The Red Sox were supposed to play Friday’s game with Chris Sale on the mound, but after he agreed to his five-year extension he was announced as a healthy scratch. Presumably it was so he could undergo his physical, though as far as I know that was never confirmed. Either way, he didn’t pitch and Dan Runzler took his place. The first two innings weren’t too exciting as far as who was pitching, but the offense continued the roll they got on Thursday. Things are starting to click here, and a couple of the relievers had some strong days too.
The offense stays hot
I don’t think many people have been concerned about the Red Sox offense this spring, and for good reason, but they still haven’t really performed as well as we’d like. Even if it’s not overly concerning, it’s also not all that fun to watch. Over the last couple of days, though, they are starting to get hot with the bat and it is exactly the right time. That continued on Friday as they got off to as hot a start as possible and kept it going in a blowout win. Friday began with a bang as Andrew Benintendi took the first pitch he saw and he launched one way out to right field for a leadoff homer. He would leave the game after this, for reasons unknown at this point.
The Red Sox offense only kept rolling after that leadoff homer, scoring two more in that first inning. Then, in the third, they really exploded to the tune of three home runs. Jackie Bradley Jr., who had cooled off after his hot start to the spring, Christian Vázquez and Gorkys Hernández all hit home runs in that third inning. In all, the Red Sox offense scored ten runs on the night, showing some glimpses of the offense we saw in 2018.
Brandon Workman impresses
With all eyes on the bullpen right now, the relievers in every game have to be feeling some pressure. All but a couple are truly pitching for a roster spot, with some facing either a roster spot or a trip to the waiver wire. Brandon Workman is one of those guys, and he hasn’t quite looked like himself of late. He’s dealt with some dead arm, which has brought his velocity down and as a result he’s gotten shelled. On Friday, he looked a hell of a lot better, to put it mildly. Workman had his velocity back up in the low-90s on a consistent basis and his command looked a lot better. As a result, the righty struck out all three batters he faced in what was by far his best performance of the spring. Every outing matters right now, and he did exactly what he had to do.
- Xander Bogaerts gave us a bit of a scare in the second inning. There, the Twins had a bloop hit to left field that eventually led to a rundown involving Byron Buxton between home and third. At the end of it, Buxton slammed into Bogaerts in front of the third base bag. The out was recorded to end the inning, but after the play Bogaerts immediately threw his glove to the ground and grabbed his shoulder. Things looked bad, but he remained in the game after being looked at by the trainer. Everything seems fine, so we can breath a sigh of relief.
- Besides Workman, the Red Sox got appearances from Ryan Brasier, Colten Brewer and Jenrry Mejia. The first two looked very good in their outings. Brasier is obviously going to be on the Opening Day roster, and I think Brewer’s made a solid case for himself as well. Mejia, meanwhile, struggled in this one allowing two runs on two doubles and a single in an inning of work. The righty gave himself a real chance at making the Opening Day roster, but I’d guess that’s out the window now.