Steve Pearce Belts Two Homers, Heath Hembree and Durbin Feltman Make Spring Debuts as #RedSox Halt Losing Streak in 4-4 Draw with Tigers

The Red Sox improved(?) to 6-12-1 in Grapefruit League play on Thursday following a 4-4 draw on the road against the Detroit Tigers in Lakeland. The tie officially puts an end to Boston’s seven-game losing streak.

Making his fourth start of the spring in this one was Eduardo Rodriguez.

Working the first five innings, the left-hander surrendered three earned runs on three hits and two walks to go along with eight strikeouts, doubling his spring total in one outing.

All three of those Tigers runs came around to score in the bottom half of the second, highlighted by a pair of run-scoring doubles from Jeimer Candelario and Grayson Greiner off of Rodriguez.

Other than that, the 25-year-old hurler was nearly perfect as he retired nine of the final 10 hitters he faced, which also included a three-strikeout third inning.

In total, Rodriguez faced 20 hitters. Through four starts this spring, the Venezuela native owns a 4.15 ERA and 1.23 WHIP over 13 total innings pitched.

From the top of the sixth inning on, Brandon Workman, Heath Hembree, Domingo Tapia, and Durbin Feltman combined to toss four frames of one-run ball on two hits, three walks, and seven strikeouts.

For Hembree, Thursday’s action marked his first appearance of the spring. The right-hander fanned the only three hitters he faced in a scoreless seventh inning.

Feltman, meanwhile, also made his 2019 debut in this one. According to MLB Pipeline, he is ranked as the 12th-best prospect in Boston’s farm system

A 2018 third round selection out of Texas Christian, the 21-year-old struck out the first two hitters he faced, walked Gordon Beckham to put the potential go-ahead run on base, then proceeded to pick off Beckham to retire the side in the ninth and thus end the game. Not bad for your first ever Grapefruit League action.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Tigers left-hander Matthew Boyd, who figures to be a significant member of Detroit’s rotation in 2019.

Starting the scoring in the fourth, Steve Pearce got his team on the board by mashing his first home run of the spring, a two-run shot off Boyd to pull Boston to within one run.

After CJ Chatham drove in the then-tying run with an RBI single in the fifth, Pearce was at it again an inning later, as the 2018 World Series MVP took Tigers reliever Victor Alcantara yard for his second long ball of the afternoon.

That made it a 4-3 ballgame at that point in the sixth, which would be all the scoring the Red Sox could muster in what would end up being a 4-4 stalemate.

Some notes from this draw:

Rafael Devers went 2/3 with a run scored on Thursday. In 29 Grapefruit League at-bats, the corner infielder is slashing .448/.448/.690 with one home run and four runs driven in.

According to The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier, Feltman’s fastball was hovering around 94-95 MPH while his slider was sitting at 83 MPH with a “vertical break.”

Speier also noted that free agent closer Craig Kimbrel’s agent David Meter was on hand at Joker Marchant Stadium on Thursday and “briefly crossed” paths with Dave Dombrowksi. Something to monitor there, perhaps.

Next up for the Red Sox, they’ll head to Tampa to take on the New York Yankees on Friday.

Right-hander Hector Velazquez is slated to start for Boston, while fellow righty Domingo German will do the same for New York.

First pitch at George M. Steinbrenner Field is scheduled for 1:05 PM EDT. Boston 25 is the way to go if you will be watching within the Boston market, while NESN will have it covered if you will be watching outside said market.

Author: Brendan Campbell

Blogging about the Boston Red Sox since April '17. Also support Tottenham Hotspur.

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