Eduardo Rodriguez had a shaky start, but Sandy Leon was around the save the day.
Sandy Leon is not ready to say goodbye to the power surge just yet
I’m two lines into this recap and, including the headline and the dek below the headline, I’ve already mentioned Sandy Leon about 100 times. Am I definitely overreacting to one game in spring training? Absolutely. Am I sorry about it? Only a little bit. It was a hell of a game, though. Leon got the start behind the plate on Monday and got hits in two of his four at bats. It just so happens that those two hits were both home runs, and they both came in Boston’s huge nine-run fifth inning. The first was a solo shot off Logan Verrett and the second was a grand slam off Brian Moran. This will obviously not change the minds of the many Leon doubters out there (nor should it), but it’s still a great day and at least shows it’s not impossible for him to hit for a little power this year. All hail Leon.
Shaky outing for Eduardo Rodriguez
There haven’t been a ton of standout performances for the Red Sox this spring, but Eduardo Rodriguez has been pretty close. He got off to a slow start thanks to his knees, but once he’s gotten going he’s been mostly strong. This has been an important development, as David Price’s uncertain health makes the back of the rotation that much more crucial. Unfortunately, the run ended for Rodriguez on Monday. The lefty did make it through six innings of work, but he allowed six runs (only four earned) on nine hits and a walk with three strikeouts. Of the nine hits, four were doubles and one was a triple. Overall, there’s still every reason to be confident in Rodriguez as a really solid number four or five starter, at least, but this is a reminder that there will still be some inconsistencies along the way.
Shaky day for the bullpen, too
With Rodriguez going six innings on Monday, there were only three relievers appearing in the game for the Red Sox. The first was Robby Scott, who made his case to stay with the team once camp breaks with a strong outing. He did allow a double in his scoreless frame, but he also struck out two Orioles. Then, Craig Kimbrel came in and continued his up-and-down spring. It was really one mistake, which led to a
Trey Mancini Cedric Mullins home run, but it was preceded by a walk, which was obviously his achilles heel this year. Heath Hembree finished things off, and while he got the save he allowed a solo homer to Johnny Giavotella in the process. With Tyler Thornburg’s injury, the performances of everyone else in the bullpen become that much more important.
It wasn’t just Leon at the plate
While Leon’s two-homer day led the offense, the Red Sox scored 11 runs and their catcher didn’t do all the work. Their other home run came off the bat of Steve Selsky and it was a solo dong off starter Tyler Wilson. He’s been one of the more under-the-radar performers this spring and has to make the Red Sox feel a little better about their outfield depth. Marco Hernandez also continued to make his (probably fruitless) attempt to make the Opening Day roster by contributing two hits off the bench including an RBI double and a run scored. Mitch Moreland also had a couple hits with a couple RBI while Bryce Brentz reached base twice and scored both times. Dustin Pedroia was the other player with multiple hits. For all of the injury concerns on the pitching staff, at least the offense is looking like it’s ready to hit the ground running a week from now.