That is how you get it done. After blowing a four run lead in the eighth inning on Thursday, David Price and the Red Sox made sure not to let that happen tonight.
Making his first regular season start since July of last season, David Price got the nod against his former team in the Tampa Bay Rays for the second game of this series. Tropicana Field is a place Price has owned in the past, and that was evident tonight. The lefty tossed seven scoreless innings, scattering four hits and striking out five along the way. The most impressive part of Price’s night? No walks, and that made things decently simple. To complete those seven innings, Price only needed 76 total pitches, 55 of which he threw for strikes. He very easily could have gone back out for the eighth inning, but I respect the approach new manager Alex Cora has had with his rotation so far. Save your top starters for later in the season, preserve them as much as possible now. Speaking of the rotation, Chris Sale and David Price have combined to pitch 13 total innings without giving up a single run. The best part about that is the fact that the Red Sox bullpen didn’t implode for Price like it did for Sale.
Matt Barnes got the call for the start of the eighth inning. Appearing in his second game in two days, Barnes pitched another scoreless inning while walking one and striking out another. That made way for the return of Craig Kimbrel, the 2017 American League Reliever of the Year. In his 2018 debut, Kimbrel was lights out. He struck out all three batters he saw, needing only 15 pitches to notch his first save of the season.
Offensively, the Red Sox couldn’t do much against Blake Snell and the Rays bullpen, but luckily, they didn’t need to. It wasn’t until the top of the seventh when they scored their first and only run of the game. After a Xander Bogaerts leadoff double, Rafael Devers followed that up by driving in his third run of the season on a single to center off of Rays reliever Jose Alvarado. That was it for scoring, still some positives to take away though. Like how Xander Bogaerts has hit four doubles in two games and has a 1.750 OPS. Hanley Ramirez also picked up his first two hits of the season tonight. Still waiting for JD Martinez to hit a home run or something, he’s 0-for-6, but I can wait a little longer.
These two teams face off again tomorrow night at 6:10 PM. Rick Porcello gets the ball for the Red Sox while the Rays have yet to name a starter.
Although they are not done playing exhibition games, the Red Sox did move one step closer to playing meaningful baseball today, as they defeated the Minnesota Twins 6-1 in their last Grapefruit League game of the spring. They finish Grapefruit League play at 20-8-1.
Like Chris Sale did yesterday, David Price made his final start before the regular season begins today. The lefty tossed three innings of one run ball while facing 12 batters and fanning four of them. The only run he gave up came on a solo shot off the bat of Twins slugger Brian Dozier in the second inning. He’ll be on the mound again next Friday, facing off against the team he began his career with in the Tampa Bay Rays.
Bobby Poyner, Craig Kimbrel, Matt Barnes, and Dedgar Jiminez also got some work in today, and they all combined to throw six shutout innings while only allowing three total runners to reach base.
Offensively, the Red Sox were carried by the top half of the lineup. Mookie Betts, JD Martinez, Hanley Ramirez, and Andrew Benintendi were responsible for all six runs scored. The three home runs the team hit today belong to just Betts (2) and Benintendi. To put it simply, all three were hit far.
As for what’s next, the Red Sox will be hosting the Chicago Cubs over the next two days at Fenway South. After that, it’s an off day, then we finally arrive at Opening Day in St. Pete on Thursday. It took a while, but we are just FOUR days away from meaningful baseball being back in our lives for the next seven months. I’ll make sure to have a season preview out soon.
After throwing a simulated game last Saturday, David Price finally made his long-awaited 2018 Grapefruit League debut for the Red Sox today against the Blue Jays. The lefty tossed four innings, allowing two total baserunners while striking out five.
He only needed 55 pitches, 62% of which were strikes, to get through those four innings. I expect his next start to come against the Pirates next Tuesday, so if he pitches like he did today, Price could see even more innings of work. Of course, that all depends on if he throws more pitches, but we’ll have to wait and see for that.
Also, here’s a Christian Vazquez home run. Enjoy.
The day after Chris Sale made his 2018 debut, David Price was expected to make his 2018 spring debut against the Minnesota Twins today. Unfortunately, inclement weather in the Fort Myers area prevented that from happening, as the Red Sox and Twins weren’t able to even finish their game. Because of that weather, Price was held back at JetBlue Park to toss a simulated game. According to The Boston Globe, the lefty threw a total of 89 pitches, 31 while warming up and 58 during the actual simulation. Completing four innings of work with Christian Vazquez behind the plate, Price felt that, “Today was by far my best day.”
After the spring training he had last year, it will be interesting to see how the Red Sox handle Price going into the new season. If you remember, Price suffered an elbow strain while pitching in a simulated game last March, and that led to him not making his first start of the 2017 season until May 29th. At the age of 32, the velocity of Price’s fastballs is another thing to keep your eye on before the season starts. Expect Price’s next start to come against the Blue Jays at The Fort on Thursday, which will be televised.