Spring training is an important time on the baseball calendar, giving the entire organization to get warmed back up after an impossibly long winter. It’s nobody’s favorite part of the year, though. Mercifully, another one is in the books as Boston just completed their final exhibition game of the year and is all ready for the regular season.
Eduardo Rodriguez is...fine in his final tune-up
The Red Sox are having some health issues in their rotation to start the season, as you may have heard. They’ll at least be out with David Price to start the season, and everything needs to go perfectly for Drew Pomeranz for him to make his first scheduled start on April 9. Because of this, they need their other starters to be ready for the year. Eduardo Rodriguez is probably the biggest worry of the other four right now, and he took the start in Annapolis against the Nationals on Saturday. He didn’t blow anyone away, but he didn’t implode either. Overall, the young lefty threw three innings in which he allowed two run on two singles and three walks with four strikeouts. On the one hand, his control wasn’t where we’d like to see it, but he also limited hard contact to a pretty good degree against a scary Washington lineup. He’ll get the ball for game three of the opening series against the Pirates.
Mostly quiet final game for the offense
One thing that hasn’t been a concern for the Red Sox this spring has been their lineup. It’s expected that 2016’s best offense was going to take something of a step back with the loss of David Ortiz, but they haven’t looked too lost in camp. That being said, they had something of a quiet game against Max Scherzer and the Nationals on Saturday. The best player was Andrew Benintendi, who had a single and a double while also drawing a walk. Pablo Sandoval’s double was the only other extra-base hit for the Red Sox in this one. Meanwhile, Christian Vazquez was the only other player with two hits. Obviously, this isn’t a concern going forward, but it would’ve been nice if they could’ve gone out with a bang. Oh well, save those runs for the games that count.
Mixed bag for the Red Sox bullpen
The Red Sox relievers mixed it up between strong and poor outings on Saturday. Craig Kimbrel, who is still the most important arm in Boston’s ‘pen, came on immediately after Rodriguez and tossed a perfect inning with one strikeout. Robbie Ross wasn’t so convincing. He recorded only one out while allowing a run on one double and two singles. The good news is the one out he recorded was a strikeout. Austin Maddox, who has made a decent impression with the big-league team this spring, came on to finish the inning. The following frame welcomed Joe Kelly to Annapolis, and he allowed a run on a double and a single while recording just two outs. Robby Scott finished the inning for the team’s current eighth inning man. Scott walked a batter before getting the final out of the frame with a K. Heath Hembree and Fernanda Abad each threw scoreless innings for the seventh and eighth innings as they try to earn themselves something beyond a middle relief role for the beginning of the season. They each also struck out two batters. Jamie Callahan came on to finish things off but left after recording two outs and allowing two singles and a walk. Chandler Shepherd recorded the last out for the Red Sox this spring.
Tomorrow, the league starts real baseball before the Red Sox get started on Monday afternoon. It’s finally here.