Barnes made his season debut and made it known he's ready for 2014
Ryan Fox (@Spider_Fox)
All this week, the Pawtucket Red Sox and Rochester Red Wings did battle against one another. In harrowing, windy conditions the Red Wings took 2 out of the first 3 games of the series. Tonight marked the final game of the series with Rochester looking to finish 3-1 at McCoy while the PawSox were trying to get a win to even the series.
Getting the ball for the PawSox was pitcher Matt Barnes, his first start of the season. Prior to tonight’s game, Barnes spent the early goings of 2014 on the disabled list due to shoulder stiffness he suffered from during spring training. He was opposed by Trevor May of the Rochester Red Wings. Speaking of debuts, tonight’s game also marked his debut for the PawSox was OF Daniel Nava. After getting optioned from Boston earlier in the day, Nava arrived into Pawtucket and was put into the starting lineup, batting third and playing left field.
The weather wasn’t too much of a factor compared to the recent two games. So everybody at McCoy was going to be in for some explosive fireworks and fireworks there were.
Matt Barnes got off to a good start in the top of the first inning, getting two out of the three batters he faced out easily. He continued on strong 2nd inning, getting a big double play ball after walking the leadoff man. Barnes then capped off the inning by picking off Red Wings CF Eric Farris, who was trying to get a good lead off of first. Ironically enough, Farris was the guy Barnes walked. But then later on, Barnes had a hiccup in the third inning, giving up a run to give Rochester an early 1-0 lead. However that lead wouldn’t last for long.
Yesterday it seemed like the PawSox could barely get one run, their offense exploded in the 3rd inning. First CF Corey Brown led the way with a monster solo shot deep to center. Following that was a SS Mike McCoy groundout and then a 2B Justin Henry walk, who then proceeded to score on a RBI double by C Christian Vazquez. The fun didn’t stop there though. After back-to-back walks to LF Daniel Nava and DH Ryan Lavarnway, the bases were loaded up for RF Bryce Brentz. Though it would have been nice to get that big grand slam, Brentz settled for a double that scored Vazquez and Nava. But there was a little base-running shenanigans on Lavarnway’s behalf (Lavarnway held up a bit at second because he was unsure if the ball was caught or not, which caused him to go to third and Brentz at second).
Lavarnway scored on the following play on a sac-fly by 3B Garin Cecchini and then 1B Brandon Snyder stuck out to end the inning. However the damage was done. All 9 PawSox batters got to bat in the inning with 6 getting on base (3 via hit and 3 via walk) and ended up scoring 5 runs (they managed a combined 4 runs in the previous 2 games).
The offensive fireworks continued for the PawSox going into the 5th inning. Vazquez lead things off with another double before scoring later on a RBI single by Lavarnway. Scary moment when Cecchini fouled a ball off his right foot during his at-bat. Thankfully it wasn’t too serious as he got on base via walk to load up the bases. However the next two batters struck out, ending what could have been another big inning for the boys of McCoy.
After the 5th inning, the PawSox bats cooled off considerably as they reverted back to their struggling ways (0-for-8 with 2 BB and 3 Ks). But the opposition didn’t fare any better.
PawSox relief pitcher Tommy Layne then came in for the 6th inning and proceeded to shut down the Red Wings for two innings, giving up just two hits in that span. He was followed up by fellow relief pitcher Drake Britton, who closed things out with a 2-inning save.
In his season debut, Matt Barnes went 5 innings, giving up 6 hits, 2 runs (only one was earned), striking out and walking two Red Wings batters apiece on 81 pitches (64 for strikes) in . Also in his debut, Daniel Nava went 1-for-2 with 2 walks, a strikeout, a stolen base, and was caught trying to steal home in the bottom of the 7th.
After tonight’s game, the PawSox hit the road to for a 4-game series against the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs. Game 1 will be on Saturday, April 26, at 6:35 p.m. RHP Brandon Workman (0-0, 6.48) will take the mound for the PawSox. Opposing him will be RHP David Buchanan (2-0, 2.74).
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