Red Sox minor league roundup: Allen Webster getting back on track; Dan Butler’s amazing run; Blake Swihart streaking; Miguel Pena rolling; Jamie Callahan honored
|08.06.13 at 12:32 pm ET|
A brief look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Monday:
TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX: 5-4 WIN AT BUFFALO (BLUE JAYS)
– Allen Webster‘s performance was not quite as impressive as his last one, in which he fanned 12 batters while allowing only one walk. He gave up three runs on six hits and a walk in 5 1/3 innings, allowing his seventh home run in Triple-A while punching out four. The righty had gone four straight starts without giving up a home run. Since a 1 1/3 inning performance back on July 21, Webster hasn’t been dominant, but has looked like he’s getting back on track, allowing six earned runs in his last 18 innings, walking five while fanning 20.
– Dan Butler‘s been on fire at the plate in the past couple weeks, and Monday night was no different. Butler drove in two runs with a double and his 12th home run of the season, a home run which put the PawSox on top in the 8th inning and was ultimately the game-winner. Butler is hitting a ridiculous .477/.540/.977 with six home runs, four doubles and 15 RBI in his last 12 games, raising his overall line to .283/.380/.513 in 67 games this season.
– Will Middlebrooks went 1-for-3 with a home run, his ninth with the PawSox. Middlebrooks has hit safely in his last four games, but the home run was his first extra-base hit since July 25. In his last 10 games, Middlebrooks is hitting .205/.256/.282 with 10 strikeouts and three walks. Since returning to Pawtucket, Middlebrooks has compiled a .255/.301/.428 line in 35 games.
– Left-hander Ryan Rowland-Smith chose not to exercise his August 5 opt-out clause and will remain with Pawtucket, according to Chris Cotillo of MLBDailyDish.com (via twitter). The clause in Rowland-Smith’s contract was originally set for July 15, but recovery from an appendectomy kept the reliever sidelined for the better part of July. Rowland-Smith has appeared in three games since coming off the disabled list, giving up six hits, four walks and three runs in three innings. He earned the win on Monday with a scoreless inning of work, though he did give up three hits and a walk. Overall, Rowland-Smith has been enjoying a fine season with the PawSox, posting a 1.54 ERA and 1.029 WHIP in 46 2/3 innings.
– Alex Wilson was scheduled to throw two innings for the PawSox on Monday as part of his rehab assignment, but he was removed after an inning and a third, throwing 31 pitches in the outing and giving up a run on two hits. Wilson’s allowed two runs on five hits and two walks in his 4 1/3 innings since returning to game action.
– Right-hander Keith Couch was promoted to Pawtucket from Double-A Portland and will make his Triple-A debut on Tuesday night. Couch, 23, went 8-3 with a 3.93 ERA in 11 starts and 14 relief appearances for Portland. Couch has been solid in his time as a starter for Portland, posting a 3.41 ERA in 63 1/3 innings, striking out 37 and issuing 24 walks.
DOUBLE-A PORTLAND SEA DOGS: OFF DAY
HIGH-A SALEM RED SOX: 5-2 WIN VS. WILMINGTON (ROYALS)
–Left-hander Miguel Pena‘s year got off to a dreadful start both on and off the field. The 22-year-old was suspended 50 games in April for testing positive for a drug of abuse, and he bookended the suspension with eight starts in which he forged a 6.62 ERA during which opponents clubbed him at a .338/.380/.547 rate — a disappointment relative to an impressive first full pro season in 2012, during which Pena had a 2.97 ERA while holding opponents to a .252/.297/.396 line for Greenville (with one rehab start in the GCL).
But over his last five starts, Pena has delivered a series of consistently strong to outstanding outings that have borne resemblance to his performance of a year ago. On Monday, he logged seven innings and permitted seven hits (six singles and a double) while yielding just one run, walking three and striking out four. It was his fifth straight quality start, with the slight southpaw posting a 2.18 ERA and a .211/.310/.275 opponents’ line. His strikeout totals during the stretch (18 in 33 innings, 4.9 per nine) have been modest, and his walk rate (14 in 33 innings, 3.8 per nine) has been higher than desirable, but Pena has nonetheless offered a reminder of his willingness to attack opposing hitters while producing a lot of bad contact. Of his 21 outs, 10 came via groundball, two came by way of pickoffs from the pitcher and four more came by punchout, with just five outs coming either in the air or on a line.
– Catcher Blake Swihart had his fourth straight two-hit game while extending his overall hitting streak to nine games. In those contests, the 21-year-old is hitting .432/.475/.514 with three doubles, three walks and six strikeouts to improve his season line to .284/.359/.411 in a league where the average line is .255/.332/.383.
– Center fielder Henry Ramos had his first multi-hit game in more than two weeks (since July 19), going 2-for-4 with a triple while knocking in a pair of runs. He’d been ice cold in the 12 games preceding Monday, hitting just .106/.246/.149, though he’d continued drawing walks (8) and striking out at a manageable clip (13) during that turn towards the frigid, suggesting some bad luck on balls in play (a .143 BABIP over those dozen contests furthers that impression).
Prior to the slump, Ramos owned a .279/.357/.461 line for the year, marks that have now dropped to .259/.343/.428 for the 21-year-old. Still, given that he’s young for the league and plays a premium defensive position, even with the slump, the fact that Ramos is performing (like Swihart) at an above-league-average level suggests that this has been a promising year in terms of his prospects for advancement towards the big leagues.
– DH David Chester launched his first two homers in eight games since a promotion from Single-A Greenville. The 24-year-old now has 15 homers in 102 games this year, ranking among the leaders in homers in the Red Sox system. His numbers thus far in High-A (.276/.353/.483) closely resemble what he did in Greenville (.270/.356/.462) prior to his move.
SINGLE-A GREENVILLE DRIVE: 3-0 LOSS VS. KANNAPOLIS (WHITE SOX)
– Starter Jacob Dahlstrand got knocked around a bit, giving up a season-high 10 hits in his six innings of work, though he limited the damage to only three runs. For his second straight start, he issued zero walks and has given out only one free pass in his last 17 innings. Dahlstrand has been quite consistent in his last six starts (with one relief appearance thrown in there), and the three runs broke up a string of four consecutive starts in which Dahlstrand allowed exactly two earned runs in his outing. The 21-year-old righty is 3-6 on the season with a 4.84 ERA in 11 starts and three relief appearances.
– Kendrick Perkins notched two hits for his second day in a row, reaching base on a single and his ninth double of the year. The outfielder has struggled this season in his time between the Drive and the Lowell Spinners, but is hitting .333/.389/.606 with four doubles, a triple and a home run in his last nine games. Perkins has compiled a .211/.263/.352 line in 21 games with Greenville this season.
– Jose Vinicio went 1-for-4 with his fourth triple of the season. Vinicio has struggled as of late, batting just .120 (3-for-25) in his last six contests, though he does have two triples in that span. The shortstop has now gone 23 games without drawing a walk, while striking out 25 times since his last base on balls. He’s drawn only 12 walks on the season as compared to 88 strikeouts. Through 90 games, Vinicio is hitting .220/.255/.292 with 18 extra-base hits and 25 RBI.
SHORT-SEASON SINGLE-A LOWELL SPINNERS: DAY OFF
– Right-hander Jamie Callahan was named the New York-Penn League Pitcher of the Week for the second straight week, this time on the strength of the six perfect innings he tossed on July 31. He punched out nine in that game. That followed a six-inning outing in which Callahan allowed one hit, faced the minimum 18 batters and punched out eight. Those back-to-back performances are all the more noteworthy given that Callahan, at 18, is the youngest pitcher in the league.
ROOKIE LEVEL GULF COAST LEAGUE RED SOX: 4-1 LOSS AT GCL ORIOLES
– Shortstop Raymel Flores went 2-for-2 with a double and walk for his first multi-hit game since July 12. The 18-year-old is now hitting .202 but with a .340 OBP and .333 slugging mark. Of note: The switch-hitter, who signed for a $900,000 bonus two summers ago, is hitting .294/.478/.353 from the right side against lefties.
– Right-hander Edwar Garcia struck out a season-high six in four innings, allowing two runs on two hits and two walks. In 32 2/3 innings this year, the 19-year-old has a 3.03 ERA with 32 strikeouts and 15 walks while holding opponents to a .183 average.
DOMINICAN SUMMER LEAGUE RED SOX: 6-0 WIN VS. DSL DODGERS
– Center fielder Luis Alexander Basabe went 1-for-3 with a walk and two steals. In his last eight games, the 16-year-old is hitting .333/.444/.400. One of roughly two dozen 16-year-olds in the DSL, Basabe is now hitting .210/.381/.312 with a dozen steals.
– First baseman Darwin Pena, 20, went 2-for-3 with a double, triple and walk. In his last 10 games, he has five multi-hit games while hitting .302/.375/.465, improving his season line to .253/.323/.338.
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