Red Sox minor league roundup: Jackie Bradley streaking in return to everyday role; Henry Owens’ control hiccup; Mookie Betts stops streaking
|05.27.13 at 9:48 am ET|
A brief look at the action in the Red Sox minor league system on Sunday:
TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX: 5-0 WIN AT LOUISVILLE (REDS)
— Jackie Bradley Jr.‘s hot streak continues, as the outfielder added another two hits (including a double) and a walk in Sunday’s game to extend his multi-hit game streak to five and his overall hitting streak to 10 games, during which he’s hitting .450/.542/.675. The outfielder scored the first run of the day for the PawSox (and the only one they’d need to secure a victory), drawing a leadoff walk and stealing second base, coming in to score on Drew Sutton’s double. Bradley knocked a double of his own in the sixth inning, his seventh extra-base hit of the season. Since coming off the disabled list, Bradley is batting .429 in seven games.
Perhaps more significantly, Bradley has now played games in four consecutive days, the first time he’s done so since experiencing discomfort in his biceps in April. He’s played outfield in three of those four contests, getting the start in left field on Sunday (his first of the year at that position) following a Saturday interlude as DH.
— In his second game back in Triple-A after a brief major-league stint, catcher Ryan Lavarnway led off the fifth inning with a solo home run to left-center field, going 1-for-4 on the day with a walk. Lavarnway has been productive in Pawtucket, batting .318/.417/.511 in 24 games with three home runs, eight doubles, and 16 RBI.
— Starter Chris Hernandez tossed 6 2/3 scoreless innings against Louisville, limiting the Bats to only five hits while walking three and striking out two. Hernandez has allowed only one earned run in his last 10 2/3 innings, and is 3-2 with a 3.58 ERA on the year. The lefty didn’t give up his first hit of the day until the fifth inning, and allowed no extra-base hits on the day while eliciting three double plays. Hernandez left in the seventh, loading the bases on two singles and a walk after recording two quick outs to open the frame, but reliever Pedro Beato was able to escape without allowing a run. This was Hernandez’s longest outing of the season, with his previous high-water mark being five innings. He threw 98 pitches on the day with 58 going for strikes, and got a total of 15 outs via groundball.
DOUBLE-A PORTLAND SEA DOGS: 5-0 LOSS AT BINGHAMTON (METS)
— Knuckleballer Charlie Haeger fell to 1-2 on the season after throwing seven innings against Binghamton, allowing five runs on eight hits and three walks to the B-Mets. Haegar had control problems from the get-go, hitting the third batter of the game and allowing him to advance to second on a wild pitch. He issued a walk to the next hitter, and another wild pitch would allow the first run to cross the plate. Haegar would throw three wild pitches on the day. The 29-year-old knuckleballer has struggled to stay in the strike zone in his five games in Portland this season, walking 23 batters in 29 1/3 innings, including seven in one game. This is the second outing this season in which he’s thrown three wild pitches. Control remains Haegar’s biggest issue; hitters are only batting .209 against him. He’s allowed four home runs on the season, with two of those coming in Sunday’s contest.
— Brock Huntzinger made his team-leading 20th appearance of the year for the Sea Dogs, throwing a perfect eighth inning in relief of Haeger. The reliever owns a 3.09 ERA on the season, striking out 16 while walking nine. Dating to April 21, he’s given up just two runs in his last 16 1/3 innings (1.10 ERA) with 10 punchouts and five walks.
HIGH-A SALEM RED SOX: 8-1 LOSS AT FREDERICK (ORIOLES)
— Henry Owens was hit hard in Salem’s 8-1 loss to the Frederick Keys, allowing four runs on five hits and four walks in 4 2/3 innings while striking out six. Owens retired the first six batters of the night in order, but control problems led to a big inning for the Keys in the third. Owens walked two of the first three hitters in the third, and both would score in the inning. Two singles and a double plated three runs, though the damage could have been worse if center fielder Henry Ramos hadn’t nailed a runner at the plate to record the second out of the inning. First baseman Christian Walker drove Owens’ first offering of the fourth inning into the left-center field seats for the fourth run of the game.
Four walks is the season-high for Owens, who hadn’t issued a single free pass in his last outing. The starter threw 95 pitches with 52 going for strikes. Owens received the loss and is 3-2 on the year with a 3.80 ERA. The left-hander now has averaged 3.4 walks and 11.0 strikeouts per nine innings this year, so his strikeout numbers remain comparable to the 11.5 per nine that he had last year while his walks are down roughly 18 percent from the 4.2 per nine that he yielded a year ago.
Still, he’s seemingly been missing his spots of late, as evidenced by the fact that he’s yielded five homers in his last four starts after giving up just one in his first five outings.
— The Salem offense couldn’t get much going against Frederick starter Eduardo Rodriguez, but catcher Blake Swihart drove in his 16th run of the season with an RBI double in the fifth inning. Swihart is batting .261/.336/.387 on the year with five doubles and five triples in 35 games.
— Shortstop Deven Marrero had the only multi-hit game for Salem, going 2-for-4 with two singles. Marrero has had much more success against lefties than righties this season, batting .391 in 23 at-bats against southpaws, while putting up a .197/.250/.268 line in 71 at-bats versus right-handers. Both of his hits came off of Frederick’s starter, a left-hander, while he grounded into a double play in his only at-bat against a right-handed reliever.
SINGLE-A GREENVILLE DRIVE: 5-4 LOSS AT CHARLESTON (YANKEES)
— Daily Feats of Mookie: A moment of silence. The 19-game hitting streak came to an end for Mookie Betts on Sunday, with the second baseman going 0-for-4 with three strikeouts. However, he extended his on-base streak to 22 games, drawing a walk to lead off the game, and then stole second base, his 11th swiped bag in 12 attempts this year. Betts’ is hitting an impressive .273/.415/.500 and is batting .369 in 22 games in the month of May. Today was the first time this year Betts had struck out more than two times in a game, and he’s totaled eight strikeouts in his last 18 at-bats after going seven straight games without a strikeout. Betts continues to be a constant on-base threat, especially in the first inning, owning a .488 OBP in the first frame.
— Starter Francellis Montas, after seven straight starts of two or fewer walks, issued four free passes as well as four runs (three earned) and four hits in four innings. The 20-year-old with a triple-digits fastball struggled to locate his pitches in the second inning, walking catcher Peter O’Brien after getting two strikes on him, and then throwing four straight balls to the next batter. After an RBI single, Montas walked the leadoff batters in the next two innings, both of whom would come around to score.
— Outfielder Kevin Mager had the only multi-hit performance of the game for either team, going 3-for-4 with a double, two singles, and a strikeout. Mager also scored two runs on the day, including scoring on a wild pitch in the ninth inning. He lined the first pitch he saw from Charleston starter Rafael de Paula into left field for his second base hit of the year off of a right-hander and his third double of the season. The 24-year-old raised his average from .205 to .250 with the three-hit day, his first three-hit game of the season, and is batting .250/.357/.375 in 15 games on the year.
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