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Red Sox minor league roundup: Matt Barnes bounces back; Bryce Brentz’s rough day at the plate and in the field; a strong showing from PawSox relief corps

09.14.13 at 12:38 pm ET
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A brief look at the one game in the Red Sox farm system on Friday:

TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX: 2-0 LOSS (14 INNINGS) VS. DURHAM (RAYS); TRAIL BEST-OF-FIVE GOVERNOR’S CUP SERIES 2-1

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Matt Barnes got the start in what would end up being a 14-inning, five hour and forty-two minute pitchers’ duel for the PawSox. The outing was almost exactly the same as his first start in Triple-A, which was very impressive. Barnes held the Bulls scoreless through his 5 1/3 innings, allowing four hits and two walks while striking out seven for the second time in Triple-A. Barnes was on his game from the very first inning, allowing a leadoff single but settling in to strike out the side. Barnes threw 91 pitches with 55 going for strikes and 10 of those coming as swings and misses.

Reports indicate that Barnes’ fastball sat around 94-95 and he occasionally touched 96. Barnes, who struggled with command in his first postseason start, made a marked improvement from that first outing. He was able to maintain the velocity on his fastball, yet demonstrate improved control in a high-pressure atmosphere. Barnes may have been a bit amped up in his first playoff appearance, but made strides in his second, showing an ability to regulate his adrenaline.

Bryce Brentz has had better days. The outfielder made a critical three-base error, dropping a ball in right field in the top of the 14th inning. The error would lead to two unearned runs, the only two runs of the game. Brentz also had an awful day at the plate, reaching base once with a walk but going 0-for-6 with five strikeouts, including a strikeout with the bases loaded in the bottom of the 14th that would end the game. The walk was actually Brentz’s first free pass in 13 games; his last came back on August 25, and he’s worked only two in 15 games since rejoining the PawSox.

Brentz got off to a promising start in the postseason, going 3-for-8 with two doubles and a home run in his first two games. But since then, he’s been disappointing at the plate, to say the least. In his last six contests, Brentz has just one hit, a single, in 26 at-bats, striking out 13 times and stranding 18 men on base, including a total of six on Friday night. Since returning to the PawSox lineup from a knee injury, Brentz has batted .138 with 25 strikeouts in 58 at-bats, though five of his eight hits have gone for extra bases. Brentz has also had a subpar season in the field, as highlighted by his misplay in Friday’s game. Brentz made eight errors in 69 games between left and right field during the regular season.

- An arsenal of PawSox relievers were very impressive in Friday’s extra-inning affair, combining for 7 2/3 scoreless innings before Chris Carpenter allowed two unearned runs in the 14th. Some of those relievers may be auditioning for a chance to make the big league roster when the PawSox season is over. Red Sox manager John Farrell suggested that the team would be bringing up some additional reinforcements from Triple-A after Pawtucket’s season comes to an end, and it’s very plausible that some of those reinforcements would come in the form of bullpen help. Possible options include Pedro Beato, who threw a scoreless inning on Friday, only his second inning of work this postseason. Brayan Villarreal, acquired in the Jake Peavy-Jose Iglesias trade, is also a candidate with previous major league experience this season. With a scoreless two-thirds of an inning, Villarreal has worked 1 2/3 innings in three appearances in the playoffs, allowing two hits and a walk. Alex Wilson has been shaky in his four postseason innings, allowing three runs, five hits and two walks in four innings, but contributed a solid inning of work on Friday. Ryan Rowland-Smith is an outside shot to make the major league roster given the fact that he’s not on the 40-man roster, but he’s been a spectacular asset in the PawSox bullpen all season long, finishing the regular season with a 1.55 ERA and a WHIP just under 1.000 in 52 1/3 innings. In the postseason, he’s been lights-out, throwing 7 1/3 scoreless innings while allowing just two hits (they both came in his first game) and two walks while striking out eight, including four in his 2 2/3 perfect innings on Friday night.

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