The annual college doubleheader is in the books, and the Red Sox have once again avoided the ignominy that would come from dropping a game to collegiate competition. Steven Wright was first up in a 6-0 shutout effort against Boston College, then the B-team put up plenty of runs early en route to an 8-3 win over Northeastern.
Mookie leads the way
Mookie Betts was the Red Sox' best player in 2015, and through one meaningless game against collegiate competition, he's looking good to retain that crown. Betts broke a 0-0 tie in his third at bat, reintroducing Sox fans to his quick swing with a three-run homer over the replica Monster and everything else in left field. And while he's been pushed into right field by Jackie Bradley Jr., it's not the sort of transition that's going to test Betts, who's already shown he's quite capable of manning even Fenway's right field. He made a nice play on a ball that seemed destined for the gap today, but it almost seems like it's not worth mentioning. Is anyone really concerned about how Mookie will play out there?
Hanley Ramirez first base report
If we're looking for scary defensive players, better to look to Hanley Ramirez at first. While he contributed nicely at the plate, today was an uneventful day at the cold corner for Ramirez. He wasn't challenged by any throws, and didn't have to make much of a stretch on a smooth double play from Xander Bogaerts and Dustin Pedroia. The only chance he had on the ground was a slow roller that wouldn't have given trouble to most players old enough to have left the tee behind. He scooped it up, stepped on the bag, and that was that for Hanley's chances at first.
For Sandoval, Hanley's uneventful day might look enviable. Sandoval had a low-percentage chance early in the game against Boston College on a swinging bunt that never made its way off the grass. It's not the sort of ground ball that was likely to produce an out, and frankly Sandoval even getting to it isn't the worst of signs. But he went to scoop the ball to try and make a play, and he came up empty-handed.
For most players, no big deal. For Sandoval, after 2015, and after the early-Spring drama (however unreasonable some of it might be), any perceived failure is magnified tenfold. Add in the first strikeout of the game for Red Sox batters, and it's just not a good look for Sandoval's first game of 2016.
Sam Travis earns some attention
Entering the game in the middle innings, Sam Travis hit a low line drive to right field in his first at bat. It had single written all over it, but Travis was threatening to take second the whole way, and perhaps that's what caused Boston College's right fielder to bobble the ball. Travis made it to second with ease, took third on a hit from Henry Ramos, and scored on a fairly shallow sacrifice fly. John Farrell and Dave Dombrowski certainly already know who Travis is as one of Boston's better prospects, but hustle plays like that will stick in their heads should the time come when they need to call up a first baseman.
Travis Shaw Responds
Not to be outdone by either Hanley Ramirez or Sam Travis, Shaw matched the pair's 2-for-2 on the day with a pair of RBI hits, one of them going for extra bases.
Yoan Moncada makes an appearance
Yoan Moncada played in a game for the Red Sox! He's still never played in a real game at a level above the Low-A South Atlantic League, but he managed to sneak his way into the Northeastern game here with the Red Sox already in control in the bottom of the fourth. He wouldn't actually see an at bat until the fifth, but when he got the chance, smacked the first pitch off the first baseman's glove and down the right field line for a double, eventually scoring on a bloop single. Another trip to the plate resulted in an RBI ground ball single past the shortstop to give the Sox their eighth and final run.