Zack Godley Works Three Scoreless, No-Hit Innings in Red Sox’ Final Exhibition Game Before Opening Day

In their final tune-up before the start of the 2020 regular season, the Red Sox only managed to play 4 1/2 innings of exhibition baseball against the Blue Jays on Wednesday night due to the weather. If games were official after only 4 1/2 innings, the Sox would have lost by a final score of 2-0, but it’s not like that matters too much anyway.

Zack Godley got the start for Boston in this one, and he made a solid case for a spot in the back end of the Sox’ rotation by working three scoreless, no-hit innings to go along with just one walk and two strikeouts on the night.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 35, 24 of which were strikes, the veteran right-hander turned to his curveball exactly 40% of the time he was on the mound Wednesday while also topping out at 91 MPH with his cutter, a pitch he threw 16 times.

If things align the way he wants them to, Godley could open the season as Boston’s No. 4 or 5 starter, meaning his first official start in a Red Sox uniform would come in next week’s interleague series against the New York Mets.

In relief of Godley, Brian Johnson was the only other Sox hurler to get some work in on Wednesday due to the weather, and he did not look his best given the fact that he served up a two-run blast to Vladimir Guerrero Jr. on a hanging, 3-2 curveball down the heart of the plate in the top half of the fourth.

Still, if there is any positives to take away from the left-hander’s rather rough outing, it’s that he tossed a scoreless fifth inning right before this game was going to be called.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup, fresh off plating six runs on Tuesday, was matched up against Blue Jays right-hander Trent Thornton to begin things on Wednesday.

As it turns out, the Boston bats were only able to muster one hit off of Thornton, a two-out single from former Blue Jay Kevin Pillar in the third, and another hit off of Toronto reliever Shun Yamaguchi in the fourth. That being a two-out single off the bat of Xander Bogaerts.

Other than that, not much to report on seeing how Mother Nature cut this exhibition contest short.

Some observations from this one:

Should Zack Godley start over Brian Johnson? The answer at this point seems to be leaning towards ‘yes.’

Blue Jays shortstop Bo Bichette is pretty good.

Next up for the Red Sox, the games finally start to count. Opening Day is this Friday and a three-game weekend series against the Baltimore Orioles is on tap.

Right-hander Nathan Eovaldi will be making his first career Opening Day start for Boston, while lefty Tommy Milone will be doing the same for Baltimore.

The Sox won 63% of their games against the O’s last year. That would translate to six wins in 10 games against their divisional foes in 2020.

First pitch Friday is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. eastern time on NESN. Real baseball is back, folks.

 

J.D. Martinez, Mitch Moreland Club Homers as Red Sox Fall to Blue Jays in First of Two Exhibition Games at Fenway Park

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.

 

Red Sox to Host Blue Jays in Pair of Exhibition Games Prior to Start of 2020 Season

Before *hopefully* opening the truncated 2020 season against the Baltimore Orioles at Fenway Park on July 24th, the Red Sox will host the Toronto Blue Jays in a pair of exhibition games on July 21st and 22nd.

As The Boston Globe’s Pete Abraham mentions in the above tweet, both Summer Camp games are scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m. eastern time, so they will both likely be aired on NESN since the Sox decided to push back the start time of home night games for whatever reason.

Red Sox manager Ron Roenicke said earlier Thursday that the team would have an announcement about playing in exhibition game(s) against another club within the next few days.

Major-league clubs are allowed to play up to three exhibition games before the start of the 2020 season. Unless something gets scheduled fairly soon, it appears that Boston will stick to two preseason contests against the Jays at Fenway Park.

Not that it matters in the grand scheme of things, but this news somewhat reminds me of when the Sox traveled to Montreal for a pair of exhibition games hosted by the Blue Jays four years ago, right before the start of the 2016 season.