The Red Sox came away with a classic spring training result in today’s game against the Pirates, picking up a 2-2 tie and leaving fans wondering how long we can wait before actual baseball starts.
However, despite the lack of closure inherent in a tie, there were definite bright spots in today’s game, most notably Wade Miley. Miley absolutely dominated the Pirates today, tossing five shutout innings while allowing just two hits and two walks and punching out five opposing hitters. Miley, who has thrown in 11 innings for the Red Sox this spring, lowered his ERA to 3.27 with today’s dominant outing.
Offensively, things weren’t so cheerful for the Red Sox as the team failed to score in four innings against Pirates’ starter Francisco Liriano, waiting until he left the game for the fifth inning. But the heat was on once reliever Deolis Guerra entered the game, as Allen Craig plated Rusney Castillo with an RBI single to left field.
Unfortunately, the Red Sox were unable to hold the lead as hard-throwing righty Matt Barnes allowed single runs in both the sixth and seventh innings to give the Pirates a 2-1 lead.
Once Barnes left the game, though, relievers Dana Eveland, Robbie Ross, and Dalier Hinojosa were able to hold the Pirates scoreless in the later innings. Barnes avoided earning the loss when non-roster invitee Blake Tekotte drove in a run in the top of the ninth to tie things up at 2-2 and ultimately end the game in a tie.
- Wade Miley was truly dominant today, becoming the first Red Sox pitcher to reach the five-inning plateau this spring with a phenomenal performance.
- Rusney Castillo, who missed the first two weeks of spring training with a strained oblique, continued his hot start at the plate by going 2-3 and showcasing his speed with a triple to right field.
- Allen Craig, who went 1-3 with an RBI single, appears to have mostly recovered from his Lisfranc injury and is now hitting .267/.324/.400 this spring.
- Jackie Bradley Jr. continued his hot start at the plate by going 2-2 with a walk and a double; he is now slashing .345/.441/.448 this spring.
- Robbie Ross, who profiles as a lefty in the Red Sox bullpen this year, tossed a perfect eighth inning and punched out a batter.
There’s no doubt about it; Miley was dominant today. In five innings, he breezed through the Pittsburgh lineup and looked to be in midseason form. If Miley is able to continue to pitch as he did today, the Red Sox could have themselves a top-rotation starter.
Hinojosa, whom the Red Sox signed out of Cuba before last season, turned in an excellent inning for the Red Sox today. He tossed a 1-2-3 ninth inning, punching out two Pirates en route to a clean outing. With a few more similar performances, Hinojosa could find his way into a shallow Red Sox bullpen.
For the second consecutive day, Castillo takes home offensive game ball honors. Starting his first game this spring, Castillo went 2-3 with a run and a triple before exiting the game. He has not missed a beat this spring despite losing a couple weeks of time with an oblique strain and, with some more performances like this, could give Mookie Betts a run for his money in the center field battle.