Sunday, May 4, 2014

Post-game Pop-ups: PawSox 3, Indians 2

Swift Summation
The Pawtucket Red Sox averted their first series loss of 2014, salvaging a four-game home split with the International League-leading Indianapolis Indians. They completed their fifth split in eight overall series Sunday afternoon with a tight, 3-2 victory at McCoy Stadium.

Two pairs of mutually uneventful innings sandwiched a third frame that saw each team muster a single run.

With two away in the top of that frame, Chris Dickerson reached base for the second time in as many plate appearances, rolling a single to right. He moved to second via PawSox starter Allen Webster’s wild pitch on the first offering to Michael Martinez.

Martinez supplanted Dickerson by driving the next pitch to right field, enough to plate the first run, and extending his base hit by beating Daniel Nava’s throw.

The Red Sox retorted in the bottom half when Ryan Lavarnway leveled a fly ball to the left-center warning track. When Chase d’Arnaud failed to haul it in, it gave the Pawtucket cleanup man a pass to second base and Ryan Roberts a ticket home from first base.

In the bottom of the sixth, Lavarnway drilled Indians starter Jackson’s first offering to left for a leadoff single. One pitch later, Bryce Brentz reached on a fielding error by Martinez at second, placing himself and Lavarnway on the corners.

Lavarnway came home for a 2-1 PawSox lead with the help of Garin Cecchini’s line drive single up the middle.

Dickerson drew a 2-2 knot for the Indians in the seventh, sending a two-out single to center and scoring d’Arnaud from second base. But the Sox responded with little delay to grip a permanent upper hand.

Roberts led off the bottom half with a double to the left field corner, then came home on Nava’s follow-up rolling single to right.

PawSox Pluses
With winds blowing north of 20 miles per hour for much of the day, Pawtucket’s offense made an ally out of the elements. The home batters elevated a bevy of balls to send a total of 18 onto or above the outfield lawn.

Lavarnway led that charge by batting 3-for-4 with a run driven in and a run scored. Even his non-hit cultivated a benefit when his seventh-inning sacrifice grounder nudged Nava to second base.

Roberts joined Lavarnway in the multi-hit club and translated both his third-inning single and sixth-inning two-batter to runs scored.
In relief of Webster, Chris Hernandez and Alex Wilson combined for zero hits, one walk and four strikeouts in 2.1 innings. Wilson and his mates benched all five of his challengers in the eighth and ninth. 

Sox Stains
Brentz’s weekend-long struggles against the Indians went the distance as he finished the series 0-for-11.

Brentz’s most productive plate appearance on Sunday was his five-pitch walk in the seventh. Before that, he stranded three prospective scorers by constituting the final out of the first via the "K" and that of the third on a shallow fly. That strikeout was his fifth in four days against the Indians.

In all, the PawSox stranded 10 total runners, including six in scoring position and three on third. Their most egregious missed opportunity came in the aftermath of Cecchini’s lead-granting RBI single in the sixth. After a walk to Corey Brown loaded the bases with one down, Dan Butler whiffed on an 0-2 pitch and Brock Holt popped out to catcher Omir Santos. 

Indians Notes
Gregory Polanco and Andrew Lambo were conspicuous by their quietness at the dish Sunday.

Polanco, who batted third, entered the day having hit safely in each of the previous three games, batting 4-for-12 overall. The cleanup man Lambo had likewise hit on all three preceding days, going 4-for-11 with a pair of doubles, a home run, two RBIs and four runs scored.

On Sunday, however, they combined to reach base once. That was when Lambo drew a one-out walk following Polanco’s second "K" of the day in the eighth.

Dickerson reached base in each of his first four plate appearances, walking and singling twice apiece.
Southpaw Daniel Schlereth pitched 1.2 seamless innings as the visitors' second reliever. He retired all five of his challengers in the eighth and ninth, including three strikeouts.
With the loss, the Indians dropped to 20-10, making them the last team in the league to crack double digits in the "L" column.

Webster achieved multiple 2014 season high marks in the seventh. On his 96th pitch of the day, which temporarily a two-time season high, he fanned Blake Davis for a season-high sixth strikeout. That out also ensured his first 6.2 IP venture in seven total outings.

Although, his new season-high 98th delivery amounted to the 2-2 equalizer, denying him a shot at a win and impelling manager Kevin Boles to summon Hernandez from the bullpen.

By swiping second in the second inning, Snyder became the sixth individual PawSox player to steal a base in 2014.