Red Sox minor league roundup: Anthony Ranaudo applies a lesson; Mookie Betts breaks out feats; Eduardo Rodriguez turning heads

August 09, 2014 - 11:22 am
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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. -- Catcher Blake Swihart launched his first Triple-A homer, going deep while batting right-handed against a lefty in a 1-for-5 game. In 95 games between Portland and Pawtucket this year, he has a career-high 13 homers (he'd hit nine homers combined in the previous two seasons), though it's worth noting that he had 38 extra-base hits last year in 103 games, the same number that he has this year in 95 games. The difference is that instead of lining balls hard into the gaps, he's learned how to generate greater loft with his swing, resulting in the uptick in homers. DOUBLE-A PORTLAND SEA DOGS: 5-1 LOSS AT RICHMOND (GIANTS) (BOX) -- Newly acquired left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez once again impressed, throwing 66 of his 100 pitches for strikes over the course of six shutout innings in which he set a new Double-A high by punching out nine. MiLB.com's GameDay credited him with 18 swings and misses. He allowed three hits (a double and two singles) and walked three. Sea Dogs play-by-play broadcaster Mike Antonellis said that Rodriguez worked at 93-95 mph with his fastball on a night when he got swings and misses with the pitch in volume. In his first two starts since the Red Sox acquired him at the trade deadline, the 21-year-old now has allowed one run in 11 1/3 innings while punching out 16 and walking four. Opponents are 5-for-38 (.132) against him. -- Third baseman Michael Almanzar went 2-for-4 with a double and homer. He now has five extra-base hits in six games this month, and since returning to Portland after spending the first half of the year with the Orioles as a Rule 5 selection, Almanzar is hitting .291/.362/.436 in 34 games with three homers and 11 extra-base hits. HIGH-A SALEM RED SOX: RAINED OUT VS. POTOMAC (NATIONALS) SINGLE-A GREENVILLE DRIVE: 6-5 LOSS (WALKOFF) AT LEXINGTON (ROYALS) -- Center fielder Manuel Margot maintained his torrid start to August by going 3-for-5. The 19-year-old now has four straight multi-hit games, and so far in August, he's hitting .484/.529/.645, though he did get caught stealing for the third time this month on Friday and the 11th time this year. -- Left-hander Daniel McGrath logged six innings in which he allowed four runs (three earned) on five hits (two doubles, three singles) while walking two and punching out six. The 20-year-old, who has been primarily a flyball pitcher in his pro career, has had back-to-back outings in which he's elicited groundballs in droves. After he recorded eight ground ball outs in his previous start, he recorded nine on Friday. As a pitcher with decent but unspectacular strikeout rates (7.8 per nine innings), the ability to work down in the strike zone and garner more ground balls could permit McGrath to sustain what he's shown in terms of an early ability to get mis-hits that has resulted in an opponents' batting average of .225 for the year. SHORT-SEASON SINGLE-A LOWELL SPINNERS: 4-3 WIN VS. STATE COLLEGE (CARDINALS) -- Third baseman Jordan Betts launched his eighth homer of the season. The 22-year-old, drafted as a senior out of Duke, has shown an ability to impact the baseball though with a strikeout rate (29.0 percent) and walk rate (7.7 percent) that make it unclear how frequently he will be able to do so. Still, he's off to a solid start to his pro career, with a .286/.339/.524 line that reflects dominance (.372/.449/.721 with four homers in 49 plate appearances) against lefties. -- Reed Reilly a seventh-round selection this year out of Cal Poly who has been shifted from the bullpen to the rotation, pitched a career-high five innings in which he allowed three runs on three hits while punching out six. He has 20 strikeouts and five walks in 20 1/3 innings, along with a 5.75 ERA. ROOKIE LEVEL GULF COAST LEAGUE RED SOX: 3-2 LOSS AT GCL TWINS (BOX) -- Victor Acosta went 3-for-3 with a double, a walk and three steals. The 18-year-old -- after launching eight homers in the DSL in 2013, the most by a Sox player there since at least 2006 -- had produced just seven extra-base hits through 28 games this season in the GCL before Friday's season-best performance. DOMINICAN SUMMER LEAGUE RED SOX: 4-2 WIN VS. DSL CARDINALS -- Left fielder Jesus Perez, an athletic 18-year-old who was signed this year, went 2-for-3 with a triple. He's hitting .241/.346/.384 with 12 extra-base hits in 33 games.

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