For the first time in over four months, the Red Sox played a baseball game against another team on Tuesday, as the club hosted the Blue Jays in the first of two exhibition contests held at a fan-less Fenway Park.
Getting the start for Boston in this one was Ryan Weber, who is lined up to be Boston’s No. 3 starter to open the 2020 season.
Working six innings against Toronto, the right-hander yielded four runs, all of which were earned, on six hits and one walk to go along with six strikeouts on the night.
The first pair of those runs came in the top half of the third, when Weber allowed Danny Jansen and Bo Bichette to reach base before Cavan Biggio and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. drove them in on a sacrifice fly and run-scoring groundout.
Fast forward to the sixth, after Weber had settled into a bit of a rhythm, Rowdy Tellez put a stop to that by clubbing a two-out, two-run homer off the 29-year-old to put any hopes of a quality start to bed.
Still, Weber stuck with it, retired the next hitter he faced in Teoscar Hernandez, and ended his outing on a somewhat more positive note.
Finishing with a final pitch count of 86 (58 strikes), the Florida native threw his sinker and curveball a combined 51 times on Tuesday. He got six swings and misses on those pitches while topping out at 89.1 mph with his four-seam fastball, a pitch he threw just three times.
As previously mentioned, Weber’s next start should come on Sunday afternoon against the Orioles right back at Fenway.
In relief of Weber, Matt Barnes got the call for the seventh and served up a solo shot to Derek Fisher in an otherwise clean frame, Brandon Workman tossed a perfect eighth, and Ryan Brasier saw a one-run lead for his side turn into a two-run deficit as he surrendered three runs on two hits, one of which being a two-run blast off the bat of Fisher.
By the time Brasier had ended the ninth, the Red Sox were trailing 8-6, which would go on to be Tuesday’s final score.
On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against top Blue Jays prospect Nate Pearson, who is regarded by MLB Pipeline as the No. 3 pitching prospect in all of baseball.
Xander Bogaerts kicked off the scoring against the 23-year-old right-hander right away in the first inning by ripping an RBI single to center to plate J.D. Martinez from second and Mitch Moreland followed by clobbering a three-run homer over the Red Sox bullpen in right field. Just like that, it was 4-0 Boston.
Later on in the fifth, Andrew Benintendi greeted new Blue Jays hurler Ryan Borucki with a one-out double off the Monster, and Martinez, who had been slugging during Summer Camp workouts, picked up where he left off and tattooed a first-pitch sinker on the inner half of the plate to the opposite field. Vintage stuff right there.
That two-run big fly put Martinez’s side up four runs at 6-2, but as already mentioned, Sox pitching kind of fell apart and 8-6 Blue Jays would go on to be your final.
Some observations from this loss:
I’m blocked by @RedSoxStats on Twitter now, so I won’t be able to put the neat stuff he tweets during and after games on here anymore.
Look at Rafael Devers:
Alex Verdugo has a cannon for a left arm:
It was only an exhibition game, but as you have probably already heard or read, Tuesday’s loss was very reminiscent of a game the 2019 Red Sox would give away. The pitching staff, rotation and bullpen alike, is going to have a lot of pressure on them to perform, especially when the lineup isn’t bringing in a ton of runs.
Next up for the Red Sox, it’s *hopefully* the last exhibition game of the year against the Jays.
Left-hander Brian Johnson will get the start for Boston as he looks to compete for a rotation spot, while right-hander Trent Thornton will be doing the same for Toronto.
First pitch Wednesday is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. eastern time on NESN.