Red Sox minor league roundup: Brandon Workman keeps dealing in Pawtucket; Blake Swihart breaking through; Keury De La Cruz streaking
|06.16.13 at 1:03 pm ET|
A brief look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Saturday:
TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX: 2-1 LOSS VS. BUFFALO (BLUE JAYS)
– Brandon Workman suffered his first loss in Triple-A, even though he was arguably better than in his first start for Pawtucket. The righty went 6 1/3 innings, allowing two runs (one earned) on seven hits while walking three and striking out nine. The only earned run he allowed came on a solo home run in the second inning. The second run scored in the fourth when Buffalo’s Eugenio Velez reached on a force out and stole second and third, then scored on a throwing error by catcher Ryan Lavarnway. Workman received no run support, with the PawSox scoring only one run on one hit, but not until after he departed.
The solid outing was the sixth in a row in which Workman allowed three or less earned runs. He’s allowed more than three earned runs only twice on the season between 11 starts in Portland and two in Pawtucket. He has gone six or more innings in seven of his 13 starts.
‘He’s the model of consistency,’ said former Portland teammate Anthony Ranaudo on WEEI’s “Down on the Farm.” ‘He just goes out there and fills up the zone.’
Workman did just that on Saturday; though his three walks tied a season-high, so did his strikeout total. The starter threw 100 pitches, with 64 going for strikes. Workman got 15 swings and misses, and was able to continue throwing his fastball in the 93-94 mph range deep into the game.
– In his second game of the year with Pawtucket, Alex Hassan kept the PawSox from being no-hit on Saturday, launching his first home run of the year in the eighth inning. Between eight games with Greenville and two with the PawSox, Hassan has reached base in all but one game.
– Like the rest of the Pawtucket offense, Xander Bogaerts struggled against Buffalo starter Thad Weber and the rest of the Buffalo pitching staff on Saturday, striking out three times in three at-bats.
DOUBLE-A PORTLAND SEA DOGS: 6-2 LOSS VS. AKRON (INDIANS)
– Travis Shaw provided the only offense for Portland, clubbing his fourth home run of the year in the ninth inning of Saturday’s contest. The two-run shot was Shaw’s fourth home run of the season. Shaw had gone 24 games and 81 at-bats in between home runs, with his last coming on May 16. In that time span, Shaw is hitting only .165/.297/.224 with three RBI. In 130 games between Salem and Portland in 2012, Shaw hit 19 home runs and 44 doubles, slugging .517 on the season. The first baseman has struggled to show that power in 2013, with only 17 extra-base hits on the year.
– With an open spot in the rotation due to the promotion of Workman, the Sea Dogs promoted Michael McCarthy from High-A Salem. McCarthy had posted a 3-2 record and 4.63 ERA with Salem. He took the loss in his Double-A debut on Saturday, but went a season-high 6 2/3 innings (his first outing of 2013 that lasted more than five innings) while giving up four runs on nine hits and two walks to Akron. The Aeros did all of their damage in the third inning against McCarthy, with two back-to-back home runs.
‘He left some pitches up in the third inning, but to settle in and give us the length that we needed was really huge for us,” Portland manager Kevin Boles told the Portland Press-Herald.
– The Portland offense has been struggling since the promotion of Bogaerts to Pawtucket, but third baseman Michael Almanzar is doing his part to pick up the slack. With a single, a triple and a walk on Saturday, Almanzar is now 6-for-9 with two free passes in his last three games. The triple was his second of the season. Almanzar has been a solid source of production all season for Portland, hitting .290/.349/.510 in 63 games this season.
HIGH-A SALEM RED SOX: 9-2 WIN VS. LYNCHBURG (BRAVES)
– Blake Swihart had a big day at the plate on Saturday, contributing a double and his second home run of the year to Salem’s offensive onslaught. He also had an impressive game behind the dish, throwing out his 23rd basestealer of the year. Swihart has nabbed 41 percent of runners, good for the highest percentage among Carolina League catchers. Swihart has been solid all around for Salem, hitting .282/.364/.443 in 51 games. The catcher also leads the team with five triples.
– With a 2-for-4 day on Saturday, Garin Cecchini‘s batting average rose to .354, 42 points higher than the next-highest batting average in the league. The third baseman clubbed two doubles in the contest, bringing his season total to 19. Cecchini hasn’t knocked one out of the park since May 12, but has 28 extra-base hits and is slugging .552, good for second in the league. Cecchini is a candidate to be promoted to Double-A in the coming weeks, especially with the hole in the Portland infield and the lineup left by Bogaerts. The Carolina League All-Star break begins after a doubleheader for Salem on Sunday, and it’s a possibility that Cecchini could be promoted sometime after the break.
– Keury De La Cruz extended his hitting streak to 15 games with a 1-for-4 day on Saturday. The outfielder, who was serving as the designated hitter, made Lynchburg starter Navery Moore pay for three walks in the third inning, smacking a bases-loaded double to bring in two runs. The two RBI brings De La Cruz’s total to a Carolina League-leading 50 on the season. Over the course of his 15-game hitting streak, De La Cruz is batting .455/.466/.673 with 19 RBI and nine extra-base hits.
SINGLE-A GREENVILLE DRIVE: 7-2 LOSS AT SAVANNAH (METS)
– In his third game with Greenville, Kevin Heller went 3-for-4 with a double and drove in one of the Drive’s two runs on the day. A 40th round pick in the 2012 draft, Heller played three games for the Salem Red Sox this season before being sent to extended spring training. He was called up to the Drive after Hassan was moved to Pawtucket. The outfielder is 6-for-13 with a double, a triple, and three RBI in his three games with the Drive.
– Shorstop Jose Vinicio reached base twice on Saturday with a single and a walk. The struggling 19-year-old has drawn only 10 walks on the season while he’s fanned 51 times.
– After winning three straight decisions, starter Justin Haley took the loss for Greenville, dropping to 3-7 on the year. Haley allowed four runs (three earned) on six hits, but, for the first time in his 11 starts and two relief appearances, didn’t walk a single batter. Haley has been inconsistent this year, but has improved since a brief stint out of the bullpen. In his last four starts, he is 3-1 with a 3.04 ERA with 22 strikeouts and nine walks.
DOMINICAN SUMMER LEAGUE RED SOX: 6-5 WIN (WALKOFF) VS. DSL DODGERS (12 INNINGS)
– Outfielder Juan Hernandez had two hits for the DSL Red Sox, bringing his average to .333 over six games. The 17-year-old has six hits and two walks in 20 plate appearances.
– Center fielder Oscar Bartomolde drove in a run and knocked a triple in his fourth game. He also singled. The two hits were his first of the season, as was his RBI.
– Pinch-hitting for Hernandez, Franklin Guzman ended the game with an RBI double to center field in the 12th. Guzman is hitting .275/.333/.412 in 13 games for the DSL Red Sox.
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