It was 82 degrees in Fort Myers, Florida, as the Boston Red Sox hosted the Minnesota Twins, today in their spring training match-up. The 9 mph wind from left to right did not seem to affect the Red Sox much in their 3-2 victory.
Red Sox starting pitcher Rick Porcello had little trouble of disposing opposing batters, giving the team his best four innings by far this spring. He had to do it against an equally successful Twins starter Mike Pelfrey. Both men ended their outings with three hits, one earned run, and three strikeouts. Porcello did give up two walks, which was two more than Pelfrey, but Porcello was much more consistent than his last outing.
Porcello’s only damage happened in the top of the first inning, as Twins designated hitter Kenny Vargas doubled to left field, scoring Shane Robinson. In response, the Red Sox put the bats together in the bottom of the first. Red Sox left fielder Hanley Ramirez singled a bullet to left field, scoring the young and talented Mookie Betts. It could have been for more than a single, but Ramirez was thrown out at second base, trying to stretch the play.
From there, the two teams were deadlocked. Pitching change after pitching change. Defensive substitution after defensive substitution. That is, until the seventh inning. The Twins attacked relief pitcher Eduardo Rodriquez, as shortstop Danny Santana singled to center, scoring Eric Fryer.
But you couldn’t count out the Cardiac Kids, just yet. As always, when you are a member of Red Sox Nation, you have to watch the whole game, as you never know what will happen. In the bottom of the eighth inning, the subs at the bottom of the order came through.
Red Sox third baseman Jeff Bianchi ripped a single to center, scoring Henry Ramos while successfully doing what Ramirez couldn’t: getting to second on the hit. Apparently the tie was not good enough for catcher Matt Spring either, as he hit a fly single to right field that cashed in Bianchi.
The run proved to be enough to seal the victory. Rodriguez took the win after giving up two hits and an earned run, with two strikeouts in two innings of work. Twins’ reliever Aaron Thompson took the loss, while Boston’s Heath Hembree came in for the save, his first of the month.
- Mookie Betts and Brock Holt continue to be the spark plugs of this team when anyone is hurt or needs substitution. Between Betts’ leadoff double in the first inning, which made for a quick response to the Twins scoring earlier, and Holt’s two hits, after replacing Dustin Pedroia, manager John Farrell must trust both men in very important situations.
- Neither Shane Victorino, Mike Napoli, or Pablo Sandoval got even close to a hit, today. That makes for a lot of money being spent on little in return, at least for the fans’ liking. With great expectations, for multiple reasons for each man, the time is now to change their fate.
- Christian Vazquez made way for Ryan Hanigan as the starting catcher, as Vazquez had soreness in his arm. He played in a minor league game, along with center fielder Rusney Castillo, taking some at-bats there instead.
Even with the quick run, Porcello quickly regrouped and provided the Red Sox with the confidence that their starter would get them through the ballgame. The Boston Globe’s Pete Abraham felt the same way:
It will be interesting to see if Porcello can do the same job against the American League’s tougher competition. Only time will tell.
This ranking would have been higher if not for Rodriguez giving up the lead in the seventh inning. However, instead of folding up like a cheap tent, the 21-year-old Venezuelan kept his cool and pulled out a couple of strikeouts to give his team a chance to come back. They returned the favor by helping him record the win.Anthony Varvaro
each gave up a hit, but made quick work of the rest of the opposing bats. Hembree traded a walk for a strikeout to get out of the ninth with the save. Let’s hope the same pace will be kept in future outings, asKoji Uehara
has not shown the ability to shut everyone down himself, as of late.
The game ball was a matter of fact. Spring got the game-winning hit, so he should get the game ball. However, for a lineup that, on paper, is being touted as one of the best in baseball, their bats were acting like more the strong, silent type than the wild party everyone expected. The only person to get more than one hit was Holt, a substitution before the lineup went up for a third time. Neither Bianchi nor Spring were expected to be the offense that Red Sox Nation were counting on late in games, but it was appreciated. Ramirez got an RBI, but was quiet the rest of the game and Pablo Sandoval was blanked yet again. When will we finally see the veterans and big-name signings unleash the hounds of destruction on opposing pitchers? Right now, the Red Sox bats look like stray puppies, lost in the spring-training heat.
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