The Red Sox split up their squad for a pair of games Wednesday afternoon while most of us are stocking up on bread, milk and alcohol. Unfortunately, the weather was all there was to celebrate for the Sox this time around, as they got swept in their two games. The theme of the day was rough offense, though the pitching wasn’t exactly lights out either. On to the next one, I suppose.
A forgettable day for the position players
The offense didn’t perform well in either game, and the players on both sides had rough days in the field as well. We’ll start with the road game against the Phillies because, well, that one ended first and I’m writing this while the home game against the Twins is still happening! The lineup against Philadelphia was less star-powered than the one against Minnesota, though they did have a couple of big-name players in Andrew Benintendi and Rafael Devers. Neither had great games, with the former going 1-3 with an RBI single and a strikeout while the latter went 1-3. The Red Sox only had one extra-base hit in this game and that went to Jeremy Barfield who came through with a double. The outfielder also drew a walk, making him the only Sox player to reach base twice. The team had two other hits with singles from Deven Marrero and minor leaguer Cole Sturgeon. Defensively they made three errors with one apiece from Rusney Castillo, minor-league infielder Pedro Castellanos and Kyle Martin.
The lineup at home against the Twins was more exciting than the one described above, but the results weren’t much better. The highlight here, of course, was the Red Sox debut of J.D. Martinez. It didn’t go too well, though, with the slugger going 0-2, flying out in both of his at bats. Time to panic! Continuing with the negativity, it was another hitless day for Mookie Betts. The Red Sox right fielder went 0-2 in this game, giving him 16 spring training at bats without a hit. He did draw another walk in this game, his third straight contest with a free pass. Jackie Bradley Jr. has had a low-key rough spring as well, and he went 0-3 in this game bringing his spring batting average down to .188. All together, the Red Sox had just four hits in this game, all singles, from Hanley Ramirez, Xander Bogaerts, Mitch Moreland and Chad De La Guerra. They also made a couple of errors, with Bradley Jr. making a throwing error and De La Guerra with a fielding error.
A mixed bag for the pitchers
While the pitching staff certainly had its blemishes on Wednesday through the two games, the overall performance wasn’t as rough as the guys with the bats. Again, we’ll start with the Phillies game, and that one had some better outings. Things started with depth starter Justin Haley taking the mound, and he managed to throw three scoreless innings with a strikeout while allowing a couple of singles. I’ve said it before, but I think Haley probably stands a better chance to grab a couple of major-league starts this year with a couple injuries in the rotation. If you’ll recall, he was a Rule 5 pick of the Twins last year who made it through most of the summer before being sent back to Boston when Minnesota traded for Jaime Garcia. After Haley was Marcus Walden, who will serve as break-in-case of emergency swingman depth in Triple-A. He had a rough day, allowing one unearned run on a single and two walks in one inning of work, though he did strikeout three Phillies. Bobby Poyner came on next as he continues to push for a legitimate role in 2018, and he tossed a 1-2-3 fifth. Kyle Martin, another emergency bullpen option, came on next and took the loss by allowing an unearned run over two innings with one strikeout. Minor leaguer Kyle Hart finished things off with a perfect eighth that included two strikeouts.
At home against the Twins, Chandler Shepherd was given the start and it was a really rough day for the righty. He only got two outs in the first inning and allowed four runs (three earned) on a walk and four singles. Prospect Dedgar Jimenez came on next and allowed a run on three hits and a strikeout. Heath Hembree was the biggest reliever to enter this game, and he tossed 1 2⁄3 innings without allowing a run, though he did allow a pair of singles and a walk while striking out three Twins. After minor leaguer Adam Lau (I always initially type out Matt Lau, presumably because of Matt Lauer. Just felt I had to share that.) finished off the fourth, Robby Scott came on for a scoreless fifth in which he allowed a single and a walk. Ty Buttrey was the final notable pitcher to make an appearance in this game, allowing two unearned runs on a walk, two singles and a home run with one strikeout in 1 2⁄3 innings.