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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:



— 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 »

Read More: anthony ranaudo, eduardo rodriguez, mookie betts,
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
Anthony Ranaudo scheduled to start Friday for PawSox 07.30.14 at 6:49 pm ET
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PAWTUCKET, R.I. — Anthony Ranaudo, previously scheduled to start on Thursday for the Pawtucket Red Sox, was pushed back to start on Friday for the team. To take his place on Thursday, recent acquisition Edwin Escobar will make his first start since being acquired by the Sox from the Giants for Jake Peavy.

John Lackey currently is scheduled to start for the Red Sox on Friday. That, however, might not happen given the reports that the righty has attracted interest on the trade market due to his strong performance in 2014 and his 2015 vesting option that will pay the 35-year-old the major league minimum after he missed the 2012 season following Tommy John surgery.

Ranaudo has been one of the best pitchers in the Pawucket rotation in 2014. In 21 starts, Ranaudo owns a 2.41 ERA with a 1.148 WHIP, 99 strikeouts, 49 walks and six home runs allowed in 119 1/3 innings pitched. Since making a mechanical adjustment that reduced movement in his windup, Ranaudo has displayed increased control over his arsenal. Since June, Ranaudo has a 1.94 ERA, striking out 46 and walking 17 batters. Oopponents are hitting .185 against Ranaudo, getting on base at a .252 clip and slugging .308.

PawSox manager Kevin Boles declined comment on whether or not Ranaudo represented a contingency plan for the major league squad should Lackey get dealt.

Read More: anthony ranaudo, john lackey,
Allen Webster to start for Red Sox on Sunday 07.26.14 at 7:41 pm ET
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The pitching staff in Triple-A Pawtucket has been performing at a tremendous level across the board. The Red Sox could have made a case for any number of starters to join the rotation with right-hander Jake Peavy having been dealt to the Giants on Saturday, something that will necessitate a replacement on Sunday.

Right-hander Anthony Ranaudo is 12-4 with a 2.41 ERA, and complete dominance over a two-month stretch. Brandon Workman has long commanded the trust and confidence of the big league staff; he’s 3-0 with a 2.81 ERA in three starts since being sent down earlier this month. Knuckleballer Steven Wright has been arguably the most dominant of all the hurlers in Pawtucket, having gone 5-1 with a 2.37 ERA in his 10 starts since coming off the DL.

But in the end, the call for a Sunday call-up was obvious. Wright pitched on Wednesday, Workman on Thursday and Ranaudo on Friday. And so, another well-qualified candidate — Allen Webster — will get the ball on his normal day to start, at a time when he’s achieved a form of consistency that eluded him in 2013 in his first year in Triple-A (and the big leagues). Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: allen webster, anthony ranaudo, Brandon Workman, steven wright
Red Sox minor league roundup: Brian Johnson, Cody Kukuk dominate; Trey Ball breakthrough continues; Feats of Mookie at 1:03 pm ET
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A brief look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Friday:



— Feats of Mookie: Being Mookie. Mookie Betts went 4-for-5 with a double and walk. The four-hit game was his third of the year and his seventh of the last two years; the contest marked the fifth time that he’s reached base five times in a game. After going 0-for-4 in his first game back in Pawtucket, Betts has a five-game hitting streak in which he’s 10-for-23 with two doubles, a triple and two walks. In 83 minor league games this year, he’s hitting .347 with a .436 OBP and .520 slugging mark.

— Right-hander Anthony Ranaudo had yet another strong performance, tossing six shutout innings in which he allowed three hits (a double and two singles) while walking two and punching out four. In 13 starts since May 15, Ranaudo has been among the most effective starters in the minors, going 9-2 with a 1.58 ERA, 7.0 strikeouts per nine and 2.9 walks per nine while holding opponents to a .186 average and averaging just over six innings a start.

Ranaudo is now at 119 1/3 innings this year. Aside from having gotten hit by a pair of line drives this year, he’s looked the part of a durable rotation member. Though his 2012 season was derailed by groin and then shoulder injuries, that now appears to be something of an outlier in his pro career, which has seen Ranaudo deliver 127 innings in 2011, 140 innings in 2013 and now on a pace to assume perhaps 160 innings this year. Combine that with the fact that his execution and understanding of what he’s doing on the mound continue to take strides forward and you have a pitcher who, even without top-of-the-charts stuff, looks like he has at least a solid likelihood of being a valuable contributor to a team — at least an innings-eating back-end starter, with a possible mid-rotation ceiling — for some time to come. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: aaron wilkerson, anthony ranaudo, brian johnson, cody kukuk
Red Sox minor league roundup: Travis Shaw taking off in Pawtucket; Cody Kukuk figuring things out; Teddy Stankiewicz’s landmark outing 07.21.14 at 12:56 pm ET
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A brief look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Sunday:



— First baseman Travis Shaw launched a three-run homer as part of a 1-for-2 game in which he also walked. The 24-year-old is enjoying a standout month that has seen him show his characteristic pitch selection and plate discipline while driving pitches.

After walking just seven times with 41 strikeouts in his first 33 games with the PawSox following his promotion to Triple-A, Shaw has reached base in all 17 games in July while walking nearly as many times (10) as he’s struck out (11). Shaw is now hitting .302/.392/.540 with four homers among his seven extra-base hits this month. Notably, three of his four homers this month have been to the opposite field, an indicator of Shaw’s intriguing ability to stay back on the ball and drive it to the opposite field, traits that have convinced the Sox that he has a made-for-Fenway swing that could allow him to pepper the Green Monster.

Between Portland and Pawtucket, Shaw now has a .288/.365/.503 line with 19 homers — making him one of 24 players in all of minor league baseball to reach that home run total so far this year.

—  Right-hander Anthony Ranaudo allowed one run in 6 2/3 innings, the ninth time in 12 outings he’s allowed one or no runs. He permitted just three hits (all for extra bases — two doubles and a solo homer) while walking three (his most walks in eight outings) and striking out four. He is tied for the International League lead in wins (11), ranks second in ERA (2.54), eighth in innings (113 1/3) and is tied for fifth in strikeouts.

Despite his across-the-board dominance in Triple-A, one potential hiccup worth noting is that Ranaudo ranks among the most extreme flyball pitchers in the International League, with three fly ball outs for every two groundouts, the second highest such rate among qualifying pitchers in the league. Though he’s allowed just six homers in Triple-A this year, that ratio suggests the possibility of vulnerability to the longball and/or extra-base hits in the big leagues.

— For the first time in his Triple-A career, Mookie Betts did not reach base, going 0-for-4 with a strikeout while playing center field in his first contest since being sent back down to Pawtucket. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: aaron wilkerson, anthony ranaudo, cody kukuk, teddy stankiewicz
John Farrell knows do-or-die time is upon his Red Sox: ‘Each [game] has increasing signficance’ 07.17.14 at 9:32 pm ET
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John Farrell can read the standings just like everyone else. He knows his team stands 43-52 heading into the final 67 games, 9 1/2 games behind first-place Baltimore in the AL East. He can also read a schedule. He knows full well that after this three-game series this weekend with Kansas City, the Red Sox have 13 straight games against three of the four teams ahead of them in the division.

It’s do-or-die time.

“Given where we are right now, yes,” Farrell said, confirming the characterization of this as the make-or-break part of the season. “That’s not to add pressure. That’s to say there’s some additional significance when you play the teams ahead of you. After we get through Kansas City, we’ve got the next 13 [games] or four consecutive series of teams ahead of us. Sixty-seven games remaining, each one has increasing significance as we go.”

After three with the Royals, the Red Sox have four in Toronto, followed by three on the road against the Rays. They come home for three against the Jays and three against the Yankees, overlapping the July 31 trade deadline. Did Farrell feel like he got a break to mentally prepare for the upcoming grind?

“Yeah for about a day-and-a-half, and now I’m ready to get going for [Friday],” Farrell said of his shortened All-Star break due to managing the AL All-Stars to a 5-3 win in Minneapolis.

“I think the four days gives guys a chance to mentally and physically take a break and get away from the game a little bit. [Xander Bogaerts] has been going at it pretty hard, not only in terms of what he’s been working on pregame but with every focus to be brought into the game, and he’s played regularly as well. We’ve given him a couple of days here and there, but I think the break mentally and physically was needed for him, and quite frankly, for a number of guys.”

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Read More: anthony ranaudo, Boston Red Sox, christian vazquez, John Farrell
Red Sox minor league roundup: How scouts view Anthony Ranaudo; Christian Vazquez feels he’s ready; Blake Swihart, Manuel Margot punctuate impressive June 07.01.14 at 12:13 pm ET
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A year ago at this time, right-hander Anthony Ranaudo was receiving accolades for a Double-A breakthrough that had netted him a spot in the All-Star Futures Game. By the start of July, he’d made 15 starts, going 8-2 with a 2.68 ERA. Opponents were hitting under .200 against him, he was striking out just over a batter an inning and just over three batters for every walk, looking like the player who had been the top pitching prospect in the Red Sox organization from the time that he signed after being drafted in 2010 through spring training of 2012 (before the emergence of 2011 draftees like Henry Owens and Matt Barnes, or the breakthrough by fellow 2010 draftee Brandon Workman).

This year, though receiving less attention in Triple-A (at a time when Owens was named to the Futures Game and looms as the clear top pitching prospect in the Sox system), Ranaudo’s results have been even more impressive. The 6-foot-7 right-hander continued a run of dominance unmatched in his career on Monday, pouring in seven shutout innings while giving up three hits (two doubles and a single), walking two and punching out five. There was some hard contact that resulted in outs, but by and large, Ranaudo continued a nearly seven-week run of putting up zeros.

Monday marked the fifth time in nine starts that he did not allow a run in a start. During that run, he’s 6-2 with a 1.13 ERA (the third best ERA in the minors over that time) while holding opponents to a .173 average. His strikeout totals have been largely modest (7.1 per nine during the stretch, 7.6 per nine on the year), but he’s been increasingly aggressive throwing strikes (3.1 walks per nine during the run, compared to 5.2 walks per nine in his first eight starts — and 1.7 walks per nine in his last five starts) and he’s been more consistently down in the strike zone with a fastball that has typically been around 92 mph but getting up to 93 or 94 mph within outings. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: anthony ranaudo, blake swihart, christian vazquez, gerardo carrizalez
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