Four Home Runs Power #RedSox to 10-6 Victory over Twins

The Red Sox improved to 11-15-1 in Grapefruit League play on Friday evening following a 10-6 triumph over the Minnesota Twins down the road at Hammond Stadium. This victory marked the  team’s third in a row as well as the final installment of the 2019 Chairman’s Cup.

Initially slated to start for Boston Friday was Chris Sale, but with him agreeing to a five-year, $145 million contract extension in the afternoon and all, the left-hander was scratched in favor of another southpaw in Dan Runzler.

Runzler, 33, recorded the first five outs of this one, surrendering two runs on zero hits and a pair of walks to go along with three strikeouts in his brief outing.

It looked as though Runzler was going to be able to escape the second by following up two consecutive walks with two consecutive strikeouts, but was pulled for Trevor Kelley, who allowed Minnesota’s first two runs of the night to score on a Max Kepler RBI single.

From the middle of the third inning on, Ryan Brasier, Brandon Workman, Colten Brewer, Jenryy Mejia, Andrew Schwaab, Adam Lau, Hunter Smith, and Daniel McGrath combined to give up four Twins runs on 10 hits, three walks, and eight strikeouts over the final seven frames of this one.

Brasier, Workman, and Brewer all appear to be locks to make Boston’s Opening Day roster at this point. Together, they scattered just two hits and fanned five from the third until the conclusion of the fifth.

Mejia, meanwhile, did not do a great job of convincing anyone he deserves a spot in the Red Sox bullpen to start the season, as he allowed two more Minnesota runs to cross the plate on three hits in a rough sixth inning.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Twins right-hander Kyle Gibson, who figures to serve as the club’s number two starter behind Jose Berrios to start the season.

Despite that reputation, the Boston Bats jumped on Gibson right from the get go, as Andrew Benintendi led things off with a laser of a first inning solo home on the very first pitch he saw.

Three at-bats without an out later, Xander Bogaerts unloaded the bases on a fly ball RBI single to right field to score Eduardo Nunez from third.

After Mitch Moreland struck out swinging, Jackie Bradley Jr. got his hot night at the plate started right with another run-scoring single to plate Rafael Devers from third and give his team an early 3-0 advantage.

Two innings later, following a two-run bottom half of the second for Minnesota, JD Martinez and Bogaerts would wind up being the catalysts for a five-run inning for the Red Sox with back-to-back singles to lead things off.

Following a GIDP off the bat of Moreland, Bradley Jr. would give Boston some breathing room by launching his third home run of the spring to make it a 5-2 contest.

That homer would lead to a Twins pitching change and be followed up by two more long balls from Christian Vazquez (1) and Gorkys Hernandez (2) in consecutive order.

But the third inning rally was not yet done. Not before Rafael Devers drove in Aneury Tavarez from third on an RBI single to give the Red Sox a commanding 8-2 lead.

In total, the Red Sox tallied eight runs on 13 hits before even reaching the midway point of the third inning. Not too shabby.

Going back to the game, Eduardo Nunez and Mike Miller were responsible for the final two runs of Boston’s eventful night, with Nunez collecting his RBI in the fifth and Miller doing the same in the eighth to make it a 10-4 game at that point.

The Twins would try their best to make things interesting in their half of the ninth by pushing across another pair of runs, but the Red Sox would hold on to take this one by a final score of 10-6.

Some notes from this win:

Xander Bogaerts had a scary collision with Twins outfielder Byron Buxton in between third and home during a rundown in the second inning, with his left shoulder taking the brunt of the hit.

“I didn’t want to look down. I don’t know how it looks,” Bogaerts said Friday. “It just didn’t feel right. I didn’t want to look. As I went down, I let one of the trainers take a look. It looked fine. So, I was, ‘All right, lets keep going.”

Bogaerts remained in the game until the fifth inning. Saturday morning will more than likely provide a better indication on how the 26-year-old is feeling with Opening Day looming.

Rafael Devers update: now slashing .404/.417/.596 with one home run and seven RBI through 47 spring at-bats.

According to the Boston Globe’s Alex Speier, Brandon Workman will pitch once again on Saturday.

Speaking of Saturday, next up for the Red Sox, they’ll wrap up their 2019 Grapefruit League campaign by hosting a split Pittsburgh Pirates squad at JetBlue Park.

Right-hander Jameson Taillon is scheduled to start for Pittsburgh, while fellow righty Nathan Eovaldi will be doing the same in his final start before his first full season with Boston begins.

First pitch Saturday is scheduled for 1:05 PM EDT on NESN. Last game before heading out to Arizona to play the Chicago Cubs in a pair of exhibition games.

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Nathan Eovaldi Strikes out Three as #RedSox Fall to Twins 4-1

The Red Sox fell to 8-15-1 in Grapefruit League play on Monday afternoon following a 4-1 loss at the hands of the Minnesota Twins down the road at Hammond Stadium. They are now 2-4 against Minnesota this spring, and with only one game left between the two sides, the 2019 Chairman’s Cup essentially belongs to the Twins already.

Making his second start of exhibition season in this one was Nathan Eovaldi, who made his Red Sox Grapefruit League debut against the Twins as well.

Working the first four innings of this one, the right-hander surrendered two runs, both of which were scored in the first, on four hits and one walk to go along with three strikeouts on the day. He was also reaching 99-100 MPH with his fastball.

Those two runs came on a two out two-run home run off the bat of Eddie Rosario, marking the Twins slugger’s fourth home run of the spring.

Other than that, Eovaldi worked his way around two more additional hits in the bottom half of the second before retiring the final six hitters he faced in order to end his afternoon on a positive note.

From the middle of the fifth inning on, Matt Barnes, Brandon Workman, and Ryan Weber combined to give up another pair of runs on four hits, no walks, and five strikeouts over the final four frames.

Barnes, who revealed postgame that he was tipping some of his pitches on Monday, gave up both of those runs in a rough fifth inning, but fixed the issue and struck out Marwin Gonzalez to put an end to the Twins rally.

Weber, meanwhile, faced the minimum six hitters and struck out half of them in an impressive seventh and eighth inning of relief.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was limited to just one run on seven hits by ace right-hander Jose Berrios and the rest of the Twins staff.

That one run came in the top of the first and it was provided by JD Martinez, who drove in Mookie Betts from third on a line drive RBI single off Berrios.

Despite leaping out to an early advantage, the Boston bats really failed to put anything else together for the remainder of the afternoon in Fort Myers.

Some notes from this loss:

Martinez went 2/2 with an RBI and a walk on Monday batting out of the cleanup spot.

Rafael Devers forget his regular jersey on the short trip, so he had to wear No. 84 before eventually making the switch back over to No. 11.

Weber was reassigned to minor league camp following Monday’s game, meaning the Red Sox now have 35 players at big league camp.

Next up for the Red Sox, they’ll welcome the Toronto Blue Jays into JetBlue Park for a Tuesday afternoon showdown.

Eduardo Rodriguez is scheduled to start for Boston, while right-hander Sean-Reid Foley, who is one of the only two major leaguers to be born in Guam, will be doing the same for Toronto.

First pitch Tuesday is scheduled for 1:05 EDT at JetBlue. Boston 25 and NESN have it covered.

Nathan Eovaldi’s Solid Spring Debut Not Enough as #RedSox Fall to Twins for Seventh Straight Loss

The Red Sox fell to 6-12 in Grapefruit League play on Wednesday following a 9-5 loss at the hands of the Minnesota Twins, marking their seventh consecutive defeat. Minnesota now has the advantage in the race for the 2019 Chairman’s Cup at three games to two.

A recurring theme for the Red Sox these past few days has been star pitchers making their 2019 spring debuts, and that was the case once again with Nathan Eovaldi on Wednesday at JetBlue Park.

Making his first ever Grapefruit League start for Boston, the right-hander looked sharp, surrendering just one run on one hit and one walk to go along with one strikeout. A whole lot of one’s.

That lone run came off the bat of former top prospect Byron Buxton, who led the third inning off for the Twins with his fourth home run of the spring.

Other than that one mishap, it was relatively smooth sailing for Eovaldi, who faced one over the minimum nine hitters.

From the top of the fourth inning on, Colten Brewer, Brian Johnson, Adam Lau, Josh Smith, and Dun Runzler combined to give up eight runs on nine hits, two walks, two HBPs, and three strikeouts.

Working the fourth inning, the run allowed by Brewer was unearned due to a fielding error committed by Xander Bogaerts. Still, the 26-year-old was charged with a blown save.

Johnson, meanwhile, was handed down his second losing decision of the spring, as the southpaw got shellacked for four Minnesota runs on four hits, including a Brian Navarreto two-run homer, in less than two full frames of work.

In three outings so far this spring, Johnson owns a 14.40 ERA and 2.20 WHIP over five total innings.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup, which again featured many regulars, was matched up against Twins ace Jose Berrios to start things off.

Getting the scoring started for Boston in this one was Blake Swihart, who built on his ninth inning RBI double from Tuesday with a two RBI two-bagger in the second inning on Wednesday.

Fast forward all the way to the sixth, after the Twins had just jumped out to a 6-2 lead of their own, and Brock Holt pulled the Red Sox a little closer by driving in Eduardo Nunez all the way from first on an RBI double off Matt Magill. For Holt, his fifth RBI of the spring.

Finally, in the ninth, with this contest essentially out of reach in Minnesota’s favor already, Red Sox prospect Tate Matheny tried to get another late rally started with a two out, two-run triple off Twins reliever Dusten Knight.

Alas, Minnesota would hold on to take this one, as 9-5 would be your final score on Wednesday.

Some notes from this loss:

JD Martinez was initially slated to start at left field for the Red Sox, but was scratched from Boston’s lineup due to back tightness. That is why Bryce Brentz started in left instead.

The Red Sox are 0-7 in their last seven games. In those seven games, they have been outscored 53-15. I understand that it’s just spring training, but it’s something to keep an eye on nonetheless.

Next up for the Red Sox, they’ll make the trek up north to visit the Detroit Tigers at Joker Marchant Stadium in Lakeland on Thursday.

Eduardo Rodriguez will be making the start for Boston, while fellow left-hander Matthew Boyd will do the same for Detroit.

First pitch Thursday is scheduled for 1:05 EDT. MLB Network will have it covered.

Dustin Pedroia Singles in First At-Bat of 2019 as #RedSox Fall to Twins

The Red Sox fell to 6-7 in Grapefruit League play on Thursday following a blowout 12-1 loss to the Minnesota Twins at JetBlue Park. The race for the 2019 Chairman’s Cup is now tied at two games a piece.

Brian Johnson, who was scratched from his start last Saturday, was back at it for Boston this afternoon.

The left-hander may have still been dealing with some lingering symptoms though, as he surrendered three earned runs, all of which came in the second, on five hits without a walk or strikeout in 1.1 innings of work.

Before getting pulled though, we saw our first glimpse of Dustin Pedroia back at second base, as he fielded a ground ball off the bat of Jake Cave for the 4-3 put out to retire the side in the first.

Anyway, not taking any extreme measures, Red Sox manager Alex Cora quickly made the call for Trevor Kelley out of the bullpen with one out and a runner on third in the top of the second.

The right-handed Kelley retired the only hitter he faced in Willians Astudillo, who lined out to Rafael Devers to start an inning-ending double play with a force out at third.

From there, Brandon Workman, Erasmo Ramirez, Marcus Walden, Matthew Gorst, Jake Thompson, and Daniel Schlereth combined to give up nine runs (seven earned) on 13 hits, four walks, one HBP, and seven punch outs.

Thompson, a 2017 fourth round draft selection out of Oregon State, got hit the hardest out of any Red Sox reliever on Thursday, as all three runs off the right-hander came on back-to-back Twins home runs in the eighth.

Schlereth, meanwhile, faced the minimum three hitters while working around a leadoff walk in a scoreless ninth inning.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was held in check yet again, putting up one lone run on just five hits.

One bright spot from this one would be the day Dustin Pedroia had in his 2019 debut.

In his first in-game action since last May, the four-time All-Star, batting out of the leadoff spot and manning second base, went 1/1 with a first inning infield single.

He also advanced to second on a wild pitch from Twins starter Kohl Stewart and scored Boston’s lone run on a Rafael Devers RBI double.

Some notes from this 12-1 loss:

ESPN had both Mookie Betts and Brock Holt mic’d up for this one and the Red Sox Twitter account was kind enough to post some of the highlights.

Next up for the Red Sox, they’ll head to Sarasota to take on the Baltimore Orioles at Ed Smith Stadium on Friday.

Top pitching prospect Darwinzon Hernandez will make the start for Boston, while right-hander Andrew Cashner will do the same for Baltimore.

First pitch is scheduled for 1:05 EST Friday. MLB Network will be the way to go, as this game will not be on NESN.

Dustin Pedroia Set to Bat Leadoff for #RedSox in 2019 Debut Thursday

For the first time since May 29th of last year, Dustin Pedroia is ready to get into a baseball game, as he’ll bat leadoff and man second for the Red Sox Thursday afternoon against the Minnesota Twins at JetBlue Park.

The 35-year-old infielder had a solid week of workouts, including a “milestone day” on Monday in which he launched a ball over the center field wall while taking batting practice in the backfields at Fenway South.

When asked about the homer, Pedroia responded, “I was surprised by that. I haven’t hit a home run to center field in batting practice in my life.”

So far this spring, the California native has been preparing like he’s getting ready for just another season.

“I don’t want to get too excited,” Pedroia said. I’m just sticking to the plan and trying to get better every day.”

When it was announced by Pedroia himself that the plan is for him to get into at least one game this week, Red Sox manager Alex Cora didn’t seem too thrilled to start his infielder on Thursday while the national media is covering the club, but here we are.

“It will be cool for him. He’s been in full uniform since, like, 7 o’clock,” Cora said about Pedroia Thursday morning.

The arrangement for Pedroia today specifically is to get one at-bat, play the first two innings at second, and run around a little.

First pitch against the Minnesota Twins on Thursday is scheduled for 1:05 PM ET on ESPN.

Happy Dustin Pedroia Day.

 

Top Prospect Michael Chavis Blasts Fourth Spring Home Run as #RedSox Top Twins

The Red Sox improved to 4-5 in Grapefruit League play on Sunday following a 9-7 win over the split-squad Minnesota Twins. They are now up two games to one in the race for the 2019 Chairman’s Cup.

Top pitching prospect Darwinzon Hernandez made the start for Boston in this one, marking his first of the spring.

The left-hander impressed on Sunday, holding Minnesota scoreless on one hit and a pair of walks to go along with three strikeouts over two innings of work.

Despite loading the bases and getting out of the jam in the second, only one ball off of Hernandez was hit out of the infield in this one. The 22-year-old hurler was consistently reaching the high 90’s with his fastball, as well as mixing in some nasty breaking stuff as well.

So far this spring, Hernandez has yet to yield a run in three total appearances and six innings of work.

In relief of Hernandez, Tyler Thornburg, Erasmo Ramirez, Marcus Walden, Jordan Weems, and Dan Runzler combined to surrender seven runs on 11 hits, one walk, and seven strikeouts over the final seven frames on Sunday.

Thornburg, who is vying for a late-inning role in the Red Sox bullpen, allowed hits to two of the first three hitters he faced, which resulted in the Twins scoring their first run of the afternoon.

Still, the right-hander rallied and retired the last two hitters he faced, including a strikeout of Tyler Austin to escape the inning.

Walden, who surprisingly made Boston’s Opening Day roster last season, put together the best performance of any Red Sox reliever on Sunday, as the right-hander scattered two hits and three punch outs over two scoreless innings of work. He earned his second winning decision of the spring as a result of the solid performance.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup featured eight presumable 2019 regulars, including Mitch Moreland, who started as the DH, for the first time this spring.

It was actually Moreland who got the scoring started for Boston with a third inning RBI single off of Twins starter Stephen Gonsalves that plated Mookie Betts from second.

Fast forward to the fifth, and top prospect Michael Chavis picked up where he left off by mashing his fourth long ball of the spring.

That homer pulled the Red Sox to within one run of the Twins at the time it was hit.

Just an inning later though, Boston’s bats erupted for a SEVEN run bottom half of the sixth, as a Chad De Le Guerra RBI single, a Tony Renda solo home run, and a CJ Chatham bases-clearing RBI double saw the Red Sox jump out to a 9-3 advantage.

In total, the Red Sox sent 12 hitters to the plate in their half of the sixth, with Chatham igniting the rally on a leadoff single and capping things off with a game-sealing three RBI double.

The Twins would attempt to fight their way back by scoring four unanswered runs in the eighth and ninth innings, but would ultimately fall short as 9-7 is your final score in this one.

Some notes from this win:

Through his first 17 at bats of 2019, Michael Chavis is slashing .353/.421/1.059 with four home runs and 10 RBI.

Mookie Betts went 2/2 on Sunday with a pair of hard-hit opposite field doubles in the first and third innings.

Next up for the Red Sox, they travel to Port St. Lucie on Monday to take on a split-squad New York Mets club.

Left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez will make the start for Boston while New York has yet to announce a starter.

First pitch Monday is scheduled for 1:10 PM ET. MLB Network will have the game.

 

#RedSox Legend David Ortiz on JD Martinez: “He’s a Psychopath”

From one great Red Sox designated hitter to another, David Ortiz had some high praise for JD Martinez when speaking with reporters at JetBlue Park on Saturday.

“I’ve got to give it to J.D., man,” Ortiz said. “J.D. is like the center, the mother hen. He’s the one who everybody is like getting feedback from because he’s a psychopath. This dude is at another level of being good and wanting to be better. That’s one thing I enjoy the most when I’m around here: just watch the way he handles himself and the way he helps the rest of the squad. That’s what makes a difference year after year after year.”

In response to the Red Sox legend’s kind words, Martinez told reporters with a smile, “Sounds about right. I’ve been known to be that. So I don’t doubt it.”

Both Martinez and Ortiz fought their way to stardom in baseball. Nothing was handed to either of them.

When he was 26, Martinez was released by the Houston Astros prior to the start of the 2014 season.

The same essentially happened with Ortiz as well, who was cut loose by the Minnesota Twins at the age of 27 during the 2002 offseason.

The pair managed to find new teams fairly quickly after their release and both flourished seemingly as a result of it.

Ortiz signed with Boston in the early part of January in 2003 and in the 14 seasons he spent with the Red Sox, the future Hall of Famer accumulated the fifth most fWAR in the American League (50.1) from 2003 to 2016.

Martinez, on the other hand, latched on with the Detroit Tigers beginning in 2014 and has been one of, if not the best hitter in baseball since, slashing .307/.371/.568 with 171 home runs and 481 RBI over 670 total games between the Tigers, Arizona Diamondbacks, and now the Red Sox.

According to FanGraphs, the Florida native has been worth 20.9 fWAR since the start of the 2014 season, the seventh highest fWAR among outfielders in all of baseball.

When talking about what Ortiz has meant for him since joining the Red Sox, Martinez said, “I feel like he kind of just gave me a feel of what to expect. I talked to him a lot about the DH role; and does and don’ts. And just kind of getting an idea of what his routine was while he was here. And certain things to kind of look out for and not get caught up in.”

Ortiz, who is currently serving as a special assistant for the Red Sox in a part-time capacity, will remain with the club in Florida through Sunday and return again later in March.