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Red Sox 9, Rays 1: Rafael Devers and Xander Bogaerts lead a power surge

The Red Sox offense shines and the pitching does well too.

MLB: Spring Training-Boston Red Sox at Tampa Bay Rays Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Red Sox came out firing after a day off on Monday, crushing the Rays on the road in Port Charlotte. They got home runs from Rafael Devers, Xander Bogaerts, Esteban Quiroz and Santiago Espinal along with good performances on the mound from a host of arms expected to contribute in 2018. Tuesday was a good day, is what I’m saying.

The Red Sox smashed four home runs on Tuesday

The Red Sox plated nine runs on Tuesday afternoon, beating up on Rays pitching up and down the lineup. Home runs ruled the day, as Boston smacked four of them in the game. The first came from Rafael Devers, who hit a solo shot off of Rays starter Chih-Wei Hu to lead off the second. Devers also had a single in this game, and continues to have a nice spring as he tries to avoid a sophomore slump. It didn’t take long for Boston to get their second homer of the game, as Xander Bogaerts hit a solo shot of his own in the second-half of back-to-back jacks with Devers. Bogaerts is at the top of the list of Red Sox players who we are hoping to see more power from in 2018, so him getting his first homer of 2018 out of the way relatively early is a nice thing. The other two homers came from minor-league players. The first came from Santiago Espinal in the ninth off of Rays minor leaguer Forrest Snow. Espinal made his full-season debut in Greenville last year and put up a .692 OPS. The other came from Esteban Quiroz, the former Mexican League star in his first season in the states. Quiroz’ three-run shot in the ninth off of Snow was his first homer of the spring. He could potentially make his way to the majors this year if he really impresses in Triple-A, though it’s worth noting he’s gotten off to a bit of a slow start this spring.

MLB: Spring Training-Boston Red Sox at Tampa Bay Rays Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The rest of the offense was fine, too

While the home runs ruled the day, the four guys who smashed dingers weren’t the only ones to make an impact on Tuesday. Leading the best of the rest was, of course. Blake Swihart. The former top prospect hit yet another double in this game, giving him six already this spring. He did also strike out in this game. Perhaps most important was the fact that he got the start in the outfield in this game, playing left field. Unfortunately, the game was not televised so I can’t comment much on how he looked out there. The Red Sox also got doubles from Andrew Benintendi — his second double of the spring — and Ivan De Jesus Jr. The latter had two singles on top of the double in this game and is up to a .391 batting average this spring with an .895 OPS. De Jesus is another member of that large group of fine but somewhat underwhelming infield depth. Rusney Castillo, Ryan Scott and Tzu-Wei Lin got the other three hits for Boston in this game, all tallying singles. On top of the work with the bat, Boston got a couple stolen bases in this game with one apiece from Castillo and Quiroz, the first swiped bag of the spring for each.

Hector Velazquez does fine, the bullpen does great

The offense was the story of this game, but don’t sleep on the strong performance from the pitchers in this game. It was particularly encouraging because all six of the guys who took the mound on Tuesday could theoretically see major-league time in 2018. Hector Velazquez got the start in this one in an outing that could be a little more important as we wait for more word about Drew Pomeranz’ injury. The righty pitched three solid innings, allowing just one run on a solo homer from prospect Jake Bauers in the second. Velazquez also allowed a double and two singles while not recording a strikeout or a walk. It hasn’t been the most eye-opening start to the year for Velazquez, but he’s been solid enough for the most part to not fear him as relatively high-end depth to start the season. After that, the bullpen took over and shut down the Rays. Joe Kelly was on first and he allowed a single and recorded one strikeout in his scoreless inning. Brandon Workman was next and he put up a perfect inning with one strikeout of his own. Matt Barnes wasn’t perfect, allowing one single, but he had a scoreless inning as well and recorded one strikeout himself. Carson Smith wasn’t as sharp as the others here, but he did record one strikeout without allowing a run, though he paired all of that with two walks. Finally, Roenis Elias came on to finish off the final two innings, and the lefty worked around three walks to get through the couple of frames without allowing a run and he struck out two in the process. We can’t take too much away from what’s happened to this point in camp, but it’s certainly at least a little encouraging that the bullpen has looked really strong to start things off in 2018.

J.D. time is on the way

J.D. Martinez is going to get the start in Wednesday’s game at home against the Twins. The Red Sox are split-squaddin’ it tomorrow, and unfortunately the one featuring the new slugger will not be televised.