All I can say is “it’s about time.” The longest spring training in recent memory (lengthened due to the World Baseball Classic) has finally come to an end today, and the Red Sox ended things in winning fashion to end exhibition games with a 17-17 record. Today’s game was a low-scoring one where the Red Sox’ dominant spring pitching followed suit to all the other games so far. The winning and starting pitcher today was Felix Doubront, making his fifth start of the spring and lowering his ERA to 3.00 on the spring.
Doubront was not at his best today, but he was good at limiting damage in jams he created. He allowed three hits to load the bases in the first inning, but allowed no runs. Doubront allowed two more runners to reach base in the second inning, again allowing no runs to score. The lefty put up strong innings in the third, fourth, and fifth innings and exited after five innings; he allowed no runs on six hits and a walk while striking out six.
Doubront was also the beneficiary of some run support, starting with a first inning rally. Jacoby Ellsbury reached base to lead off the inning and advanced to second base in time for Mike Napoli to bang a single off the replica monster in left field. The scoring continued in the second inning when Will Middlebrooks led off the inning with a single then stole second base and scored on a bloop single to left from Daniel Nava.
After a scoreless third inning, the Red Sox continued to hit well against Twins starter Mike Pelfrey in the fourth. They managed to load the bases with two outs on singles by Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Daniel Nava, and Jose Iglesias. Shane Victorino came through in the clutch for the Red Sox, driving a ground ball past second baseman Brian Dozier for a two-run single to give the Red Sox a 4-0 lead.
The Red Sox relief corps generally held the Twins taught with Koji Uehara, Jeremy Kehrt, and Andrew Miller combining for a pair of scoreless innings. Andrew Bailey allowed an unearned run in the eighth inning and Joel Hanrahan looked shaky before settling in to allow just a run and close the game out at 4-2. It’s so nice for the meaningless games to be over, and I’m sure we’ll all be tuned in to Opening Day against the Yankees on Monday afternoon at 1:00. I’m ready!!!