May 16, 2014 at 7:07 AM
5/16 Cup of Coffee: The only baseball that the Red Sox organization got in on Thursday was during daylight. While the major league club lost its matinee, Pawtucket and Portland were more successful. A trio of PawSox arms combined for a five-hit shutout, and the Sea Dogs went on a 20-hit rampage in their win. Both Salem and Greenville were rained out.
After losses in the first two games of the series, Pawtucket got back into the win column with a 4-0 shutout of the Indianapolis Indians (PIT). Anthony Ranaudo (pictured) was dominant in his longest outing to date in 2014. The 6-foot-7 righty scattered five hits across seven scoreless frames, walking one and striking out five. With that performance, Ranaudo slashed his ERA from 4.08 to 3.47. Rich Hill and Alex Wilson finished off the shutout, striking out a batter apiece to combine for two hitless innings.
Bryce Brentz provided most of the Pawtucket offense. The right fielder was 3 for 4 with two doubles and a solo home run. Brentz either drove in or scored each of the PawSox runs. Daniel Nava was 1 for 3 with a walk and run scored, and has now hit in seven straight games. Garin Cecchini and Dan Butler added 2-for-4 afternoons.
Portland's offense was firing on all cylinders, as every starter reached base during its 20-hit, 13-5 rout of the New Britain Rock Cats (MIN). Five different players had three hits for the Sea Dogs and unsurprisingly, one of those was Mookie Betts. The second baseman raised his average back over .400, going 3 for 5 with a home run, walk, stolen base, three runs scored and three driven in. It was Betts' sixth homer of the year, and he now has 18 stolen bases. Henry Ramos had three hits of his own, including a double and a triple. Since the calendar flipped to May, Ramos has been even more dominant than Betts, posting an incredible .460/.500/.720 line in 13 games. Travis Shaw was 3 for 6, raising his average over .300 for the first time this season. Derrik Gibson and Shannon Wilkerson also had three hits apiece.
Brian Johnson struggled with his control in his worst start since his promotion to Double-A. The left-hander allowed three runs (two earned) on three hits in five innings, striking out three and walking five. Johnson came into the start having only issued one walk in his two previous Portland appearances, and only eight in his seven starts across two levels. Matty Ott was the beneficiary of the offense's six-run outburst in the seventh, as he picked up the win despite allowing two runs on four hits in two innings. Mike McCarthy closed out the win with two scoreless frames.
Salem's game against the Carolina Mudcats (CLE) was postponed by rain. The teams will play a doubleheader on Friday at 5:00pm.
Greenville's doubleheader with the Savannah Sand Gnats (NYM) was also rained out. They will make up one of those two games as part of a doubleheader on Friday. The other contest has been cancelled, as Friday is the last meeting of the first half between the two clubs.
Player of the Day: While there were a number of worthy offensive performances to consider, the nod goes to Anthony Ranaudo. The former LSU Tiger was excellent for the PawSox, spinning seven innings of shutout baseball. It was the first time Ranaudo went seven full innings in 15 Pawtucket appearances going back to last August. Since joining the PawSox, he is 7-3 with a 3.27 ERA.
Photo Credit: Anthony Ranaudo by Kelly O'Connor