Red Sox minor league roundup: The conclusion to Mookie Betts' streak; Brandon Workman's struggles with the longball; Myles Smith gets rocked in first start

May 18, 2014 - 8:06 am
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The minor league roundup observes a moment of silence for the conclusion of Mookie Betts' 71-game on-base streak. The streak is dead. Long live the streak. A brief look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Saturday: TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX: 6-3 WIN VS. SCRANTON WILKES-BARRE (YANKEES) (BOX) -- Starter Brandon Workman lasted into the seventh inning for the second time this season, allowing three earned runs on six hits and two walks while fanning six. He threw a season-high 104 pitches with 66 going for strikes. Workman faced just two over the minimum through his first five innings of work and didn'€™t allow a runner past first base until the sixth inning. Home runs have been an issue for Workman in previous starts this season, and were again on Saturday night. All three of the runs he allowed came on home runs: a solo shot in the sixth and a two-run blast in the seventh. Workman has given up eight homers on the season, but interestingly enough, those home runs all came in just three starts. When Workman has been victimized by the longball (something he'€™s bound to do given the high percentage of strikes he throws with four-seam fastballs), those home runs have been the only blemishes on otherwise solid outings for the right-hander. In his second start of the season, he was very effective, giving up just four hits, but allowed three runs, which all came from the two home runs he gave up. His outing on May 7 was even more interesting; Workman allowed just four hits through seven innings, his longest start of the season, but all four hits were solo home runs. -- Serving as the designated hitter, Brandon Snyder had a big night for the PawSox, going 3-for-4 with four RBIs on the evening. In addition to clubbing his team-leading eighth home run of the season (a solo shot to left field), Snyder knocked a three-run, bases-clearing double to center, his fourth two-bagger of the season. Snyder hasn'€™t gotten many hits for the PawSox (he'€™s batting just .219 with a .296 OBP in 27 games) but when he does get a hold of one, it goes far. More than half of his 21 hits have gone for extra bases, he'€™s slugging .510 on the year, and he'€™s homered in back-to-back contests. -- Second baseman Ryan Roberts went 2-for-4 with a pair of singles and an RBI, just his second since joining Pawtucket. Roberts initially got off to a slow start with the PawSox, but the veteran infielder has hit .302/.339/.472 with seven doubles in the month of May. -- Alex Wilson notched his fifth save of the season, tossing a scoreless ninth allowing a leadoff single but striking out two. Wilson has allowed runs in just two of his 17 outings this season, compiling a 1.59 ERA in 17 innings of work. The right-hander is averaging over a strikeout per inning and holding opposing batters to a .186 average. -- Bryce Brentz missed his second game in a row after tweaking his hamstring in Thursday night'€™s contest. DOUBLE-A PORTLAND SEA DOGS: 4-3 WIN VS. TRENTON (YANKEES) (BOX) -- Feats of Mookie: Maybe he'€™s human after all. Mookie Betts'€™ epic 71-game on-base streak came to a close with an 0-for-4 day on Saturday, though he did reach on a questionable error by Trenton'€™s first baseman. The second baseman hit .404/.478/.621 over the life of the streak, which began back on August 2 last season while Betts was a member of Salem Red Sox in High-A. The 71 games ties a minor record set by two former Red Sox: Kevin Youkilis (in 2003) and Kevin Millar, who pieced the streak together with a couple of major league stints in between. But just because Betts'€™ streak came to an end didn'€™t mean that he failed to contribute. Betts actually drove in two of Portland'€™s four runs, grounding out with a runner on third in both the third and seventh inning. The 21-year-old also helped reliever Jose Valdez and the Sea Dogs escape a bases-loaded jam and hold on for the win in the ninth inning, diving to snare a one-out line drive and doubling off the runner on second to end the game. Check out Betts' diving play: It's worth noting that Betts will be making his first professional start at a position that is not in the middle infield, playing center field for the Sea Dogs on Sunday. Such an outcome had been anticipated for a while -- click here for Alex Speier's column on why the outfield was viewed as a likely positional possibility for Betts. -- Shortstop Deven Marrero notched his third multi-hit game in a row with a 2-for-3 day, driving in a run and smacking his first triple of the season. Marrero has hit .423 with four extra-base hits in his last six games and has boosted his line on the season from .263/.360/.414 to .296/.389/.456 with the recent hot streak. -- Travis Shaw put the Sea Dogs on top with his seventh home run of the season, sending a 3-2 pitch out of the park in the eighth inning. The slugging first baseman has hit safely in six straight games. Shaw is averaging an extra-base hit every 10 at-bats over the course of the season, and that pace has increased recently, with Shaw averaging an extra-base hit every six at-bats since the beginning of May. -- Robby Scott tossed 2 2/3 innings of scoreless relief, allowing just one hit while fanning four. Scott has been dominant for Portland, allowing runs in just one of his 10 appearances, good for a 0.79 ERA in 22 2/3 innings. HIGH-A SALEM RED SOX: 4-3 WIN AT CAROLINA (INDIANS) (BOX) -- Carson Blair had a big game, going 2-for-4 with two doubles and two RBIs on the evening. Both doubles came on fly balls to center field. It'€™s the first time all season Blair has gotten two extra-base hits in the same game, and only his fourth multi-hit performance of the year. He also struck out once, bringing his total to 42 K€™s through just 27 games. Blair has already matched his home run total from 41 games with Salem last season (four) and he'€™s now just a double away from matching that total as well (nine). Blair ranks second on the club with 19 RBIs. -- Starter Pat Light was solid through six innings of work (his longest start of the season with Salem), allowing three earned runs on five hits while striking out three to earn his first Carolina League win. After back-to-back games in which he walked three batters, Light didn'€™t issue any free passes on Saturday. Light has seen his strikeouts dip considerably since his promotion to High-A; he averaged almost 10 strikeouts per nine innings in three starts with Greenville this season, while posting an 8.9 per nine mark in 28 1/3 innings with Greenville in 2013. But in High-A, Light has struck out just 15 in 25 1/3 innings, while he'€™s also seen a jump in his walk rate, issuing more than three per nine innings on average (compared to just two per nine with Greenville earlier this season). Light has posted a 4.97 ERA through five starts with Salem. -- Reliever Kyle Martin was outstanding in his three hitless innings of labor, earning the save and fanning two, though he did allow a walk and hit a batter. Martin has shown impressive command in his 26 innings with Salem, striking out an average of 11.4 per nine innings while issuing just four walks in his 12 appearances (though he has also hit three batters). The 23-year-old right-hander owns a 3.12 ERA and 1.115 WHIP while closing out 10 games and racking up four saves for Salem. SINGLE-A GREENVILLE DRIVE: 14-6 LOSS AT ASHEVILLE (ROCKIES) (BOX) -- Jantzen Witte continues to swing a hot bat, smacking his fourth home run of the season and driving in three runs, finishing the night going 2-for-4 with a walk. The 24-year-old Texas Christian University product has been crushing South Atlantic League pitching all season, hitting .358 with a .452 OBP and .590 slugging mark, good for second in the league behind just his teammate Carlos Asuaje. Witte has been impressive with runners on base, compiling a .386/.458/.682 line with runners in scoring position. He'€™s driven in a team-high 31 runs on the season. -- Shortstop Tzu-Wei Lin was 2-for-5 with two runs scored on the afternoon. Lin has been mired in a 5-for-31 slump since an impressive four-hit performance back on May 4, though the 20-year-old has managed to draw six walks over 39 plate appearances in his last eight games. Lin got off to a scorching start this season, hitting over .400 in his first seven games, but since that point has posted a .182/.293/.253 line in 24 games. -- Myles Smith was rocked in his first start of the season for Greenville, giving up seven runs on four hits and four walks. The 22-year-old righty was unable to make it out of the second, lasting just 1 2/3 innings. Smith had previously made seven appearances for the Drive in relief (as a piggyback starter), posting a 5.55 ERA in 24 1/3 innings, allowing an average of a hit per inning while totaling more walks (18) than strikeouts (17). Smith actually made it through the first inning unscathed, facing the minimum of three batters thanks to a first-pitch ground ball double play that followed a fly out and a walk. Smith got through the first using just eight pitches. Things fell apart in the second. With one out, Smith issued back-to-back walks, followed by four hits, a sacrifice fly and another walk. Throughout his inning and two-thirds, Smith issued first-pitch balls to seven of the 12 hitters he faced. Aside from the obvious lack of command, the battery of Smith and catcher Jake Romanski was completely unable to control the running game, allowing a pair of double steals in the inning. The second double steal resulted in a throwing error from Romanski and allowed a run to score.

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