The Red Sox won/lost against the Astros on Monday afternoon. We are all very happy/sad about this fact. Just kidding. They tied. Whatever. The real story here was Chris Sale’s debut in a Red Sox uniform. It was....meh
Chris Sale’s debut could’ve been better, could’ve been worse
There was a decent amount of hype around Chris Sale’s debut on Monday afternoon, not because anyone thought the results would actually matter but rather that we’ve been waiting for three months for this to happen. In fact, it came three months to the day after he was acquired by the Red Sox, and it was not what we were hoping for. Although John Farrell had planned to leave Sale out there for three innings, the southpaw only threw two. This was because of pitch count concerns rather than injury. In those two frames, Sale allowed two runs (only one of which was earned) on four hits, two strikeouts and no walks. His first at bat was undone by an error by Sam Travis when the first baseman dropped a pop up from George Springer. For what it’s worth, the radio announcers did not believe it should have been an error. That was followed by a hard-hit double by Marwin Gonzalez. Springer would eventually score on a sac fly from Evan Gattis, that the announcers opined would have been a home run in different wind scenarios. He allowed another run in the second inning thanks to three singles by Astros hitters. After the game, Sale said he wasn’t really worried about the results. He threw all of his pitches for strikes, and noted that it was nice to get work in tough situations. It wasn’t the dominating outing we may have hoped for, but oh well. Chris Sale is on the Red Sox, and that’s pretty neat.
Henry Owens struggles, again
While Sale’s results don’t matter, the same can’t exactly be said for Henry Owens. The young lefty is in a sort-of battle among the rotation depth, and I think it’s safe to say he’s falling behind early in camp. This time out, he recorded just three outs while allowing a single and four walks. He also struck two batters out. This was the third outing of the spring for Owens, who now has eight walks in five innings of work. To be fair, he also has nine strikeouts, which is something. Still, control is what we’ve been worried about for all of Owens’ pro career, and he hasn’t shown any strides in this area. There’s a long way to go until Opening Day, but if they need a spot start to begin the year I’d be surprised if it went to Owens at this point.
Mixed bag for the rest of the pitchers
Sandwiched in between Sale and Owens was Robby Scott, who is apparently becoming more and more likely to win the job of second lefty in Boston’s bullpen over Fernando Abad. The latter just left to join the Dominican team for the World Baseball Classic. Scott threw a scoreless inning against the Astros, although he did allow a single and a walk in the process. After Owens, Jamie Callahan threw two scoreless innings with a strikeout and a walk. Callahan is someone I’ll be watching this year, as a former second round pick who just converted to the bullpen full-time in 2016 and impressed in the Arizona Fall League. Kyle Martin and Chandler Shepherd, both of whom will be part of Pawtucket’s bullpen to start the year, each allowed one run in one inning of work. Shepherd’s came on a home run off the bat of former sixth overall pick Colin Moran.
Power from a couple of depth pieces
Sam Travis is the greatest hitter in Grapefruit League history, and I will not listen to arguments stating otherwise. After owning spring training last year, he’s come back from injury and is doing it again in 2017. On Monday, he had just one hit in three at bats, but he made the most of it. His hit was a three-run blast off off Chris Devenski to give Boston a 3-2 lead. If he can start showing this kind of power in the regular season, he’ll be up sooner rather than later and will be the vaunted First Baseman Of The Future. In the next inning, Steve Selsky (who John Farrell has been impressed with) hit a solo homer off Michael Feliz to extend Boston’s lead. With Bryce Brentz possibly leaving the organization after camp, Selsky will immediately become the first outfielder in line to get called up due to injury. His performance in camp suggests that’s fine. Elsewhere in the lineup, Marco Hernandez and Rusney Castillo each continued their hot springs. One of them has a good chance of contributing to the major-league squad this year.