Andrew Benintendi Launches First Career Grand Slam as #RedSox Top Rays for First Series Win of 2019

It took nearly four weeks, but for the first time this season, the Red Sox have won a series following a narrow 6-5 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays Saturday night. This is also the first time this season that the team has won two consecutive road games.

Making his fourth start of the season at a place he usually finds success in for this one was Rick Porcello.

Entering the day with a lifetime 2.86 ERA at Tropicana Field, the right-hander took the first steps in turning around what has been an ugly start to his walk year, as he held Tampa Bay to just two runs on six hits, one walk, and one HBP to go along with five strikeouts in 5.2 innings of work.

That lone free pass, as well as two double plays being turned, may serve as a few important indicators that Porcello is on the road to improvement.

Working with a lead from the second inning on, one of the six hits given up by the 30-year-old hurler traveled 413 feet off the bat of Avisail Garcia in the bottom half of the second to plate the Rays’ first run of the evening on a solo home run.

Later in the fourth, a pair of triples from Ji-Man Choi and Brandon Lowe in that order gave Tampa Bay their second run and make it a 5-2 game.

Retiring six of the next nine hitters he faced after that, Porcello’s night would come to a close following a two out single from Lowe in the sixth. With Avisail Garcia, with one home run under his best already, due up next for the Rays, Alex Cora made the switch for Heath Hembree out of the Red Sox bullpen.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 91 (60 strikes), Porcello turned to his two-seam fastball nearly 40% of the time he was on the mound on Saturday while also topping out at 93.6 MPH with his four-seamer.

Still without a winning decision on the season despite better results, Porcello’s next start should come against the Detroit Tigers, his former club, sometime next week.

In relief of Porcello, Hembree entered with one out to get in the sixth and did just that before surrendering a leadoff triple to the speedy Kevin Kiermaier in the seventh.

After recording the first out of the inning, Hembree made way for the recently called up Bobby Poyner, who walked the first man he faced in Rays pinch-hitter Guillermo Heredia and gave up a two-run triple to the next hitter he faced in Austin Meadows.

That cut Boston’s lead down to one run and in came Marcus Walden.

Recently called up himself, Walden had himself another impressive showing, fanning the only two Rays hitters he faced to send this contest to the eighth with his team still in the lead.

In that eighth inning, Matt Barnes, working two days in a row, allowed Tampa Bay to come all the way back from an initial five run deficit by serving up a leadoff, then game-tying homer to Yandy Diaz.

Presumably upset at himself, Barnes retired the next three hitters faced all via the punch out.

Thanks to a mini rally from the Red Sox bats in their half of the ninth, Ryan Brasier had the opportunity to come on for the save with a one run lead to protect and Christian Vazquez now behind the dish after Sandy Leon was pinch hit for.

Like Barnes, Brasier was also in his second straight game, and it showed, as he allowed the go-ahead run to reach base on a leadoff single from Robertson and a two out knock from Tommy Pham.

With Willy Adames at the plate for Tampa Bay with the chance to be a hero, Christian Vazquez made the play of the game, picking off Pham with a rocket of a throw to Steve Pearce covering first. And that’s how this 6-5 win came to a close.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against ex-Astros right-hander Charlie Morton for Tampa Bay, who had only made four career starts against Boston prior to Saturday.

Able to get the scoring started right away in the second, a JD Martinez leadoff single and a pair of walks drawn by Xander Bogaerts and Jackie Bradley Jr. filled the bases for the Red Sox with just one out in the inning.

Following a mound visit and a Tzu-Wei Lin strikeout, Sandy Leon, in his second game back with the big league club, was able to drive in the Red Sox’ first run of the night by taking a 86 MPH cutter from Morton off his foot. That made it a 1-0 game and reloaded the bases for the top of the order.

Capitalizing on that miscue from Morton right away, Andrew Benintendi swung at the very first pitch he saw in his second at bat against the Rays hurler and wound up blasting his first career grand slam to unload the bases.

That put the Red Sox up 5-0 early on, but they were kept quiet over the next few hours, unable to score again until the ninth.

Going into that final frame having given away that aforementioned five-run advantage, Jackie Bradley Jr. of all people would begin things by ripping a leadoff single to right field off Rays reliever Jose Alvarado and representing the go-ahead run.

After another Tzu-Wei Lin punch out, the nine spot was due up next for the Red Sox, and instead of Sandy Leon, in came top prospect Michael Chavis to make his major league debut in a decently crucial spot against the left-handed Alvarado.

Called up by the Red Sox on Friday, Chavis took advantage of the unfamiliar matchup and laced a 1-2 double over the head of Kevin Kiermaier in center field, advancing Bradley Jr. to third in the process of picking up the first hit of his young career.

According to Statcast, that two-bagger from Chavis had an exit velocity of 109 MPH and traveled a distance of 401 feet. Not bad for your first AB in the bigs.

chavis.jpg

With the lineup turning over and the go-ahead run now just 90 feet away, Benintendi came through with another huge plate appearance, this time driving in Bradley Jr. on a sacrifice fly to left to collect his fifth and final RBI of the night. That put the Red Sox up 6-5, which would go on to be the final score in this one.

Some notes from this win:

Mitch Moreland, who started at first, departed from this game in the third inning due to back spasms. According to Moreland himself though, he should be able to play Sunday.

From @SoxNotes, regarding JD Martinez’s 10-game hitting streak:

From the Boston Herald’s Jason Mastrodonato, regarding Chavis’ ninth inning double:

From the Boston Globe’s Pete Abraham, quoting Alex Cora talking about Chavis:

Already with their first series win of 2019 in hand, the Red Sox will for the sweep over the Rays on Easter Sunday.

Left-hander David Price will get the start against his former club, while former Pirates hurler Tyler Glasnow is slated to take the mound on the opposite side.

Michael Chavis is also due to make his first career big league start in this series finale, although it is not clear where he will be playing.

First pitch Sunday is scheduled for 2:10 PM EDT on NESN. Red Sox going for the sweep.

 

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Mitch Moreland and Rafael Devers’ Late-Inning Heroics Lift #RedSox to First Home Win of 2019

After dropping their first home game of the 2019 season on Tuesday, the Red Sox bounced back in dramatic fashion on Thursday, as they walked off the Toronto Blue Jays to capture their first victory at Fenway Park this year.

In a contest that took nearly three-and-a-half hours to complete, it was Nathan Eovaldi who got the ball to start things out in this one.

Making his third start of the season, the right-hander managed to work through five full innings despite surrendering five earned runs on six hits, two of which were home runs, and four walks to go along with four strike outs as well.

One thing that helped Eovaldi make it through five innings was the double-play ball, as he only retired four of the first seven Blue Jays hitters he faced with the help of his infield turning a pair of DP’s behind him.

The top half of the third is where things started to take a turn for the worst, however, with Toronto plating all five runs they scored off Eovaldi in a span of a few minutes thanks to a three-run home run from Justin Smoak and a two-run homer from Rowdy Tellez.

After fanning Danny Jansen to end that disaster of an inning though, the 29-year-old hurler induced two more twin killings before his evening came to an end following a scoreless fifth frame.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 89 (51 strikes), Eovaldi threw his four-seam fastball 36 times, topping out at 99.8 MPH while inducing eight swings and misses with the heater.

His next start should come against the Yankees in New York next week.

In relief of Eovaldi, the Red Sox bullpen was responsible for the final four innings of this one, and they relatively held their own.

Heath Hembree and Colten Brewer each struck out a pair in back-to-back shutout innings in the sixth and seventh before Ryan Brasier yielded a solo home run to Freddy Galvis in an otherwise clean eighth frame.

From there, Marcus Walden worked his way around a tight situation where the Blue Jays had runners on second and third with just one out to close the door on them and keep this contest at a one-run game going into Boston’s half of the ninth. He improved to 2-0 on the season thanks to the solid effort.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against a familiar foe in Toronto right-hander Aaron Sanchez, who entered Thursday with a lifetime 3.79 in nine career outings (six starts) at Fenway Park.

Getting the scoring started for Boston in this one was JD Martinez, whose one out RBI double in the second to plate Mookie Betts would wind up being the catalyst for a three-run inning, with both Rafael Devers and Dustin Pedroia collecting their first RBI of the season as well.

That cut Toronto’s lead to two runs after they had just scored five of their own.

Fast forward to the fifth, and the Red Sox would cut that deficit down to one run thanks to a wild pitch from Sanchez that allowed Xander Bogaerts to easily score from third with Dustin Pedroia at the plate.

Two innings later, Mitch Moreland, who is without a doubt the team’s clutchest player at the moment, came through in the big time again, as his fifth home run of the season, this one coming off Blue Jays reliever Joe Biagini, knotted this contest up at five runs a piece.

After Toronto scored what appeared to be a vital go-ahead run on that aforementioned dinger from Freddy Galvis in the eighth, the Red Sox entered their half of the ninth with three outs to work with and a 3-10 start staring them dead in the face.

With closer Ken Giles, who entered the night 34-for-34 in his last 34 save opportunities, on the mound for Toronto, Mookie Betts put the tying run on base by drawing a one out, six-pitch walk.

Just a few moments after that, Moreland was at it yet again, ripping a 389 foot double to dead center to drive in Betts all the way from first and tie this game up for the second time on the night.

Eduardo Nunez would come on to pinch-run for Moreland, and all of a sudden, the winning run was only 180 feet away.

In a bit of a tough spot, the Blue Jays decided to put JD Martinez on intentionally in hopes of turning a double play, but after Giles fell behind on Xander Bogaerts and walked him, the bases were loaded for Rafael Devers.

Entering the ninth inning with an RBI double under his belt already, Devers had the chance to send his team home with their first win since Sunday, and he did just that by bouncing the game-sealing, run-scoring single over the head of any Blue Jays infielder into shallow right field.

That allowed Nunez to calmly score from third to make it 7-6, which would go on to be the final score in this one.

Some notes from this win:

In the Red Sox’ four wins this season, Mitch Moreland is 5-for-14 with two doubles, three home runs, and eight RBI. He is directly responsible for all four of those victories.

Dustin Pedroia has two hits in two games since his return from the injured list on Tuesday. He’s also looked pretty solid at second base.

Next up for the Red Sox, they welcome the 5-8 Baltimore Orioles into town for the first time this season.

Eduardo Rodriguez, who hasn’t pitched since last Thursday in Oakland, will get the ball for Boston, while right-hander David Hess will do the same for Baltimore.

Rodriguez, 26, has walked six batters in a total of eight innings of work in 2019.

Hess, meanwhile, has only made one prior start at Fenway Park in his two-year career, an outing in which he surrendered five earned runs in less than five innings pitched last May.

First pitch Friday is scheduled for 7:10 PM EDT on NESN.

 

 

 

 

 

Chris Sale Gets Lit up for Seven Runs as #RedSox Get Blown out by Mariners on Opening Day

Exactly five months after clinching their ninth World Series title in franchise history, the Red Sox set out on the journey to defend that crown, starting with an Opening Day showdown against the Seattle Mariners at the newly-minted T-Mobile Park out in the Pacific Northwest.

Getting the start for Boston in this one, as announced last week, was none other than ace left-hander Chris Sale.

The new $145 million man, who also recorded the last out of that 2018 World Series against the Dodgers, did not have himself an Opening Day to remember in this one.

Working just the first three innings on Thursday, Sale surrendered seven earned runs on six hits, two walks, and one HBP to go along with four strikeouts on the night. Three of those Mariners hits were home runs, with a pair coming from infielder Tim Beckham and the other coming from Edwin Encarnacion.

Control was clearly an issue for Sale in his first meaningful start of 2019, and according to Statcast, the 29-year-old failed to induce one swing and miss when throwing his four-seam fastball, which he went to 25 times.

Also using Statcast, Sale’s fastball topped out at 94.5 MPH in the first inning. His average fastball velocity on the night was 92.3 MPH, which incrementally decreased from inning to inning.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 76 (45 strikes), Sale’s next start should come against the Oakland Athletics next Wednesday. Perhaps with some more innings under his belt after a fairly light spring, we’ll see a more improved Sale in his next time out.

In relief of Sale, Hector Velazquez. Heath Hembree, Tyler Thornburg, and Brian Johnson combined to give up five more runs, four of which were earned, on six hits, two walks, one HBP, and five strikeouts over the final five frames on Thursday.

Velazquez, who figures to take on a long-relief/spot start role this season, was responsible for three of those runs, with one of them coming on a Ryon Healy fifth inning solo homer.

After loading the bases with one out in the sixth, Heath Hembree would enter his first contest of 2019 to try and escape the jam, but would give up an additional pair of runs on a bases-loaded walk and Eduardo Nunez fielding error. Both runs (one earned) were charged to Velazquez.

From there, Tyler Thornburg’s 2019 debut didn’t go quite as planned, as the ex-Brewer allowed two more Mariners runs to score while serving up Seattle’s fifth home run of the evening courtesy of Domingo Santana.

And finally, Brian Johnson, who should be starting Tuesday in Oakland if the Red Sox remain committed to a six-man rotation, had the best outing of any Boston reliever, limiting Seattle to just one base runner in a scoreless eighth inning of work.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Mariners left-hander Marco Gonzales to start things out in Seattle’s home opener.

Entering Thursday having already made an official start last week in Tokyo, Gonzales looked fairly shaky early against the defending World Series champions.

In fact, three straight one out first inning hits from Mookie Betts, Rafael Devers, and JD Martinez resulted in Boston’s first run of the season to cross the plate on an RBI single from Martinez.

Just an inning later, a Mariners E3 that allowed Eduardo Nunez to reach first to leadoff the second allowed another Red Sox run to score, this one coming after Nunez had advanced to third and Andrew Benintendi had driven him in with an RBI sacrifice fly to shallow left field.

So, with an early 2-0 lead, things were looking pretty good for the Red Sox, until they weren’t, because Gonzales got into a bit of a groove from the beginning of the third inning up until the sixth.

There, Nunez was at it again, this time leading the inning off with a line drive double.

After a Jackie Bradley Jr. strikeout and an apparent balk committed by Gonzales, Christian Vazquez came through with his first RBI of 2019 by pulling a double to left field, allowing Nunez to score.

That run-scoring two-bagger would mark the end of the night for Gonzales, who was replaced in favor of fellow southpaw and ex-Red Sox hurler Roenis Elias.

Matched up against Benintendi in his first action of the game, Benintendi won the lefty-on-lefty matchup, pulling an RBI single to right to drive in Vazquez.

At the time, that cut Seattle’s lead to four runs, but as the final score of 12-4 indicates, the Mariners would go on a little run of their own to put this one out of reach for the Red Sox in their first loss of the 2019 season.

Some notes from this loss:

The seven runs given up by Chris Sale are tied for the most he has given up in a Red Sox uniform.

Per WEEI’s Evan Drellich, “the 2018 Red Sox allowed 12 runs or more only three times. The season high for runs allowed was 13.”

From the Boston Globe’s Alex Speier, when speaking with Red Sox manager Alex Cora:

An ugly loss to be sure, but let’s not forget how Opening Day last year went with that blown lead in Tampa Bay.

Compared to other teams, this Red Sox club had an atypical spring coming off a 2018 in which they played deep into October. It could take some time until we see this team at their full capacity. That’s what I’m trying to say.

Anyway, next up for the Red Sox, it will be a starting pitching matchup featuring right-hander Nathan Eovaldi and rookie left-hander Yusei Kikuchi on Friday

Eovaldi, entering his first full season with Boston, has only pitched at T-Mobile Field once before in his seven-year career.

For Seattle, Kikuchi allowed two runs (one earned) over 4 2/3 innings in his first career start against the Oakland Athletics last week in Tokyo.

First pitch Friday is scheduled for 10:10 PM EDT on NESN. Time to put that first win on the board.

Chris Sale Fans Six in Final Tune-Up Before Opening Day as #RedSox Top Pirates

The Red Sox improved to 12-15-1 in their Grapefruit League finale on Saturday afternoon, defeating the a split Pittsburgh Pirates squad by a final score of 12-3 for their fourth consecutive victory.

Making his final tune-up before the start of the regular season in this one was Chris Sale.

Fresh off inking a five-year, $145 million contract extension, the left-hander looked as sharp as ever on Saturday, holding the Pirates scoreless on just two hits and one walk to go along with six strikeouts over five impressive innings of work.

In total, Sale faced 16 hitters and needed 73 pitches to get through those five frames and fanned three straight to end his day on a positive note.

As you probably already know, Sale’s next start will come on Opening Day out in Seattle, Wa., two days before the hurler’s 30th birthday.

From the beginning of the sixth inning on, Heath Hembree and Brian Johnson combined to allow three Pirates runs to score on seven hits, a pair of walks, and six strikeouts themselves.

Hembree was the one responsible for all three of those runs, as he served up a one out, three-run home run to Pittsburgh’s second-ranked prospect Ke’Bryan Hayes, which at the time cut Boston’s lead to one run.

Overall, not a great showing from Hembree, but if there’s anything to salvage from this particular outing, it’s that he retired the final two hitters he faced in order after giving up the home run to put an end to the Pirates half of the sixth.

Johnson, meanwhile, had to work his away around a bases-loaded jam in the seventh before eventually settling in and punching out four in three innings en route to securing the blowout win.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Pirates Opening Day starter Jameson Taillon to begin things on Saturday.

Similar to what they did against the Twins on Friday, the top of the lineup set the tone early, with Mookie Betts, Dustin Pedroia, and JD Martinez all reaching base with one out in the first.

Martinez drove in the first Red Sox run of the afternoon on a shallow single to center field to plate Betts, while Xander Bogaerts followed that up by driving in Pedroia on an RBI sacrifice fly to left. And just like that, it was already 2-0.

Fast forward to the fourth, and Bogaerts was at it again, this time leading off the inning with a triple off Taillon.

He would come around to score on a Jackie Bradley Jr. RBI double moments later, and Bradley Jr. would himself come around to score from second on a Brock Holt RBI two-bagger. 4-0.

After the Pirates had cut into that four-run lead in their half of the sixth, the Boston bats would respond almost immediately, with both Blake Swihart and Bradley Jr. capitalizing on a Pittsburgh throwing error and scoring their team’s fifth and sixth runs of the afternoon.

And in eighth, Swihart would wind up being the catalyst of a six-run inning with a two out single.

Jantzen Witte, Joseph Monge, Chris Madera, and Aneury Tavarez all picked up RBI as the Red Sox wold go on to run away with this one, winning their last game of Grapefruit League play in 2019 by a final score of 12-3.

Some notes from this win:

Tzu-Wei Lin was optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket following Saturday’s victory, meaning the Red Sox now have 29 players on their active roster. Sam Travis should be next.

Jackie Bradley Jr. finishes his 2019 Grapefruit League campaign with a .333/.409/.667 slash line, three home runs, and eight RBI in 39 spring at-bats.

Next up for the Red Sox, they’ll head out west to Mesa, Arizona to take on the Chicago Cubs in a pair of exhibition games starting Monday, before the real thing begins.

Rick Porcello will get the ball Monday and both games will be on NESNplus and NESN, so stay tuned for that.

First pitch Monday is scheduled for 9:05 PM EDT.

#RedSox Split St. Patrick’s Day Split-Squad Doubleheader Against Pirates and Rays

The Red Sox both improved and fell to 8-14-1 in Grapefruit League play on Sunday afternoon following a St. Patrick’s Day split-squad split, with the 3-2 win coming at JetBlue Park against the Tampa Bay Rays and the 8-1 defeat coming at the hands of the Pittsburgh Pirates in Bradenton.

Beginning with the contest against the Rays, David Price was originally scheduled to make his second start of the spring against his old club, but the left-hander was scratched Sunday morning due to illness.

In his place, fellow southpaw Brian Johnson, who was going to pitch anyway, surrendered two runs (one earned) on a pair of hits and walks to go along with three strikeouts in two-and-two-thirds innings of work.

Johnson faced 13 Rays hitters on the afternoon, retiring eight of them while allowing five to reach base before getting the hook with one out to get in the top half of the third.

From there, Trevor Kelley, Heath Hembree, Adam Lau, Colten Brewer, Jenrry Mejia, Durbin Feltman, Hunter Smith, and Eduard Bazardo combined to hold Tampa Bay scoreless over the final 6.1 frames on Sunday, as they scattered just two hits, six walks, and six strikeouts en route to the win.

Hembree, who worked the start of the fourth inning, struggled with control a bit, which was evident by him walking the bases loaded while failing to retire the side.

Feltman, meanwhile, fanned the first two hitters he faced in relatively easy fashion, but could not finish things off after giving up a two out double and surrendering two straight walks.

Bazardo, who was signed as an international free agent by Boston back in 2014, picked up the save in his Grapefruit League debut thanks to a 1-2-3 ninth.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox split-squad lineup was matched up against Rays minor leaguer Ryan Merrit to kick things off.

Starting the scoring in this one was Brock Holt, whose leadoff double in the first would translate to Boston’s first run of the afternoon coming around to score on a two out RBI double off the bat of JD Martinez.

Fast forward all the way to the bottom half of the eighth, trailing by a run, and back-to-back two out RBI knocks from Danny Mars and Ryan Fitzgerald pulled the Red Sox up a run themselves, as 3-2 would go on to be the final score in this one.

Meanwhile, over in Bradenton, as previously mentioned, the Red Sox fell to the Pittsburgh Pirates 8-1.

Jackie Bradley Jr. provided the lone highlight for Boston in this one with, in his one words, “probably the most amazing play I’ve ever made.”

Steve Pearce left in the first inning after feeling discomfort in his left calf while running out a grounder in his first and only at bat of the afternoon.

When asked about it, the 2018 World Series MVP said, “I didn’t feel a pop. There wasn’t anything that was too alarming. I just don’t like how it is right now.”

His departure on Sunday seems more precautionary than anything, but it would not be too surprising if the 35-year-old Pearce is held out of action for the next few days to ensure all is well with that left calf.

Some additional notes from Sunday’s split-squad doubleheader:

Colten Brewer faced the minimum six hitters in two shutout frames against the Rays, while Jenrry Mejia also held Tampa Bay scoreless to go along with one strikeout in a perfect seventh inning.

Triston Casas, who was Boston’s first round selection in the 2018 draft, made his 2019 Grapefruit League debut at JetBlue Park as a defensive replacement for Mitch Moreland in the fifth.

The 19-year-old prospect went 0/1 with a walk and a strikeout while also seeing a fair amount of action over at first.

Next up for the Red Sox, they’ll make the short trek to Hammond Stadium on Monday to face the Minnesota Twins in the sixth installment of the 2019 Chairman’s Cup.

Nathan Eovaldi will be getting the ball for Boston, while ace right-hander Jose Berrios will be doing the same for Minnesota.

The last time these two clubs linked up, Eovaldi allowed one run over three innings in his first start of the spring, while Berrios allowed a pair of runs over 3.1 innings.

First pitch Monday is scheduled for 1:05 PM EDT. NESN does not have it covered.

Steve Pearce Belts Two Homers, Heath Hembree and Durbin Feltman Make Spring Debuts as #RedSox Halt Losing Streak in 4-4 Draw with Tigers

The Red Sox improved(?) to 6-12-1 in Grapefruit League play on Thursday following a 4-4 draw on the road against the Detroit Tigers in Lakeland. The tie officially puts an end to Boston’s seven-game losing streak.

Making his fourth start of the spring in this one was Eduardo Rodriguez.

Working the first five innings, the left-hander surrendered three earned runs on three hits and two walks to go along with eight strikeouts, doubling his spring total in one outing.

All three of those Tigers runs came around to score in the bottom half of the second, highlighted by a pair of run-scoring doubles from Jeimer Candelario and Grayson Greiner off of Rodriguez.

Other than that, the 25-year-old hurler was nearly perfect as he retired nine of the final 10 hitters he faced, which also included a three-strikeout third inning.

In total, Rodriguez faced 20 hitters. Through four starts this spring, the Venezuela native owns a 4.15 ERA and 1.23 WHIP over 13 total innings pitched.

From the top of the sixth inning on, Brandon Workman, Heath Hembree, Domingo Tapia, and Durbin Feltman combined to toss four frames of one-run ball on two hits, three walks, and seven strikeouts.

For Hembree, Thursday’s action marked his first appearance of the spring. The right-hander fanned the only three hitters he faced in a scoreless seventh inning.

Feltman, meanwhile, also made his 2019 debut in this one. According to MLB Pipeline, he is ranked as the 12th-best prospect in Boston’s farm system

A 2018 third round selection out of Texas Christian, the 21-year-old struck out the first two hitters he faced, walked Gordon Beckham to put the potential go-ahead run on base, then proceeded to pick off Beckham to retire the side in the ninth and thus end the game. Not bad for your first ever Grapefruit League action.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Tigers left-hander Matthew Boyd, who figures to be a significant member of Detroit’s rotation in 2019.

Starting the scoring in the fourth, Steve Pearce got his team on the board by mashing his first home run of the spring, a two-run shot off Boyd to pull Boston to within one run.

After CJ Chatham drove in the then-tying run with an RBI single in the fifth, Pearce was at it again an inning later, as the 2018 World Series MVP took Tigers reliever Victor Alcantara yard for his second long ball of the afternoon.

That made it a 4-3 ballgame at that point in the sixth, which would be all the scoring the Red Sox could muster in what would end up being a 4-4 stalemate.

Some notes from this draw:

Rafael Devers went 2/3 with a run scored on Thursday. In 29 Grapefruit League at-bats, the corner infielder is slashing .448/.448/.690 with one home run and four runs driven in.

According to The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier, Feltman’s fastball was hovering around 94-95 MPH while his slider was sitting at 83 MPH with a “vertical break.”

Speier also noted that free agent closer Craig Kimbrel’s agent David Meter was on hand at Joker Marchant Stadium on Thursday and “briefly crossed” paths with Dave Dombrowksi. Something to monitor there, perhaps.

Next up for the Red Sox, they’ll head to Tampa to take on the New York Yankees on Friday.

Right-hander Hector Velazquez is slated to start for Boston, while fellow righty Domingo German will do the same for New York.

First pitch at George M. Steinbrenner Field is scheduled for 1:05 PM EDT. Boston 25 is the way to go if you will be watching within the Boston market, while NESN will have it covered if you will be watching outside said market.

#RedSox and Heath Hembree Avoid Arbitration with One-Year Deal for 2019 Season.

On Friday afternoon, the Boston Red Sox announced that they had agreed to terms on a one-year contract with RHP Heath Hembree.

According to Fancred’s Jon Heyman, the two sides will avoid salary arbitration with a deal worth approximately $1.312 million for the 2019 season.

Hembree, 29, posted a 4.20 ERA and 1.33 WHIP over 67 relief apperances and 60 innings pitched in his fourth full season with Boston in 2018.

The right-hander also held left-handed hitters to a .186 batting average against to go along with a career-high 11.4 K/9 for a whole campaign.

A former fifth round pick of the San Francisco Giants in 2010, Hembree took Steven Wright’s spot on the Red Sox’ ALDS roster prior to Game Two against the New York Yankees and did not surrender a single run in any of the four postseason appearances he made on the way to a World Series championship.

With the departure of Joe Kelly and the somewhat probable departure of Craig Kimbrel, it’s quite likely that the South Carolina native will see an increase in usage in 2019 depending on what the Red Sox’ plans are for the remainder of the offseason.

Hembree found success early in the 2018 season by stranding inherited runners on base on a consistent basis, but the ability to do that seemed to fade as the year progressed, and the reliever’s numbers inflated as a result of that.

Per the Red Sox themselves, this signing now leaves 10 players, Matt Barnes, Mookie Betts, Xander Bogaerts, Jackie Bradley Jr., Brock Holt, Sandy Leon, Eduardo Rodriguez, Blake Swihart, Brandon Workman, and Steven Wright, who remained unsigned and eligible for arbitration.