A QUICK TIDES ROAD TRIP RECAP
The Tides returned to Harbor Park on Tuesday night having gone 6-2 on their most recent road trip, which saw them make stops in Charlotte and Toledo to play the White Sox and Tigers’ affiliates, respectively.
The team’s 17-10 record in the month of May propelled them into the lead in the International League wild card race and left them only a half game back of Durham for first place in the IL South entering Tuesday’s game. Outfielder D.J. Stewart, the Orioles’ No. 11 prospect, was placed on the disabled list with a hamstring strain prior to the Pawtucket series. Stewart was arguably the Tides’ hottest hitter over the past three weeks, having reached base in 15 of his last 17 games while posting a .431 OBP with four home runs and five doubles in that span. INF Steve Wilkerson, who slashed .305/.375/.423 in 2017 with Frederick and Bowie, was added to the Tides’ roster after serving a 50-game suspension for a violation of MLB’s drug policy.
SCOUTING THE OPPOSITION: PAWTUCKET RED SOX
The Pawtucket Red Sox are (unsurprisingly) the Triple-A affiliate of the Boston Red Sox. The pitching-heavy PawSox boast six of Boston’s top 30 prospects: first baseman Sam Travis; left-handed pitchers Jalen Beeks, Bobby Poyner, and Williams Jerez; and righties Chandler Shepard and Ty Buttrey.
I was most impressed by Beeks, who looked absolutely dominant in his start on Thursday night. He struck out seven hitters while working into the eighth inning and allowing just one run. Last year, the Red Sox named the 24-year-old Beeks their Minor League Pitcher of the Year after he went 11-8 with a combined 3.29 ERA and 155 strikeouts between Double-A and Triple-A.
Pawtucket 5, Tides 1
Tides starter Tim Melville struggled in the first inning, giving up two home runs to the first four Red Sox batters, as Pawtucket breezed past Norfolk by a score of 5-1. Melville worked three innings, giving up five runs while walking three and striking out two. PawSox starter Justin Haley yielded just three hits, striking out five Tides hitters in seven innings of work. His only blemish came in the third inning when center fielder Mike Yastrzemski doubled home catcher Austin Wynns for the lone Norfolk run.
Tides relievers Paul Fry, Ryan Meisenger, and Andrew Faulkner combined for six shutout innings and five strikeouts. Pawtucket reliever Kyle Martin pitched the final two innings out of the bullpen to seal the win for the Red Sox.
Pawtucket 4, Norfolk 2
Pawtucket third baseman Jordan Betts reached base four times and drove in a run as the Red Sox were able to squeak by the Tides on Wednesday night. Ruben Tejada put the Tides up 1-0 in the second inning with an RBI single, but Pawtucket was able to tie the game in the fourth with an RBI base knock of their own from Mike Ohlman. The Sox struck again in the following inning, stringing together two hits and a walk to chase Tides starter John Means and then working another walk and a hit by pitch from reliever Jhan Marinez to force across two runs and take the lead. Both runs scored in the fifth inning by Pawtucket were credited to Means.
The Tides were able to rally in the bottom of the sixth with base hits from Renato Nunez, Caleb Joseph, and Steve Wilkerson. A throwing error by Pawtucket shortstop Mike Miller on Wilkerson’s hit scored a run and put runners at second and third, but pitcher Fernando Rodriguez bounced back to strike out Garabez Rosa and end the Norfolk threat. The Red Sox were able to add a run in the top of the ninth after another RBI single from Ohlman to make the score 4-2. Ryan Brasier pitched the ninth inning for Pawtucket to pick up his fourth save.
Renato Nunez went 2-for-4 with a run scored for the Tides and Steve Wilkerson had one hit in four at-bats in his first game of 2018 following a 50-game suspension for testing positive for amphetamine in December of last year.
Pawtucket 4, Norfolk 3
W: Jalen Beeks L: Asher Wojciechowski SV: Williams Jerez
Pawtucket starter Jalen Beeks cruised through seven innings on Thursday night, striking out seven Tides hitters and walking none in a 4-1 Red Sox victory. Shortstop Tzu-Wei Lin had two hits and two RBIs, including a home run in the third inning, and third baseman Mike Olt added a home run of his own in the fifth.
Asher Wojciechowski started for the Tides and lasted six innings, striking out five and working around four walks to allow just two runs. Matt Wotherspoon relieved Wojciechowski in the seventh inning and immediately found himself in danger following a pair of bloop hits by Oscar Hernandez and Mike Miller, who would both come around to score later in the inning. Wotherspoon would remain in the game to pitch the top of the eighth before handing the ball off to Andrew Faulkner in the ninth.
Williams Jerez relieved Beeks in the eighth after the latter allowed a single and a double to open the inning. Jerez would retire D’Arby Myers on an RBI groundout to short before getting Mike Yastrzemski to fly out and then striking out Drew Dosch to end the Norfolk threat. He would stay on to close the game for the Red Sox in the ninth inning, but surrendered a long two-out, two-run homer to Austin Wynns to close the Norfolk deficit to 4-3.
Renato Nunez, who the Orioles claimed off of waivers from the Texas Rangers on May 13, recorded a base hit in the first inning and has now hit safely in 12 of the 16 games he’s played with the Tides. Catcher/DH Caleb Joseph went 0-for-4 and is now hitting .220 in 50 at-bats since his demotion.