The Spinners clinched their second consecutive Stedler division title last night with a 13-0 thrashing of second place Oneonta. The Spinners have won 11 of their last 14 games and have opened up a 7.5 game lead on Oneonta since entering play on August 22nd tied with the Tigers for first place.
Starter Jose Alvarez (8-3, 1.52) threw a complete game shutout, only allowing five hits and striking out six over his seven innings of work. With the win, Alvarez broke the Spinners record for victories in a season with 8. He also remains atop of the NY-Penn League in ERA (1.52).
The Spinners wasted no time opening up an early lead by scoring six times in the first and five times in the second on their way to an 18 hit output on the night. Every starter had at least one hit, led by Derrik Gibson’s perfect night at the plate. He was 3 for 3 with two walks, reaching base five times. Gibson, in his last four games, is hitting a blistering .667. Chris McGuiness and Ken Roque each had three hits and Michael Almanzar added a double, triple and three RBI’s.
The Spinners also won game two of the twinbill 6-2 as Willie Holmes was 3-3 with a HR and Wilfred Pichardo stole three bases in breaking the Spinners single season record for stolen bases. Pichardo now stands at 31, the record was previously 28, set by Matt Van Der Bosch in 2004. Carson Blair and Doug Wogee made thier Spinner debuts, with Blair going 1 for 2 with a double and Wogee pitching a scoreless inning in relief. Spinners starter Alex Wilson was again dominant in his three inning stint, striking out three and only allowing one hit. The Spinners look to continue their hot streak with the final game of the series tonight in Oneonta. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05.
The Lowell Spinners inched closer to their second consecutive Stedler Division title with their 8-5 win over the Brooklyn Cyclones Monday night. Yeiper Castillo (6-1, 2.76), pitched a gem going six innings, allowing three hits and striking out five. The Spinners offense exploded in the fourth inning, taking advantage of Brooklyn miscues. Derrik Gibson was hit by a pitch to force in the first run and Chris McGuiness walked with the bases loaded to score the second run of the inning. Two wild pitches by Cyclone relievers scored two more Spinners and finally, an error on a routine groundball by Jordany Valdespin scored McGuiness with the inning’s final run.
The Cyclones did not go away easily, chasing Lowell reliever Jeremiah Bayer from the game with a two-run single, and then going right after Michael Bugary, scoring three more times in the inning on a two-run double and a single up the middle. However, Dennis Neuman came on to strike out the final batter of the inning and tossed a scoreless ninth inning for his team-leading seventh save.
Monday night also saw the retirement of Jim Rice’s number 14 here at LeLacheur Park, and tonight will feature the retirement of Johnny Pesky’s number six. A Spinners win, coupled with an Oneonta loss will clinch the Stedler Division for the second straight year for Lowell. Drake Britton takes the mound tonight to be followed by Ryan Pressly. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05.
The NY-Penn League All Star teams have been announced and the Spinners will be well represented with five players heading to State College.
Once again congratulations to all of our all stars, we can’t wait to see you represent the Spinners down in State College!
The Red Sox have announced their performance awards for July 2009. Amongst the winners are current Spinner Derrik Gibson, who is fast approaching the Spinners record for stolen bases which was set by Matt Van Der Bosch with 28 in 2004. Gibson currently has 20 steals. Former Spinners Kris Negron (2006), Adam Mills (2007) and Will Middlebrooks (2008) are also amongst this month’s winners. Congratulations to all!
Red Sox Performance Award Winners July 2009
Base Runner of the Month- Kris Negron (Salem Red Sox) (7 Steals, 0 CS)
Defender of the Month- Anthony Rizzo (Salem Red Sox) (.997 Fielding Percentage)
Base Stealer of the Month- Derrik Gibson (Lowell Spinners) (13 Steals, 1 CS)
Player of the Month- Will Middlebrooks (Greenville Drive) (.337, 5 HR’s, 26 RBI’s, .949 OPS)
Pitcher of the Month- Adam Mills (Portland Sea Dogs) (6-0, 2.31 ERA, 2:1 K:BB)
Derrik Gibson was the Red Sox fourth pick (2nd round, 77th overall) in the 2008 First-Year Player Draft. Gibson started last season with the GCL Red Sox before making a cameo in Lowell. He was twice named the Delaware High School Player of the Year and three times the All-State performer at Seaford Senior High School. Gibson was also named a 2008 Baseball America First-Team High School All-American after hitting .636 with five homers and 29 RBIs.
In addition to being a star at the plate, Gibson also won fifteen games as a pitcher over his last two high school seasons. Gibson is known for his speed, being deemed the fastest base runner in the Red Sox organization by Baseball America. In Lowell this season, Gibson got off to a hot start, hitting .471 in June; he slumped in July, but has hit .381 so far in August and leads the Spinners with 20 stolen bases. Derrik took some time to talk with the Spinners Blog.
You got off to a great start, hitting .471 in June, what would you attribute your early success to?
I would have to say my success came from just working with some coaches to refine my swing and just my approach. I told myself to stay middle of the field, go gap to gap. If you stay in the middle of the field it’s the biggest part of the field, you’ll have success with balls over the plate, you won’t pull off of the ball. That’s what I try to tell my self, stay middle of the field, go gap to gap, and I’ll be alright.
After your hot start, you’ve had some struggles, is there anything you can attribute this to?
Going off of what I said before, I got away from my approach that I used in the beginning of the season. I was trying to pull balls over the plate, its one of those things being younger you get away from things that have made you successful and you feel invincible. You start thinking to yourself, I’ve been doing great, and I’ll be able to do this. That’s how it happened with me, I thought I could just rip the ball and I found out real quick I couldn’t do that. Once I figured it out, I’ve gotten back to the approach that made me successful and I can see a difference. The results may not be there all the time, but I can be happy with my at bats and the counts that I am able to work. I think I am getting back to where I was in June with my at bats recently.
This is your second go around here in Lowell, what are your goals for this season? What part of your game are you working on the most?
Compared to last year, things have slowed down for me. Last year everything seemed like it was a thousand miles an hour, I didn’t focus and slow it down. Now I feel comfortable with the setting and playing in front of people. The thing that Coach Disarcina preaches the most is slowing things down and I think I’ve done a good job of that so far. In terms of goals we all just want to win this division and play consistent baseball and success will take care of itself.
Which teammate has impressed you the most this season?
Ryan Westmoreland has definitely impressed me a ton. He’s just been unbelievable; he’s super consistent I haven’t seen him throw too many at bats away. He drives the ball gap to gap with as much power as I’ve seen or played with. You name it he’s doing it right now. The best part is he’s a good clubhouse guy too he keeps it loose and fun and everybody loves him.
You currently are leading the team in steals, is speed a big part of your game? Do you see yourself as a top of the order table setter?
Getting on base is always my goal, just being able to disrupt what the pitcher is doing and set the tone of the game. Speed is definitely a big part of my game; if I don’t take bases then I’m just limiting myself. The one or two spot in the order is where I am comfortable. I think leading off the game you set the tone. In that first inning if you get on and score it takes a lot of pressure off your pitcher and your defense. I like being that guy that just tries to disrupt things for the opposing pitcher. I take it as a challenge.
You were a pitcher in High School and put up some impressive numbers, did you ever see yourself playing professionally as a pitcher?
I don’t know if I would call myself a pitcher or a thrower, I didn’t really see myself continuing with pitching in the pros. I wanted to play everyday and teams saw that as well. There were pros and cons to pitching. You set the tone for the game; you have the ball in your hand every pitch. You basically are the director of the game out on the mound. It’s great if you have a good game, not so great if you have a bad game. I really just had that itch to play everyday. I liked it, I enjoyed it, but I enjoy playing short or second more, even though I think there are more pros than cons to pitching.
You were drafted by the Red Sox in the second round in 2008, were you expecting to go to the Red Sox? What are your impressions of the organization so far?
It was honestly one of those things where you go into it just hoping for the best. I had no idea what team was going to take me. I just woke up draft day with an open mind and watched the draft with my family. When I did get that call it was an unbelievable experience it took me awhile to get off of cloud nine. I think one of the biggest things for me on draft day was seeing some of the guys that I played with get taken like Casey Kelly, who got taken before me in the first round.
Playing with Casey was special, we actually played together at USA baseball tryouts, he played short and I played second. It’s ironic that we ended up in the same organization and played together down here in Lowell.
Do the Red Sox have any specific goals for you this season and this offseason?
They didn’t give me anything specific, but their big thing was having a full season under my belt. Fielding wise my goals are to learn both second and short to the point where I am comfortable. Hitting wise I would have to say just staying with my approach and not getting away from what I do best. Overall, I think the Red Sox just want me to be athletic and do what I’ve been doing so far this year. I try to go at the game 110 percent and give it my all.
You’ve mainly played short during your time here in Lowell, do you see yourself as a shortstop or can you see yourself moving to a different position?
Right now I would say short is where I am most comfortable. Everything feels natural to me there. You throw to first base and you’re moving that way, on double plays you’re throwing that way, it’s just all natural movement. Second base feels a little awkward to me right now because it’s not like short, you don’t have that natural movement toward first. Short is not the easiest position to play, but its where I see myself eventually settling down.
Growing up who were your favorite team and player?
Being from Delaware, it would have to be the Orioles. I was probably the biggest Cal Ripken fan. Ever since I was little my parents would tell me Cal Ripken does this, Cal does that, and if he did it I did it. I loved watching him on a daily basis, the consecutive game streak was awesome, but just the way he played the game, he gave it his all. I definitely have a new found appreciation for Cal now that I play every day. When we’re about 40 games in, during a long road stretch, and your body aches or you are just fatigued, it takes a lot to give it your all. Cal went out there and did that for his entire career. It’s amazing how he played that many games in a row and played as hard as he did.
You had a commitment to UNC before signing with the Red Sox, was it a hard decision to make to pass up UNC?
Coach Fox and the whole program were very good to me. It’s hard when you build that relationship for about six months and then you have to tell them your going to sign and that you have to walk away from everything that you’ve built up over time. It’s such a great program and with them making the college world series, having a great staff, a new stadium, all that tradition, it was really hard. I really am happy with the decision I made though, I couldn’t envision a better organization to play for than Boston.
What is your most memorable moment in baseball and why?
Playing in front of these fans here is the best thing I can think of. The appreciation they have for us, it’s amazing that the Spinners have such a long sell out streak. They don’t call this Red Sox Nation for nothing; these fans love baseball and root for you no matter what. The players really appreciate it when you can play in front of fans that are so passionate and really pull hard for you.
Check back Thursday for our next installment with rookie sensation Alex Hassan
The Lowell Spinners offense continued its coming out party Tuesday night against the Hudson Valley Renegades in a 10-1 drubbing. The Spinners scoring commenced in the first inning as Wilfred Pichardo legged out a bunt single, then promptly stole second, moved to third on a Derrik Gibson hit and then pulled off a rare steal of home.
Joantoni Garcia and Chris McGuiness both added three run homers in the second and third innings respectivley. McGuiness, now with 29 RBI’s, is third in the NY Penn League, 2 behind Sebastian Valle of Williamsport. The Spinners were also the beneficiaries of poor defense by the Renegades, who committed an astounding six errors in the game. Every Spinner starter had a hit and Derrik Gibson continued his recent hot streak with another three hit performance, he is hitting .388 in his last 10 games.
Spinner pitching only allowed four hits, as Alex Wilson continued his dominance in his three innings of work, not allowing a hit and lowering his ERA to .42. Tom Ebert picked up the win striking out four in his two innings of work.
The Spinners look to continue to make a charge towards the top of the Stedler Division tommorow night as Yeiper Castillo takes the mound at 7:05
The Vermont Lake Monsters downed the Spinners 5-2, Thursday night during a damp and frustrating night for the Spinners. Starter Cesar Cabral pitched the first inning and came out of the game due to an injury sustained on Adam Amar’s shot off his leg. Once again the Spinners defense plagued them as they committed four errors on the night. These errors all either directly or indirectly led to the five Lake Monster runs.
The Spinners got on the board in the 4th as Derrik Gibson walked, and streaking Ryan Westmoreland singled, to move Gibson to 2nd. With Michael Almanzar batting, a double steal was pulled off by Gibson and Westmoreland, with Gibson scoring on an errant throw by Vermont catcher Sandy Leon. The Spinners would conclude their scoring when Westmoreland cracked his 5th home run of the season deep over the right field fence in the sixth inning. For Westmoreland, he has now hit three homeruns in his last four games, and has an OPS of 1.018 for July.
Justin Masterson took in the game on his bobblehead night, throwing out the first pitch. We would like to thank Justin for always remembering his friends here in Lowell.
The Spinners look to split this short two game series with the Lake Monsters tommorow at 7:05 as Ryan Pressly looks to bounce back from two rough starts in a row and pick up his fourth win on the year.
Ryan Westmoreland was 3-3 with his third homerun, and came a double short of a cycle, driving in the go ahead runs in the top of the 9th, as the Spinners charged past the State College Spikes 8-5. Westmoreland reached base all 5 times he stepped to the plate, Wilfred Pichardo was 3 for 4 and Chris McGuiness and Derrik Gibson added 2 RBI’s to lead the Spinners offense. Alex Wilson went the first three innings, striking out four, but also allowing his first run of the year, on back to back triples by Justin Byler and Pat Irvine. Kyle Rutter picked up his first professional victory in relief and Dennis Neuman pitched a scoreless ninth for his second save. Westmoreland has now reached base safely in all 25 games he has played this season.
The Spinners look to continue their magic tommorow night as they face State College at 7:05. Yeiper Castillo (2-1, 2.64) looks to grab his third win of the season.
On Tuesday Night, the Spinners opened a 6 game homestand with the first of three games vs. the Aberdeen Ironbirds. Ryan Pressly took the mound and had his first tough outing of the year, giving up 3 runs and 8 hits in 4.2 innings of work. Ironbirds starter Tyler Sexton hurled a gem, going 6 strong innings striking out 5 and allowing only 2 hits. The Ironbird bullpen took over where Sexton left off, only allowing one more hit in blanking the Spinners 5-0
Wednesday Night, the Spinners looked to bounce back from their dismal offensive preformance in game one of the series by facing the Ironbird’s starter Kenny Moreland, one of the best starters in the league so far this season. Moreland pitched well but made a 1st inning mistake to Ryan Westmoreland. Westmoreland launched his 2nd homerun of the season as the Spinners took a quick 1-0 lead. Spinners starter Alex Wilson dominated Ironbird’s hitters striking out 4 in his 3 innings of work. Chia-Chu Chen knocked in Derrik Gibson in the 5th to give the Spinners an insurance run. Rehabbing Jed Lowrie was 0-8 in the two games vs. the Ironbirds. Dennis Neuman picked up the save. Watch Wilson in action and Westmoreland launch his 2nd home run of the season below. (Thanks SoxProspects)
The Red Sox recently gave out their player awards for the month of June.
Every winner was a past or present Spinner, more evidence
that success begins in Lowell.
Baserunner of the Month
Ryan Dent- 2008 Lowell Spinner
Dent has stolen 14 bases for Salem this season
Defender of the Month
Tim Federowicz- 2008 Lowell Spinner
Federowicz is a great defensive catcher who is
very adept at throwing out base stealers. Hit .345 for Greenville
before being promoted to Salem.
Base Stealer of the Month
Che-Hsuan Lin- 2007 Lowell Spinner
Lin has 18 steals this season for Salem, and hit .306 in June
Player of the Month
Derrik Gibson- 2008-2009 Lowell Spinner
Gibson had a scorching June, hitting .471 with a 1.335 OPS.
Pitcher of the Month
Armando Zerpa- 2008 Lowell Spinner
Zerpa had a 1.20 ERA and struck out 51 in 45 innings for Greenville before his promotion to Salem