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Red Sox 1, Twins 4: Another quiet day for the bats

A clunker of a spring continues.

MLB: Spring Training-New York Mets at Boston Red Sox
J.D. Martinez did not have a quiet day.
Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

The Red Sox lost another one on Monday, this time falling to their crosstown rival Twins. Making the short trip to face off against Minnesota, a lineup full of major leaguers struggled to get much of anything going against José Berríos (the Twins Opening Day starter) and Minnesota’s bullpen. There were a couple good days at the plate, but it was mostly rough. On the mound, there was some good and some bad, with a big adjustment made for one guy.

J.D. Martinez highlights rough day for the offense

The biggest takeaway on the field for the Red Sox on Monday was the rough performance from the offense, who managed only one run despite seven hits and four walks. There were a lot of runners left on base, and Boston’s bats went just 1-6 with runners in scoring position. J.D. Martinez had the best day for Boston’s offense, as the DH got on base in all three trips to the plate. He had two singles, one of which knocked in his team’s lone run, and also drew a walk. Sam Travis, who came in for the latter portion of the game, also had two hits including a ninth inning double. The only other extra-base hit belonged to minor league shortstop Jeremy Rivera. Andrew Benintendi, who had taken the previous few days to work on his swing in minor-league games, did get one base hit, and Mookie Betts reached twice on a pair of walks. The bottom five hitters in the starting lineup — Xander Bogaerts, Mitch Moreland, Brock Holt, Jackie Bradley Jr. and Christian Vázquez — all went hitless with Bradley drawing the lone walk among that group.

Nathan Eovaldi not great, not terrible

The owner of the newest contract of any pitcher in the Red Sox rotation took the mound for Boston on Monday. Nathan Eovaldi made the start, and he had some good moments and some bad ones. His velocity was up, of course, and he had some strong showings. That helped him strike out three batters in his four innings of work while walking one. However, he also made a few mistakes including a big one to Eddie Rosario. Vázquez called for a strike zone up above the zone and Eovaldi left it just a bit too far down. Rosario punished him for it, walloping one way over the wall in right field for a two-run homer in the first inning. In all, Eovaldi allowed those two runs on the homer, a double and two singles plus the aforementioned walk. This was the righty’s second outing of the spring, with the first also coming against the Twins. He’s allowed one homer in each outing, though that was his only mistake the first time out. Eovaldi did have better swing-and-miss stuff in this one, though.

Matt Barnes struggles, then recovers

Matt Barnes, the most likely closer for the Red Sox in 2019, came on for the fifth inning after Eovaldi’s day was over. He got off to a rough start. Bogaerts was charged with an error to start the inning, and he should have made the catch, but Byron Buxton rocketed a line drive at the shortstop. Even if it should have been an out, it was very hard contact. After a stolen base and a pop out, Barnes allowed a base hit and a double to score two runs. The righty did turn things around, though, saying he realized he was tipping his pitches. He hasn’t had the best of springs so far, but we’ve seen some flashes of why the Red Sox may be confident in him at the back of their bullpen. Despite my known feelings on the team’s inactivity on the reliever market this winter, it’s also likely known by most that I have plenty of confidence in Barnes. Hopefully that realization of pitch tipping will get him on a roll and have him feeling good heading into the regular season.

Other Notes

  • Brandon Workman came on after Barnes, and he looked solid again. He certainly wasn’t perfect and allowed a couple of base knocks, but he didn’t allow any runs or walks. He also struck out a batter.
  • The last two innings belonged to Ryan Weber. He looked outstanding and was easily the best Red Sox pitcher, tossing two perfect innings with three strikeouts. Weber was a minor-league signing this winter, but he has looked solid all spring and has a real chance at claiming one of the Opening Day roster spots.