Red Sox minor league roundup: Anthony Ranaudo makes a statement; Mookie Betts’ tremendous streak ends
|06.14.13 at 1:51 pm ET|
In recent days, Anthony Ranaudo has seen both Brandon Workman and Xander Bogaerts get bumped up from Double-A Portland to Triple-A Pawtucket. On Thursday, he served notice that he isn’t planning to be far behind his former — and likely future — teammates.
Ranaudo delivered one of the most dominant outings by a Red Sox starter not just this year but over the last several seasons. He fired 7 2/3 shutout innings for Portland, gaving up two groundball singles, walking two and striking out an eye-popping 13 batters. Ranaudo got 18 swings and misses among the career-high 104 pitches he threw, with 77 of those offerings (74 percent) finding the strike zone.
“Right from the beginning, I felt like I had pretty good command of my pitches, I just tried to go out there and control the zone as best I could, and I had pretty good success with it,” said Ranaudo.
His 13 punchouts were the most by any Red Sox minor leaguer at any level since Jon Lester fanned 13 while with Portland in 2005.
In 12 starts this year, Ranaudo’s performance has been nothing short of dazzling. The 23-year-old — a supplemental first-rounder in 2010 — owns a 7-1 record and 2.15 ERA with 76 strikeouts and 21 walks in 67 innings. He is tied for the Eastern League lead in wins, ranks second in ERA and second in strikeouts.
His consistent success this year, Ranaudo suggested, owes in no small part to the strength and corresponding weight gains he’s made. Now up to 245 pounds, he’s found that it’s become much easier to maintain a consistent delivery that allows him to sustain comfortably big velocity while also repeating his mechanics in a way that permits him to command the baseball.
‘This year, I’ve put on some good weight and I feel like I’m back to my mid-90s fastball which is a huge confidence boost for me and I’m able to command it really well, and I think that’s been the key so far,” said Ranaudo. “I’ve been able to throw my changeup pretty consistently for strikes, and then be able to use my curveball as an out pitch,even though last night I used pretty much a fastball-curveball combo. I think just being able to go out there more relaxed and have more pitches and stuff allows me to be more aggressive and I think that’s ultimately translated into more success.”
While a team official said that there are no “imminent” plans to promote Ranaudo, he also acknowledged, “[Ranaudo is] certainly trying to push us.”
Programming note: Ranaudo and Xander Bogaerts — fresh off his promotion to Triple-A Pawtucket — will join Down on the Farm on WEEI this Sunday. Tune in on WEEI or WEEI.com at 8:30 a.m.
TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX: RAINED OUT VS. BUFFALO (BLUE JAYS)
— Despite the fact that the PawSox were rained out, they did make a bit of news thanks to this guy.
DOUBLE-A PORTLAND SEA DOGS: 2-0 WIN VS. ERIE (TIGERS)
— Third baseman Michael Almanzar went 3-for-3 with a double while driving in two, snapping a three-game, 0-for-9 stretch. It was his fourth three-hit game of the year.
— Right-hander Brock Huntzinger completed the shutout by tossing 1 1/3 scoreless innings of relief. He hasn’t given up a run in his last six outings spanning 8 2/3 frames. The 24-year-old has a 2.32 ERA with 25 strikeouts, 12 walks and a .214 opponents’ batting average in 31 innings this year.
HIGH-A SALEM RED SOX: RAINED OUT DOUBLEHEADER VS. LYNCHBURG (BRAVES)
SINGLE-A GREENVILLE DRIVE: 9-4 LOSS AT SAVANNAH (METS)
— The 35-game on-base streak for Mookie Betts came to an end on Thursday night, as the second baseman went 0-for-4 with a strikeout. The streak was tied for the longest of its kind in the South Atlantic League this season. Over the life of the impressive run, which began on May 2, Betts hit .356/.469/.629 with 47 hits and 27 walks. But Betts has slowed down as of late, going 2-for-17 in his last six games. Despite the recent lull, Betts is hitting .282/.413/.500 on the season.
— Luis Diaz made his fourth start of the year for Greenville, going six innings and giving up five runs on seven hits, walking one and hitting a batter while fanning four. The five runs marked a season-high for Diaz, who has allowed 12 runs in 23 innings for the Drive. The rough outing ballooned Diaz’s ERA to 4.70 on the season, while he dropped to 1-3 with his second straight loss.
— Outfielder Justin Heller made his first appearance with Greenville, driving in two of the Drive’s four runs and going 2-for-4 on the day. The Amherst College alum and 40th round draft pick in 2012 clubbed the first triple of his professional career to bring in two runs.
DOMINICAN SUMMER LEAGUE RED SOX: 5-4 WIN AT DSL ROYALS
— Luis Alexander Basabe, serving as DH instead of his customary center field, connected for his first triple of the season. The 16-year-old now has four extra-base hits and five steals (in as many attempts) through 11 games.
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