Left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez impressed in his Triple-A debut. (Lynn Chadwick / Portland Sea Dogs)

Red Sox minor league roundup: Rusney Castillo makes his mark; Eduardo Rodriguez, trade deadline steal

September 13, 2014 - 8:24 am
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Evidently, Rusney Castillo is not afraid. With Triple-A Pawtucket's season down to its final strike, Castillo lined a 1-2 fastball up and away to right-center for a game-tying run in the top of the ninth inning, turning a 2-1 deficit into a 2-2 tie that ultimately translated to a 4-2, 13-inning victory for the PawSox that forced a winner-take-all Game 5 of the Governor's Cup Finals against Durham (box). Though Castillo went 1-for-6 with three strikeouts, he did not allow a previously poor game to snowball to the point where his pulse quickened in his at-bat in the bottom of the ninth, instead going with a heater and lining it to a part of the field that he's shown a penchant for using in his earliest days playing baseball. The Red Sox will hope that the contest offered the first demonstration of Castillo's ability to contribute in meaningful situations, to be a winning player who can turn a crowd in an opponent's park from frenzy to despondency. As Castillo (who played all 13 innings on Friday) works to get physically ready to join the Red Sox in the big leagues, he is now 3-for-14 in his three games against Durham. Certainly, he made his third hit of the series count, giving the PawSox an opportunity in a winner-take-all Game 5 on Saturday. Here is a look at Castillo's crowd-silencing hit: -- One evaluator on Eduardo Rodriguez, the 21-year-old left-hander whom the Red Sox acquired at the trade deadline for left-hander Andrew Miller: "Steal of the trade deadline...I know Miller is doing great in Baltimore, but this kid will make that trade look real bad." Rodriguez made his Triple-A debut on Friday after 35 Double-A starts (in the Orioles' and Sox' systems) over the last year and a half. He matched a season-high with seven innings in which he allowed six hits (a double and five singles) while walking two and punching out six. He threw 63 of 104 pitches (61 percent) for strikes, including seven that resulted in swings and misses. In eight starts since joining the Sox, Rodriguez is 3-1 with a 1.41 ERA, 51 strikeouts and 12 walks in 51 innings, with stuff as impressive as the results. Rodriguez has regularly touched as high as 96 mph in his outings, working comfortably at 92-94 mph. He has a changeup that grades as a 60-65 on the 50-80 scouting scale (meaning well above-average), and his slider flashes the potential to be a plus pitch. Here's a look at his six strikeout offerings, one of which came on a heater, three that came on sliders and two on changeups: -- Ivan De Jesus Jr. had been enduring a poor playoff run. The recently acquired utility player (who came from the Orioles in exchange for Kelly Johnson) was 0-for-5 on Friday and 3-for-21 in the playoffs before he delivered a go-ahead two-run homer in the top of the 13th for the PawSox that represented the difference in Pawtucket's 4-2 victory. The 27-year-old represented an unlikely candidate to go deep. He has never hit more than eight homers in a season, and has just 38 homers in 995 professional games. -- Ryan Lavarnway went 4-for-5 with a double and a walk, his first four-hit game since June 2012. He's 8-for-18 with a pair of walks in the Governor's Cup Finals. -- Shortstop Deven Marrero went 2-for-6 in the win. After a challenging first exposure to Triple-A in which he hit .210/.260/.285 in 50 regular-season games, the tremendous defensive shortstop has enjoyed a solid postseason performance, hitting .280/.333/.320 in seven playoff games. -- Though Bryce Brentz went 1-for-7 with four strikeouts, the 25-year-old made a game-changing impact in the field, throwing out a runner attempting to score from second at the plate in the bottom of the 10th inning. Brentz showed off the strong arm that made him a pitching prospect out of high school, while catcher Blake Swihart showed off his hands by short-hopping the throw and applying the tag.

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