Used to be that you could count on Will Middlebrooks raking in Toronto. But in the past three days, he is 1-for-13 with eight strikeouts. He went 0-for-3 Wednesday night. Middlebrooks is batting .188 with two home runs.
Since coming off the disabled list: .178, 0 homers, 23 strikeouts in 73 at-bats.
Boston will give him a chance to turn it around. But how long?
The Red Sox have acquired a bunch of outfielders who figure to be regulars next year. Boston will need to find a place for Brock Holt to play. Third base?
Pawtucket's Steven Wright (5-5, 3.41) had a rare off night: 6 IP, 12 H, 5 R, 2 BB, 4 K.
Likewise, Portland's Keith Couch (8-2, 2.96) had a rare bad inning (allowing four runs in the second): 6 2/3, 8 H, 5 R, 0 BB, 3 K ... The Sea Dogs remain two games ahead of Binghamton, which also lost. Magic number for Portland to win the Eastern League East Division is three.
Carlos Asuaje, 22, is a native Venezuelan who played for Nova Southeastern, a Division II school in Fort Lauderdale. Boston drafted him in the 11th round of the 2013 draft. He began the year with Greenville (.305 / .933 OPS). Promoted to Salem, Asuaje is batting .348 (.972 OPS) in 33 games. He went 4-for-4 with three doubles in the second game of a doubleheader Wednesday.
Asuaje has played both the infield and left field and appears destined for Portland in 2015.
First baseman Sam Travis, 21, was chosen in the second round of the 2014 draft out of Indiana. He has already reached Greenville. He went 2-for-4 Wednesday to up his average to .287 (.836 OPS), in 22 games. He might be the first of the 2014 draft class to play at Hadlock Field.
The Sea Dogs are home tonight at 6, with ace Brian Johnson (10-2, 1.83) on the mound.