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Red Sox 5, Twins 9: J.D. Martinez scratched before Boston’s seventh straight loss

Things could be going better, tbh

MLB: Spring Training-Minnesota Twins at Boston Red Sox Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports

Add another loss for the Red Sox this spring, who have now fallen in seven straight games. In this one, the offense had a few notably solid performances and the pitching wasn’t terrible, but one really bad outing really pushed this day over the edge. Oh, and J.D. Martinez was scratched shortly before first pitch. Cool day!

J.D. Martinez scratched from starting lineup

The biggest piece of news from this game came before it even started. Originally, J.D. Martinez was pencilled in as the number three hitter and playing left field. However, he wouldn’t end up making the start there, instead getting scratched shortly before first pitch with a tight back. It’s unclear right now how serious this issue is — Alex Cora said Martinez will receive treatment on Thursday and they’ll move from there — but anyone who has had back issues knows they can certainly linger. Of course, I am not a professional athlete with a world-class training system, so perhaps using my personal experience here isn’t prudent. For now, there’s nothing we can do but wait for more news and hope for the best.

Nathan Eovaldi solid in first outing

After Wednesday’s game, all five members of the presumed Opening Day rotation have made starts for the Red Sox (Chris Sale’s was against minor-league competition), with Nathan Eovaldi being the last to take the mound. He got the start in this game and was fine. The good news is he didn’t allow many baserunners, giving up just a hit and a walk over his three innings of work. The bad news is that one hit was a solo home run off the bat of Byron Buxton. Eovaldi also didn’t miss a whole lot of bats, striking out just one Twins batter in the outings. This game wasn’t televised so it’s hard to say how his stuff looked, but it seemed he was mostly hard to square up, obviously excluding that home run. This game on the whole wasn’t great for the Red Sox, but Eovaldi (mostly) got off on the right foot for 2019.

Brian Johnson had a bad day

Boston’s pitching on the whole was far from perfect on Wednesday, and when a team allows nine runs over the course of a spring training game it is rarely on just one guy. That is the case here, as all five Red Sox pitchers who recorded at least three outs allowed at least one run. However, Brian Johnson was clearly the worst pitcher for Boston in this one. The southpaw, who is probably going to start the sixth game of the season, came in for the fifth and was great there. He had an easy 1-2-3 inning in that frame with two ground outs and a strikeout. In the sixth, though, he got rocked. Johnson allowed a single and a double to start things off, then after a ground out he gave up an RBI single and a three-run home run. Just like that, a game that was tied at two at the start of the inning saw the Twins up by four. Johnson wouldn’t make it out of that inning, and after this four-run outings his spring ERA is up to 14.40 in five innings of work.

Other Notes

  • There’s wasn’t a ton to write home about in this game for the lineup, but Blake Swihart continues to make his case to make the Opening Day roster. The catcher was one of two Red Sox players with multiple hits on Wednesday, going 2-3 with both hits being doubles. He’s now up to a 1.032 OPS this spring, and while results this time of year shoudn’t influence decisions much at all it’s certainly better for him to do this than to struggle.
  • The other multi-hit game belonged to Xander Bogaerts, who went 2-2 with a pair of singles and a run scored. The Red Sox shortstop has been up and down this spring, but he’s got a solid .833 OPS.
  • Jackie Bradley Jr. got off to a scorching start to 2019, but he’s cooled off in a big way of late. After mashing for his first three games, Bradley has now gone hitless in his last seven games. On Wednesday, he went 0-3 with two strikeouts.
  • Colten Brewer came in after Eovaldi and he struggled a bit. After a leadoff double he was hurt by an error from Bogaerts, but he then followed that up with a ground out that results in an unearned run and he also hit a batter. Brewer certainly hasn’t been terrible this spring, but the righty hasn’t been great either and he may have had to be great to make the Opening Day roster.