Feb 21, 2014; Ft Myers, FL, USA; Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Henry Owens (76) throws during spring training at JetBlue Park. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Spring Training may be the only time when the old adage “it’s not whether you win or lose, it’s how you play the game” is actually true. No one cares much about the final score. The win-loss record at the end of March means little. While the Red Sox may compete with the Minnesota Twins for the coveted Chairman’s Cup, there is little at stake for teams in Spring Training except bragging rights.
The true value in these “meaningless” games is on the individual level. Watching each player shake off the rust from the baseball-less months is fascinating for die-hard fans. Getting a look at a handful of “who’s that” players makes us wonder who will be the next Ted Williams. The starting pitchers slowly work their way up in pitch count. Position players increase their number of innings at a steady pace.
There are a few standouts in Spring Training so far. In Allen Webster‘s 8 games with the Red Sox last season he was 1-2 with 8.60 ERA. In his last start the 6’2″ righty gave up only one hit in three innings. (He only needed 11 pitches to get through the first inning.) A small sample size, for sure, but it’s still a nice sight to see.
Felix Doubront has thrown six innings this spring, given up only three hits and accumulated six strike outs. Last season he showed improvement and we can only hope that the trend continues.
The Sox will get another look at young left hander Henry Owens on Saturday at 1:05 against the Baltimore Orioles in Ed Smith Stadium.