The Red Sox fell to 6-12 in Grapefruit League play on Wednesday following a 9-5 loss at the hands of the Minnesota Twins, marking their seventh consecutive defeat. Minnesota now has the advantage in the race for the 2019 Chairman’s Cup at three games to two.
A recurring theme for the Red Sox these past few days has been star pitchers making their 2019 spring debuts, and that was the case once again with Nathan Eovaldi on Wednesday at JetBlue Park.
Making his first ever Grapefruit League start for Boston, the right-hander looked sharp, surrendering just one run on one hit and one walk to go along with one strikeout. A whole lot of one’s.
That lone run came off the bat of former top prospect Byron Buxton, who led the third inning off for the Twins with his fourth home run of the spring.
Other than that one mishap, it was relatively smooth sailing for Eovaldi, who faced one over the minimum nine hitters.
From the top of the fourth inning on, Colten Brewer, Brian Johnson, Adam Lau, Josh Smith, and Dun Runzler combined to give up eight runs on nine hits, two walks, two HBPs, and three strikeouts.
Working the fourth inning, the run allowed by Brewer was unearned due to a fielding error committed by Xander Bogaerts. Still, the 26-year-old was charged with a blown save.
Johnson, meanwhile, was handed down his second losing decision of the spring, as the southpaw got shellacked for four Minnesota runs on four hits, including a Brian Navarreto two-run homer, in less than two full frames of work.
In three outings so far this spring, Johnson owns a 14.40 ERA and 2.20 WHIP over five total innings.
On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup, which again featured many regulars, was matched up against Twins ace Jose Berrios to start things off.
Getting the scoring started for Boston in this one was Blake Swihart, who built on his ninth inning RBI double from Tuesday with a two RBI two-bagger in the second inning on Wednesday.
Fast forward all the way to the sixth, after the Twins had just jumped out to a 6-2 lead of their own, and Brock Holt pulled the Red Sox a little closer by driving in Eduardo Nunez all the way from first on an RBI double off Matt Magill. For Holt, his fifth RBI of the spring.
Finally, in the ninth, with this contest essentially out of reach in Minnesota’s favor already, Red Sox prospect Tate Matheny tried to get another late rally started with a two out, two-run triple off Twins reliever Dusten Knight.
Alas, Minnesota would hold on to take this one, as 9-5 would be your final score on Wednesday.
Some notes from this loss:
JD Martinez was initially slated to start at left field for the Red Sox, but was scratched from Boston’s lineup due to back tightness. That is why Bryce Brentz started in left instead.
The Red Sox are 0-7 in their last seven games. In those seven games, they have been outscored 53-15. I understand that it’s just spring training, but it’s something to keep an eye on nonetheless.
Next up for the Red Sox, they’ll make the trek up north to visit the Detroit Tigers at Joker Marchant Stadium in Lakeland on Thursday.
Eduardo Rodriguez will be making the start for Boston, while fellow left-hander Matthew Boyd will do the same for Detroit.
First pitch Thursday is scheduled for 1:05 EDT. MLB Network will have it covered.