The Red Sox were facing the Yankees on Saturday, who were in a split squad game and sending the part of the squad without Gerrit Cole (who pitched in their other game), so that should have been a good sign. Unfortunately, the Red Sox still couldn’t grab the victory thanks to some bad defense and a lack of offense. New York ended up going home with a 5-2 victory in this one. Some notes!
A good start for Eduardo Rodriguez
The most important thing about this game for the Red Sox was that Eduardo Rodriguez took the mound. After a minor setback with his knee early in camp, he hadn’t pitched yet to this point and we’re reaching a point where you have to get on the mound. He did just that and he did well, too. It certainly wasn’t a perfect outing and he had one of his patented start a count 0-2 and have it go full kind of at bat early on, but all in all it’s hard to complain. Rodriguez ended up tossing three scoreless innings with six strikeouts. He was perfect in the first with two Ks and then in the second he got off to a rough start on a wall-ball double and a line drive single, but a strikeout and a double play got him out of this jam. He came back in the third by striking out the side. The key for Rodriguez is going to be health and simply getting work in more than anything else, but we’ll take these kind of outings along the way, too.
Your daily battle update
The Red Sox had just one rotation hopeful taking the mound in this one, but he did well in it. Brian Johnson finished this one off, tossing two perfect innings with a pair of strikeouts. It should obviously be noted that the end of games doesn’t feature the best hitters, but Johnson did well with his opportunity and with the extra rotation spot open I think he has a fairly decent chance of getting himself back on the roster.
Moving to the bullpen battle, Heath Hembree is probably locked in for a spot, but he struggled a bit today. To be fair, he was messed up by a missed pop up by Christian Vázquez in front of the plate with the bases loaded, but Hembree also gave up a base hit and walked two while recording two outs. He allowed three runs, but they were all unearned. Like I said, his job is almost certainly safe, but if he blows up this spring and other guys perform well, it’s not out of the question they move on.
Elsewhere, Ryan Brasier got an appearance right before Hembree. I had Brasier on my initial roster projection, but he didn’t do himself a ton of favors here. The righty, in his first appearance of the spring, allowed a run on two singles and a double. He also struck out a batter. Later, Jeffrey Springs came on for a perfect inning in which he struck out every batter he faced. That’s a statement in a big spot.
Moving over to the bench, all three of Jonathan Arauz, Tzu-Wei Lin and Marco Hernández came in as subs. Lin had the best game — and played in center field, which helps his case for versatility — smacking a pair of singles in three at bats. Arauz and Hernández both walked in 0-1 showings.
In the catcher battle, Jonathan Lucroy started this one at DH. He struck out twice and drew a walk. It feels like I’m on an island here, but I’m still leaning Plawecki for the backup catcher spot.
- Juan Centeno is catcher depth rather than being an Opening Day roster option, but he had a tough moment today. The catcher hurt himself running into first base. It looked bad when it happened, but it’s not broken, which is a relief.
- José Peraza had a nice game at the plate, getting himself a double and a single and scoring one of the two runs from Boston in the game.
- Also getting a hit today who hasn’t been mentioned was Bobby Dalbec, who had a single.
- Also pitching today who hasn’t been mentioned was: Mike Shawaryn, who came in to finish Hembree’s inning and walked in a run before getting out of it, and also Yoan Aybar, he allowed a run on a double and a single over an inning of work.
The Red Sox are back in action, and back on TV, tomorrow afternoon against the Braves. That one will also be on MLB Network if you’re out of market. First pitch is at 1:05 PM ET.