Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Minor League Update

I'm in the process of packing and moving so it's been tougher to find time to post. I'll likely be without the internet for nearly a week starting on Friday so it will be a little tough for me to keep up with any of this at all. But, until then, here's a quick minor league update. I really like doing the minor league updates because it helps me to keep up with what's going on down on the farm and it's information that many fans in Red Sox Nation don't really know. Everyone watches the major league games and there are a dozen Sox blogs out there that analyze every game. Most of them do a better job than me. But only a few blogs out there talk about the minor leagues.

Pawtucket Red Sox (PAW 13/IND 2, IND 3/PAW 1, PAW 9/IND 3, IND 8/PAW 6, PAw 14/NOR 4, PAW 9/NOR 5, NOR 9/PAW 4, PAW 3/NOR 2)

The Paw Sox started off their season with a 4 game series against the Indianapolis Indians and they were swept by the Pirates' AAA team. The Paw Sox started the week off with another 4 game series against the very same team, now the top team in the International League. This time the results were a little different as the Sox managed to split the four game set. They were beat by Zach Duke and Ian Snell, the two top pitchers in the Pirates organization. So at least things are looking better for the Sox than they were at the begining of the year. After holding their own against the Indians the Sox went on to take 3 out of 4 from another top International League team, the Norfolk Tides. The Sox are now only one game below .500 and are climbing out of the cellar with a 22-23 record.

Neither Roberto Petaine or John Olerud are prospects by any stretch of the imagination, but both are in AAA hoping for a shot at the major league level. Petagine has played in 10 games and has put up a .244/.367/.707 line with 5 homers in 41 AB. He's walking at a good rate and hitting the ball hard. His average is a little low, but if a couple of balls had bounced the other way his line would be great. Olerud was crushing the ball in extended spring training and in his first start against real competition he hit a home run, went 1 for 4, and made a good play in the field at first. Olerud has been told that he'll be in Pawtucket for 7-10 days before being called up so it looks like Petagine won't get a fair shot. Unless, of course the Sox do something about Kevin Millar. But if the Sox won't sit Millar for the hotter hitting Kevin Youkilis, then there really is no way they'd do something with him to make room for Petagine. It's good to have depth though, at least.

Justin Sherrod was the offensive star of the week for the Sox going 9-20 with five doubles and 5 RBI. Kelly Shoppach hit another home run, doubled 3 times and knocked in 6 runners, but his week had a lot of bad news. Shoppach went a solid 7 for 27, but struck out 12 times to bring his yearly total to 40 K's in 133 AB. He trails only Sherrod (43) and George Lombard (54) on the team with K's.

Cla Meredith logged a couple of outings over the week including a perfect 2 inning performance to get his first win. He was shaky in his first appearance after his major league poundings, letting up a few hits, but he seems to be back on track.

Portland Sea Dogs (POR 5/ERI 3, POR 1/ERI 0, BOW 4/POR 1, BOW 2/POR 1, BOW 4/POR 0)

Chris Smith had an impressive first start coming off the DL last week and followed it up this week with an even better start. He earned his first win of the year against Erie going 7 scoreless innings, while allowing 6 hits and 2 walks to go along with 5 K's. Smith's win capped off a three game sweep of the Erie Sea Wolves, one of the better AA teams in the Eastern League.

Despite a strong start by Jon Lester the Sea Dogs lost the first game in the series against Bowie. Lester went 7, walked 4, and allowed 4 hits, but he struck out 8 and allowed only 1 run. The usually strong bullpen, however, allowed 3 runs and the Sea Dogs lost the game. The Sea Dogs ended up being swept in that series also in three low scoring pitching duals. The Sea Dog rotation has been performing great, but the offense just couldn't get the job done this week. Dave Pauley went 5 scoreless allowing only 3 hits and 2 walks and struck out 9 in a 2-1 loss and Jon Papelbon had a bit of a subpar game going 5.2 IP allowing 5 hits, 3 walks, and 3 runs. He struck out 4 as his record dropped to 3-2 on the season.

The Sea Dogs were also rained out three times.

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