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.