The Boston Red Sox finally got their 2022 game action underway on Thursday with their first spring training game after the lockout, taking on their Fort Myers rivals in the Minnesota Twins. While the opponent put out what looked damn near their regular lineup minus the pitching spot, the Red Sox mostly held their regulars out, with Bobby Dalbec as the only regular getting on the field in this game. You wouldn’t know it by looking at the scoreboard, though. Boston got off to a hot start and ran away with this one, taking it 14-1.
Bobby Dalbec goes deep
As mentioned, Dalbec was the only regular in the lineup, and he made his impact known right off the bat. Hitting second behind Jarren Duran, who started the bottom half of the first with an infield single, Dalbec became the first Red Sox player to leave the yard. On a 1-0 pitch, he got one up in the zone and punished it, sending it out over the faux Monster for a two-run shot.
For all of the talk recently about the Red Sox first base situation, Dalbec has become not quite a forgotten man, but not too far off. There was a lot of Freddie Freeman talk leading up to his eventual signing with the Dodgers, and as part of that the talk shifted to Triston Casas as the man in the future. But Dalbec made sure we don’t forget about him here, and we saw in the second half last season that he can carry a lineup when he gets hot. Alex Cora talked before this game about getting Dalbec some reps in the outfield and at second base this spring — he was the DH for this game — which says something both about maybe Casas’ timeline, but also that they want to make sure Dalbec is still in the lineup.
- No other main stories from this game because of the lack of regulars, but the offense had a few standout performances. Franchy Cordero, who struggled mightily in the majors last season but was excellent at Triple-A, had two singles in his three at bats. Another depth player in former Gold Glove winner at second base Yolmer Sánchez had two singles himself. Both of those guys could be among the first players up in case of injury. Elih Marrero isn’t on that level in the organization, but the minor-league catcher came off the bench in this game and went 2-3 with a pair of doubles, while minor-league first baseman went 2-2 with a double and a single.
- On the mound, it was mostly good but prospect Chris Murphy showed that his control is still an issue. The lack of control, which in turn leads to an inability to go deep into games, is what could potentially keep him out of a starter’s role at some point in the future. He only recorded two outs in this outing, walking three batters and hitting another. This is a big season for him, and if he struggles with control I wouldn’t be shocked to see him in a relief role by the end of the year.
- Also pitching in this game were Michael Feliz, who tossed a scoreless inning on a hit and two strikeouts; Taylor Cole, a recent minor-league signing who threw a scoreless inning on a strikeout; A.J. Politi, who didn’t allow a run in 1 1⁄3 innings while striking out two; Zack Kelly, who allowed a hit and a walk but no runs in his inning of work; John Schreiber, who had the best performance of the day with two scoreless innings on a walk with two strikeouts; Tyler Danish, another recent minor-league signing who tossed a perfect inning, and Geoff Hartlieb, who threw a perfect inning of his own with a strikeout.
- There were a ton of hits in this game, so here’s a rundown of everyone who had one hit: Ceddanne Rafaela and Nick Sogard each had doubles off the bench; Jarren Duran and Ryan Fitzgerald had singles as starters; and Izzy Wilson had a single off the bench.
- Jeter Downs didn’t get any hits in the game, but that doesn’t mean he didn’t make an impact. After a down year in 2021, he’s looking to regain some of his prospect status and just general momentum towards the majors, and in this game he got the start at shortstop. He drew two walks, and also scored a run when, with runners on the corners, a bad throw down from the catcher to second base was well-read by Downs. He broke late for the plate and was able to get in for the steal of home.