Witte Goes 4 for 5, as Sea Dogs Unable to Complete Sweep of Phils

Sea Dogs

Jantzen Witte had a big day Sunday for the Portland Sea Dogs, going 4 for 5 with a home run, two doubles, three runs batted in and two runs scored, but they were unable to complete the three-game sweep of the Reading Fightin Phils, losing by a final score of 6-5.

Luis Diaz got the start for Portland, lasting 5 2/3 innings while allowing four earned runs on eight hits and two walks, while striking out five. The loss is Diaz’s second of the season, bringing his record to 0-2. Sea Dogs

The Sea Dogs made things interesting heading into the ninth down 6-3, when Jantzen Witte hit a two-out, two-run double to make the score 6-5. Oscar Tejeda was unable to keep the rally going, however, striking out on three pitches to end the game.

Portland opened the series on Friday with a 3-0 victory, with William Cuevas earning his third win of the season by tossing five shutout innings, allowing only three hits and a walk. Relievers Pat Light and Dyan Diaz combined for four shutout innings in support of Cuevas.

First baseman David Chester got the scoring started for the Sea Dogs in the top of the second inning, drilling a two-run home run to left-center field. They added another run in the top of the eighth on a sacrifice fly from catcher Luis Martinez.

Justin Haley took the mound for Portland in the middle-game of the series, but left after just 1/3 of an inning with what appeared to be a right groin injury. Simon Mercedes provided strong relief after coming in to replace Haley, allowing just one earned run on three hits and two walks over 4 2/3 innings.

After leaving the bases loaded in the first two innings, Keury De La Cruz was able to drive in the first run of the ball game on a single to right field which scored Oscar Tejeda. Portland added three more runs in the eighth, on RBI hits by De La Cruz and Luis Martinez to make the final score 4-1.

The Sea Dogs will head to Binghamton, NY on Monday night for the first time this season to take on the 2014 Eastern League Champion Mets, with the game one of the series scheduled for 6:35 PM.

Photo Credit: Forrest Mulheron Photography

Rusney Castillo Returns to PawSox from Disabled List

Rusney Castillo

Rusney Castillo returned to the Pawtucket Red Sox on Wednesday night after being activated from the disabled list, and went 0-4 with a strikeout as the designated hitter in their 5-1 loss against the Syracuse Chiefs. He was not in the lineup for Pawtucket’s 4-0 victory over the Chiefs on Thursday, which had an early start time of 12 PM.

Castillo had been sidelined since April 11 with a right shoulder injury,Rusney Castillo and John Farrell has expressed that he will need more playing time before having any chance of being called up to the majors.

“He’s missed significant time,” Farrell told Jimmy Toscano of CSNNE.com. “He’s going to need more than three to four at-bats tonight, or six to eight total. I think we need more than that.”

In four games for Pawtucket this season, Castillo is hitting .313/.353/.375 with a double and two runs batted in. He played in 10 major league games for the Red Sox last season, where he slashed a .333/.400/.528 line with two home runs, a double, three walks and six runs batted in.

With Shane Victorino on the disabled list, and Allen Craig struggling mightily at the plate, many are left to wonder how long it will be before Castillo gets the call.

Victorino was placed on the disabled list retroactive to April 25 because of nagging right hamstring injury, and has managed to do little offensively this season, hitting .143/.302/.171 with seven strikeouts in 12 games.

Craig has largely failed to live up the expectations the Red Sox had for him when they acquired him from the St. Louis Cardinals along with Joe Kelly in exchange for John Lackey at least season’s trade deadline. In 46 career games for the Red Sox, Craig has managed to hit only .125/.222/.172 with only four extra-base hits, including .118/.189/.118 with no extra-base hits in 17 games this season.

Although Boston’s offense has looked very good at times, they have still run into patches of inconsistency and at points been unable to take advantage of some good pitching performances, which have been hard to come by these days. After Castillo gets some more playing time in Pawtucket, it should only be a matter of time before you see him roaming the outfield at Fenway Park.

Sea Dogs Swept By Binghamton Mets

Portland Sea Dogs

After splitting their four-game weekend series with the New York Yankees’ Double-A affiliate Trenton Thunder, the Sea Dogs were swept in three games by another New York affiliate, the Binghamton Mets.

New England Patriots’ hero, Malcolm Butler, attended the series opener on Monday night, Sea Dogsthrowing out the first pitch, and was available to the fans for pictures and autographs. The game, however, was suspended after two innings due to inclement weather and resumed as part of a double-header on Tuesday.

Luis Diaz got the start in the opener, allowing two earned runs on a single hit and three walks over two innings. Jonathan Aro took the mound when play resumed on Tuesday, taking the loss after allowing seven runs, six of them earned, on six hits and a walk.

The Sea Dogs scored seven runs on RBI hits by Oscar Tejeda, Kevin Heller and Jantzen Witte, but that was not enough against the Mets’ 11-run attack.

Mike Augliera took the loss, bringing his record to 0-4 on the season, in the second game of Tuesday’s double-header, lasting only 3 1/3 innings while allowing seven earned runs on 10 hits and a base on balls. The Sea Dogs’ lone run in the 7-1 loss came on a strikeout and wild pitch by Mets’ pitcher Beck Wheeler, allowing Reed Gragnani to score from third.

Portland dropped the third and final game of the series by a score of 8-3 on Wednesday night, with Sea Dogs’ starter Mike McCarthy taking the loss to bring his record to 2-2. McCarthy allowed six runs on eight hits and two walks over four complete innings.

Portland took their only lead of the game in the bottom of the first inning on a run scoring wild-pitch by Mets’ starter Rainy Lara, allowing Mike Miller to score. First baseman Jantzen Witte followed that up with an RBI ground out to give the Sea Dogs a 2-1 lead going into the second. Portland’s catcher, Luis Martinez, added an RBI double which drove in Keury De La Cruz in the fourth, but that was all the offense the Sea Dogs could muster.

The Sea Dogs will have an off-day Thursday, before resuming play in Reading, PA against the Fightin’ Phils on Friday night at 7:05 PM.

Robby Scott Looking Impressive So Far for Sea Dogs

Robby Scott Portland Sea Dogs

Robby Scott continued his hot start to the season against the Trenton Thunder on Sunday afternoon at Hadlock Field; tossing two innings of relief and allowing just a single unearned on one hit, while striking out two.

Scott has not allowed a run in four of his five appearances this season, including four shutout innings against the New Britain Rock Cats last Tuesday, only the second start of his professional career.Robby Scott Portland Sea Dogs

So far this season Scott is 0-0, with a 2.70 ERA and nine strikeouts in 10 innings.

The 25-year old Miami, FL native is coming off a strong 2014 campaign in which he owned a 8-2 record to go with a 1.96 ERA and 51 strikeouts.

Those numbers were good for a trip to the 2014 Mid-Season All-Star Game for the Eastern League. Scott was also voted to the Arizona Fall League’s Rising Star team in October.

“Between being in the All-Star game last year in the Eastern League and then having the opportunity to play in the All-Star game in the Fall League was awesome, two opportunities, two accolades that I will remember when my playing career is over,” Scott told Yawkey Way Report.

“It’s one of those things where you get to reward yourself for something for your efforts, for the work you put in throughout your time. It’s not the last time I want to be on an All-Star team, and hopefully can be on an All-Star team at [every] level.”

Despite a shortened off-season because of the Arizona Fall League, Scott felt no ill effects during Spring Training this year.

“I [actually] felt better, just because I didn’t have that extended period of time off. My arm felt a lot better getting ready to go for Spring Training because I didn’t have that extra month and a half off, so I felt actually a lot better the first time I started throwing,” Scott said.

Robby Scott also realizes that with his recent string of success, his promotion could be just a phone call away.

“That’s what it’s all about, seeing guys have that opportunity. You got to be able to put yourself in the best possible position to succeed and be ready for that opportunity when your name is called, and hopefully that opportunity comes,” he said.

“A year ago now Mookie Betts was in this locker room. Now seeing him doing what he’s been doing [for the Red Sox] it’s been awesome. It’s exciting for us and exciting for the entire organization.”

Sea Dogs Manage Four-Game Split With Trenton Thunder

Portland Sea Dogs

After two straight wins, the Portland Sea Dogs dropped the series finale to the Trenton Thunder by the score of 8-2 on Sunday, giving them a split in the four-game series at Hadlock Field.

Justin Haley was handed his third loss on the young season, as he failed to getSea Dogs through the fifth inning after allowing six earned runs on eight hits, including two home runs, and four walks, bringing his ERA on the season to 9.42.

Keury De La Cruz, who was playing in his first contest in over a week after suffering a leg injury, provided the lone offense for the Sea Dogs. After back-to-back singles by Jantzen Witte and Oscar Tejeda, De La Cruz drove them both in with a fly ball double to left field.

One bright spot in the series came on Friday, when the Sea Dogs were able to hand the New York Yankees number one prospect, Luis Severino, the worst loss of his Double-A career, after tagging him with six runs, three of them earned, on eight hits and three walks over five innings.

They were able to chase Severino in the bottom of the sixth inning, after he committed a throwing error on a Jonathan Roof bunt with two men on which allowed a runner to score, then gave up an RBI single to Sea Dogs’ right fielder Kevin Heller. The Sea Dogs added an RBI single by second basemen Carlos Asuaje in the inning, followed by a two-run double off the bat of left fielder Oscar Tejeda.

Portland added three more runs in the bottom of the seventh inning, and won by a final score of 10-2.

The Sea Dogs will host last year’s Eastern League champions, the Binghamton Mets, for a three-game series at Hadlock Field beginning at 6:00 PM on Monday night. The New England Patriots Super Bowl hero, Malcolm Butler, will be in attendance, throwing out the first pitch, as well as signing autographs and taking pictures.

Mookie Betts Provides Walk-Off Heroics for Red Sox

Mookie Betts

Mookie Betts put together another impressive game against the Toronto Blue Jays at Fenway Park on Monday night, including the walk-off single in the bottom of the ninth inning to drive in Xander Bogaerts for the winning run.

Joe Kelly took the mound for the Red Sox and struggled out of the gate, allowing three runs to score in the bottom of the first inning. He allowed single runs to score in the third and fourth innings, and left the game after six complete allowing five earnedMookie Betts runs on five hits and three walks, while striking out a career-high 10 batters. Alexi Ogando and Koji Uehara provided three scoreless innings of relief in support of Kelly.

Betts led off the game for the Red Sox with a tough at-bat against Toronto’s starter, Aaron Sanchez, drawing a walk on seven pitches, before being caught trying to steal second by Blue Jays’ catcher Russell Martin. After David Ortiz doubled with one out in the inning to set up men on second and third, Pablo Sandoval drove them both in to bring Boston within one run. Sandoval added a solo home run, his second long-ball of the year, in the fourth.

With two outs in the bottom of the fifth, Betts line a double to left field before scoring on a RBI single by Dustin Pedroia. The 22-year old center fielder again found himself on base after singling in the eighth, and after a passed ball allowed Betts and Pedroia to advance to second and third, Hanley Ramirez hit a line drive into left field and Betts scored on the sacrifice fly to tie the game at five runs a piece.

After Brock Holt struck out on five pitches to lead off the ninth inning, Xander Bogaerts and Ryan Hanigan were able to hit back-to-back singles to set the stage for Betts’ heroics. After taking a first pitch slider for a ball, Betts laced a 96-MPH fastball past the shortstop, who was playing near the infield grass, to drive in Bogaerts and complete the 6-5 victory for the Red Sox.