PawSox pitcher Rubby De La Rosa pitches a gem in the afternoon game against the Mud Hens
Ryan Fox (@Spider_Fox87)
It was a warm, cloudy, and muggy day here at McCoy. Before hitting the road again, the Pawtucket Red Sox had to finish things at home against the Toledo Mud Hens. After losing on Tuesday and Wednesday night, the PawSox looked to even the series out and get a much needed win.
Taking the mound for the PawSox was RHP Rubby De La Rosa. In the young season, Rubby has a 1-2 record in 6 games with an impressive 2.48 ERA. However his last two starts, he looked pretty shaky where he gave up multiple runs. This includes a loss last Saturday, May, 3, against the Indianapolis Indians where Rubby when 5 innings, giving up 2 runs (both earned), 4 hits, a season-high 5 walks, while striking out 4 on 90 pitches (51 for strikes).
Interestingly enough, there was a pitching change before the game was started. The original starter for the Toledo Mud Hens was supposed to be RHP Drew VerHagen. Instead, Mud Hens skipper Larry Parrish decided to go with LHP Mike Belfore (1-2, 5.02). Larry must have read the scouting report that the PawSox were .500 (6-6) against lefties in the early goings of the season and decided to attack with that.
The crowd got into their seats, the national anthem was sung, the ceremonial first pitch was thrown, and things were underway at McCoy.
The first inning gave a sense of a short-game, pitching duel. Rubby De La Rosa got 2 of the Mud Hens to strike out on fastballs while Belfore was able to stifle the PawSox batters and forced them to groundout. In the top of the second, it would seem that Rubby would build off his strong first inning when he got the first two batters out easily. But then disaster struck for the PawSox.
Rubby proceeded to give up a single to C James McCann and a walk to LF Tyler Collins. Then he gave up a single to RF Ben Guez and that’s where things went bad. On that same play, PawSox LF Justin Henry caused an error when he misplayed the ball and that scored McCann. To add insult to injury, De La Rosa saw Collins making his way home and tried to throw him out but ended up throwing behind C Christian Vazquez that called Collins to score. Top things off with a single RBI by CF Daniel Fields to score Guez and the PawSox found themselves in a 3-0 hole.
PawSox tried to strike back in the bottom of the second. 1B Ryan Lavarnway first got on base via walk after a 13-pitch battle with Belfore. Then DH Bryce Brentz got on base due to an error as then 1st and 2nd were loaded with no outs. But then 3B Garin Cecchini popped out to left and then C Christian Vazquez hit into a 5-4-3 (3B to 2B to 1B) double play to unceremoniously end the inning.
It wouldn’t be till the 5th inning when another scoring opportunity presented itself. Prior to the 5th, the Mud Hens made a pitching change by removing Belfore in favor of RHP Jhan Marinez. It was a head scratcher since the PawSox were struggling against lefties in the series but skipper Larry Parrish didn’t want to tire out Belfore. That ended proving to be a fatal mistake on Parrish’s part.
In the bottom of the 5th, both Cecchini and Vazquez got on back-to-back walks. With the sun poking through the clouds, CF Corey Brown came to the plate. He then ripped one deep to right to make it 3-3. Then one batter later, SS Brock Holt ripped a line drive to the right corner for a big triple. After a walk was given up, the Mud Hens made a pitching change by yanking Marinez in favor for Pat McCoy. He didn’t fare better.
Holt then ended up scoring on an RBI single by RF Daniel Nava to make it 4-3. A walk to 2B Ryan Roberts and a single to Lavarnway forced a bases loaded situation for Brentz. However he ended up hitting into a fielder’s choice that caused Lavarnway to be out at 2nd but ended up scoring Roberts for his 23rd RBI of the season to make the score 5-3. Then Cecchini came up to bat for the second time of the inning and ended up walking to load the bases for the second time of the inning. But then Vazquez struck out during his second at-bat in the inning for the final out. But the damage was done: 5 runs were scored on 4 hits as 11 batters came to the plate.
Afterwards the offensive fireworks gave way to stellar pitching and defense. Rubby De La Rosa was pulled in the 7th inning after getting the first two outs. By then he had thrown over 100 pitches so PawSox Skipper Kevin Boles decided to let his bullpen finish it off. In came in Rich Hill as he mowed down the Mud Hens up until the 9th inning. Then it was the LHP Drake Britton to close out things for the 9th inning to get the save.
So when the final out was recorded, the PawSox were able to come out on top 5-3. Rubby De La Rosa got the victory to push his record to 2-2 for the season. He went 6.2 innings, giving up 4 hits and 3 runs (only one was earned), walking 4 batters while striking out 6 all on a season high 102 pitches (59 were for strikes). Not to mention that after going 1-for-18 (.056) with runners in scoring position and scoring just 1 run in the last two games, the PawSox went 3-for-7 (.429) with runners in scoring position and scored 5 runs today.
Now with the series evened out at 2-2, the PawSox look to hit the road to Louisville, Kentucky to take on the Louisville Bats for 4 games there. Taking the mound in game one for the PawSox is RHP Allen Webster (1-1, 2.77) as he’ll be opposed to RHP Chad Reinske (0-3, 10.55).
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