This was not a great day for the Red Sox. Before their game against the Yankees up in Tampa even got underway, news broke that Chris Sale was suffering from some elbow soreness and was having an MRI reviewed by Dr. James Andrews. Then the game actually got started and, well, things didn’t get any better. The Yankees jumped out to a huge early lead and ended taking this one with a final score of 9-1. Some notes!
Martín Pérez has had better days
With the Sale news looming, the spotlight on the other Red Sox starters only grows brighter and the pressure only grows. Martín Pérez is one of those guys, and for as long as Sale may be out he slides in as the number three starter, of course assuming health from the other spots. He did not inspire a ton of confidence on Tuesday! The southpaw couldn’t make it out of his first inning of work, allowing six runs while recording only two outs. Now, to be fair, he was not as bad as that line sounds. All four of the hits he allowed were singles and he was hurt badly by a throwing error from C.J. Chatham as well as his own mistake on an infield single where he was beaten in a footrace by Gary Sánchez due to a late start. He also threw a couple of wild pitches. So, there was some bad luck sprinkled in, but as we talked about on Monday you open yourself up to that stuff coming back to bite you when you fail to miss bats and struggle with consistent control. I would certainly never encourage anyone to get too high or too low on a player based on spring training performances, but this does show, in a general sense, how you can make your own luck.
A couple of positives
This was a mostly negative game, but it’s worth pointing out two positives to come out of this one. The first is Rafael Devers, who continues to just be a delight. In the fourth, he got a ball down and in from exciting young Yankee arm Clarke Schmidt and blasted it way out to right-center field for his second dinger of the spring. Don’t be surprised if we see a good number of games like this where a Devers homer is the one thing to smile about.
On the pitching side, Austin Brice continues to march towards a spot in the Opening Day bullpen. He seems to be winning that battle and had another good outing on Tuesday, tossing a perfect inning with a pair of strikeouts. He now has 3 2⁄3 scoreless innings under his belt this spring with two hits, one walk and six strikeouts.
Your daily battle update
The Red Sox used a bunch of pitchers today, but none of them are fighting for a rotation spot. No, Pérez will not be taken out of the rotation. In the bullpen, though, we got looks at a bunch of guys. I mentioned Brice above, who like I said, I believe has an inside track at an Opening Day spot. There was one other guy vying for a spot pitching today as well. Josh Osich could be one of the favorites and he did get through a scoreless inning, though it was far from perfect. The southpaw loaded the bases on a single and a pair of walks. He escaped thanks to back-to-back strikeouts to end the inning.
Moving over to the battle for the couple of utility spots open on the bench, Tzu-Wei Lin got the start today, and he got it in center field. That could be significant as his versatility and ability to play outfield should give him a leg up over others in the competition. He did not get an at bat, though, as he was pulled early with hamstring tightness. That, obviously, could alter this battle. Marco Hernández also entered the game late, going 0-1. Elsewhere on the bench, Jonathan Lucroy started behind the plate and went 0-2 in the game.
- Josh Taylor has a bullpen spot basically wrapped up, but he did struggle today. The southpaw allowed a homer in his first inning of work and a double in his second, in total allowing the one run over two innings with two hits and a walk with two strikeouts.
- It was a rough day at the plate for a few regulars in Andrew Benintendi, Michael Chavis and José Peraza. All three had two strikeouts. Chavis did contribute a single in his other at bat while the other two went hitless. Jarren Duran also went 0-2 with two strikeouts.
- The other pitchers appearing today who haven’t been mentioned were: Hunter Haworth, a low-minors pitcher who came in for Pérez and pitched 1 1⁄3 innings, Domingo Tapia, and R.J. Alvarez. The latter two are both Triple-A depth arms and each allowed a run over an inning of work.
The Red Sox will look to bounce back on Wednesday with a better performance than this one. They take on the Tigers at 1:05 PM ET, though there’s no TV broadcast for that one.