The Red Sox took home a victory over the cross-town rival Twins on Wednesday with shades of 2017. Chris Sale looked like last year’s version of Chris Sale and he along with the bullpen pitched just well enough to squeak out a win despite a lackluster performance from the offense. Hopefully this isn’t a theme again in 2018, but for now we can just bask in the Saleshine.
Chris Sale does some more Chris Sale things
The Red Sox got their ace on the mound for his second outing of the spring on Wednesday, and while he was quite good in the first outing he was the best version of himself in this one. The ace was able to make it through five full innings in this one and he didn’t allow a run through the outing. He did allow a couple of hits, and oddly enough they were both triples, but that was it. Sale also racked up seven strikeouts in the outing. There’s not much more to say about that, particularly because we couldn’t witness this one with our eyeballs, but Sale is still amazing. Not that we had any doubt.
After the ace left the mound, the Red Sox turned to some major-league relievers to finish things off. Bobby Poyner, who I’m willing to include with the major leaguers at this point even if I doubt he’ll start the year at the highest level, was up first. The southpaw did allow a single in his inning of work, but the runner didn’t come around to score. Poyner also got a strikeout. Brandon Workman came on next and he was charged with Minnesota’s lone run this afternoon. He got a couple of ground outs in the outing but he also allowed a double to Miguel Sano in between and the righty was lifted with a runner on second and two outs. Robby Scott came on to try and escape the danger but he gave up an RBI single to new Twin Logan Morrison before getting out of the frame with a fly out. Matt Barnes had the eighth and he allowed one baserunner on a hit by pitch before getting three straight outs on a pair of K’s and a ground out. Things were finished off by minor leaguer Ryan Brasier, a person I had never heard of until this moment, and he allowed a double in a scoreless ninth. There’s some reasonable fear to be had about regression from this Red Sox bullpen, but so far this spring they have looked solid.
Mitch Moreland goes deep
The offense wasn’t as impressive as the pitching staff despite having a lineup mostly full of projected regulars, but they did just enough to get the W. The biggest swing of the day came courtesy of Mitch Moreland. The Red Sox first baseman hit a two-out solo shot off Twins starter Tyler Duffy in the third to give Boston a 2-0 lead. The first run came in the second inning when Mookie Betts knocked in Eduardo Nuñez — who got the start at second base — with an RBI single. Betts was one of two Red Sox players to reach base twice with a single and a walk. J.D. Martinez had the same sequence in three at bats. There were no more extra-base hits in addition to Moreland’s dinger, but Boston also got singles from Hanley Ramirez, Nuñez and Sandy Leon. Overall, it wasn’t the most exciting day but it’s nice to see Moreland show a little pop in what has been a relatively slow start to the spring for the left-handed side of Boston’s first base platoon.