Friday, July 16, 2010

Farming New England

Here's the weekly run down on the local nines.

Heading into the All-Star break the PawSox had taken two out of the three games they had played against Syracuse at home and they pick up the matchup right after the break as playing four games in Syracuse. The Chiefs fans are the lucky ones as they will get the chance to see Clay Bucholz (Friday) and Josh Beckett (Saturday) work in rehab starts for Pawtucket. The Chiefs team however, might not see things the same way. Long lost Jed Lowrie will also be joining Pawtucket on this trip after playing six games with Lowell. At the AAA All-Star Game, Bubba Bell saw ample time in centerfield and had the privilege of being the leadoff batter for the International League, but he went 0 for 3 on the night. Regardless, the International League eeked out a 2-1 victory of the Pacific League in a big time pitchers duel.

The Rock Cats' Ben Revere got some big league face time at the Future's Game this past Sunday. Despite a prospect-packed outfield for the U.S. squad, Revere managed to get 3 at-bats in the game, but came up empty after flying out once and grounding out two times. Three days later at the Eastern League All-Star Game, Revere once again had an 0fer during his 2 at-bats, however he did manage to pick up a RBI on a sac fly in the second inning. Deolis Guerra gave up 2 runs while working the 3rd inning of the All-Star Game and Kyle Gibson managed a perfect 6th inning during his appearance. Minnesota Twins infielder Alexi Casilla returns to New Britain for a 10-day rehab stint that started on Thursday night.

New Hampshire hit the break on top of the Eastern Division with a 55-36 record. Unfortunately they lost the services of uber-reliever Tim Collins as he was dealt to the Braves as part of a five-player deal. His 73 Ks over 43 innings of work will surely be missed. Trystan Magnuson got a bit roughed up in his brief action for the World Futures on Sunday where he tossed 2/3 of an inning and allowed 2 hits, 2 walks and an earned run. He fared better in his Eastern League All-Star Game stint, going 2/3 of an inning once again and allowing no one to reach base. Kyle Drabek earned the honor of being the starting pitcher for the Eastern Division in the All-Star Game and he only allowed 1 hit in his 1 full inning on the hill. The remaining four Fisher Cats All-Stars, Darin Mastroianni (1-4), Eric Thames (1-4), Adam Loewen (1-1) and Brian Jeroloman (1-2) , all managed a hit on the evening. In the Home Run Derby, both Thames and Loewen came up empty and did not advance past the first round of action.

The Portland Sea Dogs, much like the PawSox, have benefited from the big club's injury woes this season. This time around Manny Delcarmen has joined the Dogs fresh off of the break and started Thursday night on the bump. Delcarmen worked a perfect first inning and will slowly be worked back into big league condition. Eastern League All-Stars Nate Spears and Ray Chang showed that they were worthy of starting and finishing for the Eastern Division. Spears went 1-4 (double) with an RBI and managed the only extra base hit for the East. Chang went 2-4 and scored a run on Spears' double. Jason Rice was the last Eastern pitcher to enter the game and he went 2/3 of an inning walking one and striking out one. The Sea Dogs ended the break losing to the last place Rock Cats and returned singing the same song, losing 3-0.

After taking two of three from Batavia, the Connecticut Tigers hit a rough patch, dropping three straight to Williamsport and eventually extending the losing streak to four against State College. The Tigers got of the schnide by beating State College on Thursday night and raised their record back over .500. After getting shelled in his last two outings, starter Clemente Mendoza allowed only 2 hits and no earned runs over 8 innings of work on Thursday night. The Tigers play one more game versus the Spikes on Friday night before hitting the road for a brief three-game set against the Hudson Valley Renegades.

The Lowell Spinners continue their losing ways, dropping five of their last six games, including their Futures at Fenway appearance on Saturday which was a rained shortened 7-2 loss to Jamestown. Over their last three games, Spinners pitching has been touched up for an astounding 40 runs! They've endured 12-2 and 16-2 back-to-back losses against the Batavia Muckdogs. And this is a team that actually had the help of two players with some big league experience in Jed Lowrie and Dusty Brown. Things won't get any easier for Lowell as their schedule has them playing three at home over the weekend, followed by a five game road trip, a brief two game home stand and then another three games on the road.

Vermont continues to roll, picking up five wins over their last seven games to the tune of a league best 20-7 record. Catcher David Freitas leads the New York-Penn League with a .397 batting average and is in the midst of a 12 game hitting streak. Reliever Mark Herrera has only allowed one earned run in 14.1 innings of work out of the pen. The pitching staff as a whole boasts league bests in ERA (2.76) and WHIP (1.19). The Lake Monsters will look to sweep their three game series against Aberdeen on Friday night before welcoming the Staten Island Yankees to historic Centennial Field for three.

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