Pawtucket (47-37, 2nd in IL North – AAA) – On Friday night the PawSox were knocked out of first place for the first time since April 19th. A 1-7 homestand did not help the cause, nor did a brief three game set against first-place Iron Valley this weekend where they lost a chance to regain the top spot in the North Division after dropping both games of a double header on Sunday. Daniel Bard had an up-and-down week, with the downs overshadowing everything as Bard’s control issues continued. In four appearances he walked eight batters, threw three wild pitches, hit a batter and of his 93 pitches, only 41 of them were for strikes. If there was a bright side for the PawSox over the recent rough patch, it has to be All-Star catcher Ryan Lavarnway who continues to heat up with the weather. He has hit safely in 12 straight games, a stretch in which he is batting .468 with nine RBIs and eight extra-base hits.
Portland (34-47, 5th in EL Eastern – AA) – The Sea Dogs are just swimming in place at this point in the season. Winning a series, losing a series, then splitting a series has not been conducive to them gaining any ground thus far. They are in the midst of a twenty-four game stretch in which they solely play against either Trenton (Yankees AA) or New Hampshire (Blue Jays AA). Jackie Bradley, Jr. has caught on to AA pitching just fine, batting .364 in the eleven games he has played since his promotion. He has hit safely in nine of those games. Starter Chris Hernandez was named to the Eastern League All-Star team, along with outfielder Bryce Brentz and infielder Reynaldo Rodriguez. Hernandez, a 2011 Carolina League All-Star, has logged 92 2/3 innings this season and has pitched five or more innings in each of 16 starts. He went 2-2 with a 2.45 ERA in June.
Salem (3-7 second half, last in CL Southern – High A) – The post-Jackie Bradley Era has gotten off to a bit of a slow start for the Salem Sox. All-Star first baseman Travis Shaw has been struggling since the second half of the season began, batting .171 with only one home run. Matt Barnes went 3-0 in June, but got no decisions in his last two starts, allowing eight runs over 4 2/3 innings. Last Thursday he had his shortest professional outing, lasting only one full inning after throwing past the organization’s inning pitch-limit of 30. Barnes threw 32 pitches in that game against the Potomac Nationals and allowed four hits, a walk and three runs. Catcher Christian Vazquez has collected two-hits in five of the last six games and is quietly becoming a viable option behind the dish. On the season Vazquez has gunned down 29 of 68 would-be basestealers for an organizational-best 43% success rate.
Greenville (6-5 second half, 4th in SAL Southern - Low A) – The Drive came off the All-Star break with three quick wins, followed by three loses, followed by a mixed bag of results. All-Star third baseman Garin Cecchini is in the midst of a ten-game hitting streak. He is batting .410 in that span with three RBIs, eight runs and is eight-for-eight in stolen base attempts. Starter Jason Garcia put together solid back-to-back outings against Charlestown and Rome. He pitched 11 innings and allowed one run in each start, scattering 11 hits and striking out 6 between the two games. Pitcher Noe Ramirez, a 2011 fourth-round pick by Boston, made his pro debut in June and in five starts is 1-0 with a 3.27 ERA and 15 strikeouts in 22 innings.
Lowell (5-9, 3rd in NYPL Stedler - Short Season A) – The Spinners got their season off on the right foot with a 3-1 start out of the gate, but have since lost eight of their last nine games. Kendrick Perkins and David Chester have provided a powerful 1-2 pop in the heart of the lineup, combining for six home runs, most of them being of the tape-measure variety. Lowell leads the New York-Penn League with ten total home runs. Despite allowing only one earned run in each of his two starts against Vermont, Zachary Good has been saddled with loses in both. After three starts, Good sports a 1.69 ERA and 1.06 WHIP. Dylan Chavez - a 2012 fourteenth-rounder out of Mississippi - made his debut on Saturday, tossing a perfect inning of relief, striking out two batters. Deven Marrero, the Red Sox first overall pick this year, has played in eight games thus far, but only one at shortstop. He is batting .278 and collected his first professional home run last Tuesday versus Tri-City.
Gulf Coast (5-5, tied for 2nd in GCL South - Rookie) – An even keeled start for the GCL Red Sox has them just one-game out of first place. The main story of the young season has been the ongoing rehab starts of Jacoby Ellsbury and Carl Crawford. The Red Sox are one of three teams with just one home run on the season, but the GCL Braves are the only team without one. Mario Alcantara, a 19-year-old righty in his second full season with the GCL Sox, is 1-0 and has posted a 3.00 ERA in three starts. After walking four batters over three innings in his first outing, Alcantara has allowed only four more free passes in his last nine innings. Sixteen-year-old shortstop Cleuluis Rondon is batting .293 and is tied for third in the league in triples (2) and fourth in the league in doubles (4).
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