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Red Sox 13, Pirates 2: The spring of Blake continues

He’s even reading a book from beginning to end, in that order

MLB: Spring Training-Boston Red Sox at Pittsburgh Pirates Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Red Sox are still undefeated! Make your World Series plans now! Alex Cora is the best manager of all time! Blake Swihart got another big extra base hit! The Red Sox offense is cured! Rusney Castillo hit a home run! So did Cole Sturgeon! And then Chad De La Guerra hit one too! Right after Sturgeon! Is anyone still reading this intro?!

Blake Swihart and Rusney Castillo keep rolling

Before spring training got started, one could have made a reasonable argument that this spring was most important for Swihart and Castillo, though for different reasons. Swihart came in as a former top prospect without minor-league options and without a clear position on the roster looking to prove the Red Sox would have to keep him around in some capacity. Castillo just wants a chance to play for someone, anywhere, as he’s in luxury tax purgatory, stuck in Triple-A unless he absolutely forces the issue. Both players are off to hot starts this spring. Swihart, who DH’d in today’s game, has definitely been the on-field story in camp to date, keeping his streak alive of smacking at least one extra base hit in all five of his games so far. This time it came in the form of a two-run double in the fifth inning. He also singled and scored a run in this game. Castillo, meanwhile, hasn’t been quite as hot as Swihart, but he is certainly showing that he’s at least still interesting. The former Cuban star didn’t get a hit in his first two games (though he did draw a walk) but then he went 3-3 on Sunday. He followed that up with a home run in Monday’s game to give Boston an early 3-0 lead. Of course, it should be mentioned that he struck out in his other two at bats. Still, keep an eye on Castillo this spring as he has to feel motivated to get back to the majors somehow, some way.

The rest of the offense was pretty good too, I guess

The Red Sox scored 13 runs on Monday, and as exciting as Swihart has been he was not responsible for all of them. It was a strong overall performance up and down the lineup that included contributions from stars and low-level prospects alike. From that first category, Andrew Benintendi and Rafael Devers wreaked some havoc as the two/three hitters in today’s lineup. Each of them reached base twice — Benintendi with a single and a walk and Devers with a couple of singles — including once each against Felipe Rivero, one of the elite left-handed relievers in baseball. Benintendi also scored a couple runs while Devers scored one of his own. The young third baseman also made a couple of strong defensive plays. Further down the lineup, Christian Vazquez scored a run and knocked one it despite not getting a hit, Sam Travis smacked a big RBI double and Deven Marrero singled and scored a run. On the more negative side, Brock Holt went 0-3 to continue his rough start in camp and Jeremy Barfield couldn’t follow up his home run on Sunday with more magic, instead going 0-2. Later in the game, prospects Cole Sturgeon and Chad De La Guerra went back-to-back in the ninth. Tzu-Wei Lin also came in as a substitute and continued to get work in center field while also going 2-2 at the plate.

The pitchers pitched

There weren’t really any exciting names taking the mound for the Red Sox today, but as a group they did fine. Justin Haley got the start, and he’s probably too overlooked as a potential depth option later in the year. He did get nabbed in the Rule 5 draft last year, after all. He was....fine on Monday, pitching two innings while allowing three hits including a solo home run to Sean Rodriguez. Fernando Rodriguez came in after that and allowed another run in two more innings of work, though he also tallied three strikeouts. Rodriguez is another under-the-radar depth option, though he’s a reliever-only pitcher. From there the Red Sox turned to a couple of intriguing prospects in Bobby Poyner and Jake Cosart. Poyner has a real chance to make an impact in 2018 and is emerging more and more onto the radar. He kept that going on Monday with a perfect inning that included one strikeout. Cosart has big stuff that could translate to the majors but has to work on his command, and he threw two scoreless innings with two strikeouts and a walk. The recently signed Tommy Layne finished things off with a scoreless inning that included a hit and a strikeout.nd a walk. The recentl