The Red Sox travelled to Sarasota on Sunday to take on Buck Showalter and the Orioles. Boston took along many of their top hitters, many of whom performed well and gave the Sox a real chance to win, but a group of pitchers that included mostly depth and minor-league pieces did not hold up their end of the bargain.
Andrew Benintendi, Rafael Devers and Blake Swihart lead the offense
The Red Sox jumped out to an early lead in this game and were able to beat up on the Orioles pitching staff to the tune of eight runs in this game thanks to three of their young bats. Rafael Devers was definitely the best hitter of the day for Boston, coming to the plate three times and hitting a double and a home run, the latter of which was the back-half of back-to-back dingers. He also scored two runs. The first half of that back-to-back set came from Andrew Benintendi, who knocked in a couple with his home run, his only hit of the day. The left fielder did strike out in his other two at bats, for whatever that’s worth. Blake Swihart also kept his red-hot spring going as he picked up two hits in three at bats including a two-RBI double while also stealing a base. He now has five doubles this spring to go with one home run and is hitting .429 with a 1.310 OPS. Boston had one more hitter with multiple hits in Oscar Hernandez, who came off the bench to hit a double and a single in his two at bats. Sam Travis, Deven Marrero and Mike Olt all contributed doubles in this game as well. On the flip side of things, Mookie Betts went hitless yet again and is still waiting for his first hit of the spring. He did walk in this game for his second time on base in camp, but things are obviously off to a rough start for the Red Sox star.
The Red Sox pitching was....woof
Boston left most of the major-league quality arms back in Fort Myers on Sunday, and that showed with how badly the Orioles were able to beat up on Boston’s pitching staff. Jalen Beeks got the start for Boston and he allowed a couple of runs in 2 1⁄3 innings on two walks, two strikeouts, two singles and a double. Minor leaguer Matt Kent came in to finish that third inning and allowed a run of his own on one hit, a double from Adam Jones. Chandler Shepherd came on next and had a day he’ll like to forget as soon as possible. The righty gave up the lead Boston had built early on, allowing four runs while recording just one out. The good news is that he didn’t walk anyone, but that was the only good news. He allowed five hits to the Orioles including three doubles. Shepherd is a really interesting name to watch this year and one bad outing won’t affect the team’s plans for him, though I remain unconvinced he’s more rotation depth than a bullpen option. Beyond them, the most notable name to appear in this game was left-handed Bobby Poyner, who to this point has made a name for himself as a legitimate left-handed option out of the bullpen. He only allowed one hit in his inning of work in this game, but it was a home run to Tim Beckham. Poyner also got a strikeout. Robby Scott isn’t so good that he’s a slam dunk to maintain his role in the bullpen over Poyner this year, but this was a nice reminder that the exciting new player can have some shaky outings, too.
There was an intrasquad minor-league game on Sunday, too
While the only game we were able to watch on TV was this game between Boston and Baltimore, some Red Sox players took part in an intrasquad scrimmage with minor leaguers before the farm players start their own spring training schedule later this week. There were some notable names in this game, with J.D. Martinez, Eduardo Nuñez and Chris Sale all making appearances. We really can’t take much away from these results, but Martinez did get on base five times and Sale....well he’s still Chris Sale. Nick Cafardo has some other results from this game.