Ryan L. Fox - The month of April is almost to an end. Those showers (both rain and especially snow) are now behind us as we to turn into the month of May. With that, the Pawtucket Red Sox's first month of the 2018 International League season is behind them as well. How did they do in their last full week of April? In four simple word, 'they closed out strong'.
A Week in Review
After returning home from their Ohio road trip, the PawSox returned back home to McCoy to open a 7-game home stand. Up first were the Gwinnett Strippers, formerly the Gwinnett Braves.
Pitching for Pawtucket in the first game of the series was RHP Steven Wright, who was on a MLB injury rehab assignment for Boston. Unfortunately, he didn’t pitch as well as he had hoped, giving up 3 runs in the top of the 3rd inning and lasting only 2.2 innings. The Stripers tacked on an extra run in the top of the 6th to go up 4-1 into the later innings.
However the PawSox were able to tie things up with a 3-run bottom of the 8th inning, which included a 2 RBI single by LF Sam Travis to tie things up. The game went into extra innings as in the bottom of the 11th, 1B Mike Olt hit a double deep to center field that drove in teammate DH Ramon Flores to score the game-winning run to give the PawSox a 5-4 victory.
The next day, the PawSox didn’t have to rely on late inning magic for the victory.
LHP Jalen Beeks pitched 6 strong innings of baseball, striking out 10 batters while giving up just 2 hits as he blanketed the Strippers. On the offensive side, 3B Janzen Witte drove in 2 PawSox runs as the team cruised to a 6-0 victory.
Then on a Sunday matinee, there was a mix of offensive fireworks and some late inning drama. The PawSox climbed up from a 2-0 deficit early in the game to go up 5-3 heading into the top of the 9th inning. But down to their last out, the Strippers got an RBI double by 3B Rio Ruiz, who then later scored on an RBI by 1B Carlos Franco to tie things up and ultimately send it into extra innings. After both teams traded runs in the 10th inning, the Strippers plated 3 runs in the top of the 11th inning, including a 2-run RBI double by Ruiz, to go up 9-6.
The PawSox then answered back with their own big inning in the bottom of the 11th. First C Mike Ohlman hit a double to left that drove in both SS Ivan De Jesus Jr. and 3B Mike Olt to make it 9-8. Then CF Aneruy Tavarez drove in Ohlman with his own RBI double to tie it up 9-9. Then 2B Mike Miller singled to right, allowing Tavarez to score the winning run and give the PawSox the 10-9 victory and the series sweep.
The last time the PawSox swept an opponent at home was last year on August 7-9 when the swept the Charolette Knights. The last time the PawSox swept Gwinnett was back on May 7-9 during the 2013 season when the two teams played at Coolray Field in Lawrenceville, Georgia.
After their series with the Stripers, the PawSox continued their home stand by welcoming in the Toledo Mud Hens for a 3-game series.
The two teams previously faced each other last week as the PawSox took the opening game on Friday 10-2 while the Mud Hens took the following Saturday game on the score of 4-0. But then the series finale had to be postponed due to inclement weather and was rescheduled for April 23, turning that day into a doubleheader.
Game 1 went to the Mud Hens on the final score of 3-0. LHP Blaine Hardy blanketed the PawSox, allowing just one hit and one walk for the entire game while RF Jim Adduci and 2B Dawel Lugo each homered off of PawSox RHP Chandler Shepherd.
Game 2 went in favor of the PawSox. LHP Josh Smith made the spot start, going 4 strong innings while giving up just 3 hits, 1 walk, and struck out 3 batters. However once his day was over, the Mud Hens were able to generate some offense as they tagged both RHP Brandon Workman and LHP Bobby Poyner with two runs each. However the PawSox were able to generate some offense this time around, including a 8th inning where the team scored 4 runs to ultimately win the game 6-4. PawSox 3B Mike Olt and 2B Cha De La Guerra each had homeruns during the game, with Olt driving in 5 of the 6 PawSox runs.
For the next game of the series, the PawSox saw Boston Red Sox (and former PawSox) SS Xander Bogaerts make his first appearance in a game since he suffered a small crack in the talus bone in his left ankle back on April 9th in a game against the Tampa Bay Rays. Bogaerts ended up going 2-for-3 in the game, including a home run in the bottom of the 4th. However the PawSox could only add one more run to the score and made as many errors (2) in a disappointing 9-2 loss.
The two teams looked to face off against each other in not only the series finale by the season series finale on April 25. Unfortunately they did not have a chance to play as the game was rained out. Because of the rain out, Mud Hens ended up taking the season series against the PawSox 3-2.
The PawSox then traveled to upstate New York to Buffalo to face off against the Buffalo Bisons for a 3-game weekend.
The first game took place on April 27 at night. The PawSox jumped to an early 4-1 lead by the 6th inning thanks in part to RBIs by CF Rusney Castillo and LF Ramon Flores as well as 3B Jordan Betts first Triple-A home run. But then in the bottom of the 6th, PawSox starter Steven Wright ended up loading the bases, including walking in a run, and then PawSox RHP Marcus Walden gave up 3 runs afterwards and the Bisons got out in front 5-4. A home run by PawSox 1B Mike Olt the following inning tied things up at 5-5 as both teams each scored 2 runs in the 8th inning. The game then went into extra innings where in the top of the 10th inning, C Dan Butler hit a 2-run home run to right field to put his team up 10-8.
The Bisons were able to plate one run in the bottom of the 10th inning thanks in part to a sac fly by LF Dwight Smith Jr. that scored 2B Tim Lopes to make it 10-9. But then PawSox LHP Ryan Brasier got Bisons LF Anthony Alford to strike out swinging to give the PawSox the extra-inning victory.
Where They Stand
With April coming to a close, the PawSox are currently sitting in 2nd place in the International League North with a record of 10-8 (.556). They are 1.5 games back behind the divisional leading Syracuse Chiefs, who are sitting at 12-7 (.632). In the Wild Card Standings, the PawSox are tied with the Indianapolis Indians with both teams sporting a 10-8 (.556) record.
Just the Stats Jack
The following statistics are from players currently playing on the PawSox Triple-A squad as of 4/21. This excludes players who were called up, traded, currently on the disabled list, or currently on the temporary inactive list.
At the Plate
(*=min. 35 at-bats)
- 1B/3B Mike Olt leads the team in extra base hits (XBH) (10), runs scored (11), home runs (3), on-base percentage (OBP) (.414), slugging (SLG) (.609), and on-base plus slugging (OPS) (1.022). He is also tied with teammate CF Rusney Castillo in RBIs (11 each)
- Castillo leads the team in games played (18), at-bats (78), hits (26), batting average (.333), total bases (35), stole bases (4), and batting average (.321)*
Start You Pitchers
(*= min. 10.0 IP)
- SP Justin Haley leads all starters in losses (3), games played (4), games started (4), innings pitched (20.0), and walks allowed (10)
- SP Jalen Beeks leads all starters in ERA (0.64)*, strikeouts (26), opposing batting average (.192)*, and WHIP (1.07)*. He is also tied with teammate SP William Cuevas for most wins this season (1). Both are also tied with teammate SP Chandler Shepherd for most hit batsmen this season (1)
Outta Da Pen
(*= min. 4 appearances)
- RHP Kyle Martin leads the bullpen in walks (6) and opposing batting average (.197). He is tied with teammate RHP Ty Buttery for bullpen lead in hit batsmen (1). Martin is also tied with teammate RHP Ryan Brasier for bullpen lead in relief wins (2). Both Martin and Braiser are tied with teammate RHP Brandon Workman for bullpen lead in losses (1)
- Workman also leads the bullpen in holds (3)
- Buttery leads the bullpen in strikeouts (21)
- Brasier leads the bullpen in innings pitched (13.0) and games finished (6)
- LHP Josh Smith leads the bullpen in ERA (0.87)*, bullpen starts (1), WHIP (0.97)*,
- LHP Robby Scott leads the bullpen in game appearances (8)
- LHP William Jerez leads the team in bullpen saves (2)
The following team transaction took place from April 6 to April 28
- Received RHP Marcus Walden from Boston (MLB)
- Received LHP Drew Pomeranz from Boston (MLB) to begin 30-day MLB injury rehab assignment.
- Sent SS/Util. Tzu-Wei Lin to Boston (MLB)
- Received 1B/3B Mike Olt from Portland (AA)
- Received LHP Josh Smith from Lowell (Short Season-A) via paper move
- Placed RHP Fernando Rodriguez on 7-day disabled list (retro to 4/9) with hamstring strain
- Transferred LHP Drew Pomeranz to Portland (AA) to continue his MLB injury rehab assignment
- Sent RHP Marcus Walden to Boston (MLB)
- Received LHP Dedgar Jimenez from Portland (AA)
- Received RHP Marcus Walden from Boston (MLB)
- Received RHP Steven Wright from Boston (MLB) to begin 30-day MLB injury rehab assignment
- Received LHP Bobby Poyner from Portland (AA) to continue his MLB injury rehab assignment
- Sent LHP Bobby Poyner to Boston (MLB) upon completion of MLB injury rehab assignment
- LHP Roenis Elias traded to Seattle (MLB) in exchange for a player-to-be-named-later or cash considerations
- Received RHP Marcus Walden and LHP Bobby Poyner from Boston (MLB)
- Received 3B Jordan Betts from Portland (AA)
- Placed 3B Jantzen Witte on 7-day disabled list (retro to 4/22) with lower back strain
- Received SS Xander Bogaerts from Boston (MLB) to begin 20-day injury rehab assignment (crack in talus bone in left ankle)
- Sent SS Xander Bogaerts to Boston (MLB) upon completion of injury rehab assignment
As of right now, there is only Boston Red Sox player on the current PawSox roster.
Red Sox RHP Steven Wright joined the PawSox back on April 20 to begin his MLB injury rehab assignment. Wright has been on the Red Sox disabled list as of March 26 due to him recovering from a cartilage restoration procedure in his knee and yet to appear in an MLB game this season.
So far, Wright has already made one rehab start during his time in Pawtucket back on April 20 against the Gwinnett Stripers. During that game he pitched solid for the first two innings of the game but then had a hiccup in the top of the 3rd where he gave up 3 hits, 3 runs, and a balk before getting out the last two batters he faced that game. Overall in the game, Wright went 2.2 innings, giving up 5 hits, 3 runs (2 were unearned), 3 walks, 1 balk, while striking out 3 batters.
His next start was then on the road against the Buffalo Bison in Buffalo, New York, on April 27. There, Wright pitched 5 innings, allowing just 1 run during that stretch. However in the bottom of the 6th, Wright seemingly imploded as he allowed 4 runs, 2 hits, hit 1 batter, and allowed 1 walk. Overall, he finished the game with 5 innings pitched, 6 hits allowed, 5 runs (4 earned), 1 walk, 4 strikeouts, 1 hit batsmen while his ERA rose to 7.04.
Earlier this week, Red Sox SS Xander Bogaerts made a quick appearance down in Pawtucket for an MLB injury rehab assignment. Bogaerts suffered a small crack in the talus bone in his left ankle back on April 9th in a game against the Tampa Bay Rays where he saved an error for his team. He was placed on the 10-day disabled list back on April 9. He made his PawSox debut on back on April 24 in a game against the Toledo Mud Hens. During the game, Bogaerts played at short stop and batted second in the lineup. He ended up going 2-for-3 (.667) with 1 HR, 1 RBI before getting replaced by Ivan De Jesus Jr. in the top of the 7th inning. However a few days later on April 27, he was recalled back to Boston.
Earlier, the PawSox had LHP Drew Pomeranz make a rehab start with the PawSox back on April 8 before then getting transferred to Double-A Portland on April 10.
Also LHP Bobby Ponyer joined the PawSox back on April 20 from Double-A Portland to continue his injury rehab assignment. However he was recalled to Boston on April 22 before then being outright to Pawtucket the following day.
The PawSox will be continuing their weekend series against the Buffalo Bisons with both their Saturday game (April 28) and Sunday game (April 29) both at 1:05 p.m. EST. Then they travel back to McCoy for a quick 3-game home stand against the Rochester Red Wings (April 30-May 2) followed by away-home series against the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Railriders (May 3-4 down in Moosic, Pennsylvania and then May 5-6 at McCoy).
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