Matt Barnes Recalled, Makes First Appearance in ’15 for Sox

Matt Barnes

The Boston Red Sox placed Shane Victorino on the 15-day disabled list with a hamstring injury on Saturday, then recalled right-handed pitcher Matt Barnes from Triple-A Pawtucket to join the Major League club in Baltimore for their series against the Orioles at Camden Yards.

After being told on Saturday afternoon that he had been promoted, Barnes drove from Matt BarnesScranton, PA to Baltimore, MD and arrived approximately two hours before the start of the game.

He was called on to make his 2015 debut by replacing Justin Masterson in the bottom of the eighth, and responded by firing two scoreless innings, allowing just two hits and striking out one.

Barnes was actually in line for his first big league win after Xander Bogaerts hit the first pitch he saw from Brad Brach for the go-ahead home run in the top of the 10th inning, making the score 4-3, but had his hopes quickly dashed as Boston’s closer Koji Uehara blew the save opportunity by  giving up a two-run walk-off home run in the bottom of the frame, his first blown save of the season.

“It was a crazy day,” Barnes told Ian Browne of MLB.com. “It’s not how I envisioned [the day] when I woke up this morning, but I’m happy to be here … trying to do what I can to help the ball club win.”

Many thought the 24-year old native New Englander would make the Opening Day roster as a reliever after throwing in the high-90s for most of Spring Training, but he was sent down to Triple-A during the last round of roster cuts and subsequently reverted back to a starting role.

Barnes made two starts for the PawSox before being recalled on Saturday, posting a 0-0 record with a 5.63 ERA. He made five appearances for the Major League ball club last season, allowing four runs on eleven hits, over nine complete innings.

Sea Dogs Split Doubleheader With Rock Cats

Sea Dogs

After weather postponed the series opener on Monday night, the Double-A Portland Sea Dogs managed a split with the New Britain Rock Cats, at New Britain Stadium in New Britain, CT.

Justin Haley took the mound for the Dogs in the first game of the twin bill, surrendering four earned runs on four hits and three walks, while striking out three over 3 1/3 innings.Sea Dogs Justin Haley The loss is the second of the season for Haley whose ERA now stands at 8.38.

Ryan Carpenter started opposite Haley for the Rock Cats, and held the Sea Dogs to just two hits over seven innings, striking out seven and allowing just two hits and a single walk.

The score remained tied at zero until the bottom of the fourth, when Juan Ciriaco hit a fly ball single to center field to drive in the first two runs of the game. Rockies top position prospect David Dahl then reached on an error which scored a run, before Tyler Massey drove in Ciriaco with a single to left field.

The Sea Dogs were able to end the rally there, but unable to generate any offense and lost by a final score of 4-0.

Portland’s offense wasted no time getting started in the second game, scoring four times in the first on a pair of two-run doubles by Reed Gragnani and Blake Tekotte. They added another run on a Jantzen Witte sacrifice fly in the second and three more on RBI hits by Witte and Oscar Tejeda in the fourth.

Robby Scott got the start for the Sea Dogs in the nightcap, tossing four shutout innings and allowing only three hits and no walks, while striking out four. Boston’s 22nd prospect, according to SoxProspects.com, Simon Mercedes, completed the final three innings for the 8-1 victory, his first ever in Double-A. Mercedes allowed just one run on one hit, while walking two and striking out five, including his final batter of the game.

Justin Haley Looking to Build on 2014 Campaign With Sea Dogs

Justin Haley

23-year old Justin Haley looked impressive in his six starts with the Portland Sea Dogs last season, going 3-2 with a 1.19 ERA and 33 strikeouts in 37 2/3 innings pitched. He earned a win in the first round of the Eastern League playoffs against the Binghamton Mets, firing six scoreless innings while allowing only five hits and a walk, striking out eight.

Although his time in Portland last season was brief, he was able to learn a few tJustin Haley hings from Red Sox top pitching prospects, Brian Johnson and Eduardo Rodriguez, that he’s looking to apply this season.

“Being able to watch guys go out and throw, go out and compete, keep their composure, I think that’s going to be the greatest thing I learned from some of the veteran guys.” he told Yawkey Way Report. “Just keeping your composure under pressure and being able to shrug off a bad outing, or maybe a bad inning, and go out there and dominate the next one.”

Although Portland was unable to advance out of the first round of the Eastern League playoffs last season, after winning a franchise-best 88 games and graduating 14 players to Triple-A Pawtucket, Haley attributed some of last year’s success to the Red Sox organization’s emphasis on player development and creating a winning atmosphere.

“Every guy in the clubhouse wants to win; win a championship every year and it boils down to winning every game, we go out there every night trying to win,” he said.

“It inspires me. We have a great organization. One that uses guys and really develops guys, I think is a big part of it. Being able to see yourself at that next level really helps, seeing guys be successful at that level, it helps you be able to focus and know that you can make it that far.”

Although inspired by the thought of pitching at the next level, Haley has not let that idea distract him from staying focused on the job at hand.

“Those thoughts don’t help me pitch. I am in the game of throwing strikes, that’s what I do, that’s what I stick to, and that’s what’s going to make me successful. Anything else is just noise.”

Currently ranked the 35th top prospect by SoxProspects.com, Haley has struggled in his first two starts for Portland this season. The Sacramento, CA native owns a 0-1 record with a 7.11 ERA while allowing a .333 opponent batting average. The Sea Dogs hope he can build on what he learned from Johnson and Rodriguez last season, shrugging off his less-than-stellar start and getting back to being the effective pitcher he has been in the past.

Sea Dogs Lose First Series of Season With Yankees’ Affiliate

Portland Sea Dogs

After winning their first series of the season against the New Britain Rock Cats, the Portland Sea Dogs dropped three of four games to the New York Yankees’ Double-A affiliate, Trenton Thunder, in their first match-up of the season.

Portland opened the four-game series with a 3-2 loss in extra innings on Thursday night at Arm & Hammer Park in Trenton, NJ, in front of a crowd of 6,495. The Sea Dogs trSea Dogsailed 1-0 until the top of the seventh, when left fielder Keury De La Cruz hit an inside-the-park-home run on a ball to left field. Trenton scored a run in the bottom of the ninth to tie the game at two runs a piece, and before the Thunder’s right fielder, Aaron Judge, drilled the first pitch he saw for a walk off home run in the bottom of the 10th.

Sea Dogs’ starter Mike Augliera earned his second loss of the season in the 7-0 loss on Friday night, tossing 6 1/3 innings while allowing three earned runs on six hits, bringing his ERA to 4.50 on the season. The Thunder tagged Portland reliever Kyle Martin for four runs in the bottom of the eighth inning, putting the contest out of reach.

Mike McCarthy was able to earn the first and only win of the series for the Sea Dogs in Saturday’s contest, allowing no runs on two hits and two walks over five innings. Portland scored five times in the second inning to bust the game open, and added runs in the sixth and ninth innings to complete the 10-1 victory.

The Thunder tagged Sea Dogs’ starter William Cuevas for five runs over three innings on Sunday afternoon, bringing his record to 1-1 with a 6.75 ERA on the season. Portland relievers Jonathan Aro and Dyan Diaz continued their impressive start to the season, however, tossing a combined five innings of scoreless relief, bringing their ERA’s to 1.00 and 1.69, respectively.

The Sea Dogs open their next series on the road today, taking on the New Britain Rock Cats for a three-game set.

Daniel Nava Proving His Worth for the Red Sox

Daniel Nava

After much was made about which of Boston’s plethora of outfielders would make the Opening Day roster during Spring Training, Daniel Nava has wasted little time showing how much value he has for the Red Sox despite playing in a bench role.

The 32-year old Redwood City, CA native played a key role in the Red SDaniel Navaox victory over the New York Yankees on Friday night, going 2 for 3 with two runs batted in. Nava laced a 98-MPH Nathan Eovaldi fastball into right field for a single in the top of the fourth, then lined a change-up that ricocheted off Mark Teixeira’s glove, allowing Pablo Sandoval and Mike Napoli to score in the top of the sixth.

The 19-inning marathon contest lasted six hours and 49 minutes, and included a 16-minute delay to fix malfunctioning light towers near the foul poles caused by a power surge. The game was the longest in terms of time in Red Sox history, despite playing a 20-inning contest against the Yankees in August of 1967.

Nava continued his success against the Yankees on Saturday afternoon, not even 12 hours after the conclusion of Friday night’s contest, again going 2 for 3 with two runs batted in, a walk and a run scored.

With two outs and Mike Napoli on third base in the top of the second, Nava hit a ball into left field that was badly misplayed by Yankee’s outfielder Brett Gardner, which allowed Napoli to score and Nava to cruise into second base with a double. He added another RBI single in the top of the fourth, lining an Adam Warren fastball to center field scoring Pablo Sandoval.

In his career against the Yankees, Nava is hitting .308/.410/.523 with a .933 OPS and eight extra base hits, 15 runs batted in and 10 walks in 65 at-bats. Nava has home runs against three of the Yankee’s starting pitchers—C.C. Sabathia, Michael Pineda and Saturday’s starter, Adam Warren.

Portland Sea Dogs Win Home Opener Over Fightin Phils 4-2

Portland Sea Dogs

Jonathan Aro pitched three shutout innings in relief of Luis Diaz to earn the win and Keury De La Cruz got the scoring started with a 3-run home run in the bottom of the first inning, propelling the Portland Sea Dogs to a 4-2 Opening Day victory on Saturday against the Reading Fightin Phils.

After guaranteeing baseball would be played at Hadlock Field for Opening Day Portland Sea Dogson Thursday, April 9, the Portland Sea Dogs were forced to push back their home opener two days because of inclement weather. Fans who had tickets for the April 9 contest will receive two tickets for future games.

Sea Dogs’ third baseman, Mike Miller, led off the bottom of the first with a single to center field, and second baseman, Carlos Asuaje, followed with a nine pitch walk. After Henry Ramos popped out to Phil’s third baseman, Gustavo Pierre, Keury De La Cruz drilled a hanging breaking ball to right field for a three-run home run off Reading’s starter and MLB.com’s 38th ranked prospect, Aaron Nola.

Portland would add their fourth and final run of the contest in the bottom of the second inning. After first baseman, Jantzen Witte, drilled a two-out double to left field, Mike Miller hit a line drive single to left field to drive him in.

Boston’s 28th top prospect, according to SoxProspects.com, Luis Diaz, who turned 23 years old on April 9, got the start for Portland and performed well pitching four innings while allowing two runs on five hits and a walk. Jonathan Aro came out of the bullpen in relief and pitched three shutout innings, allowing a hit and a walk, while striking out one, en route to his first win of the season.

Due to the inclement weather postponing Thursday and Friday’s attempts to open the season, this game was played as part of a single admission double-header on Saturday, with both contests scheduled for seven innings. The Sea Dogs dropped the second game to Reading by a score of 9-0 to split the twinbill.