The Red Sox are off to a 1-0 start in this post-deadline world, defeating the New York Yankees 4-3 Friday night in Fenway Park.
Taking the mound for his major league debut, Anthony Ranaudo produced a strange sort of night with a line deceptive in more ways than one. On the surface, we have six innings of two-run ball. A positive, to be sure. Dig a little deeper, and we have four walks and two strikeouts--a recipe that, if Ranaudo sticks to it, will invariably prove disastrous down the line. Dig still deeper, however, and...well, the picture only gets foggier.
On the one hand, Ranaudo showed the lack of depth that has many wondering about his ability to stick as a starter in the majors. He threw mostly fastballs, mixing in the occasional curveball, and barely touching his changeup. Completely absent was the slider which Ranaudo has added to ensure his repertoire was diverse enough for a major league starter. Not at all a good sign.
On the other...well, the pitches he threw weren't all that bad. A few off-speed pitches that didn't end up where he wanted, and certainly some signs of a debut pitcher overthrowing in his anxiousness. But also a remarkable amount of what can only be described as paint from such a young arm. This did not necessarily serve him as well as it shoud have in his first start--umpires won't be giving the rookie the benefit of the doubt, after all. But it seems like something that will serve him quite well in the future, particularly if he has an impressive framer behind the plate taking borderline pitches and making them strikes.
As it was, though, Ranaudo had to rely on his defense to get by rather than his ability to place pitches. They backed him up ably, leaving the Yankees unable to produce much in the way of sustained offense off Ranaudo. The first New York run off him came on a Carlos Beltran solo shot, the second on a Beltran single after a leadoff walk and stolen base (called safe on replay) by Jacoby Ellsbury. Otherwise, the Red Sox kept the Yankees quiet through the first six, never letting any given inning get out of hand.
The Red Sox, meanwhile, found the sustained rally the Red Sox could not in the third. Brock Holt managed to pull into third base with one out when his well-hit ground ball found the right field corner, setting up Dustin Pedroia for an RBI double. David Ortiz was able to make it 2-0 with another hit to right and, if he had been any more reasonable baserunner, might well have made it 3-0 when Allen Craig produced his first hit with the Red Sox, doubling into the left field corner. Ortiz, however, is one of the slowest runners you'll see, leaving the Sox up just two when Xander Bogaerts grounded out to end the frame.
Still, the third Red Sox run was just around the corner, with Will Middlebrooks doubling in his return to action and David Ross singling him home in the top of the fourth. Unfortunately for Ross, his night would rapidly head south as he left the game in the sixth, injuring his foot while running to first base. It now appears that Boston's catcher is headed to the disabled list.
The Yankees would end up grabbing their third run of the night in the eighth, with Junichi Tazawa allowing a leadoff homer to Derek Jeter. But that would only come after the Red Sox struck for their fourth run in the bottom of the seventh, with Dustin Pedroia knocking in Mookie Betts to make it 4-2 at the time. Betts would proceed to save Tazawa from allowing what would very likely have been a game-tying run, making a lunging grab in center field to rob Jacoby Ellsbury of extra bases immediately after Jeter's homer.
Tazawa ran into even more trouble in the eighth, but finally managed to escape the inning by getting Chase Headley to ground out before handing the ball off to Koji Uehara, who didn't have nearly so much trouble, recording a 1-2-3 ninth to lock up the first win for the new-look Red Sox.