The Red Sox travelled to take on the Orioles on Wednesday, with a good number of regulars making the trip, but not all of them. Mookie Betts, J.D. Martinez and Xander Bogaerts all had the day off. Without them, the offense struggled to get much going against Dylan Bundy. The minor leaguers who came on later in the game had a nice rally late (with the help of some miserable defense by Baltimore) to get the win, but the early performance was what matters more for our purposes. On the mound, Rick Porcello was solid even if he wasn’t spectacular while the bullpen was more of a mixed bag.
Rick Porcello doesn’t overpower, but is fine
As I said, Porcello got the start for the Red Sox on Wednesday in what is expected to be his second-to-last outing of the spring. Boston was hoping to get him up to 75 pitches on the day, but he didn’t get up that high. Don’t worry, though, as it was actually because he was too efficient, and he finished up his work in the bullpen. Porcello needed only 58 pitches to get through five innings of work, and Alex Cora and company wanted to get a look at some of the relievers battling for roster spots. So, Porcello was pulled after five. Before that, he did give up a big home run to Cedric Mullins in the first at bat of the night for Baltimore, though he settled down some after that. He still wasn’t perfect, allowing some hard contact scattered around the outing, but he threw strikes all day. In all, he allowed the one run on the homer, three singles and a walk while striking out one. You’d obviously like to see an outing without a long ball from Porcello, but all things considered this is a fine step towards the end of camp.
Bobby Poyner leads the way in the bullpen
As I mentioned above, the Red Sox wanted to get some work for their bullpen, which is why Porcello only went five innings. Three guys ended up working the last four innings, with two of them struggling a bit. Bobby Poyner was the third, though, and he looked good. It should obviously be mentioned that he had the last two innings of the game when Baltimore’s minor leaguers were in the game. So, we probably shouldn’t read too much into this performance. Still, Poyner is in the thick of the battle for one of the final two bullpen spots, and he tossed two scoreless innings with three strikeouts while allowing just a single.
Prior to the lefty coming in to finish things off, Jenrry Mejia and Heath Hembree had the sixth and seventh innings, respectively. Mejia has had a somewhat eye-opening spring so far, but largely late in games against weaker competition. He was facing better hitters in this one, and he struggled. The righty allowed a pair of runs on two doubles and a single, though he did strike out two. I’d expect him to get another early-ish appearance before spring is over, though I still would be totally shocked if he made the Opening Day roster. Hembree, meanwhile, is a lock for the Opening Day roster and he made a big mistake to Dwight Smith Jr., who launched a solo home run. Hembree also gave up a single in his inning of work.
- There really isn’t a ton to note here from the offense. Andrew Benintendi had a couple of singles, which is nice to see after he struggled for much of the middle part of this month. Jackie Bradley Jr. also got on base twice with a single and a HBP.
- On the other end of the spectrum, Eduardo Núñez, Mitch Moreland, Brock Holt and Christian Vázquez all went hitless.
- That late-game rally was aided by weird defense, a passed ball and a wild pitch. The Red Sox also drew a couple of walks, Aneury Tavarez had a double to start the rally and Sandy León had a big single.