The Red Sox had some more rough pitching on Wednesday against the Tigers, giving up 13 runs in a loss. There is some good news to go with the bad, though, as the offense contributed nine runs themselves as well as the fact that the pitchers who got roughed up weren’t all guys we expect to be factors when the games start to count. Some notes!
Dingers, dingers everywhere
The ball was flying out to the park in this one, with the two teams combining for eight homers. Whether that was the fault of the pitchers or just good hitting or the weather, I have no idea! The game was not on TV today so we can only go off the box score. The bad news is that five of the homers were off Red Sox pitching. We’ll get to that later. First, we’ll focus on the three Boston dingers.
J.D. Martinez was first up, smacking a three-run shot in his first at bat in the game. It was his second homer of the game. I don’t really have a whole lot to say here — we know Martinez will hit — besides that I wish it was on TV so I could’ve seen it. He also had a base hit and a strikeout in this game.
Jackie Bradley Jr. had the second homer of the day for the Red Sox with a solo shot in the third. This was his second of three hits in what was a huge day for Bradley. He also had a double and a single, giving him seven total bases in three at bats. This was his second homer of the spring, and he now has a 1.300 OPS in camp. With him being such a streaky hitter over his career, getting some momentum heading into the year wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world.
Finally, Chad De La Guerra hit a solo homer in the seventh. He also walked in this game and scored two runs. De La Guerra was an interesting name after the 2017 season but fell off in a big way in 2018. He was good in limited time last year, and may be an underrated sneaky depth option in Triple-A this summer.
A rough day for Jeffrey Springs, and others
The offense scored nine runs with three homers and 14 hits, but the team still lost. That obviously means there were some rough showings on the mound. In this case, there were three. Jeffrey Springs got the start, and we mentioned earlier than he could have an outside shot at a bulk role, but he’s on the outside looking in. He didn’t himself any favors here. Springs only threw a single inning, allowing five runs on five hits (two homers, two singles and a double). He’s not going to be completely written off due to this outing, as bad performances like this happen in spring and before this he had tossed three innings with one run on six strikeouts and no walks. That said, he set himself back in a crowded field today.
Heath Hembree had a rough day himself, coming in for the fifth. He ended up going two innings but allowed three runs on four hits (two homers and two singles). He also struck out two. There was one homer in each inning, too, so this wasn’t a case of a reliever having a strong first inning then getting over-extended for a second. He has now allowed six total runs (three earned) over 2 2⁄3 innings in his first two outings this spring. I don’t suspect this will happen, but if I were running the Red Sox I would not rule out letting Hembree go before Opening Day.
Finally, Matt Kent came on for the ninth and allowed five runs on four hits while recording only two outs. In fairness to Kent, all five runs were unearned after an error from Ryder Jones at third base. Kent is organizational pitching depth who split last season between Portland and Pawtucket.
Your daily battle update
In the rotation battle, I mentioned Springs above, who also factors into the bullpen battle. Mike Shawaryn could potentially work his way into the rotation conversation, and he worked around trouble in a scoreless inning. He allowed a single and a walk, but struck out the other three batters to escape. Like Springs, Shawaryn is more of a reliever, but the Red Sox are obviously in a troubling place with their rotation.
As we move into the bullpen, the only relevant name that I haven’t mentioned to this point is Ryan Brasier. The righty had a strong day, throwing two perfect innings with a strikeout. Brasier is the guy I would consider using to replace Hembree, but again I don’t know how likely that is at that point. More likely, he’s fighting with someone like Austin Brice.
As far as the bench goes, Jonathan Araúz was the only player to appear in the utility battle. He went 1-3 with a single and a strikeout. Behind the plate, Kevin Plawecki came in as a sub and drew a walk in his lone plate appearance.
- Jeter Downs got the start at shortstop and had himself a nice day, going 2-3 with a pair of singles and a strikeout.
- Xander Bogaerts got in the lineup for the first time this spring. He had a rough day, going 0-2 with two strikeouts, but just getting on the field is the big thing for him right now. There’s little reason to be worried about his bat once the real games start.
- Also getting hits today who haven’t been mentioned: Rusney Castillo, who had a triple, Josh Ockimey and Roldani Baldwin, who each had doubles, and Kevin Pillar and Marcus Wilson, both of whom had singles.
- Also pitching today who hasn’t been mentioned: Eduard Bazardo and Yoan Aybar, who each threw a scoreless inning with one baserunner and one strikeout, and Matthew Gorst, who got the final out of the ninth on a strikeout against the only batter he faced.
The Red Sox fans down in Fort Myers get to welcome the Astros into town on Thursday for the first time this year. Given Boston’s own ongoing investigation, it will be interesting to see how fans treat this matchup. Or, more accurately, hear, because there’s no TV broadcast. First pitch is set for 1:05 PM ET.