Another day, another strong start from Kyle Kendrick. #HesTheAce.
The Kyle Kendrick Show
Every spring, there’s a player who takes everyone by surprise by their performance. We know it’s not something to get worked up about, and yet it’s hard to ignore the results. Jackie Bradley back in 2013 might be the best example of this. This season, that player is Kyle Kendrick. With Henry Owens and Brian Johnson already demoted to Triple-A camp and Roenis Elias on the shelf, he’s all but taken the vaunted seventh starter role. Now, he just has to not implode to ensure himself of it. He certainly did his best with that on Wednesday, dominating a Rays lineup with a good number of regulars getting the start. Kendrick went five shutout innings allowing just three singles without a walk and striking out six Rays. With it being spring training and Kendrick having a long, lackluster track record, I’m not going to get overly excited about this performance. Still, it’s nice to see someone running away with this competition. As VermeilLikesToCry noted in the comments of the lineup/game thread, Kendrick would have to clear waivers if he’s on the active roster before he can be demoted back to Triple-A. That’s a reality worth considering if they only need a starter for one or two turns through the rotation. They’ll cross that bridge when it comes, though.
The Sam Travis Show
Kendrick isn’t the only player impressing this spring. For the second straight camp, the Red Sox have liked what they’ve seen from Sam Travis. He had another big game on Wednesday, going 2-3 with a solo home run off Xavier Cedeno in the sixth inning. It was his third dinger of the spring and he’s up to a 1.174 OPS against Grapefruit League pitching. I’ve long been among the lowest on Travis’ long-term potential, but if he can keep up this power stroke I’ll have been proven wrong and he’ll be a strong major-league regular sooner than later. Elsewhere in the lineup, Jackie Bradley had the only other extra-base hit for Boston in this game with his third inning double. Dustin Pedroia, Andrew Benintendi and Pablo Sandoval all had singles as well and have put together solid camps.
Depth pieces finish off the game out of the bullpen
There were no sure-fire major-league arms coming out of the bullpen in this one, but we did get a look at a couple of potential depth pieces against the Rays. Marcus Walden was the first, and he struggled mightily. Only two of the six batters he faced recorded an out, and he allowed three runs on one hit and three walks. The one hit was a two-run homer off the bat of Casey Gillaspie. Ben Taylor finished off the sixth for Walden inducing a flyout against the only batter he faced. Luis Ysla, Kyle Martin and Chandler Shepherd each threw a scoreless inning to complete the game, with the latter being the most impressive as he set down all three batters he faced included two by strikeout.