Ryan L. Fox
Welcome PawSox fans of all ages to WBOB’s PawSox Weekly Notebook, a weekly guide to all what’s happening with your Pawtucket Red Sox. That’s enough of the pleasantries so let’s get down to business.
It was a busy week for the PawSox. Between Hall-of-Fame inductions, doubleheaders, and snapping losing streaks, you were in for a treat. Not to mention that on Sunday, June 23, marked the 38th year of the ‘Longest Game’ in baseball history. All this and more here on the PawSox Weekly Notebook.
A Week in Review
June 17 to June 23
The week didn’t exactly start off on the right foot for the PawSox.
After a day off on Monday, June 17, the team looked to host a 3-game midweek series against the Durham Bulls. The series opener was supposed to be played on Tuesday, June 18, but the game was postponed due to rain.
The two teams ended up playing a doubleheader on Wednesday, June 19, as the Bulls ended up sweeping the doubleheader.
Both teams then met on Thursday night, June 20, in the series finale.
The PawSox got on the scoreboard first as SS Chad De La Guerra was able to score from 2nd on a throwing error by Bulls starter LHP Ryan Merrit, who was trying to throw out DH Steve Pearce at 1st. Guerra then added a solo home run over the center field wall off of Merrit in the bottom 3rd to make it 2-0 after 3 innings of play.
The Bulls were able to answer with their own solo home run by LF Nick Solak off of PawSox starter RHP Erasmo Ramirez in the top 4th to make it 2-1. However the PawSox were able to counter with an RBI single by 3B Josh Tobias in the ensuing bottom 4th to make it 3-1.
In the top 6th, Nate Lowe led the inning off with a double into right field. He was then able to advance all the way to 3rd as then C Michael Perez came to the plate. During Perez’s at-bat, Ramirez threw a pitch behind teammate C Juan Centeno to the backstop, allowing Lowe to score to make it 3-2.
But then in the top 7th inning, the Bulls turned the ball game into a mini home run derby.
Prior to the start, Ramirez was lifted in favor of RHP Tyler Thornburg, who was still on his MLB injury rehab assignment. After walking RF Joe McCarthy and striking out DH Brendan McKay, Thornburg faced against CF Jake Smolinkski. Smolinkski took a Thornburg pitch over the left field wall to for a 2-run home run to make it 4-3 in favor of the visitors. Two batters later, 2B Kean Wong hit a triple to get in scoring position for Lowe. Lowe then knocked a 2-run home run over the left center field wall to then make it 6-3.
Thornburg was then lifted from the inning as the PawSox looked to LHP Dan Runzler to get out of the inning. Unfortunately the first man that Runzler faced against, 3B Michael Brosseau, hit a solo home run over the right field wall to push the Bulls’ lead to 7-3.
The PawSox were able to answer back in the ensuing bottom 7th as De La Guerra collected his 3rd RBI of the game with an RBI double off of Bulls RHP Luis Santos to make it 7-4. Two batters later, De La Guerra was able to come around and score on an RBI double by teammate LF Sam Travis to make it 7-5.
In the bottom 9th, the PawSox were able to tie the game thanks to a 2 RBI double by 1B Josh Ockimey off of Bulls RHP Cole Sulser to make it 7-7 and force the game into extra innings.
In the top 10th, the Bulls started off with Brosseau at 2nd while the PawSox had RHP Jenrry Mejia on the mound. After teammate Solak drew a walk to put men on base, Perez hit a double into center field that scored a run to make it 8-7. Two batters later, McKay cleared the bases with a 3-run home run over the center field wall to make it 11-7.
The PawSox tried to rally back in the bottom 10th as they started with 2B Chris Owings on 2nd. After a Centeno walk, Tobias was able to advance both runners into scoring positon with a groundout to 1st. But then CF Gorkys Hernandez hit into a double play to end the game, giving the Bulls the 11-7 victory and the series sweep at McCoy.
After the Bulls series, the PawSox welcomed in the Indianapolis Indians for 3-game weekend series as it would be the last time each team would face each other in 2019.
On Friday, June 21, the two teams played the series opener. However that Friday marked a special occasion as the team was inducting former PawSox and retired MLB player Roger Clemens into the PawSox Team Hall of Fame (Clemens was played with the PawSox to start the 1984 season, going 2-3 in 7 games while having an ERA of 1.93 before getting called up to the Boston Red Sox for the remainder of that year).
After the pre-game ceremonies and celebrations, both the Indians and the PawSox took to the field.
The Indians were able to get on the scoreboard first in the top 2nd. RF Logan Hill led the inning off with a double off of PawSox starter LHP Kyle Hart into left field. Two batters later, C Christian Kelley singled into center field to drive in Hill to give the Indians an early 1-0 lead. Then in the top 3rd, LF Kevin Kramer was able to hit a deep sac fly into center field to drive in another run to make it 2-0.
The PawSox were able to answer back with a big bottom 3rd inning.
3B Josh Tobias led the inning off with a single into left field as SS Chad De La Guerra singled himself two batters later. After RF Steve Pearce struck out for the 2nd out in the inning, Indians manager Brian Esposito made a pitching change as he took out starter RHP Yefry Ramirez and went with LHP Sean Keselica. The first batter Keselica faced was LF Sam Travis, who knocked a 3-run home run over the right center field wall to give the home team the 3-2 lead.
Both teams then went scoreless over the course of the next 2 innings afterwards.
But in the top 6th inning, after the leadoff man struck out, DH Eric Wood hit a double into left field. Teammate 2B Nick Franklin followed that up with a double of his own, scoring Wood to tie the game up at 3-3.
In the following top 7th, CF Jason Martin led the inning off with a double into right field. PawSox manager Billy McMillon then decided to go with the bullpen as Hart was lifted in favor of RHP Jordan Weems. Unfortunately for Weems, he surrendered a single to the first batter he faced, SS Cole Tucker, which allowed Martin to score from 2nd and make it 4-3. The Indians bullpen then stymied the PawSox for the remainder of the game as the team walked out of McCoy with a 4-3 victory in the series opener.
The two teams then met again for the rubber match on Saturday, June 22.
For the early part of the game, it was a pitching duel between Indians starter RHP Alex McRae and PawSox starter RHP Teddy Stankiewicz. Each pitcher was able to hold off the opposition’s offence off the scoreboard as the game seemingly flew by.
In the top 5th, the Indians had their best chance to score in that game. C Christian Kelley and CF JB Shuck hit back-to-back singles to put men on base with no outs in the inning. However SS Cole Tucker then grounded into a fielder’s choice that made Kelley be out at 3rd followed by 3B Hunter Owen striking out. Stankiewicz was then lifted as LHP Dan Runzler came into the game, getting the final out of the inning and allowing the PawSox to escape what would have been a difficult situation.
But whereas the Indians failed to capitalize on their scoring opportunity, the PawSox cashed in on theirs.
In the bottom 7th, after the leadoff man popped out to being the inning DH Sam Travis induced a walk. RF Rusney Castillo followed that up with a single into center field to put men on pace with 1 out in the inning as LF Bryce Brentz came to the plate. Brentz then proceeded to clear the bases with a 3-run home run to give the PawSox the late 3-0 lead.
The Indians could not muster any form of offense to answer back due to the effectiveness of the PawSox bullpen. The PawSox then walked out of McCoy with the 3-0 victory, setting up the winner-take-all series finale on Sunday, June 23.
On a sunny, calm Sunday, both teams took to the field for the series finale.
Ironically enough, June 23 was also the day that the PawSox finished the longest game in baseball history against the Rochester Red Wings back in 1981 with 1B Dave Koza driving in the winning run after 33 innings of play.
It was a back-and-forth affair between the two teams. Unfortunately, the Indians ended up winning the game by the final score of 4-3 to clinch the series victory as well as tie the season series between the two teams at 3-3.
Where They Stand
Things are not looking pretty for the PawSox in the standings as we head into the summer months.
They are now currently sitting in last place in the International League North with a record of 31-43 (.419), going 14-22 at McCoy while 17-21 on the road.
The PawSox are also 10.5 games back behind the divisional leading Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders, who are sitting on top of the division at 44-29 (.603).
Just the Stats Jack
The following statistics are from players currently playing on the PawSox Triple-A squad as of 6/23. This excludes players who were called up, traded, suspended, currently on the disabled list, currently on the temporary inactive list, or have yet to report to the team after being optioned by Boston.
At the Plate
(*=min. 65 at-bats)
- CF Gorkys Hernandez leads the team in games played (69), runs scored (43), stolen bases (13)
- CF Rusney Castillo leads the team in at-bats (249), hits (71), and RBIs (38). He is tied with teammate Josh Ockimey in team lead in total bases (105)
Ockimey leads the team in home runs (15), extra base hits (28), RBIs (28), total bases (84), walks drawn (50), and strikeouts (76),
- 2B/SS Chad De La Guerra leads the team in batting average (.308)*, OBP (.385)*, SLG (.592)*, and OPS (.977)*
- There is a 4-way tie between Ockimey, Hernandez, RF Cole Sturgeon, and 1B/3B Jantzen Witte in leading all batters in being hit-by-pitch (3)
Start You Pitchers
(*= min. 30.0 IP)
- SP Erasmo Ramirez leads all starters in games played (13), games started (12), no-decisions (7), innings pitched (58.2), hit batsmen (4), and opposing batting average (.241)*
- SP Teddy Stankiewicz leads all starters in wins (4), losses (4), ERA (3.45)*, walks allowed (21), strikeouts (45), total batters faced (256), and K/9 (7.1)*. He is tied with teammate SP Kyle Hart in leading all starters in complete games shout-outs (1)
- Hart leads all starters in WHIP (1.17)
- There is a 3-way tie between Hart, Stankiewicz, and SP Ryan Weber in leading all starters in complete games (1)
Outta Da Pen
(*= min. 15 appearances)
- RHP Trevor Kelley leads the bullpen in bullpen wins (5), ERA (1.04)*, and WHIP (1.10)*. He is tied with teammate RHP Travis Lakins in leading the bullpen in holds (4)
- LHP Dan Runzler leads the bullpen in opposing batting average (.192)*
- LHP Bobby Poyner leads the bullpen in strikeouts (36) and K/9 (11.4)*. He is also tied with RHP Domingo Tapia in leading the bullpen in walks allowed (18)
- Tapia leads the bullpen in bullpen starts (1), innings pitched (38.1), hit batsmen (4) and total batters faced (170)
- RHP Jenrry Mejia leads the bullpen in bullpen losses (7), game appearances (31), saves (7), and games finished (24)
The following team transaction took place from June 17 to June 23
- RHP Carson Smith released
- Sent RHP Daniel McGrath to Portland (AA)
- 2B/Util. Tzu Wei-Lin recalled to Boston (MLB) but will remain on DL
- Received SP Josh Smith and RHP Travis Lakins from Boston (MLB) after both were optioned back on June 19
- Received 1B/OF Steve Pearce from Lowell (Short Season-A) to continue injury rehab assignment
- Sent SP Josh Smith to Boston (MLB)
- Received RHP Jordan Weems from Portland (AA)
- Sent 2B/SS Nick Lovullo to Portland (AA)
- Received 2B/Util. Chris Owings from Boston (MLB) after he was signed back on June 17
As of right now, there are currently 3 Boston Red Sox on an injury rehab assignment with the PawSox.
First you have 1B/OF Steve Pearce. The 2018 World Series MVP started the 2019 up in Boston, appearing in 29 games while hitting .189, 1 HR, 9 RBI, and slashing an OBP/SLG/OPS line of .245/.258/.503. However Pearce suffered a lower back strain and was placed on the 10-day disabled list on June 1. After working with the medical staff and trainers, Pearce was placed in Short Season-A Lowell Spinners to begin his MLB injury rehab assignment. After appearing in 2 games with the Spinners, Pearce was then transferred over to Pawtucket on June 18. Pearce has appeared in 5 games with the PawSox, going .167 with just 1 RBI while hitting an OBP/SLG/OPS line of .250/.167/.417.
Next you have RHP Tyler Thornburg. Thornburg appeared in 16 games with the Boston Red Sox, going 0-0 with an ERA of 7.71 before getting placed on the disabled list on May 23 (retroactive to May 22) with right hip impingement. After a couple of weeks of working with trainers, Thornbug was placed on an injury rehab assignment and assigned to Pawtucket (AAA) on June 9. During his injury rehab assignment, Thornburg has appeared in 5 games, going 0-2 with an ERA of 15.43, allowed 8 runs (8 earned), walking 7 batters, and striking out 6 in 4.2 innings pitched.
Then you have LHP Steven Wright. Wright was suspended for 80 games in the 2019 MLB season for violating the league’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment program after he tested positive for Growth Hormone Releasing Peptide 2 (GHRP-2). Because of that, the earliest that Wright will be eligible to pitch for the Red Sox on June 24. After deeming him able to resume baseball activities, the Red Sox placed him in Pawtucket on a rehab assignment on June 9 to get him into ‘game shape.’ During his rehab assignment, Wright has appeared in 5 games, going 1-0 with an ERA of 1.86, allowed 2 runs (2 earned), walking 3 batters, and striking out 4 in 9.2 innings pitched.
Previously Rehab Stints with Pawtucket
- 2B/Util. Brock Holt (April 16 – April 20, April 26 - April 29, May 15 – May 24)
- 2B/3B Eduardo Nunez (April 29 – May 4)
- LHP Brian Johnson (May 15 – May 21, June 3 – June 14)
- 2B Dustin Pedroia (May 17 – May 24)
- 2B/Util. Tzu-Wei (June 9 – June 17)
Currently there are 6 PawSox players that are on the disabled list.
Current Players on Disabled List
RHP Austin Maddox (April 4 to present day)
RHP Mark Montgomery (April 4 to present day)
RHP Zack Putnam (April 4 to present day)
INF/OF Tony Renda (April 14 to present day with right shoulder strain)
LHP Jeremy Bleich (May 30 to present day with left knee sprain)
INF Mike Miller (June 7 to present day with left hamstring strain)
This will be an interesting upcoming week for the PawSox
From June 24 to June 25, the PawSox will play two games at home against the Buffalo Bisons. Currently the Bisons lead the season series 6-4, including going 2-1 at McCoy.
After that, the PawSox will head north to upstate New York to place a 2-game midweek series from June 26 to June 27 against the Syracuse Mets. Currently the Mets lead the season series 8-6, including an impressive 6-1 record at NBT Bank Stadium this season.
Following their series against the Mets, the PawSox will still be in upstate New York as they will travel west into Rochester for a 3-game weekend series against the Red Wings to close out the month of June (June 28 to June 30). Although the Red Wings lead the season series 8-6, it’s the PawSox who have been dominate at Frontier Field with a record of 5-2.
For this upcoming week, the PawSox will running their season-long promotion Osos Polares de Pawtucket on Tuesday, June 25, to honor the surrounding Hispanic community in Pawtucket.
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