Red Sox earn their first win of 2017, beat the Twins 8-7
The Boston Red Sox came back from a 7-2 deficit to beat the Minnesota Twins 8-7 at Jet Blue Park on Saturday.
It won’t count toward their pursuit of the postseason, but the Red Sox earned their first win of 2017 in comeback fashion. After nearly getting no-hit by the Mets in their first Grapefruit League game, the Sox rallied in Saturday’s tilt, getting solid performances out of some big name players.
The pitching could have been better, but it didn’t matter at the end of the day. After Hanley Ramirez and Mitch Moreland each collected RBIs in the bottom of the first, the Twins put up a run in the second, and a five-spot in the third to jump out to a big lead early on. The Red Sox were then able to chip away, scoring three in the fourth and then runs in the fifth and sixth to tie it, before squeezing ahead in the eighth. Here are the notable story lines:
Mookie Betts is all right
Not that anything was wrong, but Mookie Betts is back to doing what he does best. He collected a single and double in three trips to the plate. It wasn’t the greatest performance of his career, but it’s nice to see that the MVP runner up is picking up where left off in his first Spring Training action. He also showed off his meme talent with this gem of a celebration after collecting his first hit of the game:
Tyler Thornburg struggles in debut
Spring Training stats don’t really matter, especially in Thornburg’s case. He had a 10.24 ERA last spring, before posting career numbers with the Brewers (2.15 ERA, 0.94 WHIP), which is why we shouldn’t be alarmed that he got shelled in just 0.2 innings pitched. He gave up five runs, four earned, on four hits, a walk, and one strikeout in his short outing. It was an ugly debut for the Red Sox new setup man, but one that he’s ready to put behind him. From MassLive’s Christopher Smith, Thornburg had this to say following his appearance:
"“I feel like I do pretty much the same thing every year,” Thornburg said. “I always kind of start slow in spring just because the lower body wants to go full speed and the arm isn’t ready to be doing that yet… The good news is every time I tend to have a bad spring, I always tend to have a good year.”"
It would have obviously been nice for Thornburg to have a stellar debut, given his importance to the Red Sox’ success this season. It’s now his job to look at the film, figure out what went wrong, and work on getting his mechanics right before the regular season starts. Hopefully his bad Spring Training, great regular season trend continues in 2017.
Hanley Ramirez stays hot
If anyone in the lineup is capable of making up for some of David Ortiz‘s lost production, it’s Hanley. He’s going to play a big role in the Red Sox lineup, probably out of the clean-up spot behind Mookie Betts. He assumed that position Saturday, going 1-3 in the victory. That one hit was an RBI double in the first inning that plated Dustin Pedroia. He also collected a double, which broke up a no-hitter, in their loss to the Mets on Friday.
- Roenis Elias started, pitching two innings with 3 strikeouts, but allowed a solo home run
- Joe Kelly and Robbie Ross pitched scoreless innings, collecting one strikeout each
- Sam Travis took over for Mitch Moreland at first, going 1-2 with an RBI double in the sixth
- Allen Craig was hit by two pitches (one in the head) and threw out a runner at home
Next: Chris Sale's first Spring Training start
Catch the Red Sox host the Rays on Sunday at 1:05 pm ET, it’ll be the second straight game broadcast on NESN.