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Red Sox minor league roundup: Garin Cecchini getting hot; Manuel Margot sailing in Salem; Ryan Lavarnway, Keury De La Cruz streaking; Portland punches postseason ticket 08.20.14 at 12:13 pm ET
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Garin Cecchini

Garin Cecchini

A brief look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Tuesday:

TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX:

Jackie Bradley Jr. went 2-for-5 with a pair of singles (one to the opposite field in left, one to center), a flyout to left, a groundout to second and a strikeout. He’s now 2-for-10 since joining the PawSox, though with some positive signs based on the willingness to hit the ball up the middle and to the opposite field.

– Right-hander Anthony Ranaudo rolled through six shutout innings, working around seven hits (all singles) while walking just one and punching out four. He threw 62 of 94 (66 percent) of his pitches for strikes while improving to 14-4 with a 2.46 ERA, looking like a reliable provider of solid innings in the process. Between Pawtucket and the big leagues, Ranaudo has logged at least six innings in each of his last six starts, something he’s done in 14 of 25 overall starts this year.

Scouts still suggest that the 24-year-old’s mix is solid rather than overpowering, with a 7.0 strikeouts per nine rate and somewhat stark fly ball tendencies (of the pitches put in play against him, just 38 percent have been on the ground), but Ranaudo has made considerable strides in the execution of his craft to the point that he looks at the least like a solid option for a No. 4 or No. 5 big league starter who has now proven over a two-year span that he can stay healthy. Ranaudo is up to 143 2/3 innings this year, and he’s shown no signs of diminished stuff into August.

Garin Cecchini, playing third base, went 2-for-4 with a double to extend his hitting streak to nine games, during which he’s hitting .405/.436/.703 with two homers and five doubles, a run that suggests that he’s reclaimed something akin to his typical swing and results at the plate. The timing is particularly noteworthy given that Will Middlebrooks had to leave Tuesday’s big league game with tightness in his right hamstring. Also of note: Manager Kevin Boles said that Cecchini, who has added left field to his third base duties this season, has also been taking fly balls in right, though for now, he’s not expected to play right field in games over the rest of this year.

Ryan Lavarnway has reached base in all eight of his plate appearances in his last two games. He went 2-for-2 with a pair of singles and a pair of walks on Tuesday, after going 1-for-1 with a single and three walks on Monday. In his last four games, he’s 7-for-10 with six walks, elevating his line for the year to .286/.393/.360 in Pawtucket.

DOUBLE-A PORTLAND SEA DOGS: 5-4 WIN AT HARRISBURG (NATIONALS) Read the rest of this entry »

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Wednesday’s Red Sox-Reds matchups: Anthony Ranaudo vs. Homer Bailey 08.13.14 at 8:31 am ET
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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.”

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Red Sox to recall Anthony Ranaudo for start on Wednesday 08.12.14 at 2:54 pm ET
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Red Sox manager John Farrell told MLB Network Radio on Tuesday that the team will skip right-hander Brandon Workman on Wednesday. In his place, the team will have right-hander Anthony Ranaudo start.

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.

Read More: anthony ranaudo, Brandon Workman, edwin escobar,
Red Sox minor league roundup: Anthony Ranaudo applies a lesson; Mookie Betts breaks out feats; Eduardo Rodriguez turning heads 08.09.14 at 3:22 pm ET
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A brief look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Friday:

TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX: 11-8 WIN AT CHARLOTTE (WHITE SOX)

(BOX)

– Feats of Mookie: Seamlessly navigating transitions. Mookie Betts went 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles and a walk, and he’s now reached base in six of 10 plate appearances since being sent back to the minors from his week in the big leagues. Both of his doubles came against lefties. Betts is now hitting an eye-popping .474/.535/.737 against southpaws in Triple-A, compared to a line of .280/.379/.430 against righties and an overall .331/.419/.510 performance in 45 games for Pawtucket.

– After Anthony Ranaudo won his big league debut against the Yankees in a game where he allowed two runs in six innings but issued six walks, the big right-hander said that his biggest takeaway was the smaller nature of the strike zone in the big leagues. On Friday, he pitched like someone looking to apply that lesson to his time in the minors. Though he gave up four runs on 10 hits, Ranaudo issued just one walk while striking out five and threw an extraordinary 80 percent (79 of 99) of his pitches for strikes over 6 1/3 innings. Ranaudo earned the win, improving to 8-0 with a 2.04 ERA, 6.9 strikeouts and 2.0 walks per nine innings in his last 10 Triple-A starts. On the year, he’s 13-4 with a 2.58 ERA for the PawSox.

PROGRAMMING NOTE: Ranaudo and PawSox pitching coach Rich Sauveur will join WEEI’s Down on the Farm on Sunday from 8:30 a.m. to 9 to discuss the developmental value for prospects of Triple-A and initial big league call-ups. Read the rest of this entry »

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Anthony Ranaudo credits mechanical adjustment, newfound confidence culminating in major league debut 08.02.14 at 2:01 am ET
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A little under two months ago, things began to really click for Anthony Ranaudo. While working in a bullpen session with Pawtucket Red Sox pitching coach Rich Sauveur, the duo made an adjustment to Ranaudo’s windup, — making it more similar to the hurler’s windup in the stretch– reducing the downward movement in the righty’s motion towards the plate. The alteration, while slight, made a huge different in Ranaudo’s ability to command his arsenal of pitches, especially his fastball.

The difference in results have been striking.

Before the windup tweak, Ranaudo threw 62 percent of his pitches for strikes while posting a 3.09 ERA with a 1.41 WHIP, 57 strikeouts, 5.06 walks per nine innings and 36 walks in 64 innings pitched. Since making the adjustment, Ranaudo has thrown 66 percent of his pitches for strikes while dominating Triple-A lineups to the tune of a 1.63 ERA, 0.85 WHIP, 42 strikeouts, 2.11 walks per nine innings and 13 walks in 55 1/3 innings pitched.

Ranaudo’s success culminated in the righty’s major league debut on Friday in the Red Sox‘s 4-3 win over the New York Yankees, the 24-year-old’s favorite childhood team growing up in Freehold, N.J. En route to becoming the first Red Sox pitcher to win his major league debut against the Yankees since Vaughn Eshelman in 1995, Ranaudo went six innings, allowing four hits, two runs, four walks, two strikeouts and one home run allowed to Carlos Beltran.

Since making the mechanical switch, Ranaudo says the difference in his confidence pre-adjustment and post-adjustment is night and day and ultimately led to the biggest day of his career, his major league debut.

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Friday’s Red Sox-Yankees matchups: Anthony Ranaudo vs. Chris Capuano 08.01.14 at 8:18 am ET
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Just a day removed from a memorable trade deadline that saw the Red Sox part ways with ace Jon Lester and four other players, Boston will look to get on back on track when it hosts the Yankees for a three-game set at Fenway Park.

Anthony Ranaudo will make his first major league start in the series opener Friday, facing off against former Boston reliever Chris Capuano.

The game also marks the return to Fenway for Stephen Drew, who was traded Thursday to New York for Kelly Johnson.

Ranaudo will be looking to help bolster a depleted Boston rotation that lost four of its five season-opening starters over the past five days.

Taken by the Red Sox with the 39th pick of the 2010 draft after a stellar career at LSU, Ranaudo has overcome a series of setbacks and injuries on his way to posting one of the strongest seasons of his career in 2014.

Ranaudo has been on the top pitchers in the International League this season with Triple-A Pawtucket, leading the league in wins (12) while ranking second in ERA (2.41) and third in WHIP (1.15).

Ranaudo is in the midst of one of the strongest stretches of his career, as the 6-foot-7 righty has compiled an ERA of 1.94 since June, striking out 46 and walking 17.

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Read More: anthony ranaudo, chris capuano, Red Sox, Yankees
Ben Cherington begins road to rotation rebuild: Sox to be ‘involved in starting pitching this winter’ 07.31.14 at 11:23 pm ET
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Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington knows he completed just half the job on Thursday by trading away Jon Lester and John Lackey, completing a wild week that saw him deal away four-fifths of his opening day rotation.

“That is not something we would have expected to do at the start of the season, trade away four-fifths of the rotation,” Cherington said. “And obviously, each trade done for different reasons and different circumstances. Ultimately, at least the ones — I talked about the Peavy trade before, and that was done at a little bit different time for us.

“The two trades we made today, in Lackey and Lester, were difficult to do, but we feel fit into our desire to be as good as we can as quickly as we can. With that said, we recognize we will have to, we will need to do some work with our starting rotation. We hope and expect many of the answers for that can come from the guys who are here. But I’d expect us to be involved in starting pitching this winter.”

Dealing Lester and Lackey for position players who project to be everyday players for the team in 2015 is only the beginning. Now, Cherington has to go about rebuilding a rotation that lost 40 wins from a 97-win World Series championship team a year ago.

Part of that answer could come from the minor league system, which is stocked with names like Henry Owens, Matt Barnes and Anthony Ranaudo, who makes his major league debut Friday night in the series opener against the Yankees at Fenway Park.

“Obviously some of those young pitchers are going to get a lot of opportunity the rest of the way, the guys that are already here,” Cherington said. “Ranaudo is going to start [Friday] night. We have an opportunity to watch that and they have an opportunity to pitch and develop. We’ll know a lot more about that group by the end of the season and that will help inform us, to some degree, going into the offseason. It would be my expectation that we would be active no matter what happens the rest of the way.

“My expectation is that we would be active in the starting pitching market this winter with trades, free agency, whatever. But we’re going to learn a lot more about our young group. We liked our young group of starters two weeks ago and now we’ve added a couple more to that in [Eduardo] Escobar and [Eduardo] Rodriguez — two young starters we got. We feel very good about the depth of young starters that we have in the organization. Obviously they’re not proven major league pitchers and so we’ve got to learn more about them the rest of the way and see what’s available to us this winter.”

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Read More: anthony ranaudo, Boston Red Sox, henry owens, john lackey
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