PAWTUCKET – The staggering home run totals have been the talk of the 2019 Triple-A season, yet that’s not what was on Ryan Braiser’s mind prior to the PawSox facing Norfolk on Wednesday night.
One of the key bullpen contributors for the 2018 World Series champion Red Sox, Brasier was asked about the benefit of a Triple-A pitcher using the same type of baseball as a major-league pitcher. It’s a topic that Brasier probably wishes he didn’t have to form an opinion about – the Red Sox optioned the righthander to the PawSox after posting a 4.46 ERA in 44 MLB games this season.
Still, to Brasier’s credit, he spoke openly about an area that’s largely flown under the radar as baseballs continue to fly out of International League ballparks at an alarming rate.
“Using the same balls in Triple-A and the big leagues is probably a good idea because of how many guys go up and down over the course of the season,” said Brasier. “It’s also good for pitchers who have a chance to stick with the same ball.
“The ball that (was in place in Triple-A last season) is 100 percent different than the ones used this season,” Brasier added. “I don’t how or why they decided to change it this year. I know that a lot of people have been trying to get that done for a long time. From my perspective, I think it’s a great idea.”
The conversation then shifted to how things have gone for Brasier since joining the PawSox on July 18. Citing his strong relationship with Pawtucket pitching coach Kevin Walker, Brasier has posted a 1.08 in nine games (8.1 innings) with 11 strikeouts against just one walk. His latest Triple-A appearance came Tuesday and saw him need just 15 pitches to strike out the side.
“The stuff that I needed to work on when I came down … I think that myself and (Walker) have a pretty good game-plan. We’ve been doing a good job of where I need to be,” said Brasier. “It was a little bit of everything … balancing some stuff that I had been struggling with. Instead of doing something right one day while working on something else, it’s about trying to be more consistent.”
Given the fluid nature of this season’s Red Sox relief corps, Braiser appears a solid bet to pitch again in Boston by the end of the season. In the interim, he’s staying at a Providence hotel in an effort to avoid the back-and-forth commute from Boston.
EXTRA BASES: The PawSox added pitcher Ryan Weber following his option from Boston and placed pitcher Teddy Stankiewicz on the temporary inactive list. … Appearing on Wednesday night’s NESN broadcast, PawSox team president Dr. Charles Steinberg announced that PawSox season ticket holders will have the first opportunity to purchase season tickets for the inaugural season (2021) at Polar Park. More details are expected to be released Thursday. … Wednesday marked Bobby Dalbec’s sixth start at first base since joining the PawSox. Between, Double-A Portland and Pawtucket, Dalbec had appeared in 16 games at first base this season. As he gets closer to the majors, it would appear the Red Sox would like to see how Dalbec can handle first. Dalbec was primarily used at third base as he progressed through the farm system but it seems Boston is set at that position thanks to the presence of Rafael Devers. … The series with the Tides concludes Thursday with a noontime start. Josh Smith (5-2, 4.76) will be on the mound for Pawtucket. ... For the second straight night, the team with the worst record in the International League got the better of the PawSox as Norfolk won 5-4 in 10 innings. Pawtucket native Mason Williams helped the Tides’ cause with a two-run home run in the third inning, his 16th season of the season. The PawSox (52-68) took a 3-0 lead into the second inning but finished 2-for-11 with runners in scoring position. Norfolk (50-70) pushed across the go-ahead run in the top of the 10th as Trevor Kelley issued a walk with the bases loaded. Pawtucket newcomer C.J. Chatham collected his first Triple-A hit and drove in his first Triple-A run.
Follow Brendan McGair on Twitter @BWMcGair03