The Red Sox are on a little bit of a roll the last few days in spring training, and they got some good pitching for a second consecutive day for another low-scoring win. This time it was a rough start, but the bullpen held on and Boston left with a 3-2 victory. Some notes!
The bullpen comes through
There is some concern around the Red Sox bullpen, but they have had mostly good showings this spring and had a really impressive afternoon on Tuesday. The starter didn’t do so well, which we’ll get to, but the bullpen stopped the Cardinals’ momentum. Josh Taylor was the first to get the call, and he had an extremely easy inning, retiring all three batters he faced. Matt Barnes came on next and was even better, not only retiring all three batters he faced but doing so with three strikeouts. This is the year for Barnes. I can feel it. (Please do not remember this declaration unless it comes true. Thank you.)
Colten Brewer may have had the best day, though. The righty came on in the sixth and struck out the first two batters he saw then got a groundout. In the seventh, he allowed a leadoff single but got the next two batters after that. He came out for a third inning, too, retiring the first two batters he faced before getting pulled. Brewer is fighting for a bullpen spot and the team could use someone who can go multiple innings. This was a big, big showing in his fight for that role. Robinson Leyer, who is minor-league depth, and allowed a couple of singles but no runs to finish out the last inning and a third.
Your daily battle update
I covered the bullpen above, but also alluded to some trouble with the starter. That starter was Brian Johnson, who I thought could have the inside track for a rotation spot. He didn’t solidify that in this one. The lefty did make it through three innings of work, but he immediately got into trouble with two walks and two singles in the first to allow one run. That was the only run he’d give up and he did settle down a bit after that, but he still allowed another walk and another single over his next two frames. It’s hard to say without a broadcast how bad it was because there are a lot of different kinds of singles, but just three walks in three innings is not great. It wasn’t a disaster outing, but that fifth spot is still wide open. That Johnson is not on the 40-man also means he probably has to do a little extra to make the roster.
Moving to the position player side, Jonathan Araúz got the start but had a rough day. He went 0-3 with a strikeout. Marco Hernández came in off the bench and went 0-1. Meanwhile, Kevin Plawecki didn’t play but Jonathan Lucroy came in off the bench and went 0-1 with a walk.
- Xander Bogaerts is really struggling. He is still without a hit after his late start to the spring and has seven strikeouts in his first 12 at bats. I’d be more worried if we weren’t still over two weeks away from Opening Day.
- Kevin Pillar, on the other hand, is having a good spring and had a good day here, going 2-2 with a double, a walk and two runs scored. Christian Vázquez and Chad De La Guerra also had doubles.
- Also getting hits in this game who have not been mentioned were: Rafael Devers, Mitch Moreland, and Jantzen Witte.
The Red Sox have another day game on Wednesday as they head out on the road to take on the Rays for a game that starts at 6:35 PM ET. NESN will have the broadcast for this one.