After enduring their second tie of the spring to kick off the first week of March on Monday, the Red Sox fell to 4-6-2 in Grapefruit League play on Tuesday following a 9-1 defeat at the hands of the New York Yankees in Tampa Bay.
Making his second start of the season for Boston was Martin Perez, coming off two one-run innings in his last time out against the Pirates last Wednesday.
Working just 2/3 of an inning this time around, the left-hander was eventually charged with six runs, only one of which was earned, on four hits and one walk to go along with no strikeouts on the afternoon.
Those numbers certainly don’t look encouraging, but it’s difficult to place all the blame on Perez when the reality of the situation is that he gave up a fair amount of soft contact and endured some bad luck thanks to the defense behind him.
The 28-year-old wound up facing the first eight hitters in the Yankees lineup and finished with a final pitch count of 34 before being pulled by interim manager Ron Roenicke. His third start of the spring should come against the Twins on Sunday.
Turning to the bullpen earlier than they would have liked to, minor-league right-hander Hunter Haworth inherited a messy situation with one out still to get and the bases full.
A wild pitch to begin his outing allowed that runner on third, Luke Voit, to easily score, and the bases were re-filled once more following a walk of Clint Frazier.
A hard-hit single off the bat of D.J. LeMahieu plated another two runs, and just like that, the Yankees had themselves a 6-0 lead before Haworth was able to retire the side in what turned out to be a 39-minute first inning.
From there, Haworth sat down the side in order in the bottom half of the second, left-hander Josh Taylor served up a solo homer to Gio Urshela in the third and worked a scoreless fourth, Austin Brice fanned two in a clean fifth, Josh Osich stranded the bases loaded in the sixth, Domingo Tapia allowed one run on two hits, one walk, and an RBI forceout in the seventh, and R.J. Alvarez surrendered another run on three hits and a walk in the eighth.
All in all, Sox pitching combined to give up nine runs (four earned) on 13 hits and seven walks to go along with eight total strikeouts over eight innings of work.
On the other side of things, a Red Sox starting lineup that featured Andrew Benintendi, Rafael Devers, Michael Chavis, Jonathan Lucroy, Jose Peraza, Tzu-Wei Lin, C.J. Chatham, Jarren Duran, and John Andreoli was matched up against a familiar opponent in Yankees veteran right-hander Masahiro Tanaka to begin things on Tuesday.
Going down by six runs before even taking their second at-bats of the day had to be a kick in the gut, and the only offense generated by Boston came courtesy of Rafael Devers in the top half of the fourth inning.
There, facing off against new Yankees reliever Clarke Schmidt, the 23-year-old led the frame off by crushing a fastball to deep center for his second home run of the spring.
That solo blast cut the Yankees’ advantage down to six runs at 7-1, but that was all the Sox could muster in an eventual 9-1 loss.
Some observations from this defeat:
Andrew Benintendi, in his return to the lineup on Tuesday: 0-for-3 with two strikeouts.
Jonathan Lucroy on Tuesday: 0-for-2 with a few mishaps behind the plate. Kevin Plawecki did not play.
Tzu-Wei Lin was pulled early due to tightness in his left hamstring. Cole Sturgeon took over for him.
I won’t post the numbers, but Austin Brice has looked pretty decent through three spring appearances out of the bullpen.
Next up for the Red Sox, they’ll host the Detroit Tigers at JetBlue Park on Wednesday afternoon.
Left-hander Jeffrey Springs will get the start for Boston, while right-hander Ivan Nova will do the same for Detroit.
Springs, 27, could be a viable option to serve as an opener given the current state of the Red Sox’ starting rotation. Speaking of which, an update regarding the status of Chris Sale should be available Wednesday morning, so stay tuned for that.
In regards to Tuesday’s game, first pitch is scheduled for 1:05 PM EST. It will not be televised.