Down On The Red Sox Farm: (Mostly) Struggling Affiliates Will Be Busy as July Opens
- Portland’s Jeremy Hazelbaker swept into the Sea Dogs franchise record books, in addition to a solid Saturday at the plate.
by Joshua Kummins
BOSTON – It was a very down final week of June for the Sox affiliates in the win column, but All-Star selections were finalized in the International and Eastern Leagues with the PawSox and Portland Sea Dogs getting some solid representation on their respective teams for next week’s contests. Both of those teams will be busy as July opens as they play doubleheaders on this beautiful Sunday.
First, a few general notes:
- OF Carl Crawford has played in five straight games with the Gulf Coast League Red Sox. He is 3-for-14 with a double, two runs scored and five walks during this current assignment, which includes four starts in left field.
- OF Jacoby Ellsbury has played in the last two contests with the GCL squad, including his first start in CF today. He walked twice and scored a run and is now 1-for-4 with an RBI, double, run and three walks on the assignment thus far.
- With the activation of RHP Josh Beckett to start Saturday’s game for the Red Sox, OF Darnell McDonald was designated for assignment by the organization.
Pawtucket (47-36, T-1st in IL North): Thanks to 19 hits and an impressive performance on the mound from Justin Germano, the PawSox opened a brief two-day, three-game series at Lehigh Valley (PHI) with a 14-1 win on Saturday to propel themselves back into a first-place tie in the International League North. … The PawSox scored more runs last night then they had in their last six games combined (10). … Germano earned his ninth win as he allowed four hits and fanned ten over eight innings. The January free agent signing has proved very worthy as he will be the lone Triple-A pitcher representing the Red Sox organization at next week’s All-Star Game in Buffalo, N.Y. … 3B Andy LaRoche made a big splash in just his second game as a Red Sox, going 4-for-5 with three runs, a homer, and four RBI. He was acquired on Friday after appearing in 46 games with Columbus (CLE) earlier this year. … The team has still lost eight of ten and 11 of 13, including a four-game sweep at the hands of Louisville (CIN) to open an eight-game homestand last week. That mark was the worst during a stretch at McCoy Stadium since July 9-19, 2009. … Following today’s doubleheader, either the PawSox or IronPigs will own first place in the division standings. … Joining Germano as All-Stars will be DH Mauro Gomez, C Ryan Lavarnway and SS Pedro Ciriaco. … Gomez, who is eighth in the Sox system with a .305 average, continues to lead Boston farmhands with 17 home runs and is second with 53 RBI. … Lavarnway finished June with a 1-for-4 performance and posted his best monthly average wit a .405 mark in 21 June games. … Pawtucket and South Division-leading Charlotte (CWS) are the lone IL teams with four All-Stars.
Portland (34-46, 5th, -12.0 GB in EL Eastern): The ‘Dogs have taken three of the first five on the current nine-game homestand at Hadlock Field, including a 4-3 win over Trenton (NYY) on Saturday night. … INF Drew Hedman, who was just promoted from Advanced-A Salem on Thursday, led off the ninth with Portland’s first walk-off dinger since Mitch Dening last July 20. … RHP Josh Fields retired all five batters to notch his second win of the season. … OF Jeremy Hazelbaker, who tied Saturday’s game with a three-run double, picked up the 50th steal in his of his Portland career on Friday and became the first-ever Sea Dog to reach that mark under the Red Sox affiliation. … OF Jackie Bradley Jr. has hit safely in eight of his first ten starts at Double-A, going 14-for-40. He leads all Sox minor leaguers with a .358 average and leads all of MiLB with a .476 OBP. … OF Bryce Brentz has hit safely in 12 of his last 15 starts, going 17-for-52 in that stretch. He also walked 14 times in the month of June, including a career-high four on Tuesday. … Brentz, LHP Chris Hernandez and INF Reynaldo Rodriguez will represent Portland in the Baseballtown Eastern League All-Star Classic on July 11 in Reading, Pa.
Salem (3-7, 4th, -4.0 GB in CAR Southern): The Sox have gotten off to a rocky start in the second half but sit four games behind Winston-Salem (CWS) in the overall standings at 44-35. … Salem opens a two-stop road swing with the first of three contests in Myrtle Beach (TEX) on Sunday night. … Potomac (WSH) pounded out 19 hits as the Sox suffered their worst loss of the season by a 13-4 score to close the homestand, off the heels of the second-worst defeat, an 8-0 loss to the Dash on Monday. … C Christian Vasquez closed his stellar June with two hits and a three-run home run in the second inning. After Vazquez batted just .155 in May, the Puerto Rican native hit .309 with three homers in June, finishing the month with multiple hits in four of his last five games. … In June, Salem surpassed its combined home run total for April and May with 27 longballs in 30 games, including a season-best five in Thursday’s 16-14 shootout win. … Five of the first six batters in the line-up went yard with 1B Travis Shaw the lone player not to do so. … Ironically, Shaw led the team with 12 home runs entering the night and now shares the lead with SS Xander Boegarts. … The Sox did not lose a game by more than six runs over the entire first half of the season, during which they went 41-28.
Greenville (6-4, T-2nd, -2.0 GB in SAL Southern): In Low-A, the Drive have opened the second half with a solid ten-game stretch and have now won the first two of a five-game series with rival Charleston (NYY), including a 5-3 win on Saturday. … All-Star LHP Miguel Pena was solid in picking up his fifth win, allowing just five hits and a run in six innings. He continues to sit among system leaders with a 5-4 record and 2.61 ERA, which ranks sixth. … OF Keury De La Cruz has seemingly not cooled off at all during his first full professional season, posting the second-best average among Sox minor leaguers at .326, while his 11 home runs and 51 RBI are also among the leaderboard. … Another All-Star, INF Garin Cecchini continues to be the pacesetter on the basepaths as his 28 swipes lead the Sox and double any other Greenville player. … Patience has certainly been a virtue as the Drive’s 328 walks are tops in the system and second in the South Atlantic League. After RiverDog starter Matt Bashore walked the bases loaded in Saturday’s second inning, SS Bryan Johns took advantage with a two-run single to propel the offense. … Both teams had some fun with their Red Sox-Yankees affiliate rivalry as they sported jerseys of their parent clubs during the head-to-head match-up, which the Drive lead 10-4.
Lowell (5-8, 3rd, -5.0 GB in NYPL Stedler): The Spinners have opened the season competing solely against their New York-Penn League Stedler Division foes and following a three-game home set with Tri-City (HOU), that will change during an upcoming roadtrip through Auburn (WSH) and Batavia (STL). … For the first time in franchise history, two Spinners swept the weekly NYPL awards announced last Monday. 1B/DH David Chester was named Offensive Player of the Week, while RHP Raynel Velette allowed one hit over six shutout innings during his lone start on June 21 at Connecticut (DET) to capture Pitcher of the Week. … Lowell suffered a heartbreaking loss, their second in a row, on Saturday as Vermont (WSH) stole a 4-3 contest in 13 innings. The Spinners started the season with a 4-1 record but have not lost seven of eight. … 1B Nathan Minnich, Boston’s eighth round selection in June, had three of Lowell’s eight hits in the contest, raising his average just over 70 points over the last two games with the Lake Monsters as he now sits at .222. … Deven Marrero made his debut at shortstop on Saturday but went 0-for-5 at the plate. The Arizona State product is a very respectable 9-for-31 over his first seven games with the club. … On Monday, the team will host yet another world record attempt as author and baseball fanatic Zack Hample will attempt to break the record for catching a baseball dropped from great height.