Red Sox minor league roundup: Clayton Mortensen finds his role, Brian Johnson makes his Salem debut, Myles Smith continues his GCL domination, impressive outings from Keith Couch, Jacob Dahlstrand, Teddy Stankiewicz

August 25, 2013 - 9:57 am

A brief look at the action in the Red Sox system on Saturday: TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX: 5-4 WIN (10 INNINGS) AT SCRANTON/WILKES-BARRE (YANKEES) (BOX) -- It hasn't been the easiest of seasons for Clayton Mortensen, who was designated for assignment by the Red Sox after compiling a 5.34 ERA in 30 1/3 innings. But Mortensen has seemingly found his groove as a starter with the PawSox, and he delivered another superb performance on Saturday. The tall righty went seven strong, his longest start of the season as he's still being stretched out after spending the majority of the season in the bullpen, and allowing only three hits while holding the SWB Yankees scoreless. In the five starts since being moved to the rotation, Mortensen has allowed runs in only two of them. As a starter, Mortensen has posted a miniscule 0.99 ERA through 27 1/3 innings, holding opposing batters to a .196 average. -- Pitching out of the bullpen, Rubby De La Rosa had an ugly outing, giving up two earned runs on a walk and two hits in just two thirds of an inning. De La Rosa, who owns a 4.76 ERA in 5 2/3 innings in the big leagues this season, has appeared twice in a relief since being sent back to Pawtucket, throwing a perfect inning and a third in his previous outing. -- Dan Butler has cooled off considerably in the past couple weeks, and is starting to see less playing time since Ryan Lavarnway was sent back to Pawtucket, but both catchers were in the lineup on Saturday, with Butler behind the plate and Lavarnway serving as the DH. Butler recorded his first multi-hit game since August 5, going 2-for-5 with a double, his 17th of the season. Butler is hitting just .171/.205/.341 in his last 12 games, though he does have two home runs in that span for a total of 14, setting a new career high. DOUBLE-A PORTLAND SEA DOGS: 4-2 WIN AT TRENTON (YANKEES) (BOX) -- Christian Vazquez has been on some kind of tear this month. With another a double, single and a walk on Saturday, Vazquez is now batting .397/.442/.471 in 17 games since the beginning of August, and he's reached base safely in all but one of his last 27 contests. As far as consistency and getting on base goes, Vazquez is enjoying his best season to date, hitting .289 with a .374 OBP, striking out two less times than he's walked. The power that he displayed in 2011 when he hit 18 home runs hasn't been there, but the catcher still has five longballs and 17 doubles this season. -- Since making a (very short) start for Pawtucket back on August 6 and immediately returning to the Sea Dogs, Keith Couch has been very effective. He turned in his third quality start in a row, allowing two runs on five hits through seven strong innings. Couch cruised through the middle innings, allowing just one baserunner in innings three through six. The runs came on the only hard-hit balls; a double in the first and a home run in the seventh. The 23-year-old righty has allowed just four earned runs in his last three starts (a 1.54 ERA), striking out 10 while walking only two and giving up only 19 hits in 23 1/3 innings. Couch has put together a very solid season for Portland; he's allowed more than three runs only twice in 14 starts, and never more than four earned runs. Since moving into the rotation, he's compiled a 2.92 ERA in 86 2/3 innings. He's won the most games of any pitcher on the Sea Dogs staff with a 10-3 record, and despite starting the season in the bullpen, he's thrown the most innings on the staff with 123 2/3 under his belt. -- Left fielder Ryan Dent collected three hits on the afternoon (all singles) and drove in his 21st run of the season. Dent, who has split time between Pawtucket and Portland, is hitting .368/.385/.421 in his last 10 contests, thanks in part to three three-hit games over that span. Dent has put up a .256/.329/.353 line in 49 games with the Sea Dogs, while he's struggled to produce at the triple-A level. HIGH-A SALEM RED SOX: 4-2 WIN (12 INNINGS) AT CAROLINA (INDIANS) (BOX) -- Brian Johnson, a first round draft pick in 2012, was impressive in his Salem debut, tossing six shutout innings and allowing only four hits while striking out five. Johnson got into a bit of a jam in the first, walking two of the first three batters he faced, but induced a ground ball double play to escape the inning. Johnson wouldn't get the win, however, and had to settle for a no-decision thanks to a blown lead by the bullpen. Johnson had been on a roll in Greenville since returning from a shoulder injury. The lefty had posted a 1.45 ERA and 0.806 WHIP in 31 innings since being reactivated on July 21. He'd struck out a total of 69 batters in single-A, an average of nine per nine innings, and finished his time in Greenville with a 2.87 ERA and 1.130 WHIP through 15 starts. -- Sean Coyle continues to show off some promising power, going 2-for-4 with a double and home run, his second dinger in as many days and third since rejoining Salem after being sidelined by a knee injury. He also walked twice, and has drawn 11 walks in 10 games since coming off his rehab assignment. Coyle has seven hits in his last six games with five of them going for extra bases, and he's clubbed a total of 13 home runs and nine doubles on the season. In 58 games split between three levels, the second baseman has hit 15 home runs, which already sets a new career high, surpassing his total of 14 back in 106 games in 2011. Coyle is hitting .239/.324/.511 on the year. -- Matty Johnson knocked in the winning runs for Salem, smacking a two-run double in the top of the 12th to put the Red Sox on top. Johnson was on base three times on the day, drawing two walks. The outfielder has six hits in his last five games, with three of those being doubles and two of them being triples. He's driven in six runs while drawing four walks, and laying down four sacrifices. Johnson, who has traveled back and forth between Salem and Portland all season, has actually had more trouble hitting in the Carolina League than the Eastern League, hitting .244/.291/.333 in 47 games with Salem as compared to .280/.350/.323 in 25 with Portland. SINGLE-A GREENVILLE DRIVE: 8-1 WIN AT LEXINGTON (ROYALS) (BOX) -- Starter Jacob Dahlstrand hurled six shutout innings, allowing just four hits and fanning four batters. It was his second scoreless outing in a row after failing to log one all season prior to his last start. But Saturday's performance was even better than his last start, in which he gave up only three hits, but walked four batters. For the fourth time in 17 games this year, Dahlstrand issued no free passes, and struck out four for the second time in a row. The 21-year-old lefty has been solid this season for Greenville, though not particularly dominant, compiling a 4.45 ERA in 14 starts and three relief appearances, allowing an average of almost 10 hits per nine innings with a small 1.60 strikeout to walk ratio. -- Jesus Loya recorded his first three-hit game of the season, going 3-for-5 and scoring a run. The center fielder has been hot in his last few games, going 7-for-17 with a triple and a walk while driving in one. Loya, 21, has been holding his own with the bat since being promoted from the GCL, hitting .281/.326/.326 in 24 games for Greenville this season. -- After going hitless in his last three games, catcher Jayson Hernandez went 2-for-4, driving in his 16th run of the season. Hernandez started the season hot, batting .354/..413/.390 through the end of May, but has hit just .198/.266/.26 with four RBI since the beginning of July (25 games). SHORT SEASON SINGLE-A LOWELL SPINNERS: 7-4 LOSS AT HUDSON VALLEY (RAYS) (BOX) -- In the longest start of his young pro career, Teddy Stankiewicz was effective, giving up just three hits over three innings while striking out three. The 2013 draftee has been very impressive in his seven starts since signing with the Red Sox, allowing just 12 hits, two earned runs and only one walk in his 13 2/3 innings. -- Mario Alcantara received the loss after giving up seven runs on seven hits and a walk in his 3 2/3 innings of work, however he was charged with only two earned runs thanks to three Spinners errors. The 20-year-old has been hot and cold all season, following up great performances with ugly outings. He'd given up only three hits and a run in his last 10 1/3 innings prior to Saturday. With the loss, Alcantara drops to 4-5 in 12 games (nine starts) this season with a 4.15 ERA and 1.462 WHIP in 52 innings of work. -- Manuel Margot had the only multi-hit day for the Spinners, going 2-for-5 with two singles. Margot has hit safely in his last six games, and is really heating up again after enduring a brief but ugly slump in which he went 2-for-25 with four walks and eight strikeouts. Since breaking out of that skid, the 18-year-old has gone 11-for-28 with a double, home run and eight RBI. He's walked only once in that span as compared to seven strikeouts, however. Margot is enjoying a stellar first season with Lowell (and second professional year), batting .282/.356/.352 with a home run, triple and five doubles in his 38 games. ROOKIE-LEVEL GULF COAST LEAGUE RED SOX: 4-3 WIN AT GCL TWINS  (BOX) -- 2013 fourth-rounder Myles Smith continues to dominate GCL hitters, adding another three scoreless innings in his fourth start, the longest outing out of the four to date. Smith has displayed excellent command and still has yet to walk a batter while he's struck out nine batters in his eight innings of work, including three on Saturday. He's allowed just one hit, and that came in his very first professional inning of work. He's tossed seven near-perfect innings since then. His only flaw came on Saturday, when he hit a batter, his first of the season. -- 20-year-old Carlos Coste, in his third season with the GCL, had the big hit on Saturday, clearing the loaded bases with a three-run double, his third double of the year. Coste is having his best professional season, with his .214 average, .290 OBP and .321 slugging percentage representing career highs for him, but he serves as the back-up catcher and has played in just 16 games, which ties his career high. DOMINICAN SUMMER LEAGUE RED SOX: SUSPENDED IN THIRD INNING DUE TO RAIN