For the first time in 87 years, a team an affiliated minor league baseball team calling this city their home took the field when the Worcester Red Sox faced off against the Buffalo Bisons at Arm & Hammer Park in Trenton, New Jersey Tuesday. The Bisons are calling the park home for now while their parent club, the Toronto Blue Jays, plays in Buffalo at Sahlen Field due to COVID restrictions in Canada.
The newly formed “Triple-A East” League will have its members playing limited opponents in 2021 due to travel restrictions in place due to the COVID pandemic. The teams in the Northeast Division, which include the Woosox and Bisons, along with the Lehigh Valley IronPigs (Philadelphia), Rochester Red Wings (Washington), Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (NY Yankees), and Syracuse Mets (NY Mets), will only face each other, and they will play week-long series.
Tuesday’s WooSox debut had many firsts for the franchise, with Yairo Munoz’s second-inning line drive to left field being the first-ever WooSox hit. In the fourth, the WooSox would have their first extra-base hit, first run, and first RBI when Michael Chavis doubled to center and then scored on Jonathan Arauz’s infield hit. Unfortunately, that would be all the scoring for Worcester as they dropped the contest 6-1. Tanner Houck, who took the loss allowing eight hits and three runs in three innings, recorded the franchise’s first strikeout in the bottom of the second inning.
It was more of the same in Wednesday’s contest as Buffalo jumped out to an early lead and the WooSox bats weren’t able to keep them in the game. Down three entering the sixth Chris Herrmann recorded the first home run in WooSox history, crushing a 1-2 pitch over the right-field fence and into the Delaware River. Marcus Wilson added a solo shot to center in the ninth for the WooSox second run in the 5-2 defeat. Raynel Espinal allowed three runs over five innings in taking the loss.
Hopefully the WooSox won’t have many more games like Thursday’s 10-1 debacle. The WooSox could only muster four hits, two by shortstop Jonathan Arauz. Worcester’s only run came in the seventh when Arauz singled, took second on an outfield error, advanced to third on Marcus Wilson’s infield single, and scored on a sacrifice fly by Cesar Puello. Daniel Gossett took the loss, but except for Bobby Poyner’s two-inning relief stint, no WooSox pitcher was very effective.
Friday night saw two more firsts for the franchise, with their three-run fourth inning giving the WooSox their first-ever lead in a game that eventually turned into the franchise’s first win as they would go on to defeat Buffalo 4-2. Marcus Wilson started the fourth inning run barrage with a two-run triple to left. He would then score on Chad De La Guerra’s triple. In the ninth Jeter Downs doubled, took third on a passed ball, and scored on Cesar Puello’s sac-fly. Starter Stephen Gonsalves earned the franchise’s first win with his 5.1 innings of work, striking out nine while allowing just two hits and one run. Marcus Walden and Kevin McCarthy both had great stints in relief, and Kaleb Ort collected the franchise’s first save.
There was another first for the WooSox on Saturday when the franchise put together it’s first winning streak with an 8-6 win over the Bisons. Worcester put up two runs in the first on a Yairo Munoz RBI single and, Jeter Downs, who had taken third on the Munoz single, scored on a balk. The WooSox added three more in the second on a Chris Herrmann sacrifice fly and a two-run single from Munoz. In the fifth Tate Matheny and Jarren Duran went back-to-back to cap the WooSox scoring. John Schreiber earned the win, striking out four and allowing one hit in two innings of relief work. Eduard Bazardo picked up the save with a perfect ninth inning, striking out two.
The WooSox were looking for three wins in a row Sunday, but it wasn’t meant to be as Worcester dropped the final game of the week-long series 4-1. The WooSox lone run came in the sixth inning when Jarren Duran walked, and then went first to third on a Jeter Downs’ single and scored on a throwing error. Downs finished the day with two of Worcester’s four hits. The other two came off the bat of Yairo Munoz. Ryan Weber took the loss despite pitching decently, allowing just one earned run and striking out six in 3.1 innings. Unfortunately, the WooSox defense behind him wasn’t very good, leading to three unearned runs.
Worcester headed home after the game and will make their Polar Park debut on Tuesday.
210Sports’ WooSox of the week
Pitcher: Kaleb Ort gets the nod, earning a save and strking out six in three innings over the appearances last week. The one run he allowed was unearned, and his 0.67 WHIP and .182 batting average against led the squad.
Batter: Yairo Munoz is this week’s winner, going 8-21 with 3 RBI. His eight hits lead the WooSox, and his 3 RBI tie for best on the team. He also leads the team with a .381 batting average.
Last week’s transactions
Tuesday, May 4: Placed Connor Seabold (right elbow inflammation) on the IL.
Thursday, May 6: Boston signed Brandon Workman to a minor league contract, and assigned him to Worcester.
Friday, May 7: Boston recalled Michael Chavis from Worcester.
Sunday, May 9: Boston recalled Jonathan Arauz from Worcester
This week’s schedule
vs Syracuse (NY Mets)
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