So, maybe an undefeated season for the Red Sox in 2022 is not a possibility. Boston had some trouble on Wednesday, particularly in the late innings, against their crosstown rival Twins, and as a result they took their first L of 2022, dropping this one 10-4. Even with the loss, though, there was plenty of good to celebrate in this one. Here are the notes from the day.
Two homers for the good guys
While the Red Sox did lose on Wednesday, the offense did come through a couple of times, and specifically on two big swings. The first was from a regular in Rafael Devers, who must have been celebrating the fact that he’s avoided an arbitration hearing for the second straight season. He got a pitch up in the zone, and even though it actually looked like he got a little bit under it he was still able to drive it the other way to left-center field for a solo homer. Devers is at least arguably the best hitter in this lineup, and it’s nice to see that he can still hit baseballs a very far way.
The other home run came from a guy who seems like he’s going to be this year’s spring training sensation in Ryan Fitzgerald. We’ve talked about him a little already this spring, and we get the pleasure of doing so again because he hit his third homer of the spring, this one a three-run shot. At the time, it tied the game at four. The infielder appeared to have gotten a hanging breaking ball that he did not miss, blasting it out to right field. Momentum is growing for him being an actual major-league contributor, and sooner than later. I’m trying not to be a prisoner of the moment here, and I certainly would not suggest he has a ceiling higher than a utility player off the bench, but given his ability to field at a high level and increasing ability at the plate, the floor may be higher than I realize for this former undrafted player.
Nathan Eovaldi shoves
The pitching became a problem for the Red Sox as the game went along, but their starter did everything that was asked of him. Nathan Eovaldi, as he continues to get ready for his start on Opening Day, got the ball against a Twins lineup filled mostly with regulars and looked outstanding. He did start the day by hitting Byron Buxton, which was a little bit worrisome, but the Twins outfielder was quickly caught stealing and Eovaldi followed that up with two straight strikeouts. The righty didn’t stop there, retiring all nine batters he faced after that to get through four no-hit innings while facing the minimum. The Red Sox rotation has a whole lot of questions, but if Eovaldi can repeat his 2021 then having that presence every five days would go a long way towards alleviating at least some of that concern. So far this spring, he’s looked the part.
Two rough outings for the pitching staff
We’ve covered the positives so far, but obviously there had to be some negatives in this six-run loss. It mostly came at the hands of two poor outings from pitchers who figure to have some sort of role on this year’s staff. The first was Ryan Brasier, who made his 2022 debut. After last spring set him back for most of the season for a variety of reasons, both injury and personal, it can’t be a bad thing to have him get a normal spring. This was not the start he was looking for, though. The righty was unable to make it through a full inning, giving up singles to each of the first three batters he faced before Trevor Larnach came up and launched a three-run homer to make it a four-run inning. Brasier did strike out each of the next two batters he faced as a nice recovery, but he was pulled after that. One bad outing does not mean his season is doomed, of course, but the Red Sox need everyone in their bullpen to be near their best if it’s going to be a viable group for a contender, and Brasier is a big part of that in the second tier of arms.
Later in the game, Connor Seabold came out looking to prove that there’s another level in his game, particularly with his stuff, than he showed in 2021. It did not turn out to be a great showcase, though. The right-handed prospect got the eighth inning and started it off with two straight walks. That was followed with a two-run double followed by a two-run single, and that was the end of the line for Seabold. He’d have one of the runners he left behind come in to score as well, and ultimately he’d allow five runs without recording an out. This is something of an important spring for Seabold, who is jockeying for position on the rotation depth chart to start the season with Josh Winckowski and Kutter Crawford, along with a handful of veteran minor-league signings. This did not put him in a good position in that race.
- Christian Arroyo was in the original lineup for this game starting at second base but was ultimately scratched for what was described as a sore hand. He’s going to be out for a few days, according to Alex Cora.
- Other players who had hits today who have not been mentioned were: Jackie Bradley Jr., who got the start in right field and went 1-3 with a double and a strikeout; Enrique Hernández, who led off and played center field while going 1-3 with a single and a strikeout; Xander Bogaerts, who got the start at shortstop and went 1-3 with a single; Alex Verdugo, who started in left field and went 1-3 with a single; Connor Wong, who came off the bench to catch and went 1-2 with a single; and David Hamilton, who came off the bench to play shortstop and singled in his lone at bat.
- Other pitchers who appeared in this game for Boston and have not been mentioned were: Frank German, the prospect who came with Adam Ottavino in last winter’s trade with the Yankees and recorded the last out to finish Ryan Brasier’s inning; Jay Groome, who looked impressive in his first outing of the spring, retiring all three batters he faced with one strikeout; Michael Feliz, who had a perfect inning as well, striking out two in the process; and Tyler Danish, who came on after Seabold and ended up allowing one run over two innings on a double, two singles and a walk while striking out one.