Welcome to the Red Sox, Chris Sale
Tuesday evening wasn’t our first glimpse of Sale in a Red Sox uniform, as he had made a few spring starts prior to this one against the Yankees. This was the first time we saw exactly why Dave Dombrowski was willing to deal Yoan Moncada and Michael Kopech, among others, for the lanky lefty. To say Sale was on his game versus New York’s lineup would be an understatement. He made quick work of his new team’s biggest rival over six innings, allowing two runs on four hits without a walk. Oh, and he also struck out ten. Get used to those high strikeout totals with little-to-no walks, as that’s his specialty. He did make a mistake to Matt Holliday that resulted in a two-run homer in Sale’s sixth and final inning, but overall this was a phenomenal outing. Eventually, a big-named pitcher will come to Boston without failing to live up to expectations in his first year. If Sale can throw like he did on Tuesday all year, he will be that guy.
The Sam Travis and Marco Hernandez Show
Forget Mookie Betts, Xander Bogaerts, Andrew Benintendi and Jackie Bradley. The real stars on this team are Sam Travis and Marco Hernandez. Or, at least they are if you only follow spring training. This is the second consecutive big spring for both players, and each continued it on Tuesday. Travis didn’t have any extra-base hits, but he did go 2-4 and knocked in a couple runs. Hernandez, meanwhile, went 2-4 with a triple and a run scored. Thanks to things like options and injury, neither player is expected to start the year on the major-league roster. If they carry their spring performance to Pawtucket, though, they’ll be up before long. Elsewhere in the lineup, Matt Dominguez had three hits and Mike Miller hit a home run. Neither player figures to play into Boston’s plans in 2017.
Strong day for the bullpen
As the starters are getting more and more stretched out, we’re not seeing so many relievers in each game. This, in turn, means we’re seeing more interesting arms pitching every day. That was certainly the case on Tuesday, with Joe Kelly, Matt Barnes and Robby Scott following Sale in Tampa. Kelly took the mound first and threw a 1-2-3 inning that included a strikeout. Barnes also threw a scoreless inning and all three of his outs were strikeouts, but he also walked a batter and committed an error. Scott closed things out with a quick 1-2-3 ninth inning to preserve the win. All three figure to play a role for the Red Sox this year, and they could even all start the year in the big-league bullpen depending on how Scott’s battle with Fernando Abad (among others) ends up.