After getting blown out by the Philadelphia Phillies on Thursday, the Red Sox fell to 3-4-1 on Grapefruit League play on Friday following a 4-1 defeat at the hands of the Minnesota Twins at nearby Hammond Stadium.
Making his first start and second appearance of the spring for Boston was Kyle Hart, who took the loss in his last time out against Minnesota this past Monday.
Working the first two innings of this one, the left-hander looked much better this time around, as he retired six of the seven Twins hitters he faced while walking one and striking out another.
Hart is one of several candidates vying for a spot in Boston’s starting rotation to begin the season.
In relief of Hart, fellow lefty Josh Taylor made his spring debut and punched out a pair in a clean third inning, Austin Brice worked his way around a leadoff double and fielding error in a scoreless fourth, Hector Velazquez walked two in an otherwise harmless fifth, former Twin Trevor Hildenberger yielded two runs on two hits and one walk in the sixth to eventually take the loss, Robinson Leyer allowed another pair of Twins runs on an Alex Kirilloff two-run homer in the seventh, and left-hander Matt Hall fanned two wand walked another in a rather quick bottom half of the eighth inning.
All in all, Sox pitching combined to surrender four runs on five hits and five walks to go along with seven strikeouts over eight total frames of work.
On the other side of things, the Red Sox starting lineup that featured Rafael Devers making his spring debut was matched up against veteran right-hander Homer Bailey for the Twins.
Nothing in terms of offensive production came against Bailey though, and it wasn’t until the top of fourth when the Boston bats showed some signs of life.
There, with one out in the frame, J.D. Martinez greeted new Twins reliever Cory Gearrin by unloading on a 1-2 pitch down the heart of the plate and depositing it deep to right field for his first big fly of the spring.
That solo shot actually gave Boston an early one-run lead, but Minnesota jumped out to a one-run lead of their own two innings later and would not have to look back, as they took this Grapefruit League contest by a final score of 4-1.
Some observations from this loss:
Rafael Devers in his 2020 spring debut, batting out of the two-hole: 0-for-2 with one strikeout.
J.D. Martinez on Friday: 2-for-2 with a triple, home run, and RBI.
Next up for the Red Sox, they’ll host the Yankees for the first time this spring on Saturday in a game that will be televised!
Left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez is expected to get the start in his spring debut for Boston, while fellow southpaw Jordan Montgomery will start for New York.
Rodriguez was slated to make his spring debut last Sunday, but after slipping in a bullpen session earlier that week and twisting his left knee, that debut was pushed back until Saturday.
The 26-year-old could very well be the Sox’ Opening Day starter with Chris Sale expected to start the 2020 season on the injured list.
First pitch Saturday is scheduled for 1:05 PM EST on NESNplus.