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Red Sox 12, Orioles 4: Connor Wong hits a grand slam

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The Red Sox crushed the Orioles, something we should hopefully say a bunch of times this year.

MLB: Spring Training-Baltimore Orioles at Boston Red Sox
This guy hit a dinger too
David Dermer-USA TODAY Sports

After the Red Sox played two road games on Monday and won zero of them, they returned home Tuesday and were looking to get back in the win column. They did so in a big way with a 12-4 drubbing of the Orioles, which is something they should hopefully do to the Orioles a bunch this year. Some notes!

Connor Wong and Jackie Bradley Jr. go deep

The Red Sox had two homers in their big day at the plate, and we’ll start with the second one. Connor Wong — a prospect who Boston got as part of the Mookie Betts trade and who I wrote about earlier today — didn’t get the start behind the plate today but he did come in for Christian Vázquez (who had a single and himself in two at bats today) midway through the game. Wong came up with the bases loaded in the fifth, with the Red Sox having already gotten three across the plate (they’d score eight in the inning) and he jumped on one from Baltimore pitcher Zach Muckenhirn for a grand slam. There was no broadcast here, but from what people were saying on the ol’ Twitter machine, it was a deep one. That Wong has power is no secret — it’s the hit tool that’s the question on offense — but it’s nice to see it in action, even if it’s just spring training.

Earlier in the game it was Jackie Bradley Jr. doing the damage. The center fielder, who played right today, had a pair of base hits on Monday and built upon that for Tuesday’s game. In the fourth, facing Zac Lowther, he smoked a two-run shot for his first homer of 2020.

Ryan Weber gets off to a good start

That Ryan Weber is the favorite for the fifth starter spot says more about the Red Sox rotation situation than anything else, but the fact remains that there is a decent chance he is on the Opening Day roster. So, it behooves everyone for him to get some momentum this spring, and he got off to the start he was looking for on Tuesday. Again, the mandatory caveat that this was a road spring training lineup from the Orioles, but Weber tossed two scoreless innings with a strikeout, allowing just a pair of singles We’ll take it, and at the very least this wasn’t an outing that will do anything to change his status as favorite in this position battle.

Other Notes

  • The offense was the story here, as one would expect in a 12-run explosion. I mentioned the two homers from Wong and Bradley as well as the two hits for Vázquez. Kevin Pillar, who didn’t get the start today, came to the plate three times in the second half of the game and got on base all three times with a single, a double and a walk. Mitch Moreland had himself a triple (and later scored on the Bradley homer) and Ryder Jones had a double. Getting singles who haven’t been mentioned yet were: Bobby Dalbec, Tzu-Wei Lin, Grant Williams, Tommy Joseph and Nick Longhi.
  • Mike Kickham had himself a rough day. The minor-league signing came in after Weber but couldn’t make it through his two scheduled innings. He tossed 1 23 innings, allowing four runs on a walk, two doubles and a single. It’s worth noting that one of the runs was unearned, but also that he was the one who made the error.
  • Speaking of defense, it was a rough day behind the plate as Vázquez allowed a passed ball and Wong allowed two. Plus, Kickham threw two wild pitches and Domingo Tapia threw one as well. Without video, it’s impossible to say how much blame goes to the catchers or the pitchers for any of these.
  • Along with Weber, Brian Johnson was the other fifth starter competitor who took the mound today. He tossed a scoreless inning with a strikeout, allowing just a single.
  • Also pitching today who hasn’t been mentioned were: Hunter Haworth and Denyi Reyes.

BOX

The Red Sox head out on the road to Bradenton to take on the Pirates on Wednesday. That one will not be broadcast on NESN, but it is on the Pirates station which means it will be available on MLB.TV. It’s also on radio on 850 AM WEEI. I haven’t seen an indication of who will start that one.