The Red Sox are nearly a week into their Grapefruit League schedule and have yet to lose a game. They improved to 6-0 this spring with a 4-2 victory over the Rays at Charlotte Sports Park on Tuesday afternoon.
Rich Hill made his 2022 debut against one of his former teams on Tuesday. Vying for a spot in Boston’s Opening Day starting rotation, the veteran left-hander scattered two hits and one walk to go along with two strikeouts over two scoreless innings of work.
Shortly after Hill retired each of the final three batters he faced, the Sox jumped out to an early 2-0 lead over the Rays in the third inning when a red-hot Bobby Dalbec scored Jonathan Arauz and Christian Arroyo on a two-run double to left field off reliever Adrian De Horta.
That paved the way for Garrett Whitlock to come on in relief of Hill beginning in the bottom of the third. Also making his first appearance of the spring, the righty escaped a bases-loaded jam in his first inning of work before stranding two more base runners in a scoreless bottom of the fourth.
Matt Barnes continued the trend of Red Sox pitchers making their 2022 debuts on Tuesday. Looking to re-establish himself as Boston’s closer, the hard-throwing righty sat down Curtis Mead, Yandy Diaz, and Ji-Man Choi in order in the fifth inning.
Non-roster invitee Taylor Cole followed suit by working around a bases-loaded jam of his own in the bottom of the sixth, while his catcher — Ronaldo Hernandez — drove in Christian Koss on an RBI single in the top of the seventh to give his side a 3-0 lead.
Geoff Hartlieb gave two of those runs back immediately when he served up a two-run home run to Ruben Cardenas a half-inning later, but outfielder Wil Dalton provided some insurance by leading things off in the eighth with a solo blast off Jack Labosky.
That sequence made it a 4-2 game for Austin Davis, who entered out of the Boston bullpen in the eighth inning and closed things out to record the save and secure a two-run win for the Red Sox.
All told, it was another decent day for Boston pitching. Despite allowing 10 hits and issuing five walks as a team, six different Sox pitchers (Hill, Whitlock, Barnes, Cole, Hartlieb, and Davis) combined to surrender just two runs while striking out 12.
Dalbec, meanwhile, is batting .444/.500/1.222 with one double, two home runs, seven RBIs, and two runs scored through his first four games (10 plate appearances) of the spring.
As they improve to 6-0 this spring, the Red Sox have outscored their opponents 34-11 in Grapefruit League play thus far.
Next up: Winder vs. Eovaldi
The Red Sox will take on the Twins in the third installment of the Chairman’s Cup. Boston currently leads Minnesota two games-to-none heading into Wednesday’s contest at JetBlue Park.
Nathan Eovaldi will make his second start of the spring for the Sox, and he will be opposed by fellow right-hander Josh Winder for the Twins. First pitch is scheduled for 1:05 p.m. eastern time. The game will be televised on NESN.
(Picture of Bobby Dalbec: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)