|08.13.14 at 12:34 pm ET|
A brief look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Tuesday:
TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX: 4-3 LOSS AT GWINNETT (BRAVES)
– Feats of Mookie: Leading man. Mookie Betts went 2-for-3 with a pair of singles and a walk, and he’s now 11-for-25 with a .440/.533/.640 line (with five walks, five strikeouts and five extra-base hits) in six games since being sent back down to Triple-A by the Sox. Among all minor players with at least 300 minor league plate appearances in full-season ball this year, Betts ranks fourth in average (.348) and fifth in OBP (.436), with his combination of the ability to hit for average and work the strike zone suggesting a player who profiles as a leadoff hitter — something the Red Sox will need going forward if they conclude that Brock Holt is not the answer for such a role.
Put another way: There’s a fascinating dynamic in the organization, in which the fates of Jackie Bradley Jr., Holt and Betts are entwined in interesting fashion. Center field remains an undefined position for the Sox, and a case can be made that the identity of the leadoff hitter is in a similar place. Betts right now might be the best bet to address both needs. Notably, all six of his games since he’s returned to Pawtucket have been in center field.
– Garin Cecchini continued his recent eruption, going 2-for-4 with his sixth homer of the year. The 23-year-old is now 9-for-19 with a homer, two doubles and eight runs driven in over his last four games. In the process, he’s boosted his average from .236 to .249, increased his OBP from .314 to .321 and bumped his slugging mark from .320 to .346. He also successfully stole his 11th base in 12 attempts on Tuesday. Read the rest of this entry »
|08.13.14 at 9:48 am ET|
The Red Sox will wrap up their roadtrip with a novel lineup. With a 12:35 p.m. start on Wednesday, the Sox will give Dustin Pedroia a rare day off, with Brock Holt starting at second base. David Ortiz will also get a day off while relinquishing first base to Mike Napoli. Kelly Johnson will get the start at third base in place of Will Middlebrooks (who saw his average drop to .180 on Tuesday), and Dan Butler will start behind the plate for longtime minor league batterymate Anthony Ranaudo. Jackie Bradley Jr. will return to the lineup after sitting on Tuesday, looking to snap an 0-for-35 slump.
RED SOX LINEUP
Brock Holt, 2B
Daniel Nava, RF
Yoenis Cespedes, LF
Mike Napoli, 1B
Kelly Johnson, 3B
Xander Bogaerts, SS
Jackie Bradley Jr., CF
Dan Butler, C
Anthony Ranaudo, SP
|08.13.14 at 8:31 am ET|
The Red Sox finish their eight-game road trip Wednesday night against the Reds when Anthony Ranaudo opposes Homer Bailey.
Ranaudo (1-0, 3.00 ERA) was called up by the Red Sox Tuesday afternoon to pitch in place of Brandon Workman for his second career start. The right-hander had an impressive major league debut Aug. 1 against the Yankees, allowing two runs on four hits over six innings for his first career win. The rookie walked four and struck out two on 91 pitches.
“I thought he did a good job of keeping the game under control,” manager John Farrell said after the game. “There were a number of innings where the leadoff hitter would get on base, threw walks to lead some innings off, but I thought he threw the ball downhill well, kept the ball out of the middle of the plate for the most part.”
Ranuado was sent back down to Triple-A Pawtucket after that debut outing and made one more minor league start Aug. 8 before this most recent call-up. The 24-year-old responded with arguably his worst start in over a month, giving up four runs on 10 hits over 6 1/3 innings. That effort, however, was strong enough to help the PawSox to a win to improve his minor league record to 13-4 with a 2.58 ERA this season. Ranaudo hasn’t lost a start at any level since June 1.
Bailey (9-5, 3.71 ERA) has had a relatively disappointing season but has been solid as of late. The righty has had a quality start in six of his last seven outings, posting a 1.62 ERA in that span.
On Thursday, Bailey ended a streak of four straight no-decisions with a win over the Indians. He tossed seven shutout innings, allowing four hits and one walk while striking out eight.
“He pitched a really great game,” Reds manager Bryan Price said after the game. “He scuffled early with his command, but he came back strong and gave us a great chance to win.”
|08.12.14 at 10:16 pm ET|
So this is why the Red Sox wanted to add Yoenis Cespedes.
For the second straight game, the outfielder gave an intriguing demonstration of what he might be able to add to the middle of the Red Sox lineup. With his team trailing, 2-1, in the top of the eighth inning, Cespedes sent a 433-foot rocket over the center field fence to propel the Sox to a 3-2 win.
Cespedes now has a .467 slugging mark this year, which ranks second on the team to David Ortiz. His 19 homers are likewise behind only Ortiz among current Sox lineup members. The idea, then, of having Ortiz, Cespedes and Mike Napoli combine forces in the middle of the order represents a potential path forward for a team that entered Tuesday ranked 14th in the American League and 27th in the majors in homers.
|08.12.14 at 3:14 pm ET|
Center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr., mired in an 0-for-35 slump that has seen him strike out 18 times, will sit in the opener of a two-game series in Cincinnati against the Reds, with Brock Holt in center field and Will Middlebrooks at third base against right-hander Mat Latos. With the Sox playing in an NL park, Mike Napoli will get the day off while David Ortiz will play first.
RED SOX LINEUP
Brock Holt, CF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
David Ortiz, 1B
Yoenis Cespedes, LF
Daniel Nava, RF
Xander Bogaerts, SS
Christian Vazquez, C
Will Middlebrooks, 3B
Joe Kelly, SP
|08.12.14 at 2:54 pm ET|
Workman has suffered the loss in each of his last six big league appearances (five starts and a bullpen appearance in Saturday’s 19-inning loss to the Angels), with a 6.35 ERA in that span. Farrell has noted on occasion that, given that Workman pitched two more months (September and October) last year than he ever had in the minors, he might be dealing with some residual fatigue. He’s 1-6 with a 4.45 ERA this year.
Ranaudo won his major league debut against the Yankees on Aug. 1, working around four walks to limit New York to two runs in six innings. The 24-year-old is 13-4 with a 2.58 ERA in 22 minor league starts spanning 125 2/3 innings this year.
To clear a spot for Ranaudo, the Sox are optioning left-hander Edwin Escobar back to Pawtucket. Escobar, a 22-year-old acquired from the Giants for Jake Peavy, has a 1.50 ERA with 10 strikeouts and three walks in two starts with Triple-A Pawtucket.
|08.12.14 at 1:39 pm ET|
A brief look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Monday:
TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX: 15-9 WIN AT GWINNETT (BRAVES)
– Feats of Mookie: Hitting … and hitting … and hitting. Mookie Betts went 3-for-5 with a pair of doubles and a walk, and so in five games since his return from the big leagues to Triple-A, he has a five-game hitting streak with a .409/.500/.636 line.
He has shown an uptick in strikeouts and a decrease in walks since he started shuttling to and from the big leagues. I his first 23 games in Pawtucket prior to his late-June debut, Betts hit .322/.425/.444 with 16 walks (15.1 percent) and 13 strikeouts (12.3 percent) in 106 plate appearances. In his two trips back down to Triple-A, he’s hitting .348/.416/.609 with eight walks (10.7 percent) and 15 strikeouts (19.5 percent) in 26 games (77 plate appearances).
His seemingly more aggressive approach might be resulting in an increase in strikeouts, but it’s also resulted in an increased frequency with which he’s driven the ball. The 21-year-old has one extra-base hit for every seven trips to the plate in his last 16 games, compared to one for every 17.7 plate appearances prior to his callup.
– After he snapped a 21-game stretch spanning more than a month without a multi-hit contest on Friday, Garin Cecchini appears to be turning a corner in a challenging season in Triple-A. He went 3-for-6 with two doubles while matching a career-high by driving in five runs. Read the rest of this entry »
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