It was Tim Tebow day on Wednesday, with the former college football star and NFL...not-so star playing in his first Grapefruit League game with the Mets.
Rick Porcello leaves early after getting hit in the hand with a liner
Everyone in Red Sox camp and fans back home held their collective breaths in the fourth inning of this game when Yoenis Cespedes hit a comebacker that deflected off of Rick Porcello’s throwing hand. John Farrell and the trainers paid him a visit, but the righty stayed in the game. He promptly allowed a solo home run to Jay Bruce and a double to Lucas Duda before exiting. After the game, however, the reigning Cy Young said he felt fine. After likely losing David Price for the start of the season, the Red Sox couldn’t afford bad news to Porcello. Overall, it was a forgettable outing for him. He allowed four runs in the game, although two of them were after getting hit, in three innings of work on five hits, one walk and four strikeouts. The results aren’t what matter here, though. As long as he can continue to take the mound, everything is good.
Brian Johnson’s rough day highlights a mixed bag for the bullpen
The most important name pitching out of the bullpen for Boston today was Brian Johnson, who is fighting for position on the rotation’s depth chart. He didn’t make the best case for himself today, as he allowed four runs in two innings of work. To be fair to him, just one was earned. That came in his first inning of work, when Curtis Granderson hit a leadoff double and later scored on an RBI double from Jay Bruce that was ripped into the right field corner. He’d allow allow another leadoff double in the sixth, which was followed by a costly error from normally sure-handed Deven Marrero. Later in the inning, with the bags full of Mets, he allowed a bases-clearing double down the third base line to Neil Walker. Johnson has been up-and-down this spring, but luckily for him no one else has stepped up to grab hold of the seventh starter gig. Meanwhile, Noe Ramirez worked one inning after Porcello left, allowing a walk and a single as well as an inherited run on a double play. Brandon Workman finished things off with two scoreless innings on two singles, a walk and two punchouts.
A lineup of depth pieces comes through with a solid day
There weren’t a lot of regulars in Boston’s lineup on Wednesday, with Andrew Benintendi being the only projected starter unless you think Christian Vazquez will take the starting catching gig. The young outfielder had a quiet day, hitting a single and striking out once in four at bats. Vazquez, meanwhile, drew one walk in his three plate appearances and came around to score. The big damage in this one was done by Allen Craig of all people, who hit a two-run homer in the seventh to bring Boston within two. He also had a double in this one. Bryce Brentz, who may not be long for this organization, had two doubles and Matt Dominguez had two singles after coming into the game for Sam Travis. It should be a more exciting group to take the field against Team USA Thursday afternoon.
Quiet day for Tim Tebow
As much as it annoys some, the biggest story for this game was Tebow. He didn’t have a great showing, as he struck out twice and only reached base after being hit by a pitch. He was immediately doubled off at first on a line drive to Marrero. The best part of this day, though, came from this quote from Porcello after the game.
Rick Porcello thought Tebow was a ball boy when he watched him warm up in the wrong on-deck circle. Porcello was unfazed by it.— Ian Browne (@IanMBrowne) March 8, 2017