Boston Red Sox, Porcello slashed by Rays, 13-5

Feb 20, 2016; Lee County, FL, USA; Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Rick Porcello (22) and catcher Ryan Hanigan (10) hand shake as they get done throwing a bullpen at Jet Blue Park. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 20, 2016; Lee County, FL, USA; Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Rick Porcello (22) and catcher Ryan Hanigan (10) hand shake as they get done throwing a bullpen at Jet Blue Park. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

Rick Porcello and the Boston Red Sox were dismantled by the Rays 13-5 in a 16 hit attack. Blake Swihart avoided serious injury and Yoan Moncada bags first hit in the blowout.

Rick Porcello was shredded for eight runs and ten hits in three disappointing innings as the Red Sox were slammed at Port Charlotte – a senior’s paradise – by the Rays 13-5.

The Red Sox second inning presented opportunity lost as consecutive singles by Travis Shaw, Allen Craig and Jackie Bradley loaded the bases for the next trio of hitters. Alas, they did not have the same level of batting expertise and Blake Swihart and hot hitting Sam Travis whiffed against Rays right-hander Erasmo Ramirez (11-6, 3.75 in 2015) leaving it up to all world prospect Yoan Moncada. Ground ball to short and a quick flip to first and damage averted for the Rays.

The Rays also showed in the last of the second That they are perfectly willing to take advantage of sloppy play and inept pitching. Singles by Steven Souza (1-2, 2 R, RBI) and Tim Beckham placed runners on the corners with two outs. Porcello unleashed a wild pitch for one run and back to back doubles by Hank Conger (2-3, 2 R, 3 RBI, HR) and Jaff Decker gave the Rays a 3-0 lead. The Rays were not done.

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Logan Forsythe (2-3, R) – an underrated player – singled and premier defensive glove man Kevin Kiermaier (1-3, R, RBI) doubled for another run. Up stepped Evan Longoria (1-2, 2 RBI) and in a flash his single brought in two more before the inning ended and a 6-0 Rays lead.

The Red Sox made a minor dent in the lead in the third.

Mookie Betts (2-3, R) and Brock Holt (2-3) both singled to start the limited action. After a force out up stepped Shaw who grounded out and brought in the runner from third. A Craig ground out ended any further damage. Rays 6-1.

So far the only redeeming feature of Porcello this spring is not allowing a home run. That, my friends, vanished with a Conger two-run blast in the last of the third to cap off a pitching performance that brought back memories of John Wasdin.

With the Rays up by 8-1, it was time to attempt to cull some Red Sox positives from what should be an “R” rated presentation on NESN.

The positive at hand in the fourth was Roenis Elias who has a bit of deception in varying his deliveries. Elias managed a nice 1-2-3 inning with Swihart leaving after taking a shot off his mask. Precautionary removal for what was eventually was described as a jaw contusion. RSN can rest easy – no concussion.

In the top of the fifth was another highlight with Moncada’s first hit in a Red Sox uniform. Betts followed with a fortuitous “hit” to left on a fly that was sun-aided.  Holt followed with an infield single and the Red Sox were making a move at creating a real game. That, however, quickly evaporated on a David Murphy sac fly for a run and a double play by Shaw.

For Elias, his third inning of work was Porcello like. A lead-off walk is not a healthy beginning and that is exactly what Kean Wong received. Thomas Milone followed with a single and Patrick Leonard put one waaaaay out in left for a three-run dinger. After the smoke cleared in the frame the Red Sox were down 13-2.

The seventh was started with a hustle double by MLB job hunting Brennan Boesch. Deven Marrero banged a single up the middle and the light hitting infielder had a hit and an RBI. Shaw kept it going with a double to set it up for a Craig two-run single to right and Boston ended the inning with a three-run post on the board.

The remainder was simply MLB garbage time.

Next: Race to 25: Update on Red Sox roster battles

Game Notes:
* William Cuevas (0-1, 1.59 ST) – a right-hand pitcher – was sent to minor league camp.
* Marco Hernandez leads the team in doubles (5) this spring.
* Swihart left the game in the fourth over a hard hit to his mask. A precautionary move. Eventually was a jaw contusion.
* Craig is very quietly hovering around .300.
* Great play by Travis at first base.
* Bradley tossed a cannon shot to home to almost erase what became a sac fly.
* Sun in left field caused several problems. Two hits were lost fly balls.
* Nice play by Marrero. He will be valuable for someone.
* Six doubles by the Rays.
* The Rays were 8-12 in RISP. Ouch!

STARTING PITCHING . F. . Game Ball. Rick Porcello

Remember Porcello of the first half of 2015? Well, that was the Porcello that was on the mound today. Granted some of his defensive support was less than pleasing, but balls were being hit and hit hard. The final line was three innings, ten hits, eight (count ’em) earned runs and two strike outs. The final pitch count was 52. Repeat after me: “It’s only spring training.”

Heath Hembree. RELIEF PITCHING . C. . Game Ball

Elias (2.2 IP, 5 H, 5 R, 2 BB, 3 K) had the nice 1-2-3 inning and then fell apart. Some sloppy work by

Bryce Brentz

didn’t help.

Edwin Escobar

(0.1 IP, H)let in an inherited runner.

Tommy Layne

(1 IP, K) certainly helped his pitch for a roster slot.

Heath Hembree

(1 IP, 2 K) recovered nicely from his last disaster.

B. . Game Ball. Travis Shaw. OFFENSE

Moncada struck out with two on. Bradley went 1-3 and is hitting .412. Shaw (2-4, RBI) continues to hit. Travis (1-3) is hitting .500. Usually 14 hits is enough to win, but the pitching gave up 16.