Yowza. The Red Sox took on their biggest rivals on Friday, and, well, let’s just say things didn’t go super well. The offense managed just one run against New York’s pitching, which did include mostly guys who are expected to be on their Opening Day roster to be fair. Still, it wasn’t what you want. Meanwhile, Boston’s pitching — which featured maybe one or two guys who have a chance at the Opening Day roster, and they are fringy — imploded to allow 14 runs. The Red Sox have had better days, is what I’m trying to say.
Bobby Poyner gets roughed up
One of the aforementioned Red Sox pitchers who has a chance to make the Opening Day roster is Bobby Poyner. He did not make a great case for himself to get on that roster. The southpaw came on in the fourth, and after getting a pop up to kick things off everything went downhill immediately. Troy Tulowitzki drew a walk, DJ LeMahieu doubled to knock in a run, Brett Gardner singled, Trey Amburgery knocked in a run on a sacrifice fly, Giancarlo Stanton and Luke Voit both doubled and just like that Poyner’s day was over. Jordan Weems — a former catching prospect who has since converted to pitching — came on and allowed one inherited runner to score. By the end of the inning, Poyner had been charged with five runs over just 2⁄3 of an inning. I would say he was probably on the outside looking in for an Opening Day spot before this outing, but this certainly didn’t help matters. To be fair, prior to this outing he had allowed just two runs in seven innings of work. Something tells me he’ll be looking forward to his next outing to get the bad taste out of his mouth.
Hector Velázquez struggles, too
The Red Sox decided to keep Rick Porcello back at Fort Myers to pitch in a minor-league game, so Hector Velázquez got the call to start Friday’s game. The battle for that last bullpen spot has no clear answer in my eyes, but I think Velázquez has the best case before factoring in spring performance. The Red Sox are going with a six-man rotation to start the year and likely want to limit the workload for their starters early, meaning having a long reliever in the bullpen could be important. However, Velázquez hasn’t been making a strong case for himself. In this game, he had a good enough first inning where he allowed just a double, but the second was a disaster. The righty quickly loaded the bases on two singles and a walk. Then, with one out, Rafael Devers was eaten up by a chopper (he got caught in between hops, showing he still has some work to do on reading those types of plays) for a costly error. After that, Velázquez allowed a sac fly and his day was done. Adam Lau came in to try and finish off the inning, but Aaron Judge hit a three-run shot and just like that it was 5-0. Velázquez has been shelled all spring, and he’s now allowed 12 runs (9 earned) over 8 1⁄3 innings. At this point it’s hard to see him getting an Opening Day spot.
- J.D. Martinez was back in the starting lineup after being scratched a couple days ago with a tight back. He went 1-3 with a single.
- The only multi-hit game for the Red Sox came from Andrew Benintendi, who went 2-3 with a run and a strikeout. It was nice to see from the Red Sox leadoff man, as he had just two hits in his previous five games. Steve Pearce had a double while Rafael Devers and minor-leaguer Josh Tobias each had singles.
- The best performance on the mound for the Red Sox was from Jenrry Mejia, who has had a really solid spring to this point. The former Mets closer tossed a 1-2-3 third with a strikeout. I don’t think Mejia has a realistic shot at making the Opening Day roster, but he might have a better chance at contributing at some point than I originally gave him credit for.