All spring training games are mostly a joke, but this one in particular was on another level. With the Red Sox taking on Team U.S.A., some Boston hitters played one inning and were facing off against some largely irrelevant pitchers from their own minor-league system. Is it April yet?
Jalen Beeks was actually pretty impressive
The most important bit of information we got from this exhibition-even-for-spring-training game was that Roenis Elias got hurt and couldn’t make the start. We still don’t know the full extent of his intercostal strain, but we do know that it gave Jalen Beeks a chance to start against this vaunted U.S.A. lineup. Beeks is a borderline prospect who reached Double-A midway through last season and didn’t pitch all that well there. Despite the deck being stacked against him, the 23-year-old southpaw threw two scoreless innings, allowed just one double to Nolan Arenado, and struck out two. Take a bow, kid.
Craig Kimbrel leads the rest of the bullpen
Following Beeks was a slew of important relievers, headed by Craig Kimbrel. Boston’s closer tossed one inning and looked pretty good against strong competition. He did allow a double to Christian Yelich, but surrounding that were strikeouts to Ian Kinsler and Arenado along with a pop out from Adam Jones. Following that, Robbie Ross, Heath Hembree, Robby Scott and Kyle Martin all threw scoreless innings. They were varying in effectiveness within the innings, but the most notable performance was from Scott. He, of course, is in a serious battle with the absent Fernando Abad for an Opening Day roster spot. Scott did allow one single to Eric Hosmer and a walk to Nolan Arenado, but he got Daniel Murphy to ground into a double play. Also appearing for the Red Sox were Cesar Cabral and Taylor Grover, who both struggled against a lineup that was mixed between Red Sox minor-leaguers and Team U.S.A. players
The other pitchers were Boston’s, too
As I mentioned at the top, Team U.S.A. borrowed some pitchers from the Red Sox organization to play today since their WBC schedule starts on Friday. That means we have a whole nother crop of pitchers to look at, and...well it didn’t go as well for them. Teddy Stankiewicz (who will from now on be known simply as STANK) started the game and allowed a solo home run to Jackie Bradley in the first. It was the only run he allowed in two innings. Trey Ball was the most notable pitcher to appear on that side — which, to be clear, says more about the pitchers who appeared than anything else — and he pitched two scoreless innings. Don’t get too excited, though, as he walked three batters and allowed a single without recording any strikeouts. Ty Buttrey, Williams Jerez, Erik Cordier, and Shawn Haviland also appeared. I’ve literally never heard of those last two guys.
The offense played baseball
Some guys, like Dustin Pedroia and Chris Young, left after one at bat. Why not? This game is silly, as they’re pitching against Double-A arms. Some stayed in a little longer, and did things. Bradley hit the aforementioned home run. Matt Dominguez also hit a dinger. Deven Marrero hit a double. Wheeee.
If you made it through this entire recap without falling asleep, you are rewarded with this gif of a dog in the snow.