JD Martinez Returns to Lineup as #RedSox Get Blown out by Yankees in Tampa

The Red Sox fell to 6-13-1 in Grapefruit League on Friday afternoon following a 14-1 shellacking at the hands of the New York Yankees in Tampa.

As indicated by that final score, this was not and ideal day for Red Sox pitching.

Making his fourth appearance (third start of the spring), Hector Velazquez kicked things off by allowing four runs, only one of which was earned, on three hits and one walk to go along with one strikeout in less than two full innings of work.

After loading the bases by allowing the first three hitters he faced to reach base in the second, the right-hander managed to only surrender two Yankees runs, with DJ LeMahieu reaching on a fielding error to score Miguel Andujar and Gary Sanchez scoring from third on a Brett Gardner sacrifice fly, before Alex Cora made the first call to the bullpen.

With Adam Lau now on the mound and runners at the corners, Yankees slugger Aaron Judge greeted the 2015 37th-round pick by blasting his fifth home run of the spring over the center field wall.

That homer put the Red Sox in an early five-run hole, which turned out to be one they never recovered from. Lau did strike out the next and final hitter he faced in Giancarlo Stanton, though.

From the middle of the third on, Jenrry Mejia, Bobby Poyner, Jordan Weems, Erasmo Ramirez, and Ryan Weber combined to give up nine runs (six earned) on 10 hits, two walks, three strikeouts, and surprisingly no other home runs.

Mejia put together the best performance of any Red Sox reliever on Friday, as he retired the side in order with one punch out in a scoreless third inning.

Poyner, meanwhile, was hit the hardest, as the left-hander could only sit down one of the seven hitters he faced in what would turn out to be another five-run frame for the Yankees.

Through six outings this spring, Poyner owns an ERA of 8.22 and a WHIP of 1.57 over seven total innings. Not favorable numbers for someone looking to make Boston’s Opening Day roster like he did last season.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Yankees right-hander Domingo German, who figures to have a shot at cracking New York’s starting rotation with ace Luis Severino out all of April.

German, 26, shut out the Boston bats in four impressive frames of work, allowing just three total baserunners while fanning six in the process.

In fact, it wasn’t until the sixth inning when the Red Sox finally get on the board.

Facing off against new Yankee reliever Adam Ottavino, three consecutive no out hits from Andrew Benintendi, Rafael Devers, and JD Martinez would plate the club’s first and only run of the afternoon on a GIDP off the bat of Sam Travis.

So, no RBI awarded there and the Red Sox would go on to drop this one by a final score of 14-1. They have not won a Grapefruit League contest since March 5th.

Some notes from this loss:

As stated above, JD Martinez was back in the Red Sox lineup on Friday after dealing with back tightness earlier in the week.

According to @RedSoxStats: In 13.2 innings this spring, Brian Johnson and Hector Velazquez have combined to give up 28 hits and 18 earned runs.

Next up for the Red Sox, they’ll head back to Fort Myers to play host to the Atlanta Braves at JetBlue Park on Saturday.

Right-hander Kyle Wright, who is ranked as the second best pitching prospect in the Braves’ system according to MLB Pipeline, is slated to start for Atlanta.

And for the Red Sox, it will be Chris Sale making his 2019 Grapefruit League debut. The left-hander tossed three innings in a minor league game this past Monday, meaning he will be coming off a regular five days of rest. Should be exciting to see.

First pitch Saturday is scheduled for 1:05 ET. NESN has it covered.

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David Price Fans Four in Spring Debut as #RedSox Drop Sixth Straight

After an off day on Monday, the Red Sox fell to 6-11 in Grapefruit League play on Tuesday following a 4-3 loss to the Detroit Tigers at JetBlue Park, marking their sixth straight defeat.

Like Rick Porcello did on Sunday, 2018 postseason hero David Price made his 2019 debut in this one, getting the start against one of his former teams.

Working the first three innings, the left-hander surrendered two runs on a pair of hits and walks to go along with four strikeouts in his first in-game action of the spring.

Both of those Detroit runs came in the top of the third, when with two outs and a runner on first, ex-Pirates shortstop Jordy Mercer blasted his second home run of the spring to give his new club a two-run advantage.

Other than that one blunder, it was relatively smooth sailing for Price, as he faced three over the minimum nine hitters.

In relief of Price, Matt Barnes, Bobby Poyner, Darwinzon Hernandez, Marcus Walden, Erasmo Ramirez, and Jenrry Mejia combined to give up an additional two runs on three hits, six walks, one HBP, and six strikeouts over the final six frames.

Barnes, who looks poised to be Boston’s closer to start out the 2019 campaign, bounced back from a rough spring debut Saturday and escaped a fourth inning bases loaded jam while holding Detroit scoreless on Tuesday.

Hernandez, meanwhile, had his scoreless appearances streak come to an end in this one, as he allowed Daz Cameron to score on a Kody Eaves two out RBI double in the sixth.

Finally, to close things out, Mejia sat down all but one of the four Detroit hitters he faced in a shutout ninth inning to keep Boston’s deficit at three.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup, which featured the likes of Andrew Benintendi, Mookie Betts, Rafael Devers, JD Martinez, Xander Bogaerts, Mitch Moreland, Dustin Pedroia, Jackie Bradley Jr., and Christian Vazquez was held in check yet again.

Matched up against Tigers left-hander Daniel Norris to start things off, Boston was limited to just three runs on the day, which is actually the most they have scored in a game since last Tuesday.

In fact, all three of those runs were plated in the Red Sox’ half of the ninth.

CJ Chatham got the late rally started by drawing a leadoff walk against Tigers reliever Kyle Funkhouser, who then proceeded to hit Sam Travis with a pitch to put runners on first and second.

Mike Miller followed that up by driving in Chatham on an RBI single up the middle, which in turn led to a Detroit pitching change.

With Jose Manuel Fernandez now on the mound for Detroit and one out in the inning, Blake Swihart pulled his club one run closer by lacing an RBI double left to score Travis and advance Miller to third, who would then come around to plate the third run of the frame on a Gorkys Hernandez RBI groundout.

Unfortunately, a Bryce Brentz strikeout would put an end to any potential comeback effort, and 4-3 would be your final score on Tuesday in favor of Detroit.

Some notes from this loss:

When asked about Price’s outing, Red Sox manager Alex Cora said, “David looked excellent. Velocity. Command. Presence on the mound.”

When asked about it himself, Price responded with a bit of self-criticism.

“To be honest, that homer is not what bothers me the most,” the southpaw said following his start. “It’s the two two-out walks that I had. Gave up that homer and then went 2-0 on the next hitter and then was able to bounce back and throw quality strikes and get that third out. First time back out there in however many months, I’m okay with it.”

On the field, Dustin Pedroia went 1/2 with a single in his second game back, while Blake Swihart accounted for Boston’s lone extra-base hit on Tuesday with that ninth inning RBI two-bagger.

Next up for the Red Sox, they’ll host the Minnesota Twins at JetBlue Park on Wednesday in the fifth installment of the 2019 Chairman’s Cup.

Right-hander Jose Berrios will be getting the ball for Minnesota, while fellow righty Nathan Eovaldi will be making his 2019 debut as well as his first ever Grapefruit League start for Boston.

Looking to put an end to this six-game skid, first pitch Wednesday is scheduled for 1:05 ET at JetBlue. This game will not be televised.

 

Top Pitching Prospect Darwinzon Hernandez Tosses Three Scoreless Innings as #RedSox Drop Third Straight

The Red Sox fell to 6-8 in Grapefruit League play on Friday afternoon following a 4-2 loss at the hands of the Baltimore Orioles marking their third consecutive defeat.

Top pitching prospect Darwinzon Hernandez got the start for Boston in this one and was impressive yet again.

Working the first three innings, the left-hander held Baltimore scoreless while yielding just one hit, one walk, and two HBPs to go along with four strikeouts. He faced 11 Orioles hitters.

Through three outings (two starts) this spring, Hernandez has yet to allow a run to score while striking out 10 in seven total innings of work.

In relief of Hernandez, Bobby Poyner, Travis Lakins, Mike Shawaryn, and Jenryy Mejia combined to surrender four runs on seven hits, two walks, one HBP, and three strikeouts.

Poyner, who served up a fourth inning solo home run up to Renato Nunez, was charged with the loss.

Mejia, meanwhile, bounced back from a rough outing Tuesday with a pair of punch outs in a 1-2-3 ninth on Friday.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against veteran right-hander Andrew Cashner for the Orioles and were limited to two runs or less for the third straight day.

Tzu-Wei Lin accounted for Boston’s lone RBI in this one with an RBI ground-rule double in the second inning of Cashner to score Sandy Leon from second.

Fast forward all the way to the top half of the ninth, and Austin Rei plated the Red Sox’ second and final run of the afternoon after Sam Travis reached first on a Baltimore fielding error.

Some notes from this 4-2 loss:

In 24 at bats so far this spring, Tzu-Wei Lin is slashing .375/.423/.667 with one home run and six RBI.

I know it’s just spring training, but the Red Sox have scored four runs in their last three games. Not ideal.

Next up for the Red Sox, they’ll host the New York Mets Saturday at JetBlue Park.

Right-hander Zack Wheeler, who posted a 3.31 ERA in 2018, will make the start for New York, while left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez will do the same for Boston.

Following Rodriguez’s latest start this past Monday, which also happened to come against the Mets, Red Sox manager Alex Cora said, “He needs to get better. His stuff is really good. . . we have to be more efficient.” So, we’ll see how that goes.

First pitch Saturday is scheduled for 1:05 ET down at JetBlue. NESN has it covered.

 

Tzu-Wei Lin Homers, Collects Three RBI in Seven-Run Fourth as #RedSox Cruise past Nationals

The Red Sox improved to 6-5 in Grapefruit League play on Tuesday following an 8-4 win over the Washington Nationals in West Palm Beach for their third consecutive victory.

Hector Velazquez got the start in this one five days after his last outing, which also came against the Nationals.

This time out, the right-hander had a bit of an easier time of things, limiting Washington to one run on four hits, no walks, and one HBP while striking out three over two-and-two-thirds innings of work.

After allowing two of the first four hitters he faced in the third to reach base and plate the Nationals’ first run of the afternoon, Velazquez’s day came to an end and in came right-hander Trevor Kelley.

Kelley retired the only hitter he faced, Victor Robles, to end Washington’s rally in the third, which ended up being good enough to notch his first winning decision of the spring.

From there, Bobby Poyner, Travis Lakins, Jenrry Mejia, Domingo Tapia, and Josh Taylor combined to surrender three runs on six hits and two walks to go along with four strikeouts.

Mejia, who last pitched five days ago like Velazquez, allowed the first three hitters he faced to reach base in the seventh, which resulted in the Nationals scoring their second and third runs of the day on an Austin Vloth two RBI single.

The ex-Met finished the inning without surrendering another run with the help of a double play, but it was far from the three-strikeout performance he put together in his Red Sox debut.

Taylor, who was responsible for the ninth and final inning, wrapped things up on Tuesday by allowing another Nats run to score on an additional two hits before securing the victory for Boston by getting Chuck Taylor to line out to Cole Sturgeon.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was once again matched up against ace right-hander Max Scherzer for the Nationals.

After shutting the Boston bats out over three frames of work last Thursday, the three-time Cy Young Award winner did not have that dominating of an outing today.

Instead, Scherzer finally cracked in the fourth inning this time around, as leadoff man Tzu-Wei Lin got the scoring started for the Red Sox by launching a solo home run, his first of the spring.

That homer would turn out to be the catalyst of a seven-run inning from Boston, as Bobby Dalbec, Chad De La Guerra, and Tate Matheny went back-to-back-to-back with RBI base knocks, all while chasing Scherzer from this contest.

And the cherry on top of this offensive onslaught came from Lin as well, who drove in De La Guerra and Matheny on a two RBI single off of journeyman hurler Vidal Nuno.

Fast forward all the way to the top half of the seventh, and a Blake Swihart leadoff single would later result in Boston’s final run of the afternoon coming around to score on an RBI double off the bat of Oscar Hernandez to essentially put this contest away at 8-3.

As the final score indicates, the Nationals would score another run in their half of the ninth. So, in case you are confused, the final score of this one was 8-4.

Some notes from this win:

Through 16 at bats this spring, Tzu-Wei Lin is slashing .438/.500/.813 with one home run and five RBI.

In his first game back since leaving Red Sox camp for a few days to remember his brother, Blake Swihart went 2/4 with a pair of singles and two runs scored batting second and playing first.

Next up for the Red Sox, they head back to JetBlue Park to take on the Pittsburgh Pirates in a nationally televised game on ESPN.

RHP Nick Kingham will make the start for Pittsburgh, while fellow right-hander will do the same for Boston.

First pitch Wednesday is scheduled for 1:05 PM ET. Again, ESPN is the way to go.

 

Jackie Bradley Jr. Stays Hot as #RedSox Run Away with 13-5 Win over Nationals

The Red Sox improved to 3-3 in Grapefruit League play on Thursday with a 13-5 victory over the Washington Nationals at JetBlue Park.

Matched up against three-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer for the Nats, Hector Velazquez made his first official appearance of the spring and got the starting nod for this one.

Tossing two full innings, the right-hander surrendered three earned runs, all of which came in the top half of the second, on four hits and one strikeout. If there’s a positive to be taken out of Velazquez’s outing, it’s that he did not walk a batter.

30th-ranked prospect Denyi Reyes followed Velazquez, and he did not fare much better in the two frames he appeared in. The former international signee out of the Dominican Republic gave up a pair of runs himself on three hits and three walks heading into the middle of the fourth inning.

From there, Red Sox pitching settled down a bit, as Ryan Weber, Josh Smith, and Jenrry Mejia combined to toss four innings of scoreless baseball to close this contest out.

Most impressive out of these performances would have to go to Mejia. The former Mets reliever who was once banned from the game struck out all three hitters he faced in the ninth.

On the other side of things, as I mentioned earlier, the Red Sox lineup, headed by Andrew Benintendi, Mookie Betts, Jackie Bradley Jr., and Xander Bogaerts, was matched up against Nationals ace Max Scherzer.

“Mad Max,” as they fondly call him in the nation’s capital, was essentially lights out to start this one out, facing one over the minimum in three scoreless innings of work to go along with four punch outs.

It was not until the fourth inning when the Red Sox started to get going, with right-hander Erick Fedde taking over for Washington.

Four consecutive one out hits from Bradley Jr., Bogaerts, Brock Holt, and Blake Swihart initially cut Boston’s deficit from five runs to three.

Swihart, who tragically lost his brother on Wednesday, surprisingly played the day after and was rewarded with a hard-hit opposite field RBI single.

Sam Travis would come in to pinch run for Swihart following that at bat, and the backstop was greeted with a hug from Red Sox manager Alex Cora upon returning to the home dugout.

An inning later, Boston’s bats exploded for EIGHT runs in the fifth on a Bradley Jr. RBI single, a Bogaerts RBI double, a three-run home run off the bat of Brock Holt…

…a Tate Matheny RBI base knock, and finally, a Cole Sturgeon RBI three-bagger to make it a 10-5 game at that point. In total, the Red Sox sent 12 hitters to the plate in their half of the fifth.

The fun did not stop there though, as Austin Rei and Jeremy Rivera tacked on an additional three runs to give their club a 13-5 advantage. That would go on to be the final score in this one.

One note from this win:

Jackie Bradley Jr. finished the afternoon 3/3 with one double and one RBI. So far this spring, he’s slashing .750/.750/1.625 with two home runs and three RBI over eight at bats.

Next up for the Red Sox is a short trip to the CenturyLink Sports Complex to face off against the Minnesota Twins in the second game of the annual Mayor’s Cup. Boston defeated the Twins the last time these two sides played last sunday by a final score of 8-5.

Set to pitch for the Red Sox in this one is left-hander Josh Taylor. He’ll be opposed by former Yankees right-hander Michael Pineda, who has not pitched in a big league game since 2017 following Tommy John surgery that year.

First pitch on Friday is scheduled for 1:05 PM ET. This game will be aired on MLB Network, not NESN.

 

#RedSox Agree to Minor League Deal with Once Banned from Baseball RHP Jenrry Mejia.

The Boston Red Sox have reached an agreement on a minor league contract with former New York Mets reliever Jenrry Mejia. Fancred’s Jon Heyman was first with the report.

Mejia, 29, has not appeared in a big league game since 2015 and has quite the chequered past.

Once an important member of the Mets pitching staff, the Dominican Republic native has since fallen off the map following three violation of Major League Baseball’s performance-enhancing drug policy, which subsequently led to a since-lifted lifetime ban from baseball in 2016.

Before that, Mejia posted a 3.68 ERA over 113 appearances (18 starts) and 183.1 innings pitched with New York from 2010 to 2015. He also recorded 28 saves as the team’s closer in 2014.

Reinstated by commissioner Rob Manfred this past August with eligibility to play in 2019, Mejia was ultimately released by the Mets on November 20th after appearing in two minor league rehab games in the Dominican Summer League.

With his new deal with the Red Sox, the right-hander did not receive an invite to major league spring training, but he will earn $625,000 if he cracks Boston’s 25-man roster at any point this season.

This move comes just days after president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski suggested on ESPN’s Buster Olney’s podcast that the club would be pursuing, “more big league roster invites and see if they could make the club. ”

The addition of Mejia certainly comes with a fair amount of risk. I mean, we are talking about the only player to be banned for life because of multiple PED offenses. But at the same time, it’s a minor league contract. The Red Sox do not have a lot invested in this particular pitcher. If either side feels as if things are not working out, there won’t be too many complications in working out a feasible solution.

Regardless of what happens there, it should be interesting to watch, read, and listen to what sort of reputation Mejia builds once spring training starts in Fort Myers in just a few weeks.

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