Another day of thick fog plastered over the JetBlue Park and the back fields on this Thursday. But fear not, the fog lifted around 2pm and the sun arrived. I know, all of New England just cursed me for saying there was "some fog".
See, it's not ALWAYS sunny in the Sunshine State.
After early work which saw almost all of the PawSox players in the batting cages, games for Portland and Pawtucket were scheduled on the back field against Montgomery and Durham, respectively.
Pawtucket saw Anthony Ranaudo start and he battled command issues from the outset.
After walking the leadoff batter, Ranaudo retired the rest of the side in order, but he was not his usual efficient self.
The PawSox scored two runs in the 2nd inning against Durham starter Enny Romero, who got the win in the 14 inning, Game 4 thriller in the Governors' Cup Playoffs. Travis Shaw started the frame with a single and scored on a Scott Cousins RBI double. Two batters later, Derrik Gibson singled to right to score Cousins and give the PawSox a 2-0 lead.
In the 3rd, Ranaudo's command faltered as he issued a walk before two stolen bases put the runner at third with one out. A sacrifice fly would bring the score to 2-1. Ranaudo then hit a batter, highly debated as well, and allowed a single before escaping the inning.
He'd walk the leadoff man in the 4th before an error on a dropped pop up put runners at 1st and 2nd. But Ranaudo was helped out by a double play and a ground out to third to end the inning.
The big righty went out for the 5th and walked two of the three batters he faced before they stopped the inning due to Ranaudo's pitch count. He finished going 4.1 innings allowing a run on two hits with five walks, a hit batter and two strikeouts. Not his best stuff, but he was able to battle through a strike zone that resembled a thimble.
Alex Wilson was able to work a 1-2-3 6th and used a limited amount of pitches in the process.
Dayan Diaz, signed as a minor league free agent in December, worked a perfect 7th before walking one and allowing two hits in the 8th. With two outs, Diaz was removed for Miguel Celestino who promptly coughed up the lead in allowing a three-run, bases clearing double to 21-year-old Rays prospect Andrew Toles to put Durham in front 4-2.
Pawtucket's offense was quiet after a Christian Vazquez single in the 3rd inning as they had just one base runner, a Shannon Wilkerson 7th inning walk. All told, they had just four hits.
The PawSox will get another crack at getting back in the win column as they host Rochester Friday afternoon at 1pm.
In other Pawtucket related news, it was announced by the Red Sox today that Brock Holt and Rubby De La Rosa have been optioned to the PawSox and Brandon Snyder has been re-assigned to minor league camp. So the PawSox will have some thump in the middle of the order with Snyder, a leadoff/#2 type hitter who can play 2B, SS and 3B and a power arm in Rubby De La Rosa. And, from the sound of it, Rubby will begin the season in the starting rotation. The probable rotation now looks to be, and not in this order necessarily, Ranaudo, Webster and De La Rosa with Barnes on the way soon (shoulder stiffness early in spring), Wright (recovering from sports hernia surgery) and maybe even a Brandon Workman or Drake Britton. Pretty strong starting staff to say the least.
Double duty again tonight as the Yankees invade JetBlue. Not many "stars" from New York making the trip as the biggest names are Teixeira and Ichiro. However, one of my favorite minor league names, Zealous Wheeler is starting for the pinstripes and DH'ing.
For Boston, Clay Buchholz makes the start and will have this lineup behind him.
Grady Sizemore CF
Shane Victorino RF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
David Ortiz DH
Mike Napoli 1B
Daniel Nava LF
Xander Bogaerts SS
David Ross C
Jonathan Herrera 3B
Enjoy the game...it'll only be on three networks, NESN, ESPN and YES.