how to stay healthy and maintain it.”
Light returned to live game action in the middle of August, making three appearances for the Gulf Coast Red Sox where he showed his old form, allowing just four hits and two walks over six innings.
He even made it back to Greenville for one last start before season’s end, which proved a bit of a hiccup (2 2/3 innings, 5 ERs) before he returned to Fort Myers for instructs.
It was there that Light regained his confidence, feeling no ill effects on the hamstring while he mowed down teammates with every opportunity he got.
“It was probably the best three weeks of baseball in my career,” said Light. “I threw something like 16 innings and allowed just one run and one walk. It was a good confidence booster.”
With the offseason came a continued rededication to his craft, starting with a move from his home town of Colts Neck, New Jersey to Hoboken, where he reunited with some old housemates who have Pat's health and well-being in mind.
Having shared living space in the past with his brother and sister, the move to Hoboken with his siblings was an ideal situation, given that his brother Sean is a strength and conditioning coach in the Arizona Diamondbacks organization and his sister Colleen is a certified dietician-nutritionist.
They have been key in helping Pat maintain the plan laid out by the Red Sox during the offseason, helping him become stronger and healthier than ever through a strict, daily regiment in the gym and at the dinner table.
“Everything has been really good,” said Light of his offseason with his siblings. “Being with my brother and sister has been vital to keeping me in the right mindset to make sure I’m ready next year.”
However, for the next few weeks Light will be easily distracted with the sights and sounds of his favorite season away from the diamond, the holidays.
“We got the tree up and have lights all over,” said Light. “We have decorations covering pretty much every inch of our place, fake presents, lights up and down the balcony and on the ceiling, icicles everywhere. ”
Once everything is packed back into the boxes and the page turns to 2014 it’s back to business for Light, and with health and redemption as his driving points, he will once again look to establish himself as a top-notch pitching prospect in the Sox organization.
“My number one goal is obviously to stay healthy,” said Light. “I’m back to the old me, my pitches are polished up. Now I just have to take things one game at a time and pitch the way I know that I can.”
After whetting his appetite for professional baseball with the Short Season Single-A Jamestown Jammers in the New York-Penn League, Mike Fransoso now hungers for much more.
The former University of Maine standout has adjusted nicely at the next level and hopes to continue to roll that momentum into the 2014 season, which can’t come soon enough for the Portsmouth, New Hampshire native.
I need it to be spring training already #withdrawals ⚾️— Michael Fransoso (@M_Fransoso) November 17, 2013
After four successful seasons with the Black Bears, Fransoso was drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 27th round this past June, targeted by the club for his defensive range in the middle of the infield and his ability to get on base and make the most of it.
He had 16 multi-hit games, led the team with 34 walks and stole 14 bases in 67 games with Jamestown.
"It was kind of just getting my feet wet in pro ball," said Fransoso. "It was a good way to do that. The New York-Penn League was competitive and at the same time I did pretty well, so it was a confidence booster.
Now he is coming to grips with the fact that college life is now behind him, that baseball is his career, and he is eager to continue his on-the-job training.
"I think it's starting to hit me now that I didn't go back to school with all of my buddies," said Fransoso. "I'm hitting, trying to eat right and train my body for the grueling season next year, a full professional season, which will be my first one."
In all fairness, he did log 123 games between Maine and Jamestown in 2013, and seemed to hold up well, so he does at least have the stamina to get by.
"We had practice every day in Maine and played almost 60 games there," Fransoso said. "So it was still a long season but wasn't quite what a full season in pro ball will be. Playing every single day, playing games and long bus trips, I'm trying to get my body ready for that right now."
Of course things are different when there is a lot more at stake.
Fransoso seems to have the proper mentality to take steps up the ladder and a willingness to meet the game in the middle while he continues to find the proper path that will allow him to do so.
"The big thing is that you have to define yourself and know who you are as a player," said Fransoso. "In college...you're a little bit of a superstar at all those levels. Now you've really got to know who you are and what kind of player you are because everybody is a superstar at this level.
"I'm just trying to figure out who I am and what kind of player I want to be down the road."
The road to the 2014 season will begin in early February when Fransoso heads down to his aunt's house in Florida.
"I can get in some of the warmth and throw outside," he said, noting that it's a luxury he has never had playing in the New England. "Some of these guys have already been outside and they’re from the Southern states, so I'm going to try and get a jump on them."
Just in time for their annual "Winterfest" on Saturday the New Britain Rock Cats have released a new, alternate logo that they will debut during the 2014 season.
The new logo features mascot Rocky - a near 7-foot gray cat who lists his favorite food as “ballpark hot dogs” - emulating musical legend Elvis Presley in both form and fashion, complete with metallic red jumpsuit, pompadour and emphatic pose while singing into a bat-shaped microphone.
A press release from the team notes that the new logo design will be worn for “several games next season” and that the Rock Cats are “the first professional sports team to use metallic red in their team identity.”
The team hosts "Winterfest" at New Britain Stadium on Saturday, December 7th, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., giving fans a chance to get in some holiday shopping and kids a chance to get their pictures taken with Santa Claus.
Other festivities include ballpark tours, free food and drink, up to 50% off of merchandise specials and an appearance from Rocky himself.
The team is also asking that attendees bring new books, board games, gloves, coats, hats, long johns, scarves, underwear, t-shirts, socks and pants to donate to the United Way. All who donate will receive a free ticket to the Rock Cats home opener.
After a highly successful season in which he brought his team to within two wins of their second straight Governors' Cup, others took notice as well with Baseball America bestowing upon the former PawSox skipper the honor of Minor League Manager of the Year.
In his lone season at the helm of the Red Sox Triple-A affiliate, DiSarcina led the PawSox to an International League North title with an 80-63 record and their third straight postseason appearance.
DiSarcina saw the likes of 64 players walk through his clubhouse last season, including Brandon Workman, Xander Bogaerts and Jose Iglesias.
Prior to his stint in Pawtucket, DiSarcina served as manager of the Lowell Spinners (2007-2009), a roving field instructor in the Red Sox farm system (2010) and was a special assistant to Los Angeles Angels GM Jerry Dipoto (2011-2012). He also collected 966 hits over 12 seasons with the Angels and was named to the American League All-Star team in 1995.
A native of Billerica, DiSarcina returned to the Angels in November to become the team's third base coach.
The annual event allows fans to connect with past, present and future baseball players, as well as other esteemed guests during the hot stove season, with proceeds going to benefit the Children's Hospital at Dartmouth-Hitchcock (CHaD), the Ted Williams Museum and the Fisher Cats Foundation.
"Since our team became involved in reviving the dinner in 2007, this event has meant so much to our organization," said Fisher Cats owner Art Solomon, who also serves as Chairman of the Board for the Fisher Cats Foundation. "We are so pleased to reach this milestone, and we take pride in being able to continue the rich tradition of this dinner. We want to thank all of the celebrated guests, sponsors, and fans over the years that have joined us in making a positive impact on three incredible organizations."
This year's guest list included many native sons of the Granite State, most notably former Cy Young winner Chris Carpenter, who recently announced his retirement from the game after compiling a 144-94 record over 15 seasons in the Majors.
Other New Hampshire natives on hand included Kevin Nolan (Nashua-Blue Jays), Joey Maher (Bedford-Yankees), Jordan Cote (Sanbornton-Yankees), Brad Zapenas (Salem-Cubs) and Mike Fransoso (Portsmouth-Pirates). We spoke with Cote and Fransoso and will have posts up on those two prospects in the coming week.
Also in attendance were Red Sox playoff spark plug Jonny Gomes, 5-time MLB All-Star Fred McGriff, two-time Cy Young winner and baseball's last 30-game winner Denny McLain and 2013 Miss New Hampshire Samantha Russo.
The affair, held at the Radisson Hotel Expo Center in Manchester, also featured an autograph season, live and silent auctions, and a question-and-answer session with guests of the head table.
Although the final numbers from the night have yet to be tabulated, the Fisher Cats had raised $979,794 through past dinners, so the $1 million mark was assured as the ballroom began to fill up with guests.
The team has already announced that the 2014 installment of the Granite State Baseball Dinner will be held on Saturday, November 22nd.
Just in time for your holiday shopping, the Vermont Lake Monsters, Short-Season Single A affiliate of the Oakland A’s, unveiled a new logo and “identity” on Saturday.
The new look isn’t a wild deviation from where they started in 2006, retaining a green and blue color scheme with the green tint now becoming more of a lime tone to match up closer with team mascot Champ and a lighter shade of blue in the mix as well.
Speaking of the lovable lake monster himself, Champ remains the main focus of the logo, yet instead of cutting through the water with his head and neck raised tall, Champ sneaks through calmer conditions with his eyes peaking above the meniscus.
"The logos and team identities of the past did not truly reflect the connection between team and mascot," said General Manager Nate Cloutier in a press release. "We set out to adjust to match what our fans have come to know and love -- the Lake Monsters and the big, lime green mascot, CHAMP! We want people to think of CHAMP and the Lake Monsters when they see lime green, just like the connection with Crimson and Alabama, or Burnt Orange and Texas."
As the affiliate for the Montreal Expos, Vermont was forced to find an all new “identity” after the club move the team to Washington after the 2004 season, but not before Vermont got one more season as the Expos, the last of any professional team to use that moniker.
When the Nationals chose the Auburn Doubledays to be their New York-Penn League affiliate for the 2011 season, Oakland moved in to take over the reins of the Lake Monsters.
Both new and old Lake Monsters merch is available at their online store at www.vermontlakemonsters.com or by visiting the team store located at the top of the King Street Ferry Dock in Burlington, Monday through Friday from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm. New merchandise will also be available at the University Mall during the holiday season from November 23rd to December 22nd at the Lake Monsters kiosk on the weekends. I'll take a t-shirt in XXL please!
The trip from Portland, Maine to Boston is a solid two hours and even though it took Brandon Workman and Xander Bogaerts a few months to arrive, some would say that they found an express route, with a pit-stop in Pawtucket along the way.
Just six months after starting their 2013 seasons with the Sea Dogs, the duo stands as part of the Red Sox 25-man postseason roster, seemingly worlds away from the 100-plus miles where their season’s journey began.
Although many could have guessed that their paths would have led to Fenway Park after both stood on that very field to collect organizational honors in 2012, not too many would have expected it to have come so soon.
Bogaerts, the Red Sox top prospect heading into 2013, was named Boston’s Minor League Offensive Player of the Year last season after hitting .307 and belting 20 home runs between High-A Salem and Double-A Portland.
With shortstop Jose Iglesias still ahead of him in Pawtucket, Bogaerts broke camp with the Sea Dogs this past April following a stint with the Netherlands in the World Baseball Classic.
The less-than-Spring-like April temps in Portland hindered Bogaerts mighty stroke just a bit coming out of the gate, but it didn’t take long for the then 20-year-old to warm up, and after just 56 games with the Sea Dogs, where he had a .311 average and 24 extra-base hits, he was promoted to Triple-A Pawtucket.
Between Double and Triple-A, Bogaerts batted .297 and had 15 home runs in 116 games, drawing a career-high 63 walks as his he showed vast improvement in his plate patience, leading to a big-league call-up in August.
Workman’s jump up came sooner.
The Red Sox 2012 Minor League Pitcher of the Year was in top-form from the get-go, evident in his first start of the season on a frigid April 5th evening at Hadlock Field when he whiffed nine Trenton Thunder batters in just five innings of work.
He made 11 appearances with Portland, including his only relief stint of his career in a piggy-back role, and after compiling a 5-1 mark with 74 Ks in 65 2/3 innings, Workman packed his bags for to Pawtucket.
Workman made five June starts and one in July for the PawSox, before the big club came calling and on July 10th the 2010 second-rounder out of Texas made his big-league debut, pitching two innings of relief in Seattle.
He followed that outing with three straight starts as the Red Sox rotation battled injuries, and he did more than enough to help his cause, finding a role in the bullpen for the remainder of the regular season.
Bogaerts highly-anticipated debut came on August 20th when the powerful shortstop went 0-for-3 against the San Francisco Giants. Just four days later he picked up his first big-league hit and soon settled in, learning on the fly in a limited capacity.
Both players did enough in their time with Boston to earn their way onto John Farrell’s roster for the American League Division Series versus Tampa Bay and both made contributions in the four-game series.
Workman pitched 2/3 of the 8th inning of Game 3 versus the Rays, the only game the Sox would lose in the series, and although Rays took a 4-3 lead on his watch (two runners were already on base when he was summoned) and Farrell’s move to use him over closer Koji Uehara was questioned, the 24-year-old right hander was solid in his first postseason appearance, showing a poise far beyond his rookie status.
Bogaerts postseason debut came shortly after Workman got out of the 8th inning when he was inserted as a pinch runner for Will Middlebrooks who drew a leadoff walk in the top of the 9th inning.
Working his way around the bases, Bogaerts would score the tying-run on a Dustin Pedroia groundout before the Rays won it on a walk-off home run in the bottom of the 9th inning.
In Game 4, Bogaerts pinch-hit for Stephen Drew in the top of the 7th inning, showing off his ever-growing plate discipline by drawing a walk in a high-pressure situation, eventually coming around to again score a tying run.
He led off the 9th with a walk and would score once more, giving the Red Sox a 3-1 cushion that would be sealed by Uehara as Boston punched their ticket to the Championship Series.
When Farrell announced his roster for the next round, kicking off Saturday night against the Detroit Tigers, both rookies were again on the list.
Now the duo stands as an integral part of the Red Sox playoff machine, chipping in in smaller roles, but making the most of it thus far.
As the intensity gets ratcheted up another notch, these two old (Sea) Dogs (and PawSox) will find their way into the thick of it once more, hopefully providing that youthful shot in the arm that all teams playing this late into the season seem to need at the most crucial of times.
You could say that Workman and Bogaerts symbolize the tip of an iceberg of talented young prospects that will hopefully take that same express route to Boston in the very near future and the sign for the exit could include the word ‘postseason’ for many years to come.
While the 'Big Club' continues their push towards the World Series, some of the brightest prospects in Boston's farm system ready for the start of the Arizona Fall League, set to kick off on Tuesday afternoon.
The Red Sox send six players to the Surprise Saguaros for a 32-game run, showcasing them alongside and against some of the best young talent in the game.
Here is a quick look at the Arizona six (with their 2013 stats), plus one coach you are all familiar with:
RHP Keith Couch – Unable to crack Portland’s prospect-laden rotation to start the season, Couch remained patient and was solid out of the pen, pitching admirably in 14 appearances before turning it up a notch once he returned to a starter’s role. On full display at the Futures at Fenway game in August, Couch was the story of the day, flashing poise and control that pushed him to the forefront of the AFL list for Sox pitchers.
LHP Miguel Pena – The slender left-hander has used his four-pitch repertoire to climb up four levels in just three seasons, finishing 2013 with Portland. In 218 2/3 innings as a pro he has struck out 183 batters and walked only 57.
RHP Noe Ramirez – After making 16 starts with Greenville in his debut as a pro in 2012, Ramirez was moved to the bullpen and it paid off in a big way. He made 36 appearances between Salem and Portland and stuck out 75 over 75 2/3 innings.
RHP Pete Ruiz – The 6-foot-3 righty has been steadily climbing the ranks since 2008 and has earned a return trip to Arizona after making 10 relief appearances with Surprise last fall. He averaged 11.6 K/9 IP in 30 relief appearances, but battled inconsistencies throughout the year.
2B Mookie Betts – The breakout prospect of the 2013 season for the Red Sox, Betts stepped into a realm that was unexpected on many fronts. Following a solid campaign with Lowell last season, Betts powered-up and launched 15 home runs in 2013 and planted himself on many Top 10 Red Sox prospect lists.
3B Garin Cecchini – Although some may consider Cecchini as the ‘breakout’ guy on the farm, most were already well aware of his potential and he didn’t skip a beat in jumping from High-A Salem to Double-A Portland mid-season. Now noted as one of the better hitters on the Minor League level, it will be a matter of if he can maintain it with a brighter spotlight on him. Based on his makeup, it shouldn’t be an issue.
2B Derrik Gibson – The 2008 second-rounder might not have proven his worth at the plate thus far in his career, but his versatility and defensive prowess has made up for that at times. He showed an improved patience at the plate in 2013, dropping his strikeouts from 98 the year before, to 61 over 308 plate appearances. As that aspect of his game continues to develop, the bat could follow.
1B Travis Shaw – Although Shaw may top the Sox minor league depth chart at the first base position, there is still work to be done. The slugger powered through High-A Salem in 2012 with 16 home runs, but when he jumped to Portland later that year, he was unable to keep up that pace. He did regain the power stroke in 2013, hitting 16 bombs, including a big one at Fenway in August, but his splits were down once again.
Rich Gedman, hitting coach – The former Red Sox backstop has, much like his pupils, worked his way up the ranks since rejoining the organization at the hitting coach in Lowell in 2011. After a season in Salem last year, Gedman returned to New England with the Portland Sea Dogs in 2013.
Joining the Red Sox in Surprise will be prospects from the Milwaukee Brewers, Cleveland Indians, Baltimore Orioles and Texas Rangers.; most notably Orioles 2B Jonathan Schoop and P Eduardo Rodriguez, Indians OF Tyler Naquin, Rangers C Jorge Alfaro and Brewers P Taylor Jungmann.
The Saguaros will play Peoria at 2:35 p.m. EST on Tuesday and we’ll be sure to keep you updated on the progress of these players, while hopefully getting an opportunity to track some of them down to get the inside word on how things are going in the Arizona Fall League.
FINAL: The Durham Bulls win their fourth International League Governors’ Cup title, winning three straight games over the PawSox after dropping the opener in Durham. It is the second time that the Bulls have taken down the PawSox in the championship series and is their first title since 2009. They will play in the Triple-A National Championship game next Tuesday night in Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania versus the eventual winner of the Pacific Coast League, either Omaha or Salt Lake. For Pawtucket, it was a lack of offense that did them in as they were unable to score a run over the final 29 innings of the series. You can’t win if you can’t score, and of course it’s tough to score when Durham’s pitching was as good as they were. Another season is in the books, and both teams, organizations and fan bases should be proud of the efforts the players put forth all season long.
Bottom 9th: Henry goes 4-3 for out number one. Diaz Ks. Hassan pops up to second. Ballgame. Season. Celebration time for the Bulls. Durham, 7-0
Top 9th: Figueroa flies out to center. Beckham grounds to short. Belnome doubles to left-center gap. Bourgeois grounds out to third. Durham, 7-0
Bottom 8th: Hazelbaker Ks. Durham makes a pitching change, Steve Geltz on in relief. Wilkerson grounds out to second. Meneses grounds out to third. Durham, 7-0
Top 8th: Duncan grounds out to second. Fontenot grounds out to first. Albernaz singles into center. Keirmaier flies out to right. Durham, 7-0
Bottom 7th: Providence native Jeff Beliveau on to pitch for Durham. Hamilton Ks swinging for the second time tonight. Butler skies on in foul territory, handled by Belnome. Thomas Ks. Durham, 7-0
Top 7th: Belnome strikes out. Bourgeois goes 4-3 on the groundout. Guyer pops out to second. Durham, 7-0
Bottom 6th: We're going speed round on the blog unless something major happens because this one is officially out of hand, so I want to work on my game story a bit and get out of this place at a reasonable time...hopefully not soaked in champagne. Meneses goes down swinging for the second time tonight. Henry pops out in the grass behind short. Diaz with a solid single into left-center, his and the team's second hit of the night. Hassan goes right back to Kelly for a 1-3 inning ending ground out. Durham, 7-0
Top 6th: Jonathan Diaz goes diving to his left to snag a Guyer grounder, pops up quickly and fires to Hamilton for the out. Diaz has certainly impressed in the field this postseason. Duncan draws a walk. Fontenot rips a hit to center that rolls all the way to the wall for a triple and another Bulls run. Terry Doyle comes in to relieve Huntzinger. Albernaz grounds out to second. Kiermaier pulls one past the diving Diaz, scoring Fontenot. Kiermaier is 2-for-4 with three RBIs. A wild pitch rolls to the backstop and the lightning quick Kiermaier gets all to way to third on the play. Figueroa takes the next pitch into center for Durham's 10th hit and 7th run of the game. Beckham grounds to short to stop the bleeding. Durham, 7-0
Bottom 5th: Butler is hit by a pitch to lead things off. A wild pitch moves Butler up to second but on the ensuing 3-2 pitch Thomas goes down swinging. Hazelbaker goes down swinging as well, number 5 for Kelly. Wilkerson makes it officially a trend as he Ks for the second time tonight. Durham, 4-0
Top 5th: Beckham draws a leadoff walk. Beckham is then gunned down trying to steal second, although from my vantage point it looked as if he may have beat the throw as the tag came down on his legs. Belnome grounds to second for the second out. Bourgeois Ks to end the inning. Durham, 4-0
Bottom 4th: Merrill Kelly continues to cruise and gets Henry to fly to center for the tenth straight PawSox out. Jonathan Diaz punches one through the hole on the left side of the infield and Pawtucket gets their first base runner of the game. Hassan lines out to center. Hamilton lifts one towards the RCF gap, but it hangs up for out number three. Durham, 4-0
Top 4th: Albarnez goes down looking and waits in the box in disbelief. He does eventually leave to make way for Kiermaier's third at-bat of the game. Meneses makes things interesting on a high pop up in the infield, dropping to his knees as he catches Kiermaier's pop. Figueroa flies out to left and Huntzinger gets the PawSox a much needed 1-2-3 inning. Durham, 4-0
Bottom 3rd: Jeremy Hazelbaker grounds out to second. Shannon Wilkerson strikes out looking, as does Heiker Meneses and Pawtucket is down in order for the third straight inning. Durham, 4-0
Top 3rd: Belnome draws the leadoff walk and is the seventh Durham batter to reach so far. Bourgeois immediately bounces to short and Meneses steps on the bag and throws to first for the double play. Guyer takes a 1-0 pitch to the opposite field gap for a triple, Durham's first this postseason. Duncan follows with a double and it's quite possible that 'the route is on'...words that no one expected to see in this series. Still plenty of time for Pawtucket. Brock Huntzinger comes into the game to pitch for Pawtucket and uses just one pitch in forcing Fontenot to ground out to second to end the inning. In three innings the Bulls have already matched their hit total, 7, from 14 innings last night. Durham, 4-0
Bottom 2nd: On a 2-2 count Mark Hamilton swings and misses and 82 mph slider from Kelly. Dan Butler dribbles one back to Kelly for an easy out two and the PawSox offense has picked up where it left off...somewhere far from McCoy Stadium. Tony Thomas with a hot shot up to second, but not through, and Pawtucket goes down in order once more. Durham, 3-0
Top 2nd: Former Yankee Shelley Duncan goes full count before walking back to the bench after looking at strike three on the inside corner. He didn't seem to disagree. Nasty knuckler from Haeger there. Mike Fontenot takes an 0-1 pitch back up the middle for the third Durham single. Fall River native Craig Albernaz strikes out swinging. Keirmaier takes the first pitch he sees over the right-center field wall for a two-run homer, his second in Triple-A. Figueroa follows with a bloop single into left that a diving Justin Henry can't come up with. Beckham flies out to center and Haeger may be about done here as Brock Huntizinger begins to warm in the PawSox pen. Durham, 3-0
Bottom 1st: Justin Henry rips a few shots foul, then weakly grounds back to the pitcher Merrill Kelly for an out. Jonathan Diaz runs the count full, but then flies out to center. Alex Hassan flies to left and the PawSox are retired in order. That is 22 straight innings without a run for the Red Sox. Durham, 1-0
Top 1st: At 6:06 p.m. Charlie Haeger knuckles in the first pitch at 71 mph for a strike. Kevin Kiermaier flails his bat out and pops one harmlessly to left for the game's first out. Haeger handcuffs Cole Figueroa who grounds out to second. Tim Beckham shows some nice patience, watching four pitches go by for a walk. Vince Belnome slices one opposite field into left for a single, putting two runners on with two outs. Jason Bourgeois singles into center and Beckham comes around to give the Bulls an early lead. Haeger gets Brandon Guyer to fly out to center before another run can cross. Durham, 1-0
Preview: With first pitch set for 6:05 p.m. tonight, everyone in the building is hopeful that we can fit this thing in before we hit Sunday! Game time temps should be right around 64 degrees and should gradually dip into the 50s throughout the night. The winds are firmly pushing the flags from center to right. We're moments away from Game 4 of the International League Governors' Cup Finals and we'll soon see if the Durham Bulls will be popping champagne bottles, or if we'll be back for Game 5 tomorrow at 1:05 p.m. Keep it here for a live, running blog and feel free to drop comments and also follow on Twitter @OnDeckBDC.
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.
STARTING LINEUPS (with playoff averages)
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)
Last night's 2-0 PawSox loss to Durham in 14-innings took 5 hours & 42 minutes to complete- the third longest game by time in PawSox history— PawSox (@PawSox) September 14, 2013
Bottom 14th: Kirby Yates on to close things out for Durham. Meneses gets hit by a pitch. Henry strikes out. Diaz grounds out to short on the fielders choice. Hazelbaker draws a walk. Hamilton draws a walk. Brentz Ks to end it. Durham, 2-0
Top 14th: Chris Carpenter on for Pawtucket and he Ks Flores to start the inning. Brentz misplays a liner by Kiermaier as the ball bounces off his glove and to the wall for a three-base error. Figueroa is intentionally walked. On a ground ball to Holt at second, he fires home to try and cut down Kiermaier, but had no play to begin with. Vazquez was hustling down the line to back up first so Holt's throw went to no one, slammed off the back stop and Durham scores. Belnome is walked. Bourgeois grounds to short, Meneses to Holt to get the out at second, but they can't complete the double play and another run scores. Anderson goes down on strikes to end the inning. Durham, 2-0
Bottom 13th: Brentz draws the leadoff walk and Thomas moves him into scoring position with a sac bunt. Holt's groundout to short pushes Brentz to third. Vazquez flied to center and another inning is needed...at least! No score
Top 13th: Anderson grounds out 6-3 to start the inning. Guyer goes down on a check-swing strikeout. Fontenot ground down to Hamilton who steps on the bag to end the inning. No score
Bottom 12th: Vazquez works a leadoff walk after a seven pitch at-bat. Meneses moves Vazquez into scoring position on a sac bunt down the first base line. Justin Henry hits a line shot back at the pitcher, ball bounces out of Romero's glove, but he recovers in time to get Henry at first. Very close play at first, Romero is also lucky he didn't get his because that was a hard shot by Henry. Vazquez moves to third and then Diaz is intentionally walked to put runners at the corners with two outs. Hazelbaker takes one off the right shoulder to load the bases. Hamilton continues to show a lack of discipline at the plate, free swinging and striking out to end the threat. No score
Top 12th: Rowland-Smith gets Beckham looking on an inside slider to start things off. Belnome hits one to right that kept traveling to the track, but was caught by Brentz. Bourgeois K's to end the inning. No score...growing tired!
Bottom 11th: Brentz strikes out to lead off the inning and slams his bat in frustration. Understandable as he is 0-for-13 this series and he has struck out four times tonight. Tony Thomas tries to get things going with an infield single in the hole at short. Thomas is then caught stealing and McCoy Stadium deflates once more. Holt them goes down swinging and we have another inning to play. No score
Top 11th: Martin starts things off with a K of Flores, his third straight K. It also earns him the rest of the night off as DiSarcina bring on Ryan Rowland-Smith to face Kiermaier. Rowland-Smith dispatches of Kiermaier via strikeout. Figueroa flies to right to end the inning. No score
Bottom 10th: Diaz flies to center to lead things off, and the hit draught continues. Montoyo goes to his pen once more, this time calling on the lefty C.J. Riefenhauser to face Hazelbaker. Hazelbaker reaches on an infield single, but is then caught trying to steal second. Words are exchanged with Beckham who has been getting lippy with the PawSox over the last few innings. Hamilton flies out to deep center to end the inning. No score
Top 10th: Tim Beckham hits a blast to left field that Jeremy Hazelbaker doesn't get a good jump on and it rakes the wall for a leadoff double. Belnome is intentionally walked. Bourgeois sac bunts the runners over and Anderson is then intentionally walked to load the bases with one out. Chris Martin comes on in relief for Pawtucket. With the count full, Martin reaches back and finds 95 mph to get Guyer swinging for the second out. Martin then goes up a notch to 96 to K Fontenot and end the inning. Huge performance by Martin there. No score
Bottom 9th: Dan Butler works hard for a leadoff walk. After going 3-0, he takes two strikes, fouls off three, then gets one inside at his feet for the free pass. Tony Thomas comes on to pinch run. Brock Holt barely gets a piece of bunt attempt, halting the ball just in front of the batter's box, allowing Flores to pounce and gun down the lead runner at second. Steve Geltz on to pitch for Durham, their fifth hurler of the game. Holt swipes second without a throw, putting the winning run in scoring position. Vazquez hits a bouncer up the middle, handled by Geltz who catches Holt going to third and after a brief rundown the lead runner is tagged out. Meneses with a hot grounder to third that cannot be handled and the PawSox keep hope alive with runners on first and second. Henry lines out to the shortstop on the first pitch and we are headed to extra innings. No score
Top 9th: Anthony Carter comes on to pitch for Pawtucket. Guyer pokes a leadoff single into left field. Fontenot lays down a solid sac bunt down the first base line, Guyer advances to second as Carter throws to Hamilton just in time for the out. Carter goes with the high heat (94 mph) on Flores to strike him out. Pitching coach Rich Sauveur comes out for a chat with Carter who then intentionally walks Kiermaier. Carter then goes blows 93 & 94 mile-per-hour fastballs past Figueroa for the final out. No score
Bottom 8th: Leadoff walk for Diaz who now has two base-on-balls and a hit-by-pitch tonight. Hassan with a hard chopper to third only allows for the force out at second as Diaz comes in hard to the bag to halt any throw to first. Montoyo brings on Providence native Jeff Beliveau to pitch. Hazelbaker, on to pinch run for Hassan, steals second base with Hamilton at the plate, then is awarded third on a Beliveau walk. Hamilton whiffs on high heat for the second out. Brentz strikes out swinging is now 0-for-4 for the third straight game. No score
Top 8th: Beckham whistles a low liner into center field and the charging Justin Henry makes a spectacular diving play for the first out. The McCoy Stadium faithful give him a well-deserved round of applause for the effort. Balnome reaches first on a walk, his second free pass of the night. Bourgeois flies out to left. Villareal gets Anderson swinging to end the inning, earning a first pump from Vazquez and a rousing cheer from the crowd. No score
Bottom 7th: Vazquez doesn't look good in his at-bat, swinging and missing off his front foot on the final two offerings from Juan Sandoval. Meneses fouls away five pitches in an nine pitch showdown that ends with a groundout to second. Henry flies to left for the second time tonight, ending the inning, the second straight 1-2-3 for Durham. No score
Top 7th: Fontenot skies the first pitch of the inning to right, again the wind knocks it down and Brentz makes the out. DiSarcina lifts Beato for Brayan Villareal. After issuing a walk to Flores in an 8 pitch battle, Kiermaier flies to shallow left for the second out. Figueroa grounds to Meneses for the final out. No score
Bottom 6th: Brentz goes down on Ks for the second time tonight. He is 0-for-3 on the evening. Butler, first pitch swinging, flies out to center. Holt waits for the second pitch to swing, but has similar results, flying out to left field. No score
Top 6th: Hamilton juggles a hard grounder by Beckham, but recovers in time to flip to Barnes for the out. Barnes puts Belnome on with four straight balls and manager Gary DiSarcina comes out to spell his starter who had a very solid night, but ran into a high pitch count early, or he could have gone longer. Pedro Beato is the reliever of choice for the PawSox. Bourgeois opposite fields a single to welcome Beato to the fray and for the second straight inning the Bulls have a man in scoring position. Anderson shoots a lazy fly to shallow center, handled by Henry for the second out. Diaz goes ranging to his left on a chopper in the grass to record the final out on Guyer. No score
Bottom 5th: Meneses lifts a long fly ball to left, but the wind does a good job at killing the momentum of the ball and it's caught before the track. Henry draws a walk, the fifth by Buschmann, a season-high. Diaz takes a 3-0 pitch off the his left bicep and the Sox have two on with one out, their biggest threat of the game so far. On an 0-2 count to Hassan, Henry and Diaz make a break for it and pull off the double steal without a throw. Hassan then goes down looking and Durham manager Charlie Montoyo pulls the hook on Buschmann for the night. Lefty Adam Libertore comes on to face Mark Hamilton who swings at the first pitch and grounds it softly to second, ending the inning. No score
Top 5th: Fontenot works Barnes for a free pass, the first yielded by the PawSox starter. Flores shows bunt on the first pitch, but draws it back. Gets the second pitch and drops down a nice one in front of Barnes who plays it to first for the out. After getting down 2-0 in the count to Kiermaier, Barnes manages to force a fly ball to foul territory that Alex Hassan gets to just before the wall. Figueroa manages to not K this time, but grounds to third to end the frame. No score
Bottom 4th: Butler skies a 2-2 offering to center field for out number one. Holt goes down swinging for the second out. Vazquez pops out in foul territory as Durham and Buschmann enjoy their first 1-2-3 inning. No score
Top 4th: Belnome becomes the seventh strikeout victim for Barnes, swinging ahead of a 78 mph changeup. Bourgeois rips a single over Jonathan Diaz at third, nearly decapitating the third baseman. Anderson skies one behind the plate and Vazquez has just enough room between him and the netting to make the catch. Guyer rips a shot back up the middle that barely misses Barnes, but Brock Holt, who was moving to the bag on the running Bourgeois, was stationed perfectly to make the play and end the inning. Barnes is up to 68 pitches, 46 for strikes. No score
Bottom 3rd: Justin Henry flies out to left. Diaz strikes out swinging and cannot beat the throw down to third after it hit the dirt. In a tough at-bat Alex Hassan draws a walk. It's the third in as many innings for Buschmann. Hamilton makes it four walks as he goes down to first after four straight balls. Bryce Brentz grabs hold of an 0-2 pitch and puts a charge into it, but it is caught on the warning track, ending the threat. No score
Top 3rd: Kiermaier leads off with a grounder to Meneses and nearly beats out the play as the shortstop hesitated for a moment as the speedy Kiermaier got up the line in a hurry. Figueroa goes down swinging for Barnes sixth K of the night. Jonathan Diaz fields a Tim Beckham grounder at third and tosses over to Hamilton to end the inning. A much needed 1-2-3 for Barnes who used only 10 pitches that inning. No score
Bottom 2nd: Bryce Brentz continues to slump, leading off with a strikeout on three straight pitches. Dan Butler follows with a single back up the box for the second PawSox hit of the night. Brock Holt hits a shallow fly to left, turned into an adventurous out thanks to Tim Beckham who charged out towards left fielder Jason Bourgeois who tipped the ball seemingly thinking that a collision was imminent. Thankfully for the Bulls Beckham came up with the ball on a far-from-routine 7-6 putout. Christian Vazquez patiently draws a walk on four straight pitches from Buschmann. The inning ends with two PawSox left on base when Heiker Meneses grounds out to short. No score
Top 2nd: Bourgeois leads off with a harmless pop up to second, handled by Brock Holt for the first out. Leslie Anderson gets a hold of a 1-1 fastball and lines it over Bryce Brentz's head in right-center. Brentz got a bad jump on the ball, but it took off on him and he most likely had no play on it to begin with. Barnes mixing in a lot more off speed stuff here in the second, with mixed results. Brandon Guyer takes a 95 mph fastball opposite field for a single and as Anderson was rounding third, Brentz came up with a perfect throw to home, sending Anderson scrambling back to third. Barnes goes to 94 mph on the outside corner to get Mike Fontenot looking. Barnes works his way out of the jam by straight attacking the last two batters of the inning as Jesus Flores becomes strikeout victim number five. No score
Bottom 1st: Justin Henry gets the PawSox off on the right foot with a solid single through the right side of the infield. After a couple of pickoff attempts over to first, Henry breaks for second and is thrown out by Jesus Flores with relative ease. Jonathan Diaz draws a walk. Alex Hassan can't hold up on strike three as he goes down swinging. Mark Hamilton laces a 1-1 pitch to left, but Jason Bourgeois gets to it charging in, ending the inning. No score
Top 1st: Matt Barnes comes out firing four straight fastballs that steadily increased in speed, but Kevin Kiermaier bloops one out to center and a charging Justin Henry loses it in the lights for a leadoff single. Cole Figueroa goes down looking on some inside heat. Christian Vazquez nearly catches Keirmaier napping at first with a snap throw down to Mark Hamilton. Barnes retires Tim Beckham on a 78 mph changeup that Beckham simply was not ready for, swinging way out in front of it. Kiermaier steals second base, but Barnes fires 95 past Belnome to end the inning. Barnes uses 22 pitches to get through. No
The Governors’ Cup Finals move north as Pawtucket opens the gates to McCoy Stadium for the final games of the season. Now it’s a matter of if we’ll get two or three more games before it’s a wrap. Thus far the series has belonged to the pitchers as both offenses have been stagnant and most scores have not been of the garden variety.
Tonight Durham righty Matt Buschmann toes the rubber in search of gaining the Bulls an advantage in this series. He was originally drafted by San Diego in the 15th round of the 2006 draft and has bounced around the minors the for the eight seasons, landing the Rays system last year. He has made 188 appearances, 17 starts for Durham this season and is 8-2 with a 2.97 ERA with 104 strikeouts in 97 innings. He was beat up pretty good in his one start versus the PawSox back on July 21st, allowing seven runs on eight hits and two walks.
Matt Barnes gets the ball in his third Triple-A start and will look to rebound off of a bit of a bumpy start last Saturday versus Rochester. In that game Barnes was pumping his heat up to 96-97 mph, so the Bulls can expect a steady diet of that tonight. It will be interesting to see how well he can mix in his other offerings to keep an already dormant offense off balance.
CF Kevin Kiermaier
3B Cole Figueroa
SS Tim Beckham
1B Vince Belnome
LF Jason Bourgeois
DH Leslie Anderson
RF Brandon Guyer
2B Mike Fontenot
C Jesus Flores
RHP Matt Buschmann
Pawtucket Red Sox
CF Justin Henry
3B Jonathan Diaz
LF Alex Hassan
1B Mark Hamilton
RF Bryce Brentz
DH Dan Butler
2B Brock Holt
C Christian Vazquez
SS Heiker Meneses
RHP Matt Barnes
Excited that I get to pitch on Friday the 13th— Matt Barnes (@mattbarnesRHP) September 13, 2013
GOVERNORS’ CUP FINAL
(series tied, 1-1)
Game 1: Pawtucket 2, Durham 1
Game 2: Durham 2, Pawtucket 1
Game 3: Friday, September 13, Durham at PawSox, 7:05 p.m.
Game 4: Saturday, September 14, Durham at PawSox, 6:05 p.m.
*Game 5: Sunday, September 15, Durham at PawSox, 1:05 p.m.
* - if necessary
Much like Game 1 of the Governors’ Cup Final, Game 2 was one for the pitchers, with reversed results as the Durham Bulls returned the favor by coming back from a 1-0 deficit to defeat Pawtucket, 2-1, and even things up in the best-of-five series.
Steven Wright put forth another valiant effort for the PawSox, but would depart after giving up one run in both the sixth and seventh innings.
Wright threw 104 pitches over 6 2/3 innings, allowing five hits and three walks while striking out six.
Durham starter J.D. Martin allowed just one run on four hits and a walk in his six innings and was followed by relievers C.J. Riefenhauser and Kirby Yates who allowed just a walk over the final three frames.
In total the Bulls pitchers struck out nine PawSox batters.
Pawtucket pushed across their only run in the third inning when Jonathan Diaz’s groundout to short plated Justin Henry from third base for an early, 1-0, lead.
The PawSox were unable to produce much offense from there, putting only four more men on base the rest of the way, none of which advanced past second base.
The Bulls gained the momentum when Jason Bourgeois scored on a passed ball in the sixth to tie the game and then they capitalized when Kevin Kiermaier drove in Craig Albernaz with a seventh inning double.
One takeaway from watching this game, besides the intense pitching performances on both ends, was the continued fine play in the PawSox infield, in particular Brock Holt’s quickness in turning a double play.
The series now makes its way to Pawtucket's McCoy Stadium, with Friday and Saturday night games both happening for sure, while Sunday sits in wait if necessary.
You can purchase great seats to all of the remaining games – your last chance this year to catch ANY Minor League Baseball in the region – by clicking here or calling 401-724-7300.
Matt Barnes – ranked as the 54th best prospect in the game and the Red Sox third ranked pitching prospect according to MLB.com – gets the start on Friday night, so get out and support your future Red Sox as they look to defend their Governors’ Cup crown.
If Game 1 was any indication as to how this Governors’ Cup final will shape up, then we’re in for a dandy of a baseball showcase in the coming days
It’s not often that a top-notch pitching matchup truly lives up the hype, but Durham’s Jake Odorizzi and Pawtucket’s Anthony Ranaudo were both sensational last night, each allowing just four hits before departing.
Ranaudo kept the PawSox in it through his six innings of work, giving up just one run in the second inning while striking out four.
Unlike his start in the semifinals versus Rochester where he continuously missed high with his pitches, Ranaudo was throwing down in the zone and was consistent with his fastball which was averaging around 91-92 miles-per-hour.
Odorizzi was a hair better, striking out seven and not giving up a run over seven innings. He did a phenomenal job of mixing in all of his offerings and as he surpassed 90 pitches into the seventh inning he reared back and blew 94 mph heat past Dan Butler to finish his night by striking out the side.
The good news for Pawtucket was that Odorizzi was unable to go the distance, and once out of the game they took full advantage, getting to reliever Jeff Beliveau immediately in the eighth.
After a Justin Henry single and a Heiker Meneses hit-by-pitch, Brock Holt (2-for-4) once again came up big when it counted the most, smoking a hot grounder to the right of second baseman Mike Fontenot who could not make a diving stop on the ball, allowing both Henry and Meneses to score and giving Pawtucket a 2-1 lead that they would hold on to.
Jeremy Hazelbaker came up with a big diving catch in foul territory to end the eighth inning with runners on second and third, preserving the one-run lead and reliever Anthony Carter worked out of a one-out bases loaded situation to earn the save.
Expect much of the same in Wednesday’s Game 2 as the PawSox put out the same lineup (with Alex Hassan and Hazelbaker switching up DH/LF roles) which has won them their last two games.
They will be up against International League Pitcher of the Year J.D. Martin, who was 16-4 on the season, including a win in his only start versus the PawSox.
Steven Wright makes the start for Pawtucket, coming off of a win against Rochester in game three of the semifinal series in which he dazzled with a knuckle-fastball combo that kept the Red Wings guessing over 6 1/3 scoreless innings.
In two starts against the Bulls this season Wright only logged five innings, allowing four runs (two earned), five hits and six walks while picking up a loss.
Over his last six starts, including the postseason, Wright has allowed just six earned runs and is 4-1.
We will pick up the live blogging of this series when the clubs make their way up to Pawtucket on Friday night, following a Thursday off-day for travel, but you can catch the action at MiLB.TV (subscription required) or by checking the local radio listings here.
GAME 2 STARTING LINEUPS
Pawtucket Red Sox
3B Jonathan Diaz
2B Brock Holt
LF Alex Hassan
1B Mark Hamilton
RF Bryce Brentz
DH Jeremy Hazelbaker
C Dan Butler
CF Justin Henry
SS Heiker Meneses
CF Kevin Kiermaier
3B Cole Figueroa
SS Tim Beckham
LF Jason Bourgeois
1B Vince Belnome
RF Brandon Guyer
DH Shelley Duncan
2B Mike Fontenot
C Craig Albernaz
#thecupmatters Thats is all.— Dan Butler (@DanButler_12) September 10, 2013
It is the team’s first Carolina League Championship since becoming an affiliate of the Red Sox back in 2009 and the fifth overall title for Salem.
Sean Coyle, who returned to the team after missing their first round series with an elbow injury, was named the series MVP, capping a three game run in with a 2-for-3, 4 RBI night in Tuesday’s game. Coyle, who also missed time this season with knee and thumb injuries, hit .417 with 3 doubles and 7 RBIs in the playoffs.
William Cuevas picked up the win in the clincher, going 6 innings and allowing just 2 earned runs on 6 hits and walk. David Chester and Nick Natoli each had two hits apiece in the win.
The Red Sox finished their magical run with ten straight wins, including five straight over two playoff series to become the second Red Sox affiliate in as many years to win a league title, following the PawSox 2012 Governors’ Cup Championship run.
Pawtucket is looking to make it three titles for the Sox farm as they attempt to defend their title versus Durham in the International League Championship series, of which they took a 1-0 game lead with a 2-1 victory on Tuesday night.
Durham Bulls (87-57, IL South champion)
vs. Pawtucket Red Sox (80-63, IL North champion)
Season series: Pawtucket, 5-3
Titles (most recent)
Durham – 3 (2009)
Pawtucket – 3 (2012)
After a thrilling series against the Rochester Red Wings that went the full five games, the Pawtucket Red Sox now stand just three wins away from a successful defense of their 2012 Governors’ Cup Championship. Once again that road goes through North Carolina. Where last season their journey took them through Charlotte, this time around they will take Tobacco Road through Durham where they begin their best-of-five series tonight. The Bulls swept the Indianapolis Indians in three games, outscoring their opponent 10-6.
Game one features a matchup of two top pitching prospects. Bulls righty Jake Odorizzi, ranked as the 39th best prospect in the game by MLB.com, will face off against Pawtucket’s Anthony Ranaudo, ranked 80th overall. Both pitchers got a start in the semifinal round, with profoundly different results. Ranaudo struggled early in game one versus Rochester, lasting only two innings after allowing seven hits, a walk and four earned runs. On the flip side Odorizzi was downright unhittable, allowing just one base knock and three walks while striking out nine in seven scoreless innings of work.
While Ranaudo has not faced Durham this season, Odorizzi has made two starts against the PawSox. The first, back on May 5th, was even better than his game one performance against Indy. In that May matchup Odorizzi held Pawtucket hitless over seven innings and served up just four walks as he picked up the win in a combination no-hitter at McCoy Stadium. In a July 18th start against the PawSox, Odorizzi’s numbers more resembled Ranaudo’s semifinal game one as he was saddled with a loss after allowing seven hits and four earned runs in 3 2/3 innings. That PawSox lineup featured the now departed Jackie Bradley Jr., Will Middlebrooks and Xander Bogaerts.
On the offensive side of the ball neither team really burned any bats in the semifinals, despite the PawSox 17 runs. The Bulls had just a .198 team average in their three games with 18 hits, only seven of which were for extra bases. Pawtucket was a bit better at a .247 team mark, but managed to punch out 11 extra-base hits, including two triples and two homers. In round one the Bulls were led by former number 1 overall pick (2008) Tim Beckham, who posted a .385 average in three games and third baseman Cole Figueroa, who batted .333. For Pawtucket, number nine hitter Heiker Meneses had a .333 average with three RBIs in five games while Brock Holt, who batted just .190, also came up big when it counted, driving in three runs as well.
The PawSox are looking to become the second straight team to repeat as International League champions, following Columbus’ titles in 2010 and 2011. Prior to the Clippers two titles the Bulls had won in 2009 and also had back-to-back titles of their own in 2002 and 2003. In that 2003 series the Bulls swept the PawSox in three games.
GAME 1 STARTING LINEUPS
Pawtucket Red Sox
3B Jonathan Diaz
2B Brock Holt
DH Alex Hassan
1B Mark Hamilton
RF Bryce Brentz
LF Jeremy Hazelbaker
C Dan Butler
CF Justin Henry
SS Heiker Meneses
RHP Anthony Ranaudo
SS Tim Beckham
3B Cole Figueroa
LF Jason Bourgeois
1B Vince Belnome
RF Brandon Guyer
DH Leslie Anderson
2B Ryan Roberts
CF Kevin Kiermaier
C Jesus Flores
RHP Jake Odorizzi
GOVERNORS’ CUP FINAL
Game 1: Tuesday, September 10, PawSox at Durham, 7:05 p.m.
Game 2: Wednesday, September 11, PawSox at Durham, 7:05 p.m.
Game 3: Friday, September 13, Durham at PawSox, 7:05 p.m.
*Game 4: Saturday, September 14, Durham at PawSox, 6:05 p.m.
*Game 5: Sunday, September 15, Durham at PawSox, 1:05 p.m.
* - if necessary
Governors' Cup Semifinals
Rochester Red Wings (2-2)
at Pawtucket Red Sox (2-2)
PREGAME NOTES: It all comes down to this. Win and advance. Lose and go home for a long winter’s rest (with a stop off at instructs for most). Rochester has outscored the PawSox, 19-14, through four games and have out hit Pawtucket 46-35. The Red Wings pitching staff has a 2.31 ERA in their four games in comparison to the PawSox 4.63. The PawSox do hold an edge in striking out their opponent, having whiffed 35 Rochester batters through 35 innings, but thus far it seems as if Rochester holds the edge in most every other category. Regardless, this series is even and it some timely hitting in Pawtucket's favor will wipe that Red Wings edge right off the board. ... The winning team in each game has scored first and has done so within the first three innings, so an early lead could be the key to victory once more. … Charlie Haeger looks to do with his knuckleball what Steven Wright did on Friday night. He did not face the Red Wings in any of his 11 starts for the PawSox this season, but is familiar with some of their lineup having faced many of their batters while they were with the New Britain Rock Cats and Haeger was pitching for Portland earlier in the year. … Gary DiSarcina has shaken up the lineup once more as they ready to square up against Virgil Vasquez who picked up a loss in his only start against the PawSox way back on April 13th. Jonathan Diaz moves to the leadoff spot while Brad Holt bumps back down to the second slot. Diaz had batted near the bottom of the order in his prior three games this postseason while Holt has been everywhere from the leadoff spot to seventh in the lineup. It’s an obvious reach in an effort to replace Jackie Bradley Jr., their ideal leadoff hitter who looks to now be with the big club for the long haul, but DiSarcina will be looking to utilize that speed at the top of the order to set the table. … Of course with no Bradley once more, the outfield has been shifted around as well. Alex Hassan moves from left field to the DH slot, opening up a spot for Jeremy Hazelbaker to return to the outfield after DHing in the first two games. Justin Henry takes over in center after Shannon Wilkerson made his Triple-A debut their last night. Bryce Brentz remains in right. … Dan Butler will be back behind the dish for Haeger and Mark Hamilton takes over for Drew Sutton at first base. ... It was also just recently announced that Allen Webster has followed Bradley to the big club, leaving the PawSox without his services out of the bullpen. It is expected that Terry Doyle will take his spot on the roster and he will be needed after Pawtucket needed to use four relievers last night. … I think that Pawtucket will need the likes of Brentz and Hassan to really step up at the plate today as it should require quite a few runs to pull out a win today, especially with that PawSox bullpen on the depleted side. ... Unfortunately there will be no live blog today, but you can follow all the action via Gameday at MiLB or watch on MiLB.TV. You can also listen to the live call of the game from Jeff Levering on the PawSox radio broadcast, check here for your local station.
Rochester Red Wings
LF Antoan Richardson (.231)
2B James Beresford (.389)
SS Eduardo Escobar (.294)
1B Jeff Clement (.333)
DH Deibinson Romero (.444)
CF Aaron Hicks (.385)
RF Eric Farris (.357)
3B Ray Olmedo (.412)
C Eric Fryer (.231)
RHP Virgil Vasquez
Pawtucket Red Sox
3B Jonathan Diaz (.182)
2B Brad Holt (.235)
DH Alex Hassan (.133)
1B Mark Hamilton (.333)
RF Bryce Brentz (.250)
LF Jeremy Hazelbaker (.125)
C Dan Butler (.250)
CF Justin Henry (.250)
SS Heiker Meneses (.308)
RHP Charlie Haeger
Game over: Rochester knocked the PawSox to the canvas in their six-run fifth inning in which they had 11 batters come to the plate. Thankfully for Pawtucket there is one more round to this fight, tomorrow at 1:05 p.m. The winner will go on to face the Durham Bulls who sit in wait after sweeping Indianapolis in their first round series. Pawtucket sends knuckleballer Charlie Haeger to the hill and Rochester counters with Virgil Vasquez.
Bottom 9th: It's a leadoff walk for Hassan. Hamliton picks up a free pass of his own. Brentz grounds into a 6-4-3 double play and the PawSox are down to their final out. Diaz bloops a single past the bare hand of second baseman Beresford and Hassan scores the PawSox first run. Vazquez squibs one back to the mound to end this one. Red Wings, 9-1
Top 9th: Romero with a leadoff double as Hassan attempts a diving catch on a sinking liner, but comes up short. Hicks draws a walk. Holt ranges into the outfield grass to collect a Farris flyout. A 3-6-1 double play off the bat of Olmedo ends the inning. Red Wings, 9-0
Bottom 8th: Meneses Ks to lead off. Holt grounds out to first. Sutton pops out in four territory, handled easily by Olmedo at third. Red Wings, 9-0
Top 8th: Fryer leads off with a ground out to second base. Richardson finds some grass in left for a single. Another ball finds another hole for the Red Wings as Beresford singles through the right side of the infield. DiSarcina yanks Villareal for Chris Carpenter. Escobar Ks. Clement grounds out to second to end the inning. Red Wings, 9-0
Bottom 7th: Diaz flies to right for the first out. Vazquez Ks swinging. Wilkerson with an ugly at-bat and K, Diamond's eighth. Red Wings, 9-0
Top 7th: We may go with the abridged blog moving forward here, unless something major occurs. Clement flies out to left. Romero walks. Hicks goes U3, moving Romero up to second. RBI single into center for Farris. Brian Villareal on to pitch for Pawtucket. Olmedo ends the innings with a 3-1 ground out. Red Wings, 9-0
Bottom 6th: Sutton jacks a sky high pop up towards the backstop, but Fryer makes a great catch in scurrying to track it down. Hassan slams his bat down in disgust after flying out to right for the second out. Mark Hamilton keeps the inning alive with a lined single into center. Brentz goes down on strikes to end the inning. Diamond has struck out six PawSox through six innings. Red Wings, 8-0
Top 6th: De La Torre back on for Pawtucket gets Richardson looking, despite Richardson thinking he has just drawn his third walk of the game. Diaz comes up with a strong throw from the third base line to retire Beresford for the second out. A strikeout of Escobar gives Pawtucket, and the fans, and the media, a much needed 1-2-3 inning. Red Wings, 8-0
Bottom 5th: Vazquez starts things off with a single back up the box, his second of the game. Wilkerson pops one to the grass behind second base for the first out. Diamond gets Meneses swinging for his fifth strikeout of the game. Holt's sinking liner to left is tracked well by Richardson for out number three. Red Wings, 8-0
Top 5th: Barnes has Olmedo swinging wildly on some 93-94 mph fastballs, but Olemdo wins the battle with an opposite field single into left. It's the third time that Rochester has put their leadoff man on. Barnes sizzles Fryers bat in half, but again the batter gets the better of the pitcher with a single to left. A wild pitch moves up both runners and a four-pitch walk to Richardson loads the bases as DiSarcina heads out to spell Barnes. Alex Wilson on to pitch for the PawSox, gets Beresford to bounce back to the mound, but misplays the ball and all runners are safe. Escobar goes to center field with a single as the Red Wings are going station-to-station here with no outs. Clement has seen enough of that action so he ropes a double to the wall in left, scoring two more and he pulls into second with his second double of the day. Romero gets in on the fun with a single through the hole in left scoring Escobar. Hicks breaks his bat off at the handle, but still manages to squeeze the ball between the line and Sutton at first for a double and yet another Red Wings run. The ninth batter of the inning, Farris, goes down looking for the first out. That's it for Wilson as DiSarcina brings Jose De La Torre on, to hopefully get 14 straight outs and move this game along. Just when it looked as it Olmedo was going to have his second single of the inning, Brock Holt snatches his liner for the second out. Diaz with a fantastic back-hand snatch of a rocket by Fryer leads to the last out of the inning. Mercy! Red Wings, 8-0
Bottom 4th: Hassan goes 5-3 for a leadoff out. A broken bat single for Hamilton gives the PawSox a runner for the fourth straight inning, but can they take advantage? Brentz quickly follows up with a single of his own, but Diaz grounds right to the third baseman who steps on the bag and fires to first, ending the inning with a double play. The PawSox are not getting the breaks tonight. Red Wings, 2-0
Top 4th: Clement lines one right down the first base line, just past the dive of Sutton and into the corner for a leadoff double. Romero founds the spot behind first base where no one can get to his blooper and he is on with a single, putting runners at the corners with no outs. Hicks blasts the first pitch he sees out to center, Wilkerson tracks it, but it's plenty deep enough to score the tagging Clement. Barnes and the PawSox escape with any further damage as Farris goes 6-4-3 on the inning ending double play. Red Wings, 2-0
Bottom 3rd: Heiker Meneses strokes a 1-0 pitch to center for a leadoff single. Holt grounds to second for the second time, taking down Meneses in the process on a crowd deflating double play. Sutton reaches again, this time with a seeing-eye single that dropped between three Red Wings in shallow right field. With the scoreboard showing 3-2, Sutton went with the pitch which bounced to the catcher and was really only the third ball of Hassan's at-bat. Sutton was gunned down at second base by a solid margin and was left staring up at the scoreboard. Red Wings, 1-0
Top 3rd: Richardson's bunt goes skyward to second base and is caught by Holt without issue. Beresford takes one out to left for the second out. Barnes blows away Escobar for the second time with a 96 mph fastball. A much more efficient inning by Barnes there, needing only ten pitches for the 1-2-3. Red Wings, 1-0
Bottom 2nd: Bryce Brentz grounds out to second on a 2-0 pitch to start the bottom half of the inning. Jonathan Diaz strikes out and is thrown out at first after the ball briefly got away from catcher Eric Fryer. Christian Vazquez fists a single opposite field for his second hit at the Triple-A level, both in the playoffs. Shannon Wilkerson swipes at a ball in the dirt, striking out to end the inning. Red Wings, 1-0
Top 2nd: Aaron Hicks shows bunt, but pulls back on Barnes first offering of the inning. Hicks them flies out to shallow right as Barnes continues with a steady diet of fastballs. On the seventh pitch of the at-bat, Eric Farris lines a single into right-center after a solid battle with Barnes. Ray Olmedo is handcuffed on an 0-2 pitch and bounces one a few feet in front of the plate, Barnes field on to first for the second out. Eric Fryer hits a laser shot to center field, but Shannon Wilkerson shows his range in coming in for the low liner, snatching it to end the inning. Barnes looks more dialed in now, but still needed 18 pitches to get by. Red Wings, 1-0
Bottom 1st: With JBJ back with the big club, Brock Holt assumes leadoff duties for Pawtucket, but grounds out to second. Drew Sutton reaches on throwing errors by shortstop Eduardo Escboar on a routine grounder. Alex Hassan takes a big cut at strike three and Mark Hamilton swings at one in the dirt for back-to-back, inning ending Ks. Red Wings, 1-0
Top 1st: Matt Barnes shows some heavy heat right off the bat, but walks Antoan Richardson on five pitches. Barnes ratchets the heat up to 96 mph in whiffing James Beresford for the first out. Richardson, who was on the go earlier but halted by a foul ball, steals second base with Christian Vazquez throw a little high. Barnes blows the very next pitch past Eduardo Escobar for the second out. Richardson moves up to the third on passed ball. Jeff Clement pokes a single into right field to plate Richardson as the Red Wings strike first. Deibinson Romero breaks his bat on a ground out to short that ends the inning. Barnes used up 23 pitches that inning, looked extremely powerful at points, looked nervous and a bit erratic as well. Red Wings, 1-0
Pregame: The PawSox will look to wrap up their best-of-five series against Rochester tonight at McCoy Stadium. The defending Governors' Cup Champions used an 11 hit attack on Friday to take a 2-1 series lead. If game five is needed, it will be played at McCoy on Sunday at 1:05 p.m. ... The Durham Bulls made quick work of first round opponent Indianapolis. A 2-1 victory on Friday gave them the sweep and they will now enjoy a few extra days of rest before the Championship Series begins on Tuesday. ... Christian Vazquez, who caught games two for Pawtucket, will be back behind the dish again tonight. He has been behind the plate for 18 of Matt Barnes' 25 starts this season. Barnes will be making his second Triple-A start with hopes of carrying over the success of his seven strikeout, 5 1/3 scoreless inning debut against Syracuse on August 29th.... With the promotion of Jackie Bradley Jr., Shannon Wilkerson was activated and inserted into the lineup at center field tonight. The right-handed Wilkerson will bat seventh in the lineup and PawSox announcer Jeff Levering, by way of the Providence Journal's Brian MacPherson, points to the lefty-righty matchup presented by Red Wings starter Scott Diamond as the reason for Wilkerson getting the nod over lefty Jeremy Hazelbaker. It will be Wilkerson's Triple-A debut.
Rochester Red Wings
LF Antoan Richardson
2B James Beresford
SS Eduardo Escobar
1B Jeff Clement
DH Deibinson Romero
CF Aaron Hicks
RF Eric Farris
3B Ray Olmedo
C Eric Fryer
LHP Scott Diamond
Pawtucket Red Sox
2B Brad Holt
1B Drew Sutton
LF Alex Hassan
DH Mark Hamilton
RF Bryce Brentz
2B Jonathan Diaz
C Christian Vazquez
CF Shannon Wilkerson
SS Heiker Meneses
RHP Matt Barnes
Game over: The PawSox move one win away from returning to the Governors' Cup final with the 5-1 win. They finished the night with 11 hits, led by Mark Hamilton's 2-for-2 effort that included a double, home run, two RBIs and two walks. Pawtucket hosts game four Saturday night at 6:05 p.m. Steven Wright earns the win on the heels of 6 1/3 scoreless innings. Ryan Rowland-Smith picks up the save.
Top 9th: Rowland-Smith dispatches Beresford via the strikeout, his third straight. Escobar takes a 2-2 pitch out to center, but Bradley had plenty of room and time to get under it. With a 1-2 count, Parmelee works things back in his favor as he draws the walk. Rowland-Smith expresses his displeasure with some of the calls on that sequence. Parmelee takes second on a defense indifference, but the game ends on the next pitch when Clement pops up to Holt at second base. PawSox, 5-1
Bottom 8th: Parmelee tracks down a Butler pop up in foul territory, snatching it right before it goes over the wall past the stands down the right-side line. Holt gets his second single of the day through the right-side hole. Advances to second on a wild pitch from May. Diaz Ks. Meneses drops a single in front of Hicks, bringing Holt around for the fifth Sox run of the night. Bradley, first pitch swinging, pokes a single through the right-side. The inning ends on a Sutton ground out to first base. Rochester coming down to their final chances. PawSox, 5-1
Top 8th: Clement becomes Beato's third straight strikeout victim. Hicks smacks a single just past the reach of Diaz at third. That's the second hit of the night for Hicks who doubles in the second. Beato rears back for that extra something and finds 95 mph, but unfortunately it's for ball four to Farris. Pitching coach Rich Sauveur comes out for a very brief talk. Ryan Rowland-Smith begins to throw in the PawSox bullpen. Olmedo singles into right, scoring Hicks from second, breaking the shutout. Brian Dinkelman comes on to pinch hit for Fryer and that gets DiSarcina up to pull the plug on Beato's night. Rowland-Smith comes on for the lefty-on-lefty matchup. Rochester goes to the bench again and Deibinson Romero will now be the batter as Dinkelman takes a seat. Rowland-Smith with the big strike out of Fryer and another of leadoff man Mitchell, ending the Red Wings rally. PawSox, 4-1
Bottom 7th: Sutton flies out to left and Hassan does the same for a quick two outs. May gives up just the second Red Wings walk of the night, both coming to Hamilton. Brentz does down on strikes to end the inning. PawSox, 4-0
Top 7th: Wright back on for Pawtucket as Beato gets back up in the bullpen. Fryer goes 5-3 to start things off with an out. Mitchell picks up his first hit of the game, a single into right field. Rochester has a hit in all but the first inning and that will bring an end to Wright's night, but not before the 4,681 on hand give him a rousing ovation for his efforts. Very solid effort by Wright tonight, saving the bullpen in the process. Pedro Beato on to pitch for Pawtucket. Beresford takes Beato's first offering down the line for a bunt single. Beato blows a 93 mph heater by Escobar for the second out. Then goes down a tic to 92 mph to K Parmelee and end the threat. PawSox, 4-0
Bottom 6th: Trevor May, the No. 7 ranked prospect in the Twins system, relieves Dean who allowed eight hits and four runs (three earned) in five innings. Butler sends Hicks all the way back to the wall in center, but is retired on a fly out. May records his first strikeout of the game on Holt. Diaz hits a routine grounder that looks to end the inning, but Olmedo boots it and Diaz reaches with two outs. Another routine grounder, this time to second base, is booted and Meneses makes it to first. A third straight infield grounder finally ends the inning as Bradley goes 6-3 to halt the error-laden rally. PawSox, 4-0
Top 6th: Wright back out for Pawtucket. Parmelee avoids his third K of the night, working the count full before walking. Clement's towering fly is handled by Diaz at third. Wright dismisses Hicks on strikes, his fourth K of the game. On a 2-2 count Farris takes one right back up the middle for a two-out single. Pedro Beato begins to warm in the Pawtucket pen. A wild pitch pushes runners to second and third. Wright gets out of the game with a strikeout of Olmedo. PawSox, 4-0
Bottom 5th: Bradley grounds out to second base for the third time tonight (one being a fielder's choice). Mitchell made a valiant effort on a fly ball in foul territory off the bat of Sutton. At full speed the right fielder slammed into the wall chest first as he was getting to the ball. He could not hold on, but bounced right back to his feet. Sutton punches a single to left, his second of the day. Hassan becomes Dean's first strikeout victim of the night. But Hamilton follows with a two-out, two-run homer to right field. Hamilton (2-for-2, double, HR, walk) took the first for a long ride. Brentz ends the inning on a fly out to right-center. PawSox, 4-0
Top 5th: Wright gets Fryer to ground out to second to start the inning. Mitchell skies one to the back of the infield and Meneses gets under it for the second out. Beresford finds the whole between first and second for a single that extends the inning. Escobar grounds one into the hole at short, but Diaz makes a nice throw on the play and Sutton another nice scoop at first to end the inning. Wright has allowed four hits and three walks, but no runs through five. PawSox, 2-0
Bottom 4th: Holt ground back to Dean for the first out. Diaz takes the first pitch he sees out to right for out number two. Meneses takes a 2-0 offering to center, ending the inning. It's the first 1-2-3 frame for the Red Wings. PawSox, 2-0
Top 4th: Wright works his third K of the inning, the second on Parmelee. Clement draws a walk, the third in the last two innings by Wright. Hicks pushes Brentz back to the right field warning track for out number two. Farris, who has been busy in left field all night, grounds one right on the line to third base, but Diaz has no play and it goes for a single. The inning ends on an Olmedo ground out to second. PawSox, 2-0
Bottom 3rd: Hassan grounds out to second base to start the inning. One pitch after hooking a 375 foot foul ball into the soccer field next door, Hamilton goes down the line in right for a double, the first PawSox extra base hit of the night. Brentz moves Hamilton up on an opposite field sac-fly to right. Butler follows with a shot out to left-center that Farris makes a spectacular diving catch on to save a run. Farris showed solid speed and range in extending to get that one. PawSox, 2-0
Top 3rd: Ray Olmedo just sneaks a hit in down the left field line, slicing it enough to earn him a leadoff double, the Wings second of the night. Eric Fryer draws a walk as the last two batters in Rochester's order reach to start the inning. Mitchell drops a bunt right in front of home plate, Wright plays it over to first and the runners advance a base. Beresford draws the second walk of the inning to load the bases with one out and Wright seems to be stumbling a bit here. And just like that Wright gets out of the jam on a 3-6-1 double play. PawSox, 2-0
Bottom 2nd: Dan Butler leads off with a hard grounder to short on a 1-1 count. Red Wings SS Eduardo Escobar throws wildly to first and Butler finds himself on second with no outs. Steady Brock Holt drops an opposite field single in front of left fielder Eric Farris and Butler scores with ease. Jonathan Diaz goes back up the box for the third straight PawSox single. Heiker Meneses breaks up that string with a text book push bunt down the first base line, pushing up Holt and Diaz. Bradley grounds to second in his second at-bat, but it was deep enough to score Holt from third and move up Diaz with two outs. Sutton gets a hold of a Dean fastball, but Farris gets to in front of the warning track. Early damage has been done though, as Pawtucket has punched out five singles thus far and own a two-run lead after two. PawSox, 2-0
Top 2nd: Wright uses four pitches to strike out Chris Parmelee to start the inning. Jeff Clement grounds out to Drew Sutton at first. On a 1-1 pitch Aaron Hicks gets a solid piece of it, sending it down to the wall in front of the PawSox bullpen in left for a double. With an 0-2 count on Eric Farris, Hicks steals third uncontested. On the next pitch Farris grounds one to Heiker Meneses at short and on a hurried throw, Sutton pulls off a run-saving backhand scoop out of the dirt to end the inning. No score
Bottom 1st: Jackie Bradley Jr. grounds out to second base to lead things off for the PawSox bats. Drew Sutton drills a single into center after an eight pitch at-bat. Alex Hassan laces an 0-1 pitch into left for the second straight PawSox single. Mark Hamilton draws a walk after working the count full, packing the sacks for Pawtucket with just one out. The rally is instantly squashed when Bryce Brentz hits an easy bounced back to Pat Dean who goes home for one and catcher-to-first completed the double play and ends the inning. No score
Top 1st: Steven Wright starts things off with a 77 mph knuckler for a strike, then gets Jermaine Mitchell to lift the next pitch to shallow left field for the game's first out. James Beresford follows with a line-out to short on a 1-1 pitch. After running the count full Eduardo Escobar goes down swinging. It's a 1-2-3 first for Wright who threw 11 pitches/7 for strikes and looks to have decent command of his knuckleball thus far. No score
Pregame: The shadows have crept across McCoy Stadium, pushing the last touches of sunshine out into the visitor's bullpen in right field. Game time temperature will be right around 60 degrees, but should dip considerably now that the sun is down for the night. Prior to the game Steven Wright asked myself and Brendan McGair of the Pawtucket Times if it was expected to be cold tonight. He was not happy with the answer we gave him. We'll keep an eye on how the knuckleball may be affected by all of this.
So far it has been first team to seven runs wins in the best-of-five first round matchup between the Pawtucket Red Sox and the Rochester Red Wings. With the first two games on their home turf, Rochester took game one, 7-1, but feel last night, 7-2, as the PawSox squared the series at a game apiece.
The series now shifts to Pawtucket, with game three’s first pitch set for 7:05 p.m. Knuckleballer Steven Wright gets the starting nod for the home team tonight and will be opposed by Boston College product Pat Dean. We will have a live, running blog of tonight's action, so please check back and feel free to leave comments as the PawSox look to defend their Governors' Cup title.
GAME NOTES: Matt Barnes was announced as the Saturday’s game four start for Pawtucket. He will be opposed by Rochester’s Scott Diamond who went 4-0 in six starts for the Red Wings. Barnes had a solid Triple-A debut versus Syracuse, striking out seven over 5 1/3 scoreless innings. “He pitched really well. Very similar to Ranaudo, very similar to Workman. Very aggressive, focused, threw strikes and he pitched a big game for us. He deserves [the start],” said PawSox manager Gary DiSarcina. “It’s a good experience for him.” … The team arrived back to the region at 5:30 a.m. following Thursday night’s win. “It was a little early,” said DiSarcina. “We’ve had 24, 25 games in a row where they are sort of like playoff games, so a lot of intense games. It’s good to make sure they get some rest.” … After 21 starts for Pawtucket this season, Allen Webster made his first relief appearance in the series opener, throwing one scoreless inning. It is a role that DiSarcina plans to keep him in through the duration of the playoffs. “He’s throwing strikes inside to right handed hitters,” said DiSarcina. “He looked comfortable, he looked confident and he threw strikes.” … As noted by the Rochester Red Wings, in the last eight seasons, 13 of 16 teams have gone on to win their first round series after winning game one. Pawtucket won the first game of their first round series versus Scranton/Wilkes-Barres last season and went on to sweep. In 2011 they lost their first round opener versus Lehigh Valley and were swept.
Rochester Red Wings
RF Jermaine Mitchell
2B James Beresford
SS Eduardo Escobar
1B Chris Parmelee
DH Jeff Clement
CF Aaron Hicks
LF Eric Farris
3B Ray Olmedo
C Eric Fryer
LHP Pat Dean
Pawtucket Red Sox
CF Jackie Bradley Jr.
1B Drew Sutton
LF Alex Hassan
DH Mark Hamilton
RF Bryce Brentz
C Dan Butler
2B Brock Holt
3B Jonathan Diaz
SS Heiker Meneses
RHP Steven Wright
After suffering a 7-1 loss in game one of their best-of-five series with the Rochester Red Wings on Wednesday night, the PawSox bounced back for a 7-2 victory Thursday, taking a 1-1 series back to McCoy Stadium for the weekend.
We had a man on the scene, Mr. Chris Fee, who was kind enough to send over a first-hand account of the rehab start by Clay Buchholz, which should be his last before he finally rejoins the Red Sox. With many thanks to Chris, we give you his rundown, along with a tight shot of Clay and his American flag shorts post game and a video of his post game
By Chris Fee
Clay Buchholz was making what was expected to be his final start for the Pawtucket Red Sox tonight in the first round of the Governor’s Cup Playoffs against the Rochester Red Wings.
There were talks before the game that Clay would be on a 70-pitch limit coming into his start tonight and through the first three innings he would make the most of it.
In the first Buchholz struck out two batters, allowing just one hit to reigning International League Player of the Week Eduardo Escobar, but otherwise getting out of the inning unscathed.
In the second inning he allowed a hit and a walk, but once again was able to get out of the inning with a strikeout. All three of the completed innings that Buchholz pitched he finished off with a strikeout.
“Curveball in my hand felt really good today, first pitch strikes and was getting 0-1, 0-2 counts. The pitch that I really need to have in my back pocket is the two seam fastball on both sides of the plate,” said Buchholz about how his pitch location was tonight.
The fourth inning, which would be the last for Buchholz, would be where he struggled the most following a long delay in the top of the inning in which the PawSox scored three runs, allowing some rust to build up for him.
After allowing a leadoff walk, Deibinson Romero hit a double deep to left-center field scoring Chris Parmelee. Then after retiring Aaron Hicks and Eric Farris, he allowed an RBI single to Ray Olmedo, which at 71 pitches would be the last hitter he would face tonight.
“I’m trying to get better and get back with the club,” said Buchholz after the game.
When he was asked if he was ready to go on Tuesday, he responded by saying “Absolutely.”
Overall Clay Buchholz pitched three and two-thirds innings, giving up four hits, two runs (both earned), two walks and five strikeouts on 71 pitches, 52 for strikes.
It appeared to me, and the crowd of 4,553 that he is ready to rejoin the Red Sox rotation and help them make a playoff push down the stretch.
Pawtucket went on to win the game 7-2, splitting the first two games in Rochester before heading back to McCoy Stadium with game set for Friday and Saturday, with Sunday in wait if the series goes the distance.--------------------------------------------------------------------------
Chris Fee writes for Twins Daily and the former Bus Leagues Baseball (an On Deck all-time favorite), among others. Check out his work here, follow him on Twitter @CJFee and email him at email@example.com.
Again, our endless thanks to Chris for lending a hand and we will be live blogging Game 3 from McCoy tomorrow night, so please check back for more as the PawSox continue their defense of the Governors' Cup.
It’s in his blood lines and the Red Sox 2013 fifth-round pick is determined to climb up the ladder to get to his ultimate goal of becoming a major leaguer, like his grandfather Jack.
Yet as a competitor, Littrell wants to win first-and-foremost and he has been granted just that in his first run as a pro with the Lowell Spinners, who have challenged for a playoff spot up to the final day of the season.
“The Cape [Cod League] was all about the draft and everyone was talking about the draft,” said Littrell, who played for the Harwich Mariners last summer. “It wasn’t like a win or lose thing, it was kind of like everyone was playing for themselves. You still wanted to win, and coaches got mad if you lost, but it didn’t have that [winning] feeling.”
Now the Lowell Spinners look to Littrell's stubborn, winning attitude as they try to close out their season on the right foot in Aberdeen.
“I like winning,” said Littrell. “It kind of eats me even, if I’m not pitching and you don’t win. It’s not the end of the world but you don’t like it. There is a bitter taste in your mouth.”
The University of Kentucky product has not worked long enough in any of his ten starts to qualify for his first pro win, so his 0-3 mark may not reflect his mental makeup, but he has more than carried his load for Lowell.
In 26 2/3 innings the lefty from Louisville has a 2.03 ERA, struck out 25 batters and has held right-handed hitters to a scant .206 batting average.
“It’s been a blast,” said Littrell of his debut in professional baseball. “I talked to [former Atlanta Braves pitcher and family friend] Kent Merker probably two hours before I left [to come to Lowell] and he was telling me, “You’re going to have the best time of your life. These next six weeks are going to be the best six weeks of your life.” It’s fun not having to worry about anything but baseball.”
As a senior at Louisville's Trinity High School, Littrell was named Louisville Slugger Kentucky High School Player of the Year and was ranked as the best prospect in the state while at
He added to his lure in three successful seasons with the University of Kentucky Wildcats where he compiled a 21-13 record, striking out 215 batters over 261 2/3 innings, against some of the best college talent in the nation in the SEC.
Now he is getting a chance to get reacquainted with some of his SEC friends and foes alike in the New York-Penn League, helping Littrell adjust with more comfort.
“There are SEC players all over the place,” said Littrell. “It’s fun because you know you have that connection, something to talk about off the field or during BP or something. Especially me being a pitcher with the hitters, you kind of know what to expect. You know their weakness, their strengths, so pitching against SEC players I have a feel for how to pitch and what not to throw them.”
That level of comfort was something that Littrell was unsure of when he first walked into the Spinners clubhouse after being drafted in June.
“I was a little nervous going somewhere new, you don’t know anyone or how you’re going to fit in, but everyone was open with welcoming arms,” said Littrell. “The guys are great.”
Now he is driven to follow in his grandfather and father’s footsteps.
His grandfather reached “The Show” in 1952 as an infielder with the Philadelphia Athletics and appeared in 111 games over four seasons in the big leagues.
Corey’s father Jack, an 11th round selection by the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1977 out of Oldham County (Kentucky) High School, played four seasons in the minors.
“I’ve wanted to do this my whole life,” said Corey. “Now that I get to it’s all about putting all my effort into this. I want to make this my career and hopefully I never have to work after this, after I play baseball.”
Chosen by the Red Sox with the 143rd overall selection just three months ago, Littrell has been an important part of a Spinners staff that has a 2.92 ERA (third best in the NYPL) and a 1.16 WHIP (second in the league).
In the process he has gotten the opportunity to begin his career with a historic franchise that he learned a lot about while playing in the Cape last summer, likening the rabid fan base to that of the University of Kentucky.
“When I got drafted by the Red Sox it was awesome,” said Littrell. “Last year, playing in the Cape, my host family had season tickets to the Red Sox and it is Red Sox everywhere. It’s like how Kentucky is with Big Blue Nation. There are Kentucky fans everywhere and so I loved that feeling about it. They always support you.
“Once I saw my name on the board, I couldn’t ask for more. [The Red Sox] know how to develop their pitchers. They’re going to take their time, make sure you’re where you need to be and doing what you need to do before you get thrown into the fire.”
So while the fire is just getting stoked for the 21-year-old, he and his Spinners mates will hope to keep the flames fanned for a little bit longer, thanks to that winning mentality.
“You’re playing a kids game and getting paid for it, you couldn’t ask for much more,” said Littrell poignantly putting it all in perspective.
He will get the start in tonight's regular season finale for the Lowell Spinners who need a win and a Jamestown Jammers loss to secure the Wild Card spot and continue on with their season.
There is little doubt that Littrell will be up to the task.
Game over: The Tri-City ValleyCats (42-31) leave Lowell holding a half game lead in the Stedler Division with both teams having three games to play. As fat would have it, both will face off against the two teams vying for the McNamara Division title. Lowell (40-30) will finish their season in Aberdeen, owner of a game and half lead and Tri-City heads back home to wrap their regular season against the second place Brooklyn Cyclones.
Bottom 9th: Nathan Minnich with a solid single into center field to get the crowd back into this game. Minnich pulls into second on a passed ball, as Lin draws a full count. Lin draws the walk, giving Lowell two on with no outs. Moore (0-for-4) goes down on strikes for the third time tonight. Jose Colorado comes on to pinch-hit for Jerez and gets yoked on a nasty hook from Sanudo for the second out of the inning. Sanudo busts out the hook again and pulls Asuaje down for strike three and the win. ValleyCats, 7-4
Top 9th: Booth Ks to start the inning. Kemmer singles, the 12th hit of the night for Tri-City. Rodriguez picks up the golden sombrero with his fourth K of the night. Moon follows Kemmer's steal of second with a walk. Grover gets Ramsey swinging for the third K of the inning. Spinners will need a miracle in their final at-bat to avoid being dropped back into second place. ValleyCats, 7-4
Bottom 8th: Gonzalo Sanudo on to pitch for Tri-City and he gets Margot to pop one up to second base for the tenth straight Spinners out. Mager gets rung up on a ball in the dirt. He started for first thinking it was a walk and was not pleased with the call for out two. Bethea ends the inning on the next pitch with a ground out to second. ValleyCats, 7-4
Top 8th: Rodriguez goes down on strikes. Moon, an NYPL All-Star, is having a game. Improved to 3-for-4 with a double down the left field line. Ramsey draws a free pass, giving Tri-City runners on first and second with one out. They move up on a wild pitch, causing Aro to serve up the IBB to Dineen and Crabbe to make another pitching change. Taylor Grover on for his 14th appearance of the season. White hits a sharp grounder to third that Moore boots, bringing in another ValleyCat run. Gregor's liner to Margot brings in Ramsey as Tri-City continues to pad their lead. The bleeding ends on a Mitchell pop-out to Lin at short. ValleyCats, 7-4
Bottom 7th: Jerez with a lazy swing on strike three to start the inning. On a 1-0 count Asuaje breaks his bat on a ground-out to third base. Romanski goes down on strikes for the second 1-2-3 inning for Tri-City. Feliz, who has gotten stronger as the game has gone on, has retired nine straight and had struck out ten. ValleyCats, 5-4
Top 7th: Dineen with a long fly to center, one pitch, one out for Aro and the Spinners. White laces a one-out single into left. Gregor ropes a double into the right-center gap, but White does not have enough in the tank to score from first. Mitchell's grounder in the hole at second, coupled with a hesitation by Asuaje, brings in the go-ahead run and puts Mitchell at first with Gregor at third. The Spinners get away with one as Booth's squeeze bunt in front of home plate looked to plate Gregor, but the Aro-to-Bethea transfer was called an out at the plate. Kemmer ends the inning with a bloop handled by Lin behind the mound. ValleyCats, 5-4
Bottom 6th: Minnich takes one for a ride to leadoff the inning, but Mitchell tracks it for the first out. Lin Ks for the second out. Moore grounds to first for the 1-2-3. Game tied, 4-4
Top 6th: Aro gets Rodriguez looking to start the frame. Moon (2-for-3) makes his first out of the game, flying out to Mager in left. Ramsey contributes to a 1-2-3 inning with a 1-0 flyout to center. Game tied, 4-4
Bottom 5th: Jake Romanski gets on to start the inning, catching Feliz off guard on a come-backer. Romanski advances on a slow roller where Margot was out at first. Mager goes down on strikes for the second time tonight. Bethea then takes some back cuts at some bad pitches and also goes down swinging. That's strikeout number seven for Feliz. Game tied, 4-4
Top 5th: For the third straight batter of the game, it's a one pitch out as White grounds to third. Gregor walks and Mitchell singles on the next pitch to put two ValleyCats on with one out. Aro gets Booth on a check-swing strikeout and Kemmer on chopper to short, getting out of the jam unscathed. Game tied, 4-4
Bottom 4th: Nick Moore swings at high-heat, striking out to lead off the inning. Jerez with a weak pop to short makes it out number two and Asuaje grounds to second in back-to-back first pitch outs, aiding Feliz as he gains traction. Game tied, 4-4
Top 4th: Callahan back on track as he uses a deadly curve to buckle Jon Kemmer. He is not shying away from his breaking ball right now, tossing a steady diet of them to Tri-City, and he seems to be getting stronger with the pitch as he goes on. He sets up Rodriguez with his curve as well, then fires a 91-mph fastball past him for the second out. After working the count full, Chan Moon strokes one off the right field wall for a long, two-out single. Manager Bruce Crabbe comes out to pull the plug on Callahan as Jonathan Aro comes on for Lowell. With Moon on the move, Ramsey does his part in the hit-and-run, smacking to where Asuaje would have been had he not been moving to cover second base, Moon moves to third. Dineen grounds to third as Minnich gets low to scoop the throw and end the threat. Game tied, 4-4
Bottom 3rd: Danny Bethea lifts on out towards the Spinners bullpen in right, but Ronnie Mitchell makes a spectacular play, diving in foul territory for the first out. Minnich grounds out innocently to second base. Lin hits a slow grounder to second, creating a bang-bang play at first. It's Feliz and the ValleyCats first 1-2-3 inning of the game. Game tied, 4-4
Top 3rd: Callahan gives up a lead off walk to Jon Kemmer. Jake Rodriguez follows up with a single through the left side for the first ValleyCats hit of the night. Chan Moon uses his speed to bunt his way on, loading the bases with no outs. Cats getting to Callahan now as Ramsey punches one to left to put them on the board. Dineen skies one to center, Margot eases under it for the first out, but another run crosses the plate for Tri-City. A walk to White reloads the bases for the ValleyCats with one out and Lowell pitching coach Walter Miranda comes out to calm Callahan. Gregor rips a bullet that is just out of reach of Nathan Minnich's leap at first and two more runs score, tying the game at four. Callahan has really hit a wall here as Jonathan Aro begins to warm up in the pen. Mitchell goes down on strikes Callahan has had mixed results in trying to work his breaking ball, but was solid with two of them to Brett Booth before K'ing him. Damage done. Game tied, 4-4
Bottom 2nd: Asuaje pulls the leadoff walk for Lowell as Feliz is struggling a bit with his command. Romanski swings through strike three for the first out. Margot does the same on an 80-mph changeup. Asuaje steals second and moves to third on a wild pitch. Mager goes down with a wild swing an a 79-mph off speed offering. So Feliz seems to have now found his control and gets the ValleyCats out unscathed. Spinners, 4-0
Top 2nd: Callahan gets Congrad Gregor to ground out, 4-3, for the first out. One the very next pitch, Ronnie Mitchell pops-out to first. Brett Booth lines out to Mager, the third out to come his way in left field, and Callahan gets out of the inning having to use up only 9 pitches. Spinners, 4-0
Bottom 1st: Tri-City starter, 19-year-old Michael Feliz enters the game with a league best 1.60 ERA. He has 68 Ks in 62 innings. Spinners leadoff hitter Carlos Asuaje grounds out to first. On an 0-1 pitch, catcher Jake Romanski was grazed by a Feliz offering and the Spinners get the first base runner of the game. Manuel Margot rips a 94-mph heater for a single through the left-side of the infield, giving the Spinners runners at first and second with one out. Kevin Mager takes the second pitch he sees back up the box, it takes a friendly hop over the second baseman's glove, allowing Romanski to score and Margot to advance to third as Lowell takes an early, 1-0, lead. Danny Bethea earns the intentional walk to load the bases with no outs. Nathan Minnich follows with a first pitch bouncer over the third baseman, plating Margot and Mager, and the Spinners are off and running to start this one. The whole Spinners team is hanging over the railing of the dugout, feeling the intensity of this one. Tzu-Wei Lin with a hard grounder to short, bounces over Chan Moon's glove and Bethea scores to make is a 4-0 Lowell lead. Nick Moore cannot heed the crowds chants of "we want more", as he goes down swinging for out number two. Williams Jerez signifies the Spinners have batted through here in their first at-bats, but he grounds out harmlessly to first. Feliz tops out at 95 miles per hour with his fastball, but the Spinners are not impressed as they inflect heavy damaged in the first. Spinners, 4-0
Top 1st: Lowell's Jamie Callahan, two-time New York-Penn League Pitcher of the Week, makes his third start of the season versus the ValleyCats. He is 1-1 with a 6.43 ERA against Tri-City. Callahan gets James Ramsey to lift a 1-1 pitch to left for out number one. After running the count full versus Ryan Dineen, Callahan induces another pop-fly to Kevin Mager in left. Tyler White goes down on a 91mph high-heater for the third out. 14 pitches in that inning for the Red Sox 2012 second-rounder. No score.
Preview: The most untimely four-game losing streak for the Spinners in late August has completely been erased as they have won five straight games to not only put themselves back in the playoff race, but in the driver’s seat with four games to play. Now, with a half-game lead in the Stedler Division over the visiting Tri-City ValleyCats, Lowell will look to increase that lead in the standings before heading off to Aberdeen for their final three games of the season. Tri-City, the defending Stedler Division champs, hold a 5-4 lead in the season series.
Tonight’s regular season finale at LeLacheur Park is scheduled for 6:05 p.m. and there is nothing but blue skies and sunshine soaking the field right now. It’s the biggest home game for the Spinners since their last playoff run in 2009 and we will be here to live blog it for you, so please check back for updates and feel free to comment throughout.
CF James Ramsey
2B Ryan Dineen
3B Tyler White
1B Conrad Gregor
RF Ronnie Mitchell
DH Brett Booth
LF Jon Kemmer
C Jake Rodriguez
SS Chan Moon
RHP Michael Feliz (3-2, 1.60 ERA)
2B Carlos Asuaje
DH Jake Romanski
CF Manuel Margot
LF Kevin Mager
C Danny Bethea
1B Nathan Minnich
SS Tzu-Wei Lin
2B Nick Moore
RF Williams Jerez
RHP Jamie Callahan (5-1, 3.54)
New England teams
GCL Red Sox – Jalen Williams (0-0, 0.00 ERA)
GCL Orioles – N/A
Portland Sea Dogs – Henry Owens (2-0, 1.50 ERA)
at New Hampshire Fisher Cats – Marcus Stroman (8-4, 3.22 ERA)
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders – Graham Stoneburner (3-5, 4.98 ERA)
at Pawtucket Red Sox – Steven Wright (7-7, 3.76 ERA)
Charleston RiverDogs – Eric Wooten (1-2, 1.74 ERA)
at Greenville Drive – Francisco Taveras (2-4, 6.61 ERA)
Aberdeen IronBirds – Steven Brault (1-1, 2.34 ERA)
at Lowell Spinners – Jamie Callahan (5-1, 3.53 ERA)
New England teams
Vermont Lake Monsters – Lee Sosa (1-3, 3.44 ERA)
at Staten Island Yankees – Rookie Davis (2-4, 2.36 ERA)
New Britain Rock Cats – Cole De Vries (0-2, 1.69 ERA)
at Trenton Thunder – Nik Turley (9-8, 4.12 ERA)
Hudson Valley Renegades – Ben Griset (2-3, 3.38 ERA)
at Connecticut Tigers – Chase Edwards (0-0, 1.82 ERA)