A brief look at the weekend action in the Red Sox minor league system:
TRIPLE A PAWTUCKET RED SOX: SPLIT FOUR GAMES AT SCRANTON/WILKES-BARRE
■ Lefthander Eduardo Rodriguez once again dominated, allowing one run on three hits (two singles and a double), walking none and striking out seven in a seven-inning complete game on Saturday. He threw 65 of 99 pitches for strikes while eliciting eight swings and misses. In nine starts spanning 56 innings in Double A and Triple A following his trade from the Orioles to the Red Sox, Rodriguez has a 1.45 ERA with 8.8 strikeouts and 1.4 walks per nine innings.
“He attacks with fastballs. Against righties, he’ll throw sinkers and four-seamers in. He’s working with everything. He’s throwing everything for strikes. That’s why he’s having success,” catcher Humberto Quintero said last week. “He throws kind of like [Andy Pettitte], where the ball moves a lot, and he’s got a good changeup and good slider. He’s really good. He’s going to do well. I think he’s close [to big league-ready]. He’s getting very close. He has to work on his command a little bit, but right now, he could pitch in the big leagues. He’s ready, I think.”
■ While lefthander Henry Owens claimed his first win of the season, he continued his early-season control difficulties, walking four batters in five innings of work. He minimized damage, giving up just two runs, but in 16 innings through three starts, the 22-year-old has walked 14 and struck out 13. Opposing hitters continue to do little against Owens, who has limited hitters to a .164 average, but until his control gets locked in, he won’t be a consideration for a big-league callup. That said, the 6-foot-6-inch lefthander does have a track record of emerging from similar difficulties finding the strike zone. He had a three-start stretch last May in which he walked 14 in 15⅔ innings, then issued just 2.7 walks per nine innings over the duration of the season between Double A and Triple A.
■ Catcher Blake Swihart had his third three-hit game of the season on Friday, but then went a combined 0 for 5 in his next two contests of the weekend. However, he walked in all three games in which he played, giving him a .309 average, .345 OBP, and .364 slugging mark through 14 games.
■ Shortstop Deven Marrero went 5 for 13 with two doubles in the four games, boosting his line to .292/.357/.458. He’s averaging one extra-base hit for every eight at-bats this season, delivering extra-base hits at nearly twice the rate he did (once every 15.5 at-bats) in 50 games with the PawSox at the end of last year.
■ Garin Cecchini, who missed a week after suffering a contusion and inflammation in his left shoulder following a diving play in the outfield, went 1 for 6 with a walk and two strikeouts in his first two games back. The walk was his first of the year. The 24-year-old is hitting .200/.217/.333 in the early stages of the year.
DOUBLE A PORTLAND SEA DOGS: WON 2 OF 3 VS. TRENTON
■ Righthander Justin Haley, a 2012 sixth-rounder who seemingly enjoyed a breakthrough season in 2014, continued his dismal start to 2015, permitting six runs in 4⅔ innings. Haley is 0-3 with a 9.42 ERA, 12 walks, and 13 strikeouts in 14⅓ innings. The 23-year-old has yet to complete five innings this year.
■ Outfielder Keury De La Cruz came off the DL to go 1 for 2 with a double and two walks on Sunday, improving his nine-game line to .286/.394/.643 with five extra-base hits. The aggressive De La Cruz has five walks and just three strikeouts, with a chance to have more walks than strikeouts in any month (minimum 20 plate appearances) over the six seasons in which he’s been playing in the States.
■ First baseman Jantzen Witte continued to rake, going 5 for 13 with a walk and a double. In 15 games, he’s hitting .357/.377/.482, with his average ranking fourth in the Eastern League.
HIGH A SALEM RED SOX: WON 2 OF 3 AT CAROLINA
■ Center fielder Manuel Margot’s amazing start continued, as he went 5 for 11 with a walk, a steal (and one caught stealing), and still no strikeouts in three games over the weekend. He’s hitting .362/.391/.586 with six steals in eight attempts, along with zero strikeouts in 64 plate appearances. Josh Norris of Baseball America examined Margot’s amazing run of whifflessness.
■ Righthander Teddy Stankiewicz continues to show an ability to log innings even with stuff that has yet to play for swings and misses. The 21-year-old allowed two runs in six innings, walking two and striking out two on Friday. He’s pitched at least five innings in all three of his starts this year, and dating to last season, he’s logged at least six innings in 10 of 11 starts. He’s 0-3 this season but with a 2.60 ERA, seven strikeouts, and four walks in 17⅓ innings.
■ Groundball machine Kevin McAvoy, a 2014 fourth-rounder, claimed his first professional win, allowing one run and recording 12 groundball outs in 5⅔ innings on Sunday. He walked two and struck out two. Per MLBFarm.com, an astounding 78.6 percent of balls put in play against him this season have been groundballs. He has a 1.72 ERA in three starts.
■ Lefthander Daniel McGrath, 20, allowed just one hit and one unearned run in five innings, striking out seven and walking three. The native of Australia has a solid three-pitch mix (fastball, curve, change) for which he shows a good feel. Opponents are hitting just .140 against him, though control struggles (10 walks in 12⅓ innings) have helped to push his ERA to 3.65.
SINGLE A GREENVILLE DRIVE: WON 3 OF 4 VS. ASHEVILLE
■ Righthander Michael Kopech completed a dominant week by firing five shutout innings with two hits (a single and triple), no walks, and three strikeouts. His fastball was up to 98 miles per hour in the outing. On the strength of two starts in which he logged 10 shutout innings, permitted four hits, and punched out seven without issuing a walk, the 18-year-old — a 2014 first-round pick — was named Pitcher of the Week in the South Atlantic League. He’s 1-1 with a 1.98 ERA in three starts with Greenville.
■ Righthander Ty Buttrey continued to make his case for an early-season promotion, firing five no-hit innings in which he walked two and struck out seven. In four starts, he has a 2.45 ERA with 22 strikeouts and three walks over 22 innings, getting strikeouts with his fastball and curveball while showing a potentially solid changeup. Buttrey made an adjustment at the end of a disappointing 2014 season, picking up the tempo in his delivery, something that seemingly has improved his ability to repeat his delivery and improve his control, with the sharpness of his stuff also playing up. The difference has been amply evident one year after Buttrey went 0-5 with a 6.85 ERA with 7.8 strikeouts and 4.7 walks per nine innings in 11 starts last year in Greenville.
■ Middle infielder Mauricio Dubon had a pair of two-hit games, giving him nine multihit contests in 16 games this season and elevating his average to .364 along with a .382 OBP and .424 slugging mark. The 20-year-old is second in the South Atlantic League in average. He’s also 6 for 8 in steals.