BOSTON — Anthony Ranaudo couldn’t fly under the radar any longer.
Ranaudo, whose major league arrival was easy to overlook amid Boston’s whirlwind trade deadline, tossed six solid innings Friday as the revamped Red Sox defeated the New York Yankees 4-3 at Fenway Park.
“I thought he did a good job keeping the game under control,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said after the game. “There were a number of innings where the leadoff hitter would get on base and he found a way to navigate through three walks to lead innings off. But I thought he threw the ball downhill well and kept the ball out of the middle of the plate for the most part.”
The Red Sox underwent a huge makeover Thursday, executing four trades involving 11 players, including Boston’s two best starting pitchers, Jon Lester and John Lackey. The Sox added major league talent in the form of outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, outfielder/first baseman Allen Craig and pitcher Joe Kelly.
It was a crazy deadline day, to say the least, and Friday brought more changes. Outfielder/first baseman Mike Carp was designated for assignment and outfielder Shane Victorino landed on the disabled list. Outfielder/second baseman Mookie Betts, third baseman Will Middlebrooks and relievers Tommy Layne and Alex Wilson all joined the big league club.
As lockers shifted around and new faces filed in, Ranaudo quietly went about his business, though the internal struggle was real.
“I’d be lying if I said there wasn’t a lot of emotions going on out there,” Ranaudo said of his debut. “It’s nice to have that one under my belt now, and next time I take the mound, whenever that is, I have that confidence that I have my debut underneath me, and I can just focus on getting guys out now.”
A runner reached in each of Ranaudo’s six innings of work. He issued four walks and surrendered four hits, including a home run to Carlos Beltran, yet only allowed two earned runs, making him the first Red Sox pitcher since Justin Masterson in 2008 to pitch at least six innings while allowing two runs or fewer in his major league debut.
“I’ve been throwing the ball pretty well, so I felt really confident going out there,” said Ranaudo, who is 12-4 with a 2.41 ERA in 21 starts at Triple-A Pawtucket this season. “Obviously, this is a different game, a different stage, but I still felt pretty confident and I relied heavily on my fastball.”
Ranaudo struck out two. His first strikeout was particularly special, as he set down Derek Jeter looking. Ranaudo, a New Jersey native, admitted after the game that Jeter was his favorite player growing up, though Friday’s debut changed things a bit.
“Now I’m pitching against him, so he’s no longer my favorite player,” Ranaudo said laughing. “It’s awesome to compete against him, what he stands for, and his career and everything like that.”
Ranaudo is expected to head back to Pawtucket with Kelly set to arrive in Boston on Saturday. The 24-year-old certainly left a good impression, though, and it might not be long before he receives another major league opportunity given the fluid situation within the Red Sox’s evolving rotation.
“You know that the opportunity is there and whenever your name’s called and you’re a part of that opportunity, it’s something that you’ve got to make the most of,” Ranaudo said.
Ranaudo is very much on the radar.