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Red Sox 2, Pirates 3: Hector Velazquez gets singled to death

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Red Sox can’t pull out a close one against the Pirates.

MLB: Spring Training-Boston Red Sox at Tampa Bay Rays
Hector Velazquez praying to the BABIP gods
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Red Sox lose a close one in one of their longest trips of the spring as Hector Velazquez succumbs to single after single.

Hector Velazquez takes the loss

Recent signee Hector Velazquez made his second start of the spring on Saturday afternoon and he took the loss in this contest. The former Mexican Leaguer had a quick first inning, setting down the top of the Pirates lineup in 1-2-3 inning that included one strikeout. The trouble started in the second, when he allowed one run on a walk and three singles. The righty would allow another run in the third on the back of three more singles. Allowing three runs in three innings is never great, but there’s solace to take in the fact that Pittsburgh wasn’t crushing extra base hits all day. The David Price news was good, but the scare brought to light how important it is for one non-MLBer to step up for the Red Sox. Velazquez is a candidate to be that guy.

The relievers pitched well

After Velazquez’ three frames, Red Sox pitching didn’t allow another run. Three projected major-leaguers took the mound after Velazquez, and each threw a scoreless inning. Joe Kelly was first, and while it was a scoreless frame he did walk two batters while striking out one. Matt Barnes followed him and allowed one single. Finally, Fernando Abad threw a 1-2-3 inning that included one strikeout. Notably, this was Abad’s last game before he leaves to join Team Dominican Republic for the World Baseball Classic. Ben Taylor and Austin Maddox finished off the game. The former allowed two singles with a strikeout and the latter allowed one single.

Quiet Day for the offense

With it being such a long trip to Bradenton — an hour and twenty minutes according to Google Maps — it was an unsurprisingly lacking lineup for the Red Sox today. There were some regulars suiting up, though. Jackie Bradley and Pablo Sandoval were the most notable, and they had quiet games going a combined 0-6 with three strikeouts. The big hit of the day went to Chris Young, who hit a two-run home run off Wade LeBlanc. It was one of just four hits for the entire team on Saturday, with the only other extra-base hit being a leadoff double from Brock Holt. Blake Swihart and Junior Lake had the other two hits. Sandoval’s day is particularly worrisome, since in case you haven’t heard he’s kind of a question mark heading into the season. Of course, one spring training games tells us absolutely nothing and he’d been solid before this one.