The Boston Red Sox squared off against the Philadelphia Phillies today in Clearwater, Florida, and the game ended in a 2-2 extra innings tie.
Jon Lester took the hill for the Red Sox and Cliff Lee for the Phillies. Both pitchers pitched well, albeit Lester was more impressive. In 5 and 2/3 innings, the southpaw allowed zero runs and four hits while striking out five and enabling one batter to reach first on a free pass. The opposing southpaw pitched six innings, giving up two runs, three hits and one walk, and struck out six.
Aside from the All-Star pitching duel, there were other intriguing things in this clash. For one, the center field battle between Jackie Bradley Jr. and Grady Sizemore continued. Bradley Jr., who was leading off, went 0-4 and lowered his batting average to a “crisp” .182. Secondly, the competition for the final spots in the bullpen persisted, as Jose Mijares, Andrew Miller, Brayan Villarreal, and Rich Hill all pitched in today’s game. Miller, who is a lock to make the opening day roster, pitched 2/3 of an inning, giving up zero runs and one hit. Hill also went 2/3 of an inning in the contest and put up a goose egg. Villarreal gave up two earned runs in an inning. He already has a slim chance of making the roster on March 31st, but he probably eliminated any aspiration of persuading skipper John Farrell with his performance. Meanwhile, Mijares, another heavy contender for a spot, pitched splendidly in two innings of work, allowing zero walks, hits and runs.
The Sox were held to just four hits, as Will Middlebrooks, A.J. Pierzynski, Mike Carp, and Jonathan Herrera all got base knocks. Middlebrooks continued his dismal performance on defense, collecting his third error of the spring.