Monday May 31, 2010 | 09:03 AM

With the Red Sox off, New England baseball fans may be looking toward Portland for their baseball fix. NESN is televising today's game between the Portland Sea Dogs and New Britain Rock Cats at 1 p.m.

The game features the best pitching prospects of the Red Sox (Casey Kelly) and the Twins (Kyle Gibson).

Boston looked like it was was going to make up games on both the Rays and Yankees Sunday. The Rays lost and the Yankees were losing to Cleveland 3-0 after six innings. Former Sea Dogs right-hander Justin Masterson had a four-hit shutout going against the Pinstripes.

In the seventh, the Yankees put runners on second and third. With two outs, Derek Jeter came to bat and fell behind 0-2. After a ball, Jeter singled in two runs and Masterson left the game, still up 3-2. Reliever Tony Sipp came in and gave up a Curtis Granderson double and Mark Teixeira home run. The Yankees win. Thhhhhaaaaa Yankees win.

Another former Sea Dogs starter, Kris Johnson, is turning his season around in Pawtucket. He threw 7 innings on Sunday (6 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 3 K). In his last four starts (25 IP), KJ has allowed only 3 earned runs, dropping his ERA to 3.85.

Also in Pawtucket, Daniel Nava (.299) went 2-for-4 with his 9th HR ... Josh Reddick (.189) also was 2-for-4.

The Sea Dogs won 8-4 as Kyle Weiland (4.74) picked up his first win (6 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 4 BB, 5 K).

Some of the Sea Dogs are getting hot in time for their televised appearance. Ryan Kalish (.288) was 2-for-4 with his 8th HR. In his last 9 games, Kalish is batting .394 (13-for-33) ... Che-Hsuan Lin (.278) was 3-for-5. In his last 10 games, Lin is batting .375 (15-40) ... Yamaico Navarro (.242) was 2-for-3, his second straight two-hit game ... Ray Chang (.303) was 2-for-3.

As for Kelly, his numbers are not stellar (0-3, 4.32). Part of the reason has been his limited pitch count which prevented Kelly from getting a win early. Kelly's last two outings have been rough (5 runs in 3 innings, and 7 hits/2 runs in 5 innings).

A few Salem players keep looking like they will be in Portland this summer. Second baseman Oscar Tejeda (.321) went 2-for-5 with his 8th HR; Catcher/DH Ryan Lavarnway (.301) was 2-for-4 with his 11th HR.

In lower Class A Greenville, the bats have not been as hot, but some guys seem to be coming around. Third baseman Michael Almanzar (.238) went 3-for-5 ... shortstop Derrik Gibson (.227) was 2-for-5) ... first baseman Chris McGuiness (.298) has been having a good year and went 3-for-5. He's 22 and should be in Salem soon.

 I'll check back from Hadlock.


About this Blog

Kevin Thomas covers baseball and basketball for the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram. He wisely moved to Maine in 1994 after working for the St. Petersburg Times. He is married to Nancy and they have nine children.

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