In today’s 14-2 win over the Minnesota Twins, fans got a look at the new-look Red Sox lineup firing on all cylinders. A number of dominant performances, both at the plate and on the mound, resulted in a very one-sided evening at JetBlue Park.
The first two innings were relatively uneventful on both sides, but the Red Sox were able to put a run on the board in the third inning on an RBI single by David Ortiz. However, it would be the fourth inning when the Red Sox really exploded versus Twins’ reliever Brian Duensing.
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With one out in the inning, Mike Napoli kicked off the festivities with a solo home run, which he muscled out of the ballpark despite a broken bat. Back-to-back doubles from Shane Victorino and Xander Bogaerts netted the Red Sox another run, and Bogaerts came in to score on an RBI single by backup catcher candidate Humberto Quintero. The Red Sox picked up two more runs on another pair of doubles, this time from Mookie Betts and Dustin Pedroia, putting the Red Sox on top 6-0. David Ortiz capped the rally with another RBI single to give the Red Sox a commanding lead.
All the while, Justin Masterson had been putting together an excellent start for the Red Sox. He started the game with five shutout innings and, though he did allow a run in the sixth (albeit an unearned run), he was able to turn in a very solid start, dropping his spring ERA to a respectable 3.50 mark.
The Red Sox offense mellowed out after the fourth inning but the bats came alive again in the later innings, starting with a pair of runs in the sixth on a Tim Roberson sacrifice fly and an RBI double by Hanley Ramirez. Blake Tekotte drove in a run with a seventh inning single and then the Red Sox put four more runs on the board in the eighth, with the major blows being an RBI double from 2014 second-rounder Sam Travis and a two-run double by Jeff Bianchi.
Boston received solid bullpen contributions from Robbie Ross Jr. and Brandon Workman and, though Dana Eveland did allow a run in the ninth, it was quite insignificant as the Red Sox went on to win 14-2.
- Mookie Betts continues to rake this spring, as he turned in a 2-3 day with a double, walk, and three runs scored while also playing a stellar center field.
- Mike Napoli had a big day at the plate, going 2-2 with a home run and a walk, continuing a big spring of his own as he is now slashing .433/.500/.867 with 4 home runs this spring.
- The Red Sox shortstops were impressive today, as both Bogaerts (2-3, 1 double, 1 RBI, 2 runs) and Bianchi (2-2, 1 double, 2 RBIs, 1 run) made key contributions.
- Justin Masterson turned in his best start of the spring, going 5.2 innings while allowing just an unearned run on 5 hits and a walk, punching out 4 opposing batters.
Masterson was in top form tonight against the Twins as he showed his unique ability of inducing ground balls at an elite rate while also striking out a number of batters. He’ll have one more start in spring training to fully stretch out for the regular season but tonight’s results paint an encouraging picture of his future this season.
In an inning of work, Brandon Workman was about as good as you can be, pitching a perfect inning while striking out a pair of Twins. It’s not quite certain how Workman will play into Boston’s plans going forward but it’s likely that he’ll be a member of the bullpen down the stretch and more dominant performances like this would absolutely be welcome.
In three plate appearances today, Napoli didn’t make an out as he singled, homered, and walked. Many pundits have predicted a big year from Napoli due to his clean bill of health following sleep apnea surgery in the offseason and his big spring has only fueled that fire. Hopefully Napoli can stay red hot as the season draws even nearer.