The Red Sox have fallen back under .500. Sell all of your Red Sox stock. Trade everyone. The season is over. They lost 6-3 against the Orioles on Thursday in what was a very spring training game, lasting only six innings and seeing a pitcher get pulled one inning and then come back out to start the next. The Red Sox, weirdly enough, made only one position player substitution all game. Here’s a few notes from the game, which was not televised.
Jarren Duran homers
Sure, it was a loss, but we’ll start off with a positive here. And that would be Jarren Duran, who just continued to carry over his strong performance at the Alternate Site last summer, and then in Winter Ball over the offseason, into this spring. The Red Sox prospect has been red hot to start spring training, and he had a big start to the game here. Boston actually had the lead through two innings, and that was largely due to Duran. He started his day off with a double out to left field in the first, and he’d end up coming around to score. Then, in the second, he smashed a solo shot the other way for his second homer of the spring.
Duran has now played in all five games the Red Sox have played thus far, going 5-10 with two doubles, two homers, and a walk. One of the top prospects in the system, cries are already starting to bubble up from fans for him to make the roster out of camp. That remains a long shot, but as I’ve said before he just continues to defy expectations and push his timeline up. I still think we’re more likely looking at a Memorial Day-ish call up if things keep trending well, but every game like this has me thinking I’m being too conservative here. At this point I think the move is to just enjoy the show and whatever happens, happens.
A rough one for Tanner Houck
So, Duran was the highlight, but there had to be a lowlight in the loss and that belonged to Tanner Houck. He didn’t get the start in this one, instead coming in to start the third. He struggled there, though, starting off with an out but then losing the zone. He walked the second batter he faced, then gave up a double before issuing two more walks, and that was enough for Alex Cora. Durbin Feltman came on to finish the inning and retired both batters he faced. Because it’s spring training, though, Houck was allowed to re-enter for the fourth, and once he started off with an out. But again, he couldn’t get another one, allowing a single and issuing his fourth walk of the day before once again being pulled.
Obviously we’re not panicking over one bad outing from Houck, who was absolutely electric to end last season. It’s also certainly much more difficult to say anything substantial here since the game wasn’t televised and I didn’t have a chance to tune into the radio broadcast. We’ve discussed that Houck mostly needs to work on his splitter this year, and there’s a decent chance that was part of the issue here. It’s always important to remember that context this time of year, that players are working on some of their issues and not necessarily playing up to their strengths. Houck is still expected to start the season at the Alternate Site, but he’ll get his chance in the majors sooner than later.
- Getting the start and pitching before Houck was free agent signing Matt Andriese. The veteran had no issues in his Red Sox debut, rolling through two perfect innings with one strikeout. The righty will serve as a swingman for the Red Sox this year, potentially starting the year in the rotation if someone gets hurt in camp or if they roll with a six-man rotation to start the season, which seems like a possibility.
- At the plate it was a mostly quiet day, particularly as the game went on, but César Puello joined Duran in the multi-hit club, going 2-3 with a pair of singles and a couple of runs knocked in. Puello has gotten a lot of run this spring so far, like Duran playing in all five games. This could be an indication of where he lies on the outfield depth chart — he won’t start the season in the majors, but could be among the top reinforcements in the minors — but it’s also a symptom of Alex Verdugo and Franchy Cordero each having missed every game thus far.
- Also pitching in this game who have not been mentioned were: Stephen Gonsalves, a waiver claim last summer who has since been taken off the 40-man who allowed three runs over 1 2⁄3 innings on Thursday issuing two walks, striking out two and allowing a three-run homer; and Phillips Valdez, who is competing for one of the final bullpen spots and issued just a walk in a scoreless inning of work.
- Also getting a hit today who has not been mentioned was: Christian Arroyo, who has the inside track to the final Opening Day bench spot and went 1-3 with a single and a strikeout.