Thursday, April 24, 2014

Post-game Pop-ups: Red Wings 8, PawSox 1

Swift Summation
The statistics took an oath and refused to fool around Thursday afternoon at McCoy Stadium. Beneath the Pawtucket Red Sox’ 8-1 loss to the Rochester Red Wings was a defensive debacle shared by four participating pitchers.

Starter Anthony Ranaudo, who brooked his second defeat in two meetings with Rochester in 2014, joined three colleagues in throwing 168 pitches. That swollen tally was compounded by 72 balls and 20 baserunners—13 via the hit, six through walks and one on a fielding error.

The PawSox cultivated a paltry three innings out of Ranaudo. His final tab for the afternoon yielded 39 strikes, 32 balls and three runs on six hits and four walks.

Rochester only needed to swing at one of Ranaudo’s first 16 pitches to load the bases without delay. An infield single by Danny Santana and back-to-back walks brought up cleanup man Wilkin Ramirez. Ramirez proceeded to foul off five straight before moving everyone up a bag with an RBI single to left.

Two plays later, Eduardo Nunez belted a sacrifice fly to left, summoning the second run in the form of Doug Bernier.

The Red Wings revved up and loaded up again in the second, beginning with Eric Fryer’ one-out single up the middle. Santana followed up by dropping a double into right field and Bernier accepted four unanswered balls for his second walk.

This time, though, an impromptu pep talk led Ranaudo to fan Chris Parmelee and Ramirez, stranding all three runners. Still, his pitch count was already at 54 with only 30 strikes through two stanzas.

In the top of the third, Eric Farris rolled a two-out single up the middle. He augmented Rochester’s lead to 3-0 when he came home via Chris Rahl’s base hit and Bryce Brentz’s fielding error, which let Rahl reach third.

Jeremy Kerht provided anything but relief in the fourth. With a five-pitch walk and a single on a 3-1 delivery, he put Santana and Bernier on the corners as his first two showdowns. Ramirez subsequently plated Santana and sent Bernier, who had stolen second, to third with another deposit on the left-field lawn.

One play later, Will Middlebrooks’ error let Brad Nelson reach first, nudged Ramirez to second and bumped Bernier home. Farris batted in both of the remaining runners when he tripled to the opposite corner in right to swell the difference to 7-0.

Just as they did Wednesday night, the PawSox finally hatched the goose-egg in their run column when the visiting starter was at the dusk of his day. Kris Johnson let a single, error and walk load the bases with two out in the sixth. A subsequent six-pitch pass to Mike McCoy forced Brentz home.

Nelson’s single to center off Dalier Hinojosa’s waved Bernier home from second to restore the seven-run margin in the eighth.

PawSox Pluses
Brentz was the lone challenger to reap multiple hits off Johnson. His fourth- and sixth-inning singles accounted for two-thirds of Pawtucket’s total hits in six innings against the Rochester starter.

Sox Stains
Ranaudo’s inauspicious start generated its first disturbances when two of his early offerings reached the standing batter’s face height. Of the 33 total pitches he racked up in the opening stanza, only 18 went for strikes. Of those strikes, none were of the swing-and-miss variety.

Although McCoy’s passivity paid off on that bases-loaded walk in the sixth, he had a similar opportunity to alter the outlook in the fourth. An identical combination of a single, walk and error loaded the bases for him two down. But he spilled those three runners by lining the first pitch into the glove of Farris in center.

Red Wings Notes
Matt Hoffman relieved Johnson and threw three straight 1-2-3 innings with four strikeouts.

Santana is now 5-for-5 against Ranaudo in 2014, having tripled twice and singled once at Frontier Field on April 14.

Parmelee stretched his hitting streak, which began in Part I of last Thursday’s home doubleheader versus the PawSox, to nine games. Although, he is remarkably hitless in five confrontations with Ranaudo this season, drawing three walks and fanning twice.

Nunez was the only visiting batter not to reach base at any fashion at Ranaudo’s expense. Nonetheless, he factored in to the scoring with credit for an RBI on his sac fly in the first.

The visiting team has won five of the first seven installments of the Red Sox-Red Wings season series. Pawtucket claimed three out of four during last week’s stay at Frontier Field.

Alex Wilson, recently returned from Boston, logged eight pitches in an altogether meaningless 1-2-3 top of the ninth.