The Red Sox undefeated run to start off the 2020 season ends at two games. Sunday was their first game away from the friendly confines of Fenway South, and leaving home did not go well with Boston dropping this afternoon’s game to the Orioles by a score of 11-5. It should of course be noted that there weren’t really any regulars making the trip up to Sarasota, as is normally the case early in the spring for road games. Anyway, some notes!
Rough day for fifth starter auditions
The first two pitchers for Boston on Sunday were Chris Mazza and Matt Hall, both of whom are new additions picked up earlier in the winter and both of whom are part of the large group of pitchers vying for that open fifth starters spot. Neither made a particularly good impression here. Mazza tossed the first two innings and wasn’t really fooling anyone. He gave up back-to-back singles to start the game before issuing a walk to load the bases with nobody out. To his credit, he came back with a strikeout and a double play, so no runs scored. In the second he walked the leadoff man before a single moved the runner to third and then a ground out drove him in. So, Mazza allowed only the one run but he also allowed five baserunners in just two innings.
Hall, meanwhile, came in for the third but would only end up pitching the one inning. After getting a quick first out, the southpaw couldn’t keep the runner off the bases, issuing a walk before allowing three straight singles. That brought one run across and then a sacrifice fly allowed a second to score. Hall would allow one more walk, but no more runs, and in total allowed two runs and five baserunners in just one inning of work.
Obviously, we’ll throw in the caveat that we throw in every time we get the chance this time of year: Spring training results aren’t super important, particularly when it’s still February. That said, this is obviously a contested battle for that fifth rotation spot and everyone is looking to make as good of an impression as possible. It didn’t quite work out for either of these guys.
It was mostly a disappointing day for Red Sox players, but prospect Jarren Duran made an impact both in the field and at the plate. First was with the glove, where he showed off some of the athleticism that helps mask his inexperience in the outfield, tracking a ball all the way back to the wall for a running, over-the-shoulder catch. He may have been able to take a better route, but it was a nice play whichever way you slice it. Then, in the very next half-inning he launched one off the wall in center field that bounced away from the center fielder. Duran used his legs to easily get into third for a triple, eventually coming in to score in the next at bat for Boston’s first run of the day. He also had a single in his next at bat.
Duran isn’t going to make the roster out of camp, but he’s a name to watch on the farm and could be in the bigs for good by next season.
- Kevin Plawecki made his Red Sox debut on Sunday. The catcher had a pretty nice day at the plate, getting a single in the first inning and then bringing home Duran with a ground out in his next at bat.
- Josh Ockimey smacked Boston’s first homer of 2020 in the ninth. The game was obviously out of hand at this point, but homers are always good. He got a ball down and in and absolutely unloaded on it, sending the ball a billion feet out down the right field line.
- Red Sox hitters who got hits in this game who haven’t been mentioned: John Andreoli and Cole Sturgeon, both of whom got doubles, as well as Rusney Castillo, who had a single.
- Red Sox pitchers to appear after those first two mentioned above: Enmanuel De Jesus, Bobby Poyner, Yoan Aybar, Jhonathan Diaz, Adam Lau and Konner Wade. Only De Jesus, Lau and Wade had a scoreless day, and Lau’s was only for one out, though it was a strikeout.
The Red Sox have a pair of games tomorrow with some split-squad action. Part of the team will be heading across town to take on the Twins, with Nathan Eovaldi getting the start. That one will be broadcast on the Twins network and can be seen by MLB.TV subscribers. It will also be on radio on 850 AM WEEI. The other half of the team will hit the road to play the Rays, with Tanner Houck getting the start. There’s no local radio broadcast on that one, though you can also watch that one on MLB.TV with the Rays broadcast. It will also be replayed on MLB Network at 6:00 AM ET on Tuesday.