Red Sox minor league roundup: Clay Buchholz ‘absolutely’ ready; Mookie Betts AFL-bound; Sean Coyle seeking health; Chris Martin, Matt Price strike out everyone
|09.06.13 at 11:04 am ET|
A brief look at the action in the Red Sox system on Thursday:
TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX: 7-2 WIN AT ROCHESTER (TWINS) IN GAME 2 OF BEST-OF-FIVE SERIES; SERIES TIED, 1-1
— Clay Buchholz declared himself “absolutely” ready for a return to the big leagues after allowing two runs in 3 2/3 innings while striking out five and walking two on Thursday. Courtesy of Hudson Belinsky, here’s the pitch-by-pitch breakdown of his outing, which included nine swings and misses among his 71 pitches (52 strikes).
— Catcher Christian Vazquez got the start, collecting his first Triple-A hit while going 1-for-3 with an RBI single and sac fly.
— Center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. had his second straight multi-hit game, going 2-for-4 with a double and a walk. The extra-base hit was his 40th in 82 Triple-A contests this year, with him getting a multi-base knock in 12.2 percent of his at-bats and 10.5 percent of his plate appearances — up slightly from rates of 11.9 percent of at-bats and 9.6 percent of plate appearances a year ago. Meanwhile, the walk snapped a streak of 10 straight games without a free pass.
— Bryce Brentz, for the second straight year, is offering an impressive show of power in the Triple-A playoffs. He went 1-for-4 with a double on Thursday, driving a fastball to the opposite field in right, and is now 3-for-8 with two doubles and a homer in the first two games of the playoffs.
— Right-hander Chris Martin threw two perfect innings in which he recorded three of his six outs by punchout. The 27-year-old has an opportunity to position himself for potential selection in the Rule 5 draft (if he is not added to the 40-man roster) this offseason, particularly given what he’s shown as a strike-thrower capable of getting swings and misses. In that vein, he’s enjoying a well-timed streak of excellence. He has seven straight scoreless outings in which he’s punched out 13 and walked one in 13 innings. Including Thursday’s two-inning outing, he’s averaging 8.5 strikeouts and 1.7 walks per nine innings in Triple-A this year.
HIGH-A SALEM RED SOX: 4-3 WIN (10 INNINGS) AT MYRTLE BEACH; WINS BEST-OF-THREE SERIES, 2-0
— Feats of Mookie: Winning. Mookie Betts led off the 10th inning with a double, advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored on a sac fly. Betts was 3-for-7 with a walk in the two games, and the 20-year-old now has 23 extra-base hits in 53 games in High-A. Betts was also added to the roster of the Surprise Saguaros in the Arizona Fall League on Thursday.
— The opening for Betts is a reflection both of his own excellent play and of the fact that second baseman Sean Coyle continues to navigate through a host of injuries this year. Coyle, who is on the DL for elbow soreness, missed the first round of the playoffs but it has yet to be determined whether he will or will not be able to play in the championship series. An MRI showed that there’s no cause for alarm with the condition, and nothing that will require surgery, but at the same time, Coyle’s injury-filled season — the 21-year-old played just 48 games with Salem, blasting 14 homers while hitting .241/.321/.513 — creates an urgency for him to put himself in the best position possible to enter 2014 at full strength. Coyle was sidelined at different intervals for thumb, knee and elbow injuries.
— Left-hander Brian Johnson allowed three runs (two earned) on six hits (five singles and a double) while walking two and striking out two. However, he continued to show the ability to get bad contact, recording seven groundball outs.
— Right-hander Matt Price worked around a bases-loaded, one-out situation in the ninth by striking out back-to-back hitters, then worked a perfect 10th with two more strikeouts to get the victory. The ability to reach back for strikeouts with runners on base represented the continuation of a year-long theme for the 2010 eighth-rounder, who struck out 15.9 percent of opposing hitters with the bases empty but 33.0 percent of hitters with runners on base. In 25 appearances since the start of June, Price has a 0.84 ERA with 32 strikeouts and 17 walks in 32 1/3 innings. Price showed electric stuff at times in Salem — a fastball that touched 97 mph and a swing-and-miss changeup — albeit with some command and control inconsistencies. With his first full professional season now under his belt, if Price can make gains in his strike-throwing next year, he could accelerate his advance through the minors.
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