Red Sox minor league roundup: Matt Barnes struggling; Daniel McGrath dealing

May 28, 2014 - 6:23 am
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A brief look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Tuesday: TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX: 8-3 LOSS VS. GWINNETT (BRAVES) (BOX) -- Matt Barnes turned in his second straight start where he allowed six earned runs, walked three batters and failed to complete five innings. The righty also allowed a home run for the third straight start. Barnes left several pitches over the middle of the plate, as nearly all six of the hits (including a double, triple and home run) by the Braves were scorched. The 23-year-old posted a 53.7 percent (51 strikes, 95 pitches) strike percentage, the second straight start where Barnes' strike percentage has dropped. The righty posted a 56.7 percent (42 strikes, 74 pitches) strike percentage in his prior start against Syracuse, when he went three innings, allowing eight hits, six runs, walked three and struck out four. Prior to his start at Syracuse, the righty was averaging 61 percent strikes in his starts. -- Catcher Christian Vazquez went 1-for-3 with an RBI single, a run scored and a walk. After striking out in four straight contests heading into Tuesday's contest, Vazquez managed to not punch out. Vazquez had struck out eight times in his last 10 games. Vazquez continues to work on his approach at the plate. Vazquez has struggled with his strikeout-to-walk ratio in 2014 after drawing 48 walks and punching out 44 times in 2013. So far this season, Vazquez has struck out 26 times and walked 11 times. Vazquez feels strong at the plate and is continuing to solidify his approach at the plate. "I feel strong in that part right now," Vazquez said. "I have more strikeouts than walks right now, but I feel good at the plate. I'm hitting the ball good and continuing to work. Keep grinding and it's going to be better soon." For more on Vazquez and how close to ready he is to help in the major leagues, click here. -- First baseman Travis Shaw followed up his Triple-A debut with a 1-for-4 performance and a run scored. The 24-year-old's promotion to Pawtucket came after he dominated in Double-A Portland, hitting .305/.406/.548 with eleven homers, 29 walks and 23 strikeouts. DOUBLE-A PORTLAND SEA DOGS: 5-5 SUSPENDED GAME (SECOND INNING) VS. NEW BRITAIN (TWINS) (BOX) -- Left-hander Mickey Pena had a dismal start, retiring just one of the eight batters he faced before getting lifted in the first inning. The 23-year-old gave up five hits, with New Britain hitting for the cycle against him (two singles, a double, a triple and a homer) while walking twice, forcing his removal from the game after he reached 37 pitches. Pena saw his ERA go up a full run, from 4.98 to 5.98. -- Sean Coyle collected a hit before the game was suspended, giving him an eight-game hitting streak dating to April 21, before he landed on the DL with a hamstring injury. Coyle is 8-for-15 since coming off the DL. HIGH-A SALEM RED SOX: 12-6 LOSS AT MYRTLE BEACH (RANGERS) (BOX) -- Starter Corey Littrell gave up a career-high eight runs on seven hits and three walks while lasting just 3 1/3 innings, the 22-year-old's second shortest start of the year. Littrell has seen his ERA nearly double over his last three starts, as his mark has elevated from 2.20 after six starts to 4.03 after permitting 12 runs in his last 12 innings. -- DH Mario Martinez went 1-for-3 with a homer (his third of the year) and a walk. The 24-year-old has been hammering Carolina League pitching in Mya, with a .333/.361/.464 line, including a 13-for-27 stretch (.481) in his last seven games. SINGLE-A GREENVILLE DRIVE: 4-2 LOSS, 3-0 LOSS AT CHARLESTON (YANKEES) (BOX GAME 1, BOX GAME 2) -- Left-hander Daniel McGrath had his second straight strong start, logging six innings in which he gave up four runs (two earned) on just three hits (all singles) while punching out four and walking one. The 19-year-old threw an impressive 56 of 65 pitches (66 percent) for strikes. In three starts in Single-A, the Australian has shown command of his uncommonly advanced three-pitch mix (fastball typically in the 88-90 mph range, curveball, changeup), particularly in his last two outings, in which he has logged 12 innings with nine strikeouts and one walk while holding opponents to an .098 average. -- For the sixth time in his 10 outings, right-hander Myles Smith walked more batters than he struck out, giving up a season-high five free passes (along with two hits -- a double and a single) on the way to a three-run yield in four innings. Smith punched out one while throwing strikes on just 34 of 76 pitches (45 percent). The 2013 fourth-rounder now has a 6.69 ERA with 30 walks and 22 strikeouts in 35 innings. -- Zach Kapstein went 0-for-2 with a pair of punchouts in the night game as his eight-game hitting streak came to a conclusion.

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