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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.”

Read the rest of this entry »

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
Red Sox minor league roundup: Mookie Betts betrays no weaknesses; Travis Shaw goes off; Anthony Ranaudo cruising 06.26.14 at 11:35 am ET
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A brief look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Wednesday:



– First baseman Travis Shaw had a mammoth game, going 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles and a homer along with a walk while driving in five. The extra-base hits were all intriguing in their own ways — both doubles came against lefties (Shaw’s first extra-base hits in Triple-A against southpaws) while the homer, Shaw’s third in Pawtucket, came against a position player in Cord Phelps. The game snapped an 0-for-12 stretch and elevated his line to .266/.305/.413.

– Feats of Mookie: Betraying no weaknesses.

Mookie Betts reached base four times in six plate appearances, going 3-for-5 with three singles and a walk. It wasn’t his most dazzling game — two of the hits were of the infield variety (and probably should have been outs), and one was a broken-bat 12-hopper up the middle. Still, Betts showed excellent speed getting out of the box to earn the infield singles, and he also made an impressive play in center field in which he got a great break on a pop-up to shallow center and came streaking in to catch the ball on the run, continuing the positive early impressions of his work in center.

“The initial reads that he makes, the speed that he has as far as closing speed on the ball have been terrific,” Pawtucket manager Kevin Boles said. “The initial test that he’s had here has been a pretty good impression. He’s been engaged with the corner outfielders, done a nice job that way. He studies. But you can’t go wrong with an athlete like him.

“He’s going to be a much better defender two years from now or a year from now. That’s just gaining experience. But the initial start of what we’re seeing, he’s done some things that are pretty advanced.” Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: anthony ranaudo, mookie betts, travis shaw,
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