BOSTON, MA - JUNE 01: Daniel Bard #51 of the Boston Red Sox delivers a pitch against the Chicago White Sox on June 1, 2011 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Making his second (first official) start of the year, Daniel Bard managed to keep the bats off the balls for two innings. Though he would give up one walk in his second inning of work, the reliever-turned-starter pounded the strike zone when he wasn't throwing pitchout drills against Wilson Betemit, striking out two batters along the way.
The Red Sox would fair slightly better against Dana Eveland, starting off the game with a double from Jacoby Ellsbury and a single for Dustin Pedroia. While Adrian Gonzalez would end up swinging through a good breaking ball for the first out, Ryan Lavarnway managed to bring Ellsbury home on a sacrifice fly that may well have actually been trapped in left rather than caught.
Given a 1-0 lead to work with, Alfredo Aceves entered the game in the third and made his own case for a rotation spot, striking out the first two batters he faced en route to two perfect innings of work.
Meanwhile, in the bottom half of the third, the Red Sox went to work building their lead. Mike Aviles kept his hot streak going by poking a line drive into center field, then moved to second on a bunt from Jacoby Ellsbury. A poor piece of fielding allowed Dustin Pedroia to reach base, putting runners on the corners for Adrian Gonzalez, who acquainted himself with the faux-Monster in left for an RBI double. Ryan Lavarnway would follow with a single of his own to make it 3-0 before Cody Ross just missed his third homer of the spring. The long drive would prove enough to get Adrian Gonzalez home, but not Lavarnway, who was caught at the plate for the third out.
The 4-0 lead, however, would not prove enough for Boston, as Alex Wilson quickly entered the game in the fifth and dealt a serious blow to his hopes for a rotation spot with an unfortunate outing. The Orioles didn't exactly kill Wilson in his first inning, scoring two on a walk, a line drive, and a pair of less impressive singles, but the sixth was rather uglier, with another walk and a pair of hard hits chasing the young pitcher from the game with four earned runs before he could record another out.
Clay Mortensen, on the other hand, would provide a much more impressive performance, striking out four batters in recording seven outs and mopping up Wilson's mess. The clutch hold from Mortensen would prove to be just enough for the Red Sox, who added another run when Pedro Ciracio doubled Nate Spears home with two outs in the bottom of the seventh innings. Michael Bowden provided five strong outs of his own to save the game, sending the Red Sox to a perfect 3-0 record.
Converted relievers Daniel Bard and Alfredo Aceves each threw two strong innings as they continued their campaigns for the two rotation spots theoretically up for grabs.
Cody Ross continues to send balls to the wall in left field. While he didn't quite manage to get one out today, ifRoss can keep this sort of thing up come April, we could get a lot more out of him than perhaps initially expected.
Clay Mortensen is a long shot for any role with the team, but he certainly killed his audition today.
Alex Wilson didn't manage quite so well, obviously. He too was a long shot, however, and it's not exactly a condemnation to still need more seasoning at Triple-A having pitched just 21 innings at that level.
I know it was ugly, but Ryan Lavarnway let a pitchout get by him for a passed ball. Maybe there's a point to these drills after all...
Last, and truly least, the broadcast. It was just a confusing mess from the radio guys today. Such gems as "He trapped it, but he caught it," or "Did he catch it? Did he catch it? Oh, wait, I see him!" Do you know what happened on those plays? Neither do I. Guess it's spring training for everyone.