Red Sox Win 2nd Straight GCL Title


Red Sox win! Red Sox win!

No, not the Boston Red Sox. They’ve had a dismal 2015 campaign, capped off by a terrible game, last night. Nothing says depression for Red Sox Nation than losing so poorly against their old nemesis, the New York Yankees. Today’s beam of sunshine blazing through the clouds hanging over Beantown is the knowledge that their minor affiliate in the Gulf Coast League, also known as the Red Sox, has won their second consecutive championship in their home of JetBlue Park.

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In a best-of-three series, the GCL Red Sox took on the Blue Jays in the Finals, which began on August 31st. The Red Sox took the early lead in the first inning, as first baseman Jerry Downs hit a sacrifice fly to left field to score designated hitter Andy Perez. That lead was short-lived when the Blue Jays’ Lance Jones scored on a wild pitch by Red Sox starting pitcher Logan Allen. The Jays followed that up with Juandy Mendoza singling to score Nash Knight.

It took late-game heroics from the Red Sox in the bottom of the ninth to bring about the victory. Downs smacked a single to center field that scored Perez, once again. This time it wasn’t the only run. Third baseman Roldani Baldwin returned the favor with a walk-off single that scored Downs to win the first game of the series.

After a rain delay on Monday, the series proceeded Tuesday night, with the Red Sox playing as the away team this time. A defensive duel, to say the least. The only scoring happened in the very first inning. Downs was responsible for the damage, yet again, grounding out to score Perez in the top of the frame.

Game One Notes:

  • Allen went four innings, allowing two runs on six hits, no walks, and three strikeouts for a no-decision.
  • Red Sox relief pitcher Algenis Martinez may have picked up the win, but he only pitched the last inning, with a hit and two strikeouts. Yankory Pimentel had three innings of relief, allowing only a hit with three strikeouts.
  • Perez, Baldwin, and the catcher in the nine-spot Isaias Lucena had two hits.
  • The Red Sox went 2-for-12 with runners in scoring position and left 11 men on base. The Blue Jays went 1-for-5, leaving three runners on base. The Red Sox had much of the pressure on the opposing pitcher, but didn’t capitalize until the end.

Game Two Notes:

  • Red Sox starting pitcher Roniel Raudes went five innings, allowing five hits, one walk, and seven strikeouts for the win.
  • Adam Lau earned the save for pitching one inning, walking one batter and striking out two.
  • Downs went 0-for-3, but his RBI was the difference. Perez went 1-for-3 with two strikeouts.

Even though Downs was the one with the big hits, the GCL club’s manager Tom Kotchman credits Rafael Oliveras as the key to the regular season and the championship run. Sam Dykstra of reported Kotchman saying:

"“‘He’s probably the MVP of the club,’ […] who had a .248/.354/.281 line during the regular season and went 4-for-11 in the GCL playoffs. ‘I said Javier Guerra could be my second son last year. Well, maybe Oliveras can be my third son. He’s that valuable. With Perez in motion there, the way he manipulated the bat to put the ball where it needed to be near the hole in short was huge.'”"

In any event, it was a good run for the Red Sox, with a number of players making their mark this season.

The Red Sox went 41-17 in the regular season, taking the south division by 7.5 games. Yes, in this league, they are down south. In 26 games, Perez had a slash line of .355/.431/.409 with 18 RBIs, while Baldwin and Downs played the majority of the games for the Red Sox and hit .288 and .275, respectively. As far as pitching goes, he may have only gone 3-3, but Gerson Bautista earned a 2.77 ERA in a team-leading 52 innings, striking out 41 batters. He was second only to Pimentel with 42 strikeouts. Pimentel also had six saves on the year. Not to be outdone, Enmanuel De Jesus led the team with a 6-2 record and a 1.66 ERA in 43.1 innings.

With this talent, and the winning experience under their belts, it will be interesting to see which of these players will move up the system next year, and how quickly they will do it. The big club needs bullpen help and a couple bats, as well. None of these men are even close to that, just yet; however, if they can keep it up, these names may become well-known in Boston households in a few years.

Soak up this championship, Red Sox Nation. It may be the only one you’re going to get, this season.

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