RED WINGS REPORT
Pawtucket 7, Rochester 4
Stephen Gonsalves was the starter for this one, but Nick Anderson played the role of opener. Gonsalves was tasked with coming in needing to get the final out of the second inning, and threw five and one-third innings. He allowed two earned runs on five hits while walking three and striking out a like number.
Pawtucket got out to a 2-0 lead that was wiped away in the fourth inning. Willians Astudillo crushed his 11th homer of the year, and brought both Taylor Motter and Tyler Austin to the plate with him. Motter then walked with the bases loaded in the seventh inning to push the lead out to 4-2.
Pawtucket chipped away, adding runs in both the 7th and 8th innings. Recently signed big league veteran Brandon Phillips took Tyler Duffey deep for a three-run bomb to walk it off.
Rochester can exact revenge tomorrow night in game two of the series.
[re-posted from the night's minor league summary thread...]
I was in attendance at Pawtucket last night, so let me offer some additional impressions and details.
First, a minor correction: the Red Wings' final run scored on a wild pitch. The bases were not loaded when Motter walked, but when ball-four skittered past Mike Ohlman, Edgar Corcino on third scored anyway. He was there because of another wild pitch on the previous batter.
I don't have a lot to say about Pawtucket's players in this game, as I really don't follow the Red Sox and definitely have no clue about their prospect pipeline, but I must mention starter Mike Shawaryn. He was much, much better than his line score indicates, pitching perfect innings his first time through the lineup, in his very first appearance at AAA at age 23. He probably had only that one really bad pitch, to Astudillo, and the additional run came in the seventh as described above after he was out of the game. Looks like the Red Sox have found a way to feed their farm system with 5th round draft picks. Maybe having a short-season single-A team for college draftees is their secret sauce, hint hint.
Anderson wasn't very effective for us in his stint as "opener", but the run scored in the bottom of the first was as much due to runners taking advantage of Jeremy Hazelbaker's arm as the base hits themselves. Tony Renda's "double" should have been a single but the word apparently is out and he challenged the center fielder and won. And then what seemed like a harmless single by Rusney Castillo plated Renda, with the throw from CF taking way too long to get there. I'm guessing there's a reason Hazelbaker was available for cash. Anyway, Anderson then permitted a single to Sam Travis, so the run probably would have scored anyway. So, not a good start to the game for either guy.
Nick Gordon also had a stinker of a game. No errors in the scoresheet, but his opportunities to impress, on a couple of plays that major league shortstops would likely make, went unclaimed. One was a grounder to his right that I thought he would get to but didn't. Another was one where he had to come in, but his throw was high and pulled Austin Tyler Tyler Austin off of first base. What's more, he looked feeble at the plate, striking out twice and making two easy outs in the air. Mrs Ash remarked that he might do better if he didn't have his pant legs pulled up so high - I think he should take Mrs Ash's scouting advice to heart as she is rarely wrong about anything. In any case, do NOT bring this guy up now, and probably don't bring him up for a September look-see either. Maybe he'll be ready someday, but he is not, today.
Speaking of Austin Tyler Tyler Austin, I thought he acquitted himself well. He didn't get any base hits, but one of his outs was a sharp liner to third base in the eighth, and he walked which resulted in a run when Astudillo hit a homer. The first baseman also got three chances to field popups, all in the final two innings - indeed he notched the last putout before the fatal home run.
Speaking of liners to third, Astudillo scorched an even tougher one to Tony Renda's right in the sixth inning. You simply can't play a liner better than Renda did, leaving his feet and stretching to full extension to barely snag that rocket. Beautiful play. Kudos to him.
Speaking of Willians Astudillo, that home run to left in the fourth inning was a rocket too - a no-doubter. It was one of the few bright spots in the game for my team. He was unremarkable in left field, making the easy fly outs and handling the base hits in his direction. However, what stood out to me was how very slowly he moved when going to his position, and slow coming back to the dugout. He exerted effort on balls in play, as I said, but I don't recall someone taking that much time to and from. It's like he's the anti-Charlie Hustle (which itself is not originally a compliment, so I'm not sure what bearing it has).
Speaking of home runs, how about that Tyler Duffey? On that last batter, it was a 2-2 count, with curveballs missing twice. I don't often try to guess pitches, but I was sure it would be a fastball, and mentioned to Mrs Ash that they should come back with another curve instead. I'd go with another curve even on 3-2, too, and if it was a walk, so be it - there were two out. Nope, flat, 91-MPH, nothing fastball. Brandon Phillips was sitting on it, just like me. Ain't I smart? Ball game. There was of course also the dong by Josh Ockimey that tied it in the eighth. Duffey is another of the disappointments this franchise has suffered in the past few years. It won't surprise me if he's non-tendered this off-season - this guy never progressed beyond being a two-pitch pitcher, and now he's down to one. He's cooked. Or, if some other team signs him and gets something out of him, a hard look needs to be taken at the coaching and why they didn't help him find answers.
Speaking of fastballs, Stephen Gonsalves.... oops never mind. He may have reached 90 or 91 on the radar gun display, but generally sat at 88 or 89. I can't identify off-speed pitches, one from another, but he had a variety that would register at 79 or 74 or even 69 - a knuckler? Visibly slow, and entertaining, from our excellent first-base-side cheap-seats. That much differential from the fastball is said to become counter-productive, but he's getting AAA guys out. The homer in the third inning to the aforementioned Tony Renda was a cheapie to right, barely clearing the 325 foot mark, so I don't hold that against him. He weakened in the 7th, walking the first two batters, and was bailed out slightly by an ill-advised stolen base attempt by the PawSox' Mike Miller - down two runs, you need to be awfully sure you can take the base, and he was out by a mile thanks to an accurate throw by Juan Graterol. Gonsalves might have gotten out of it unscored-upon, had Gordon made the play previously mentioned. It's unclear to me that Gonsalves's stuff is going to play, in the majors, but if this is who he is, let's bring him up now, or in September, and start to find out. Unlike Gordon, he's mastered his game, such as it is. If he bombs, there will still be time to option him to the minors mid-2019 and try to retool his entire game in some manner.
Speaking of ill-advised baserunning, with the score tied 4-4 in the top of the ninth, Edgar Corcino got a clean single to left leading off, and was (wait for it) out by a mile trying to stretch it to a double. Left fielder Kyle Wren had come up with the ball practically by the time Corcino rounded first. There was time to go a third of the way and then change his mind. Nope. As events played out (which of course might not have), we would have had bases loaded with one out, with the top of the order coming up. And that lone out was thanks to a possibly game-saving snag by PawSox right fielder Aneury Tavarez near the foul line on a drive by Graterol. Of course the top of our order was third baseman Taylor Motter followed by Gordon, and Motter actually did strike out looking, which brings us to Gordon, so never mind.
Speaking of never mind, when we didn't score in the top of the ninth, and I saw Duffey coming out again, I said to Mrs Ash, this won't take long. It took longer than I expected, five batters. Good for him, I guess.
Speaking of good, despite the ragtag nature of our lineup, and the generally negative results, I enjoyed the evening a lot. McCoy Stadium gets a lot of criticism locally, but as far as I can see it's only because there are no luxury boxes to make the team more profitable. The park has been kept up, and I have yet to have a poor experience there. It's my east coast version of the Oakland Coliseum - a straight ahead old school place to watch a baseball game, in my book. The site-grilled Italian sausage with onions and green peppers never fails to satisfy, likewise the Foolproof Backyahd [sic] IPA available on draft which leaves me pleasantly sleepy.