Franchy Cordero leads the way with 3 hits as Red Sox battle back to take series from Tigers with wild 12-9 win

It took all of four hours and 13 minutes, but after trading punches back and forth for 8 1/2 innings the Red Sox were able to come away with a series-clinching, 12-9 win over the Tigers at Fenway Park on Thursday.

Winning Thursday’s game was no easy task, as the two sides scored a total of 21 runs, notched a total of 30 hits, and committed a total of six errors while exchanging leads on six separate occasions.

Boston was ultimately able to come away with a drama-filled victory over Detroit, though, and they improved to 19-13 on the season because of it.

Hernandez injured injured in first inning

After leading the bottom of the first off with a hard-hit double off Tigers starter Spencer Turnbull, Enrique Hernandez would have to leave the game due to right hamstring tightness. He was replaced by Franchy Cordero.

Cordero would prove to play a pivotal role in a contest he did not even start. The outfielder came into the day in the midst of an 0-for-25 rut and wound up reaching base four times on an RBI double, a pair of singles, and a fielding error.

Early lead does not suffice

Cordero took over for Hernandez after the utilityman had advanced to third on an Alex Verdugo groundout in the first. J.D. Martinez then drove him in on an RBI single to give the Sox an early 1-0 lead.

Inserted into the leadoff spot, Cordero collected an RBI of his own in the second by plating Kevin Plawecki on an opposite field double to make it a 2-0 contest.

Rafael Devers and Plawecki doubled their side’s run total in the third on a pair of RBI singles, putting the Red Sox up 4-1.

At that point, Nathan Eovaldi — Thursday’s starter — had been rolling, allowing just one run to cross the plate over his first three innings of work.

The top half of the fourth, however, was a different story for the right-hander, as he gave up five hits in an inning that saw the Tigers bring across three runs of their own to knot things up at four runs apiece.

Back-and-forth in the middle innings

Eovaldi’s struggles continued in the fifth, as he yielded back-to-back leadoff singles before getting the hook in favor of Josh Taylor with one out in the inning.

Taylor allowed the lead runner he inherited to score on a wild pitch before allowing the second inherited runner to score on a run-scoring single off the bat of Niko Goodrum.

That gave the Tigers a 6-5 edge, and it closed the book on Eovaldi’s day. The 31-year-old hurler ended up getting tagged for six earned runs on seven hits, one walk, and five strikeouts over just 4 1/3 innings pitched. His ERA on the season now sits at 4.62.

Phillips Valdez allowed Detroit to double their lead in the sixth, but Boston answered back right away with Martinez ripping an RBI single and Devers lacing a two-run single up the middle to make it an 8-7 game.

Again, the Tigers responded by scoring two more runs over the seventh and eighth innings to go up 9-8.

Vazquez comes off the bench and delivers

Down to their final six outs, Devers — representing the tying run — led off the bottom half of the eighth by reaching on a fielding error. He would advance to second with two outs due to a wild pitch.

Plawecki then drew a six-pitch walk to put runners at first and second and was replaced by Christian Arroyo.

With the No. 9 hitter due up next, Christian Vazquez emerged from the Red Sox dugout to pinch-hit for the slumping Bobby Dalbec.

Fresh into the game, Vazquez came through with one of the biggest hits of the day by hitting a game-tying single off Tigers reliever Alex Lange to score Devers and make it a 9-9 contest.

Cordero followed suit by reaching on a fielding error committed by Jeimer Candelario that allowed Arroyo to score from third.

Now with a one-run lead in hand, Alex Verdugo provided some much-needed insurance with a two-run single off Gregory Soto to put the Sox up 12-9.

Ottavino picks up first save of the season

With Matt Barnes unavailable, fellow righty Adam Ottavino got the call for the ninth inning, worked his way around a leadoff walk, and retired the next three hitters he faced in order to preserve the 12-9 win and record his first save of the year.

Next up: On to Baltimore

The Red Sox will travel to Baltimore for a four-game weekend series at Camden Yards that commences on Friday night.

Left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez will get the ball for Boston in the opener, and he will be opposed by veteran right-hander Matt Harvey.

First pitch Friday is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Franchy Cordero and Rafael Devers: Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)

Despite having their chances to complete comeback, Red Sox fall to Tigers, 6-5, in 10 innings

The Red Sox were given multiple opportunities to come away with a come-from-behind win over the worst team in the American League on Wednesday, but were unable to do so in what would go down as a 6-5 loss to the Tigers in 10 innings at Fenway Park.

Trailing 3-1 going into their half of the seventh inning after pushing across just one run against Tigers starter Casey Mize, J.D. Martinez got his side back in the swing of things by belting a game-tying, two-run home run to right field off reliever Bryan Garcia.

Down to their final out in the ninth inning, Enrique Hernandez, Rafael Devers, and Martinez all reached base one way or another to fill the bases for Xander Bogaerts, who laced a line drive to left field — but a liner that was catchable for Tigers left fielder Robbie Grossman.

Moments later, rookie right-hander Garrett Whitlock came on for the top half of the 10th inning in what was his eight appearance of the season — and his first when working on just two days rest.

With a runner already on second base (extra-inning rule), Whitlock gave up a leadoff single to Jonathan Schoop before serving up a crushing three-run home run to Jeimer Candelario on the outer half of the plate.

Since beginning his major-league career with 13 1/3 scoreless innings out of the bullpen, the Rule 5 pick has now surrendered home runs in back-to-back outings going back to Sunday.

Even though they were put in a three-run hole, the Sox did nearly stage an epic comeback in the 10th. Marwin Gonzalez drove in a run on a single and later scored on a fielding error committed by Willi Castro.

Boston cutting things close led Detroit to make an interesting pitching change, as Michael Fulmer — Tuesday’s starter — was inserted into the game to face Bobby Dalbec.

Dalbec lined out to third for the second out of the inning and Hernandez went down looking on four pitches to end the game.

All in all, the Sox went 3-for-16 with runners in scoring position on Wednesday and left 12 men on base as a team.

Perez’s winless streak at Fenway continues

Martin Perez made his sixth start of the season for the Red Sox in this one. The left-hander yielded three runs — two of which were earned — on six hits, two walks, and six strikeouts over 5 2/3 solid innings of work.

The first run Perez gave up was scored by the Tigers in the fourth inning, when JaCoby Jones ripped a single to left field that Franchy Cordero could not come up with cleanly, which in turn allowed Candelario to score from second base on the play. Cordero was charged with a fielding error.

In the sixth, Perez was just one out away from completing his first six-inning start of the year, but after giving up a pair of singles, he allowed two more Tigers runs to score on a two-run base knock from Jones to make it a 3-1 game.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 91 (57 strikes), the 30-year-old hurler turned to his cutter 38% of the time he was on the mound Wednesday, inducing four swings-and-misses with the pitch. He also topped out at 95 mph with his four-seam fastball, a pitch he threw 11 times.

Ultimately hit with the no decision in this one while lowering his ERA on the season to 4.40, Perez has still yet to win a game at Fenway Park since signing with the Red Sox before the start of the 2020 season.

Red Sox bullpen takes over

In relief of Perez, Josh Taylor got the first call out of the Red Sox bullpen and recorded the final out of the sixth inning.

From there, Hirokazu Sawamura, Adam Ottavino, and Matt Barnes combined to punch out six batters over three scoreless frames before making way for Whitlock in the 10th.

Arroyo removed due to hand contusion

Starting at second base for Boston on Wednesday, Christian Arroyo had to be removed from the game after seven innings after taking a 92 mph sinker off his left hand — the same hand he injured late lost month — in the sixth inning.

Arroyo was later diagnosed with a left hand contusion and X-rays came back negative.

The fact that Arroyo had to be removed after Alex Verdugo had already been scratched from Wednesday’s lineup — meaning the Sox had a short bench — resulted in Christian Vazquez moving from catcher to second base, Gonzalez moving from first base to left field, Dalbec taking over at first after pinch-hitting for Cordero, and Kevin Plawecki taking over behind the plate for Vazquez.

Next up: Series finale

Thursday’s pitching matchup between the 18-13 Red Sox and 9-22 Tigers will feature a pair of right-handers, with Nathan Eovaldi getting the ball for Boston and Spencer Turnbull doing the same for Detroit.

First pitch for Thursday’s series finale is scheduled for 1:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Garrett Whitlock: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Alex Verdugo, Xander Bogaerts, Hunter Renfroe, Kiké Hernández all homer as Red Sox hold on to defeat Tigers, 11-7

It was no easy feat, but the Red Sox held on to take the opener of their three-game series against the Tigers by a final score of 11-7 at Fenway Park on Tuesday.

The Sox jumped out to an early four-run lead in this one by teeing off on Tigers starter Michael Fulmer, with J.D. Martinez getting his side on the board in the first inning by grounding into a run-scoring fielder’s choice.

A string of RBI singles from the likes of Christian Vazquez, Marwin Gonzalez, and Hunter Renfroe would knock Fulmer out of Tuesday’s contest earlier than he probably expected, but Boston was far from done in the scoring department.

That being the case because an inning later, Alex Verdugo and Xander Bogaerts tacked on three more runs to the Red Sox’ total by crushing a pair of home runs over the Green Monster off Tigers reliever Alex Lange.

In the third, Renfroe scored on a wild pitch. In the fifth, he belted a solo homer to make it a 9-3 game.

After Detroit made things interesting in the middle innings, Vazquez provided some much-needed insurance in Boston’s half of the sixth when he plated Martinez on an RBI double down the left field line.

Enrique Hernandez followed suit in the eighth, as the leadoff man joined the home run party and clubbed his fourth of the season to left-center field to give his side an 11-7 lead.

Pivetta fans eight over five innings

Nick Pivetta made his his sixth start of the season for the Red Sox on Tuesday, and his first ever start (second career appearance) against the Tigers.

Over five innings of work, the right-hander yielded three runs — all of which were earned — on six hits and two walks to go along with a season-high eight strikeouts on the night.

Those first two Tigers runs were given up by Pivetta in the top half of the first. The other one was given up in the top half of the fifth, an inning in which it seemed like Pivetta would not be able to get through after he put the first three hitters he faced on base.

Inducing a 5-4-3 double play off the bat of Miguel Cabrera aided Pivetta tremendously, though, and he was able to end the fifth by getting Jonathan Schoop to ground out to third.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 100 (65 strikes), the 28-year-old hurler turned to his four-seam fastball 54% of the time he was on the mound Tuesday and topped out 96 mph with the pitch. He also induced eight of his 10 swings-and-misses on his slider, a pitch he threw 36 times.

Able to improve to a perfect 4-0 on the season, Pivetta will look for winning decision No. 5 in his next time out, which should come against the Orioles on Tuesday.

Red Sox bullpen takes over for final four innings

In relief of Pivetta, Austin Brice got the first call out of the Red Sox bullpen for the sixth inning, and he put two of the first three Tigers he faced on base before serving up a three-run home run to JaCoby Jones.

Only able to record one out while inflating his ERA on the season to 7.88, Brice was given the hook in favor of Matt Andriese, who allowed one inherited runner to cross the plate before fanning a pair to retire the side.

From there, Adam Ottavino maneuvered his way around a one-out walk in an otherwise clean seventh inning, while Darwinzon Hernandez managed to get just one out in eighth before filling the bases on a Victor Reyes groundball that was misplayed by Bobby Dalbec and a pair of walks.

That led the Sox to make another pitching change, as Matt Barnes came on in a 10-7 game to face the potential go-ahead run for the Tigers in the form of Cabrera.

Fresh off being named the American League Reliever of the Month for April, Barnes escaped the jam by getting Cabrera to ground into yet another twin killing. He then 1-2-3 ninth inning to preserve an 11-7 win for the Red Sox and notch his seventh save of the season in the process of doing so.

Renfroe reaches milestone

By depositing a 362-foot solo shot off Buck Farmer in the fifth inning of Tuesday’s win, Renfroe picked up the 100th big fly of his major-league career.

With a 3-for-4 showing at the plate, the 29-year-old is now slashing .333/.364/.714 over his last seven games played.

Next up: Rookie vs. a vet

Wednesday’s pitching matchup between the 18-12 Red Sox and 8-22 Tigers will feature rookie right-hander Casey Mize getting the ball for Detroit and veteran left-hander Martin Perez doing the same for Boston.

Mize, a 2018 first-round draft pick out of Auburn, will be making his first career start against the Sox.

First pitch Wednesday is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Hunter Renfroe: Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)

Rafael Devers out of Red Sox’ lineup for Tuesday’s game against Tigers due to sore shoulder

As the Red Sox prepare to open up a three-game set against the Detroit Tigers at Fenway Park on Tuesday night, they will be without third baseman Rafael Devers for the series opener.

The reason for Devers being out is due to what transpired in Texas over the weekend.

In the ninth inning of Saturday’s 8-6 loss to the Rangers, the 24-year-old took a violent swing at a 93 mph fastball from Ian Kennedy, but came up empty and immediately appeared to be in pain after dropping his bat and indicating to Red Sox manager Alex Cora and a team trainer that he had done something to his right shoulder.

Devers was able to remain in the game and finish his at-bat, and he even played the entirety of Sunday’s contest as well, though there was a moment in the third inning where you could tell he was still experiencing some discomfort.

After fielding a grounder off the bat of Jonah Heim, Devers made a relatively routine throw to first to record the first out of the third. Upon making the play, however, he could be seen briefly stretching and massaging that same right shoulder.

Devers finished Sunday’s contest by going 0-for-3 at the plate with a walk and strikeout.

He was one of a handful of Red Sox players who went to Fenway during the team’s off day on Monday to receive treatment on his shoulder. The decision was later made that a second straight day of rest would de most beneficial for the young infielder.

“We’re going to give him one more day,” Cora said on Tuesday when asked why Devers was not in his starting lineup. “He came in for treatment yesterday for his shoulder, but felt like one more day was going to benefit him. So he’s not starting today.

Devers, who came into the week having played in 27 of Boston’s first 29 games this season, is currently slashing .283/.368/.566 with seven home runs and 21 RBI over 114 plate appearances.

Marwin Gonzalez will be making his third start of the year at third base in Devers’ place.

Here is how the rest of the 17-12 Red Sox will be lining up behind right-hander Nick Pivetta for Tuesday’s game against fellow righty Michael Fulmer and the 8-21 Tigers.

First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Rafael Devers: Aric Becker/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Red Sox claim right-hander John Schreiber off waivers from Tigers, place left-hander Chris Sale on 60-day injured list

The Red Sox have claimed right-handed reliever John Schreiber off waivers from the Detroit Tigers, the team announced Thursday.

In order to make room for Schreiber on their 40-man roster, Boston also placed left-hander Chris Sale on the 60-day injured list.

Schreiber, 27 in March, was designated for assignment by the Tigers last Friday so that the club could make room on its own 40-man roster for outfielder Nomar Mazara.

Originally a 15th-round selection of Detroit in the 15th round of the 2016 amateur draft out of the University of Northwestern Ohio, the Michigan native made his major-league debut in August 2019.

Since that time, Schreiber has posted a 6.28 — but a much more promising 4.05 xFIP — over 28 relief appearances and 28 2/3 innings pitched out of the Tigers bullpen the last two seasons.

Per Baseball Savant, the 6-foot-2, 210 lb. sidearmer operates with a low-velocity four-seam fastball, a curveball, a changeup, and a sinker.

When he wasn’t up with the Tigers last year, Schreiber was at the team’s alternate training site in Toledo. He also brings with him a solid minor-league track record, owning a lifetime 1.99 ERA and .191 batting average against in 147 outings (204 innings pitched) across four different levels from 2016-2019.

Seeing how he still has three minor-league options, it’s somewhat surprising to see the Tigers part ways with Schreiber at this point in time. The fact that he has those options and is under team control through 2025 must have made the righty appealing to the Red Sox, though.

As for Sale being placed on the 60-day injured list, that move was expected and is more of a formality than anything since the ace left-hander is still recovering from Tommy John surgery, which he underwent last March.

“I have not been off a mound yet,” Sale said Thursday, the first day of pitcher and catcher workouts in Fort Myers, when speaking to reporters via Zoom “That’s another one of those things, I’ll just wait until I’m told to do so. I don’t want to be vague with (the media), obviously, but you know how I operate and I said at the beginning of this process, I don’t want to get too far ahead. I’m not looking at a month from now, two months from now or even the season. I can’t. That wouldn’t be fair to myself, my teammates or anyone else in this process. The mound comes when it comes. Like I said, I take it a day at a time and I’m doing everything I can to get out there as soon as I can.”

With this transaction being made, Boston’s 40-man roster remains at full capacity, meaning another two moves will need to be made when the club officially signs veteran utilityman Marwin Gonzalez and activates catcher Kevin Plawecki from the COVID-19 related injured list. Stay tuned for that.

(Picture of John Schreiber: Duane Burleson/Getty Images)

Lack of News Surrounding Red Sox’ Managerial Search Suggests Alex Cora Is Favorite To Return To Boston

With the World Series between the Dodgers and Rays set to begin Tuesday night, we now know the 2020 Major League Baseball season will end within the next 5-9 days. And by the time this year’s Fall Classic comes to a close, former Red Sox manager Alex Cora’s one-year suspension will be over.

Cora, who turned 45 on Sunday, was handed down a one-year ban by MLB commissioner Rob Manfred back in April for the role he played in the Astros’ sign-stealing scandal while serving as the club’s bench coach under A.J. Hinch. That punishment did not have to do with his actions as Red Sox manager in 2018.

That being said, Cora could be the top candidate to return to his old post by the end of this month or the beginning of November.

Think about it like this: The Red Sox announced on September 27 that Ron Roenicke would not return as manager for the 2021 season. Since that time, there have been no real legitimate rumors; no real legitimate leaks to go off of in the club’s search for a new manager.

Plenty of candidates have been thrown out there, some who even interviewed for the job earlier this year like Athletics quality control coach Mark Kotsay or Diamondbacks bench coach Luis Urueta, but none have been closely linked to the opening.

When Boston parted ways with Roenicke last month, the club released a statement that read in part: “A search for a new manager will begin immediately.”

It’s been just over four weeks since the Sox’ search for a new manager began, and we have yet to really hear how said search is going. This could potentially mean one of two things. First, it could mean the Red Sox are putting forth their best effort to prevent any leaks and keep everything in-house, which would be commendable if it were the case. Second, it could mean that they are waiting until the World Series ends, when they can officially speak with Cora.

MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo and Christopher Smith touched upon this in the most recent installment of the Fenway Rundown podcast earlier this month, and among the bevy of quality points that were made, one that stuck out pertained to the lack of leaks.

“It’s been nothing. There’s not even a ‘The Red Sox are assembling a list,'” Cotillo said. “In contrast, you look up at Detroit and Al Avila, their GM, said ‘Alex Cora and A.J. Hinch are on my list’, which means they aren’t going to make their hires until they can talk to these guys.

“If the Red Sox managerial search was heating up at this point, it would point to Alex Cora not being the guy,” Cotillo added. “There’s zero indication through 10 days that they’ve really done any groundwork. Every day that passes with little news, you can give [chief baseball officer] Chaim [Bloom] and his crew, as Ron Roenicke liked to say, a lot of credit for keeping it close to the vest. And maybe they’re making progress, but to me, it says they’re not going to really dive into this thing until they can talk to Cora.”

This was also mentioned on the podcast, which I highly suggest listening to, but it carries a lot of weight in that Cora is the perfect candidate for this job for one simple reason: He’s already done it.

“There are plenty of guys who aren’t even being talked about that could be similar to Alex Cora’s personality,” Smith said.

“But, if you’re going to bring in someone similar, why not bring in the guy that everybody knows and everybody wants, is familiar with and knows how to win in this market, and knows how to deal with the media and all the scrutiny?,” asked Cotillo in response to that.

It’s true. Because of what he has already accomplished as the manager of the Red Sox, Cora should be the favorite to return to Boston just months after his dismissal.

The decision to bring Cora back might not be the most popular around the sport given his past actions, but considering how he seemingly gets the most out of his players, like Rafael Devers and Eduardo Rodriguez, while also having established a solid relationship with Bloom already, it might just be the best one to make from the Red Sox’ point of view.

Whether Bloom and the rest of the Sox brass agree with that notion will presumably depend on how things unfold in the days following the Rays’ or Dodgers’ World Series victory.

Reintroducing Red Sox Left-Hander Matt Hall

You probably haven’t heard much about Matt Hall since the Red Sox acquired him from the Tigers in January, but the left-hander has a chance to be a key cog in Boston’s bullpen this season.

After Hall finished his three innings of work while striking out five in Monday morning’s intrasquad game which was more of a simulated game/live batting practice session, Sox manager Ron Roenicke seemed pleased with the 26-year-old’s efforts when speaking to reporters via Zoom.

“Matt Hall,” Roenicke said. “Matt is one of those guys… He looked really good today.”

On what he specifically liked about Hall’s outing, Roenicke mentioned the lefty’s curveball, which Hall himself has said is his best pitch.

“We know he’s got a good curveball, and he showed that today,” said the Sox skipper. “Talking to our hitters commenting on the curveball, that is a real nice weapon he has. And he threw the fastball well. He kind of cuts it in on right-handers. I was really impressed with him today.”

As noted by The Providence Journal’s Bill Koch, “Hall’s high fastball and curveball start in the same tunnel – up and away from right-handers, high and tight to left-handers – and appear capable of causing some confusion if he commands them,” which can somewhat be seen in the accompanying video:

Roenicke added that the Red Sox view Hall, a product of Missouri State, as someone who could provide the club with multiple innings out of the bullpen, and he seems best suited for the “bulk-inning guy” role, or the pitcher who comes in after the opener, which Boston will likely employ seeing how thin their starting rotation currently is. Colten Brewer and Marcus Walden are among the candidates for that particular role.

As for Hall, the six-foot, 200 lb. southpaw was originally drafted by Detroit in the sixth round of the 2015 amateur draft. The Tigers designated him for assignment over the winter after a disappointing 2019 campaign in which he posted 7.71 ERA over 16 appearances and 23 1/3 innings pitched.

On January 17, Hall was dealt to Boston in exchange for minor-league catcher Jhon Nunez.

Flash forward nearly six months later, and Matt Hall should certainly be someone to keep an eye on as the 2020 season nears.

Jackie Bradley Jr. and J.D. Martinez Both Homer as Pitching Struggles Continue for Red Sox in 13-9 Loss to Tigers

After allowing nine runs in a 9-1 loss against the Yankees on Tuesday, the Red Sox fell to 4-7-2 in Grapefruit League play on Wednesday following a 13-9 defeat at the hands of the Detroit Tigers at JetBlue Park.

Making his first start and third overall appearance of the spring for Boston was Jeffrey Springs, coming off a scoreless inning of relief in his last time out against the Yankees this past Sunday.

Working just the first inning of this one, the left-hander got hit hard for five runs, all of which were earned, on five hits and zero walks to go along with zero strikeouts of the afternoon.

All five of those early Tigers tallies came courtesy of the long ball, with C.J. Cron whalloping a three-run homer off of Springs, and Frank Schwindel following that up with a two-run shot a few moments later.

It was a laborious task, but Springs was able to at least retire the final two of the eight hitters he faced in order to retire the side without giving anything else up.

From there, Eduard Bazardo walked one and struck out another in a scoreless top half of the second, Ryan Brasier bounced back from a tough spring debut with a pair of perfect frames, Heath Hembree followed by serving up two home runs, a solo shot in the fifth plus a two-run shot in the sixth, over two innings of relief, Yoan Aybar worked around a leadoff walk and one-out HBP in an otherwise clean seventh, Mike Shawaryn fanned three in the eighth, and left-hander Matthew Kent got bombarded for five runs, although none of them were earned, in the ninth before Matthew Gorst came on and recorded the final out on a punchout.

All in all, Sox pitching combined to surrender 13 runs (eight earned) on 15 hits, five of which were home runs, and two walks to go along with 10 total strikeouts over nine innings of work.

Since the calendars flipped to March, Red Sox pitching has allowed 35 runs over their last four games.

On the other side of things, a Red Sox starting lineup that featured Kevin Pillar, Jackie Bradley Jr., Xander Bogaerts, J.D. Martinez, Christian Vazquez, Jonathan Arauz, Josh Ockimey, Jantzen Witte, and Jeter Downs was matched up against veteran right-hander Ivan Nova to begin things on Wednesday.

Despite going down by five before even taking their first at-bats, the Boston bats responded swiftly in their half of the first, as Pillar and Bradley Jr. greeted Nova with a leadoff single and double to put runners in scoring position with one out for J.D. Martinez.

Martinez didn’t waste anytime, either, as he took the second pitch he saw from the Tigers starter and deposited deep to left field for a three-run shot. His second homer of the spring cut the deficit to two at 5-3.

An inning later, it was the bottom half of the lineup getting it done, with Ockimey leading the frame off with a double and Downs, the organization’s top prospect, driving him in on a one-out, run-scoring single to left. 5-4.

In addition to his first inning double, Bradley Jr. capitalized in his second plate appearance against Nova in the third, as he ripped a leadoff homer over the left field wall to knot things up at five runs apiece. His second big fly of the spring.

Fast forward all the way to the seventh, after Detroit had jumped out to an 8-5 edge, Chad De La Guerra brought his side back to within two runs on another solo shot off Tigers reliever Rony Garcia.

And in the ninth, in what had suddenly turned into a runaway for the Tigers, Roldani Baldwin came to the plate with two outs and the bases full, and he promptly unloaded them on a three-run double off Jose Cisnero.

That three RBI knock made it a 13-9 contest, which would go on to be Wednesday’s final score after Nolan Blackwood got Ryder Jones to line out to short.

Some observations from this loss:

Xander Bogaerts, in his spring debut at designated hitter: 0-for-2 with two strikeouts.

This game was not televised, but the fact that Heath Hembree has a 10.13 ERA through his first two appearances of the spring is far from promising. His roster spot could be in jeopardy if he continues to struggle.

Nice to see Ryan Brasier bounce back with two scoreless innings of relief Wednesday. Probably the highlight of the day pitching-wise.

Kevin Plawecki walked in his lone plate appearance of the afternoon after replacing Christian Vazquez behind the plate in the fifth. Jonathan Lucroy did not play.

Rusney Castillo hit a triple.

Next up for the Red Sox, they’ll host the Houston Astros at JetBlue Park on Thursday afternoon.

Left-hander Kyle Hart will get the start for Boston, while right-hander Josh James will do the same for Houston.

As mentioned before, Hart is one of several candidates vying for a spot in the Sox’ starting rotation. He owns an ERA of 9.00 through two appearances (one start) this spring.

The Astros have been subject to plenty of boos from opposing crowds this spring, so it will be interesting to see, or hear about, how the JetBlue Park crowd handles things given the fact that the 2018 Red Sox are still under investigation by the league.

Anyway, first pitch Thursday is scheduled for 1:05 PM EST. This game will not be televised.

 

 

Red Sox’ Xander Bogaerts Set to Make Spring Debut Against Tigers

For the first time this spring, Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts is set to make a Grapefruit League start.

Yes, after being sidelined with a sore left ankle since reporting to camp last month, the 27-year-old will serve as designated hitter and bat out of the three-hole for Boston against the Tigers at JetBlue Park on Wednesday.

Bogaerts initially suffered the injury while partaking in offseason workouts in his home country of Aruba back in early February, but he has progressed nicely over the past week or so.

“He’s pretty close to getting in a game,” interim manager Ron Roenicke said of Bogaerts Tuesday. “We’ll probably start him at DH. I guess he’s made a lot of progress over the last couple days.”

Lo and behold, Bogaerts is starting at DH for the Sox on Wednesday. He’ll probably get anywhere between two to three plate appearances.

And despite this setback, Bogaerts is still expected to be ready for Opening Day on March 26th.

Bobby Dalbec, Marcus Wilson, and Connor Wong All Homer as Red Sox Tie With Tigers

After putting an end to a three-game losing streak on Sunday, the Red Sox drew with the Detroit Tigers in Lakeland on Monday to fall to 4-5-2 in Grapefruit League action.

Making his second start of the spring for Boston was Ryan Weber, coming off two scoreless innings in his last time out against the Orioles last Tuesday.

Working the first three innings this time around, the right-hander impressed yet again, as he yielded just one unearned run on three hits and zero walks to go along with six strikeouts on the afternoon. In other words, he struck out half of the 12 hitters he faced.

That lone Tigers tally came right away with two outs in the first, when a fielding error committed by Jose Peraza off a C.J. Cron single to left allowed Jonathan Schoop to score all the way from first. Hence the run not being charged to Weber.

Other than that though, the 29-year-old settled down and retired seven of the final eight Detroit hitters he faced. At this point, it certainly looks like Weber deserves a shot in the starting rotation to at least begin the season. His next outing should come on Sunday against the Twins.

In relief of Weber, right-hander Matt Barnes made his first appearance of the spring, and he struck out one over a perfect bottom half of the fourth inning.

Colten Brewer followed suit by fanning a pair in a 1-2-3 fifth, but things from a pitching perspective got ugly from there. That being the case due to the fact that Denyi Reyes surrendered four runs on two separate two-run home runs in the sixth and seventh innings, and newcomer Phillips Valdez tossing a clean eighth before running into more trouble in the ninth.

There, in what was still an 11-5 game in favor Boston, Valdez allowed five of the first seven Tigers he faced in the inning to reach base, resulting in three Detroit runs coming in to score to make it an 11-8 game.

That led to a pitching change that saw Adam Lau take over for Valdez with inherited runners on first and second, and he served up a three-run shot to the first man he faced in Travis Demeritte, who was also responsible for the homer in the sixth, to tie this thing up at 11 runs apiece.

Lau did manage to record the final out of the ninth though, and 11-11 would go on to be Monday’s final score.

The guys who are likely to open the 2020 season with the Red Sox — Weber, Barnes, Brewer — were fine. The guys who are likely to start the season in either Double-A Portland or Triple-A Pawtucket — Reyes, Valdez, and to a lesser extent Lau — did not.

On the other side of things, a Red Sox starting lineup that featured Kevin Pillar, Jackie Bradley Jr., Michael Chavis, Kevin Plawecki, Jonathan Lucroy (DH), Peraza, Bobby Dalbec, Josh Ockimey, and Marcus Wilson was matched up against a fairly familar opponent in Tigers left-hander Daniel Norris to begin things on Monday.

Kicking off the scoring in the top half of the second, back-to-back one-out singles from Lucroy and Peraza, in addition to a two-out RBI single off the bat of Ockimey, pulled the Sox back even with the Tigers at 1-1.

That stalemate would be short-lived, however, as Marcus Wilson followed Ockimey’s run-scoring hit with a towering three-run blast to left center field off the third pitch he saw from Norris. 4-1.

An inning later, it was another prospect making some noise, this time with Bobby Dalbec crushing a three-run homer of his own with two outs off of Zack Godley to give his side a commanding 7-1 advantage. His first homer of the spring.

Detroit cut into that six-run deficit by plating two runs of their own in both the sixth and seventh innings, but that did not stop the Boston bats from responding in their half of the eighth.

A leadoff walk drawn by Tzu-Wei Lin off of Anthony Castro resulted in another run when Jantzen Witte ripped and RBI double down the left field line. 8-5.

Witte scored himself on a one-out Marco Hernandez RBI single, and even though Hernandez got himself out on the bases, outfield prospect Jarren Duran kept the inning going by drawing another base on balls to bring catching prospect Connor Wong to the plate.

After flying out to center in his first plate appearance of the afternoon the inning prior, Wong did not mess around in his second time to the plate, as the 23-year-old backstop deposited a two-run big fly deep to left center field to make it an 11-5 game. His second home run of the spring.

As already mentioned though, the Tigers’ offense could not be silenced, and they battled back to knot things up at 11 runs each before this one came to a close.

Some observations from this tie:

Kevin Plawecki on Monday: 1-for-2 with a walk and run scored.

Jonathan Lucroy on Monday: 1-for-3 with a walk and two runs scored.

Marcus Wilson, Bobby Dalbec, and Connor Wong on Monday: 3-for-7 with three home runs, four runs scored, and eight RBI.

Next up for the Red Sox, they’ll travel to Tampa Bay to take on the New York Yankees on Tuesday afternoon.

Left-hander Martin Perez will get the start for Boston, while veteran right-hander Masahiro Tanaka will do the same for New York.

Perez scattered one hit and one walk over two scoreless innings in his spring debut last Wednesday against the Pirates.

First pitch Tuesday is scheduled for 1:05 PM EST. This game will be televised on ESPN and YES Network.