After throwing a simulated game last Saturday, David Price finally made his long-awaited 2018 Grapefruit League debut for the Red Sox today against the Blue Jays. The lefty tossed four innings, allowing two total baserunners while striking out five.
He only needed 55 pitches, 62% of which were strikes, to get through those four innings. I expect his next start to come against the Pirates next Tuesday, so if he pitches like he did today, Price could see even more innings of work. Of course, that all depends on if he throws more pitches, but we’ll have to wait and see for that.
Also, here’s a Christian Vazquez home run. Enjoy.
In his second start of the spring, Red Sox ace Chris Sale was even better than he was in his 2018 debut last Friday. He gave up a run to the Marlins in that start, but he didn’t give anything up to the Minnesota Twins today. Once again, I can’t find any video since the game was not televised, but the lefty did raise his strikeout total up to 12 by striking out seven Twins in only five innings pitched. In those five innings, Sale faced 17 batters and only allowed two to reach base via a single in the first and a triple in the second. Expect the 28-year-old hurler to make his next start against the Phillies next Monday. Maybe we’ll see more pitches from him. David Price gets the start against the Blue Jays tomorrow.
I will put any video here when it is released.
On a day the Red Sox were not on television, Sandy Leon and Blake Swihart put on a bit of a show at the plate. The first three catchers on the depth chart were all in the same starting lineup today, with Christian Vazquez behind the plate, Swihart at first, and Leon at DH. Combined, they went 5 for 10 at the plate, but I just want to focus on Swihart and Leon. Last week, I wrote about who should backup Christian Vazquez this season, because it is presumed that he will be the starter. Both Swihart and Leon are out of minor league options, so one of them is most likely gone if they both do not make the Opening Day roster. Today’s game against the Blue Jays was a prime example of the competition that may be going on between them. There doesn’t seem to be any video available, but Leon hit his two home runs in the second and fourth innings while Swihart hit his in the fifth.
Throughout this spring, Swihart has gotten a significant amount of at bats compared to what Leon has gotten. 35 for Swihart and only 12 for Leon. I’m not looking into that though, because I have a hunch Leon will make the roster no matter what. I mean, he is essentially the personal catcher for the best pitcher on the staff, that’s all the reason you need to keep him. The only thing that counters this thought is how much the Red Sox seem to value Swihart. His trade value is probably at its highest right now, but I have not heard anything about a potential trade. Keeping both Swihart and Leon on the 25-man roster seems like a stretch, but I’m not in that clubhouse or front office, so I don’t know what to make of it.
For Mookie Betts, this spring has been a bit of a struggle at the plate. It’s nothing to worry about, but it is worth noting that entering today, Betts had only collected one hit in his first 19 at bats. Why is a hitter as talented as Betts having a tough go of things? Well, it’s hard to say, but it looks like he may be coming out of this slump, given how good he was today against the Baltimore Orioles. The 25 year-old took to the plate three times today, and reached base all three times, including a solo home run to lead off the first inning.
A line drive over the Fenway South monster is vintage Betts. According to FanGraphs, all but one of the 24 long balls Betts hit last year were hit to left / left-center field. In fact, the only one that wasn’t, was this one:
Today was a step in the right direction for Mookie. With 18 days until Opening Day, I’ll be interested to see what he can do to bring up his numbers before the season starts.
The day after Chris Sale made his 2018 debut, David Price was expected to make his 2018 spring debut against the Minnesota Twins today. Unfortunately, inclement weather in the Fort Myers area prevented that from happening, as the Red Sox and Twins weren’t able to even finish their game. Because of that weather, Price was held back at JetBlue Park to toss a simulated game. According to The Boston Globe, the lefty threw a total of 89 pitches, 31 while warming up and 58 during the actual simulation. Completing four innings of work with Christian Vazquez behind the plate, Price felt that, “Today was by far my best day.”
After the spring training he had last year, it will be interesting to see how the Red Sox handle Price going into the new season. If you remember, Price suffered an elbow strain while pitching in a simulated game last March, and that led to him not making his first start of the 2017 season until May 29th. At the age of 32, the velocity of Price’s fastballs is another thing to keep your eye on before the season starts. Expect Price’s next start to come against the Blue Jays at The Fort on Thursday, which will be televised.
I’ve been digging for some video from today’s game against the Marlins, but I can’t find any. Regardless, I would say Chris Sale put together a solid start in his 2018 debut, not including that controlled game he threw in last week.
Four full innings pitched to go along with five strikeouts. The only real mistake Sale made today came in the fourth, when he surrendered a leadoff double to Derek Dietrich. A batter later, Marlins first baseman Justin Bour drove Dietrich in on a sacrifice fly to left field. The last batter of the inning, Tomas Telis, lined out and that concluded Sale’s day. From what I have read, Sale’s fastball consistently sat at anywhere between 95 and 97 MPH. He threw 58 pitches in those four innings, and about 71% of those went for strikes. Expect that pitch count to increase to around 75 in his next start, which I predict to be on March 14th against the Twins. If I find any video, I’ll make sure to update this.
UPDATE: Here’s that video.
After making his Red Sox spring training debut on Wednesday, JD Martinez collected his first hit and first hit as a member of the Red Sox in his first at bat on Thursday. In a 1-1 count, Martinez took Rays starter Chris Archer to the opposite field. In all honesty, it looked like the right fielder, Jason Coats, should have came up with the catch, but his timing was off, and the ball got behind him. That allowed Mookie Betts, who also collected his first spring training hit today, to score all the way from first, giving the Red Sox their first run of the game. Martinez would go on to have a perfect day at the plate, reaching base in all three of his at bats before being pinch hit for in the seventh inning.
It’s a small sample size, but I think we saw some things with JD Martinez in today’s game that will regularly happen throughout this upcoming season. First, there’s his ability to hit to the opposite field. Second, his ability to drive in runs at a tremendous rate. Third, the amount of times we’re going to see Martinez drive in Mookie Betts this season. His spring training debut went fairly unnoticed (0-2), but I thought he deserved some recognition after his performance at the plate today.
Also, seeing JD in a Red Sox uniform on television for the first time made me feel some feelings.