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Red Sox 11, Tigers 11: The first blown ninth inning of 2020

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It had to come some time!

MLB: Spring Training-Boston Red Sox at Detroit Tigers Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Well, maybe it was good this wasn’t on TV after all. Obviously we know spring training game results don’t really matter, but it’s still not all that fun watching a bullpen melt down and blow a big lead. That’s what happened to the Red Sox, who entered the bottom of the ninth with an 11-6 lead and went home with an 11-11 tie. Some notes!

Ryan Weber looks good

The end of this game was bad, but let’s focus on some good stuff first. We’ll start at the very beginning with Ryan Weber on the mound. The righty was on the inside looking out when camp started and only one rotation spot was up for grabs, and now with two he holds all the cards to get a rotation spot. All he has to do is not blow up this spring, and he’s off to a good start on that front. After a solid first outing he followed it up with another good one on Monday. Going up against an admittedly weak Tigers lineup, Weber tossed three innings in which he allowed just a single unearned run (due to an error from José Peraza) on three singles. He also struck out six. Weber doesn’t have a huge ceiling, but given the options he is the best bet right now to go out and give the Red Sox something like five innings and three or so runs every five days. Nothing to throw a parade about, but it gives the team a chance to win most nights.

Hope you like prospect power

The Red Sox scored 11 runs today, which obviously means their bats were doing work. Boston had a good number of regulars or hopeful regulars in the top half of the lineup, but it was a few prospects who showed off the biggest bats. Marcus Wilson got started first, smacking a three-run shot off lefty Daniel Norris in the second to give the Red Sox a 4-1 lead. Then, in the next inning, Bobby Dalbec got in on the fun hitting a three-run shot of his own off of Norris to extend the lead to six runs. Finally, in the eighth, Connor Wong had come in off the bench and in his second at bat he smacked his second homer of the spring with a two-run dinger off Anthony Castro.

Wilson and Dalbec are already on the 40-man roster, both having been added prior to the Rule 5 Draft this past winter. Dalbec is more likely to make an impact this year, but Wilson has a decent chance at coming up in his own right with a strong performance in Pawtucket and some injury concerns in the outfield. Wong is more of a 2021 at the earliest prospect, but given his presence in the Mookie Betts deal he certainly has a lot of eyes on him.

Your daily battle update

The starter battle in this game basically came down to Weber, who was discussed above. He did well.

In the battle for those last two bullpen slots, there was Colten Brewer and Phillips Valdez. The former was very good, tossing a perfect inning with two strikeouts. Valdez, meanwhile, had a very easy 1-2-3 eighth inning. The ninth was not so hot, as he was the main troublemaker in that blown lead. He walked two, threw a wild pitch and gave up three singles en route to five runs while recording two outs.

As we move over to the bench, Jonathan Arauz, Tzu-Wei Lin and Marco Hernández all got in the game as substitutions. Arauz went 0-2, Hernández went 1-2 with a single, and Lin went 1-2 with a double and a walk.

Finally, at the catcher position, both Kevin Plawecki and Jonathan Lucroy started in this one. The former actually played behind the plate and the latter was a DH. Plawecki got three plate appearances and went 1-2 with a single and a walk while Lucroy got four plate appearances and went 1-3 with a single and a walk.

Other Notes

  • Matt Barnes made his spring debut in this one and was very good. He tossed a perfect inning with a strikeout.
  • Denyi Reyes was taken off the 40-man this past winter after an uneven 2019 in Double-A. He struggled today as well, allowing four runs in two innings on five hits, two of which were homers.
  • Michael Chavis was really the only hitter who had a tough day, going 0-3 with two strikeouts.
  • Rusney Castillo had a nice day at the plate, going 2-2. He is now hitting .538 this spring with an OPS over 1.000.
  • Also pitching who hasn’t been mentioned yet was Adam Lau, who allowed the game-tying home run in the ninth before ending the game.
  • Also getting hits who haven’t been mentioned yet were: Jantzen Witte, who had a double, and Jackie Bradley Jr., José Peraza, Kevin Pillar, and Josh Ockimey, who all had singles.

BOX

The Red Sox are back up north again tomorrow to take on the Yankees in Tampa. We’ll be able to watch this one as ESPN is broadcasting the game. First pitch is at 1:05 PM ET.