The Red Sox got another victory on Thursday in what was a very promising preview of what we could potentially be seeing once the regular season begins and the games actually start mattering. On offense, they sent out what could very well be the exact Opening Day lineup, and while they didn’t send their Opening Day starter to the hill, in David Price they did sent out the guy who will almost certainly start Game Two. Baseball is fun, tbqh.
A big day at the plate for the starters
The Red Sox got started early against the Blue Jays on Thursday, and the offense didn’t really let off the gas in the early innings. This is exactly what the team needs to do in 2018 and something they didn’t do enough of in 2017. That is, put early pressure on their opponents and relieve some early pressure off their own pitchers. Boston scored all seven of their runs early in this game, plating at least one in each of the first five innings. The biggest swing of the day came from Christian Vazquez, who hit his first homer of the spring and continued his streak of not homering in losses. In this one, Blue Jays starter Ryan Borucki left a second-inning pitch right down the heart of the plate and Vazquez demolished it for a no-doubt, two-run home run out to left field.
Vazquez had the only homer of the day for Boston, but they certainly weren’t lacking with other impact performers on Thursday afternoon. Andrew Benintendi was the other big standout on offense, hitting a pair of RBI doubles. If one wanted to read into spring training performance — I’m not sure why one would, but live and let live, ya know? — one could surmise that Benintendi is ready to have a big 2018. A similar thing could be said for Xander Bogaerts, who also had an RBI double in this game. Mookie Betts hasn’t had quite as strong of a spring, but he’s come around lately and got on base twice in this game with a walk and a double while also scoring twice. J.D. Martinez has had a nice little start to his Red Sox career, and he smacked a double of his own in this game. Finally, there was Rafael Devers, who is impressing everyone who lays eyes on him this spring. The young third baseman didn’t hit any extra base hits, but he did produce a pair of singles with a couple RBIs to boot. Brock Holt and Deven Marrero also had one single each in this game off the bench as they duke it out for the final spot on the bench.
David Price made his spring debut and it was dope
As a whole, the Red Sox pitching staff had an up-and-down day, but that doesn’t apply to the starter. David Price was on the mound for take two of his spring debut — he was scratched from his original debut due to weather concerns — and he was fantastic. The lefty made it through four scoreless innings against Toronto, allowing just two baserunners in the form of a single and a walk while striking out five Blue Jays. Health is the most important thing with Price and he seemed perfectly fine in this one. If he can continue to be moving forward then he can prove to be a major X-Factor for this Red Sox team as a potential secondary ace behind Chris Sale.
After Price, things got shaky. Roenis Elias came on first and he had a disastrous outing not long after some idiot wrote nice things about him. The lefty allowed four runs while recording just two outs on three hits and a pair of walks. Elias had seemingly been gaining some helium to start the year in the bullpen, though this kind of outing could affect that. Minor league reliever Trevor Kelley came on and finished the inning with a strikeout. Joe Kelly was next up for Boston and he had a nice sixth inning, pitching a perfect frame with one strikeout. Carson Smith had the seventh, and he wasn’t as fortunate, allowing a run on two hits including one double. Smith did strikeout three in the inning, though. It’s been an inconsistent spring for Smith, but the Red Sox could really use him to blossom in the season to maximize their bullpen’s value. Things finished off with a pair of scoreless innings from William Cuevas and Tommy Layne, a pair of arms who will be low-impact, emergency depth pieces in Pawtucket.