Rick Porcello came into Thursday night’s game against the Minnesota Twins with three starts under his belt in a Red Sox uniform and displayed a very consistent, methodical effort in each game. His fourth start was more of the same. He went to work quickly and while he did scatter some hits here and there, Porcello went relatively unscathed throughout. The only run he gave up came in the third inning when Danny Santana drove catcher Kurt Suzuki in on a sac fly to give the Twins a 1-0 lead. Porcello would pitch four full innings giving up five hits total (four singles and a double), one run, no walks and added three strikeouts bringing his total to eleven K’s on the year.
While Porcello was taking care of business on the mound, the Red Sox offense wasn’t exactly lighting it up versus Ervin Santana who is looking to have a big season in his return to the AL. Boston didn’t even get a hit until the fifth inning when Pablo Sandoval singled. That would be the final inning for Santana with his nasty final line being 5 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB and 2 SO.
Once Santana was removed from the game however, the floodgates opened. The sixth inning was monstrous one for the Sox. With Xander Bogaerts leading off the inning with a single followed by another single from Ryan Hanigan, Mookie Betts came to plate and delivered with a single of his own. That would lead to a Dustin Pedroia double, a David Ortiz double, a Sandoval ground-rule double and a Mike Napoli homerun blast. When the dust settled, the Red Sox found themselves ahead 7-2 by the time the final out of the inning was recorded.
Luke Montz, who came in as a pinch runner for Big Papi, would add a solo homerun of his own in the seventh. Matt Barnes came on in relief in the eighth and looked solid getting two big strikeouts, but not without letting up a homer from DH Adam Walker. The Twins would add two more runs in the ninth on a throwing error from Jemile Weeks, but that wouldn’t be enough to combat that huge cushion that was provided in sixth inning. The Sox would win by a final of 8-5.
While it was nice to see the offense take advantage of the Minnesota bullpen, their performance in the first five innings was a little discouraging. Ervin Santana has had some up and down years but always seems to pitch well against Boston. Rick Porcello tossed another solid game and has demonstrated the poise that proves why Boston will be relying so heavily on him this season.
These two teams will meet again tomorrow night and Saturday afternoon to finish off Spring Training.
*Robbie Ross and Brandon Workman looked very good out of the bullpen each throwing a scoreless inning. Workman did give up one hit.
*Rick Porcello went another game without giving up a homerun and hasn’t given one up all Spring Training.
*Mike Napoli leads the team in homeruns with five
*Hanley Ramirez’ error in the fifth inning led to a Twins run
Porcello has been extremely consistent, solid, and whatever other adjective you can use to describe his even-keel delivery. He has come as advertised, pitching to contact and working efficiently. He scattered some singles against the Twins, but never found himself in any trouble.
25 year old lefty Robbie Ross has shown his earned his keep over the course of Spring Trainging and Thursday night was more of the same. His one inning of work went like this: ground out, ground out, strike out swinging. That’s how you get it done.
Napoli’s power has returned, and he displayed it again Thursday night with his team-leading fifth homer. He went for 1-3 with 2 RBI.
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