Saturday, July 2, 2011

PawSox pitching preview

Home hurler (Game 1)
The visiting Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees were Brandon Duckworth’s last victory victim on May 8. Five days later, they personally commenced the righty’s dry spell that has seen him lose three games and take four no-decisions in his last seven outings.

Duckworth enters today’s 4:05 start fresh off the 7-day disabled list, which he entered with an oblique strain two days after losing in Louisville. His 5.2 innings pitched that evening were the most he has mustered in a single game since his last two scraps with Scranton.

Guest starter (Game 1)
D.J. Mitchell pays his second visit to McCoy on the year and first since he buoyed a 10-2 triumph May 14. And not unlike Duckworth, he will be seeking to splash a protracted personal drought, having gone winless since June 1 with four straight losses followed by a no-decision in his last venture versus Durham last Monday.

Home hurler (Game 2)
Tony Pena, Jr. figures to make his second consecutive start, third of the year, and first against his father’s organization. As a reliever, Pena logged a cumulative seven innings, three walks, two strikeouts, two earned runs, and one save over three relief stints against the Yankees.

Speaking strictly in terms of the win column, Pena is the hottest hurler at the PawSox disposal, having won three consecutive decisions in a span of four appearances.

In his last appearance, earlier this week, Pena consumed the first five innings for a personal season high against Indianapolis, ultimately claiming credit for the 4-1 win.

Each of Pena’s three recent victories have been reaped from teams in the upper echelon of the International League. The North Division-leading Lehigh Valley entered a June 17 clash at 41-25, the Louisville Bats were 42-32 before Pena beat them June 23, and the Indians were 40-38 before last Monday.

It will be in Pawtucket’s best interest for Pena to prolong that trend this evening against Scranton, who entered Friday’s action with a 41-37 transcript and 1.5 games behind the Sox in the IL North.

Guest starter (Game 2)
George Kontos has only started one other game this year (June 13 in Syracuse) and has pitched no more than four innings in a single day. But he bears a respectable 2-0record, coupled with one save and a 2.03 ERA over an aggregate 48.2 innings-pitched.

The Yankees figure to be without first baseman Jorge Vazquez and centerfielder Justin Maxwell, who are still first and third, respectively, among International Leaguers with 20 and 16 home runs on the year. Neither slugger has played since being placed on the disabled list early last month.

On the flipside, Scranton has just reactivated catcher C.J. Pilittere, infielder Kevin Russo, and right fielder Dan Brewer all within the last four days.