The talk of Red Sox Nation on Friday was the likely end of Pablo Sandoval’s tenure in Boston, and perhaps in some minor way, echoes of that news trickled down to their Double-A affiliate’s performance in Manchester.
Portland Sea Dogs’ third baseman Rafael Devers was promoted to Triple-A Pawtucket earlier in the day, prior the Sea Dogs’ 15-8 defeat versus the New Hampshire Fisher Cats.
A participant in the Eastern League All-Star Game just a few days earlier, Devers is widely rumored to be one of the possible replacements for Sandoval at Fenway in the near future, despite not currently holding a place on the Sox’ 40-man roster.
Devers’ replacement, 21-year-old Georgia native Michael Chavis, scored the first run of the contest, crossing the plate on a Henry Urrutia single in the first. Urrutia would be brought home alone with Jeremy Barfield on a Mike Olt double later in the inning.
New Hampshire responded in the bottom of the first, snatching six runs off six hits and a walk. That outburst began subsequent rallies in the second, fourth and seventh innings that saw the Fisher Cats end the day with 18 total hits.
Every New Hampshire batter except for Tim Lopes had at least one hit, with Harold Ramirez and Derrick Loveless getting two. Richard Urena, Danny Jansen, Ryan McBroom and Lourdes Gurriel went even further, with each getting three hits.
Still, Portland’s offense came close to matching New Hampshire’s output, batting over .300 with men in scoring position during the contest despite leaving eight men on second or third.
Danny Mars continued his hot streak for the Sea Dogs with three hits, while Josh Tobias, Cole Sturgeon and Olt each got two.
As one would expect from the scoreline, it was a day to forget for pitches on both sides. Still, a win is a win for the struggling Shane Dawson, who last recorded a victory against Binghamton in April.
Dawson (2-9) pitched five innings in his 16th start of the year for the Fisher Cats, scattering six hits and six walks and allowing four earned runs, including a home run to Barfield in the fifth. Portland also added two unearned runs on Dawson’s watch during the fifth.
Portland starter Trey Ball left after New Hampshire’s first inning barrage, bringing him to 1-1 on the year against the Fisher Cats.
Friday’s start was by far the shortest of the year for Ball (3-8), lasting only 46 pitches. Until this point, Ball had pitched at least 82 pitches in each of his prior 15 appearances this season.
Kender Villegas earned his first save of the year for the Fisher Cats, facing only 11 batters over the final three innings of the game.
The two teams will square off for a doubleheader on Saturday night, with the first game beginning at 6:05 p.m.