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Red Sox 3, Twins 4: Bryce Brentz and Sandy León hit homers in Sox loss

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The Red Sox take a loss at the hands of their crosstown spring rivals.

MLB: Spring Training-Boston Red Sox at Pittsburgh Pirates Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

The Red Sox took on the Twins Friday afternoon, holding the lead for most of the day until blowing it late. Offensively, things were solid with a few bad nights mixed in, and the same could be said about the pitching. Let’s get into it.

Two homers for the Sox

The Red Sox offense only managed three runs on Friday afternoon, but they did have a couple of home runs. The first came off the bat of Sandy León, who is of course fighting for one of the two catcher spots that will be available on Opening Day. This was his fourth game of the spring, and he’s off to a solid start. The veteran is obviously known much more for his defense than his offense, but he is now hitting .333/.455/.667 in the small sample size. He had his biggest swing of the year so far on Friday, coming up with one on in the fourth. León got a ball right down the chute from old friend Addison Reed and he launched it over the wall in right field. The catcher seems to have an upper hand in the catcher battle given his rapport with the pitching staff, and keeping up his current spring pace at the plate can only help matters.

A few innings later, Bryce Brentz came to the plate with the bases empty and the game tied, but the score would change very soon. The righty got a pitch up in the zone over the outer half of the plate and put it over the wall in straightaway center field. It was his second home run of the spring. Brentz is all but certain to start the year in Pawtucket and serve as some outfield depth who could perhaps provide some pop in case of a couple injuries in the majors. He, of course, has spent most of his career in the Red Sox organization and came back for 2019 after one year elsewhere. Brentz has never been able to make the leap from Triple-A to the majors and have it stick, but we know the potential is there for him to be a solid bat at the least.

Josh Taylor leads the day for the pitching staff

It wasn’t a great day for the pitchers on Friday, all of whom are likely to start the year for the minors. Left-hander Josh Taylor got the start, though, and he impressed. The southpaw came over as the player to be named later in the Deven Marrero trade last year and impressed enough to be added to the 40-man roster this past winter. He hasn’t really been on the radar for potential bullpen help in 2019, but he probably should be. On Friday, he tossed two scoreless innings with three strikeouts and one walk. Taylor struck out over a batter per inning in 2018 with a 3.35 ERA. There will be opportunity for him to get a shot in the majors this year if he performs well.

Other Notes

  • The Red Sox had two blown saves on Friday. The first came from Domingo Tapia, a minor-league signing this winter, who allowed a run in 1 23 innings on a home run, a single and three walks. The second came from Mark Montgomery, a minor-league signing last year. The former Tigers and Yankees farmhand allowed two runs in one inning of work to give Minnesota the lead in the eighth.
  • Michael Chavis has been off to a red-hot start this spring, but he struggled on Friday. Getting the start at first base, he was hitless in his three at bats which included a pair of strikeouts. He also made an error. Bobby Dalbec, meanwhile, came in later in the game and recorded an out in his only plate appearance.
  • Bobby Poyner didn’t blow a save, but the lefty did allow a solo home run in his two innings of work. He has the best shot of making the Opening Day roster of any pitcher who appeared on Friday.
  • Rafael Devers got the start at third base and he had a double in three at bats. The young third baseman is a popular breakout pick this year, and for good reason. He’s off to a scorching start this spring, posting a 1.454 OPS early on.