Rick Porcello Makes 2019 Spring Debut as #RedSox Serve up Six Home Runs in 8-1 Loss to Rays

The Red Sox fell to 6-10 in Grapefruit League on Sunday afternoon following a 8-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays in Port Charlotte, marking their fifth consecutive defeat.

Making his 2019 debut in this one for Boston was Rick Porcello. The right-hander, who is entering the final season of his original four-year contract extension he signed in 2015, surrendered two runs on four hits, two of which were home runs, and no walks to go along with one strikeout in three innings of work.

As that line indicates, the only runs given up by Porcello came on a pair of Tampa Bay solo homers in the second and third innings off the bats of Joey Wendle and Mike Zunino.

In total, the 30-year-old hurler faced 15 hitters in his first action of the spring.

From the middle of the fourth inning on, Hector Velazquez, Brandon Workman, Colten Brewer, and Brian Ellington combined to allow six runs to cross the plate on 11 hits, four of which were homers, two walks, and six strikeouts over the final five frames of this one.

Like Porcello, Velazquez and Workman each gave up a pair of long balls, as Guillermo Heredia and Avisail Garcia went yard in the fourth and fifth innings, while Heredia and Nate Lowe did the same for the Rays in their half of the sixth.

If anything, both Brewer and Ellington held Tampa Bay scoreless in their individual innings of relief, but the Red Sox bullpen has been a rough spot thus far through 16 Grapefruit League games.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup could not muster more than two runs for the FIFTH straight day. And guess what? They haven’t won any of their last five games!

The lone Boston managed to tally in this one came in the seventh inning, when with one out and Diego Castillo on the hill for Tampa Bay, Steve Pearce grounded into a run-scoring out at first while Aneury Tavarez came around to score from third to make it a 8-1 game at the time. That would go on to be the final score in this Sunday afternoon contest.

Some notes from this loss:

Jackie Bradley Jr., Mookie Betts, Rafael Devers, Xander Bogaerts, Steve Pearce, and Eduardo Nunez went a combined 2/12 at the plate with one walk and one RBI.

Brock Holt was slated to start at second, but was scratched at the last-minute due to back spasms. He is considered day-to-day.

I get that it’s just spring training, I really do, but can I at least say the last week has been frustrating to watch? Because it has.

Next up for the Red Sox, it’s an off day on Monday before hosting the Detroit Tigers for at JetBlue Park the first time this spring

Monday will not be a typical day off though, as Chris Sale is set to pitch in a minor league game beginning at approximately 11:40 AM on one of the Fenway South backfields.

On Tuesday, we’ll see a starting pitching matchup featuring two left-handers who were once part of the same trade.

For Detroit, it will be Daniel Norris getting the starting nod, while 2018 postseason hero David Price will make his 2019 debut and do the same.

Go back to July of 2015, and these two southpaws were part of the same deal that sent Price from Detroit to the Toronto Blue Jays and Norris from Toronto to Detroit.

First pitch Tuesday is scheduled for 1:05 PM EDT at JetBlue. Unfortunately, it does not look like this game will be televised. Monday should be fun, though.

 

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Xander Bogaerts Launches First Home Run of Spring as #RedSox Get Blown out by Orioles

The Red Sox fell to 3-5 in Grapefruit League play on Saturday, dropping their second straight to the Baltimore Orioles by a final score of 9-1.

As the score indicates, the Red Sox pitching staff had themselves another tough afternoon in this one.

Colten Brewer, who was acquired from the San Diego Padres last November, made the start, serving as Boston’s ‘opener’, per Alex Cora.

The 26-year-old right-handed reliever picked up his second losing decision of the spring on Saturday, surrendering two runs (one earned), on two hits and three walks while pitching into the second inning.

In relief of the ex-Padre, right-hander Adam Lau struck out three of the four hitters he faced while cleaning up Brewer’s mess in that second inning.

From there, Travis Lakins, Dedgar Jiminez, Kutter Crawford, Matthew Gorst, Brian Ellington, Daniel Schlereth, and Daniel McGrath combined to surrender seven runs on 14 hits and two walks to go along with four strikeouts over the final seven frames.

Ellington, who signed a minor league contract with Boston in early February, put together the best pitching performance of the day, as the right-hander fanned a pair in his lone inning of relief in the top half of the eighth.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup featured JD Martinez for the first time in 2019.

The reigning two-time Silver Slugger Award winner, batting fourth and serving as Boston’s designated hitter, went 0/2 in his spring debut.

Similar to their performance against the Twins on Friday, the only run scored by the Red Sox against Baltimore came on a Xander Bogaerts fourth inning solo home run.

That moon shot of a homer off Orioles right-hander Yefry Ramirez marked Bogaerts’ first of the spring. He’s slashing .333/.333/.778 with that one long ball and two RBI in four games so far.

Bogaerts’ bomb cut Boston’s deficit to one run at the time it was hit, but as previously mentioned, the Orioles would go on to run away with this one in a 9-1 contest.

One note from this loss:

Mookie Betts broke out of his mini 0/5 slump by ripping a third inning single off Baltimore starter Mike Wright Jr. He also drew a walk in the first inning in his only other at bat of the day.

Next up for the Red Sox, they host the Twins, who will be sending a split-squad to JetBlue Park on Sunday afternoon.

Left-hander Darwinzon Hernandez is scheduled to get the start for Boston, while fellow southpaw Stephen Gonzalves will be starting for the Twins.

Hernandez, 22, has yet to start a game this spring. According to MLB Pipeline, the Venezuela native is ranked as the top left-handed pitcher in Boston’s farm system.

First pitch against the Twins is scheduled for 1:05 ET. NESN has it covered.