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Red Sox 5, Phillies 12: The pitching gets knocked around

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Between this and the Sale news, Red Sox pitching has had better days.

MLB: Spring Training-Philadelphia Phillies at Boston Red Sox Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports

The Red Sox had a rough afternoon down in Fort Myers, particularly with respect to their pitching staff. Before the game even started the bad news started raining down, as Ron Roenicke told the media that Chris Sale would indeed start the year on the 15-day injured list. Then, the game started and things didn’t get any better for Red Sox pitchers. There were no injuries, to be fair, but, well, the final score was 12-5 in favor of the Phillies. Some notes!

A lot of crooked numbers

Like I said, the Red Sox had some bad pitching in this one. It is worth noting that this wasn’t on TV so we don’t really have a basis on which to judge this besides the boxscore, which can be misleading at times. That said, yikes. There were a couple of good outings which we’ll get to in a minute, but for now, the bad ones. Chris Mazza was the second pitcher for Boston in this game. He is one of the many fighting for what is now two open roster spots, and he has not made the best first impression. In this one he threw a single inning, allowing a single, a double, a homer and two walks en route to three runs. He did get a couple strikeouts, too. He’s now allowed four runs in three innings over his first two outings this spring.

Darwinzon Hernandez, who is basically guaranteed a roster spot to start the year barring injury, came on next. He didn’t walk anyone, which is a good sign, but he allowed a run on a single and a double in his inning of work. Bobby Poyner, who has an outside shot at an Opening Day spot, allowed two runs in an inning. Daniel McGrath, who could be a sleeper for rotation depth later in the year, allowed a run on three hits and a walk in one inning. R.J. Alvarez, who was a minor-league signing who is likely just Triple-A depth, allowed four runs on six hits in an inning. It is worth noting that all six hits were singles, though. And then Eudard Bazardo, who had a good spring debut, struggled in this second outing, allowing a run on two hits and two walks while recording just one out. He could be relief depth in the second half.

Strong days for Bryan Mata and Phillips Valdez

While most of the pitchers struggled on Thursday, there were a couple of bright spots hidden in there. Bryan Mata, arguably the top pitching prospect in the system, got the start in this one. He certainly wasn’t perfect, but he did get through a pair of scoreless innings with two strikeouts. He also issued a walk and two singles. It is worth noting that the Phillies had mostly major leaguers in their lineup, which matters considering Mata has half a season as high as Double-A and is only 20 years old.

Later in the game, Phillips Valdez made an appearance. The righty was claimed off waivers by the Red Sox less than a week ago, and this was his first time pitching in a Boston uniform. He made a good first impression, tossing a perfect inning that included three strikeouts.

I’ll also note that Matthew Kent came on after Bazardo couldn’t finish his inning and got two outs without allowing a baserunner.

Other Notes

  • Jonathan Arauz, a Rule 5 Draft pick from December who needs to make the roster to stick with the organization (the Astros could theoretically not take him back, but that’s unlikely), has been getting the starts with the regulars in the home games. I doubt there’s much to read into there, but I’ve noticed it! Anyway, he hit a homer in this game. If I was a betting man, I’d bet he’ll make the roster.
  • Jonathan Lucroy has been making some noise over the last week or so. He caught Chris Sale in some side sessions and it seems like the beat writers are nearing a consensus that he’ll make the team over Kevin Plawecki despite the latter getting a major-league deal and Lucroy getting a minor-league one. Lucroy made his spring debut on Thursday and went 1-2 with a double.
  • Andrew Benintendi is getting ready for a role as a leadoff hitter, and he’s looking very good in that role early on. He smacked a single in his first at bat today, and also drew a walk later.
  • Other Red Sox player with a hit not mentioned yet were: Bobby Dalbec and John Andreoli, both of whom had doubles, and Tzu-Wei Lin, Mitch Moreland and Marcus Wilson, who all had a single.

BOX

The Red Sox are on the road on Friday, but they won’t have to travel very far as they take on their crosstown rival Twins in Fort Myers. That one starts at 1:05 PM ET, but there is no TV broadcast. It’ll be on the radio on 850 AM WEEI.