Tampa Bay vs. Boston Live Blog: Red Sox Open Spring Training Against Rays
Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
John Lackey took the mound for the first time since 2011 for the Red Sox, allowing one run in one inning of work. He struggled early in the inning, but got more comfortable with each batter and got out the first without further damage.
Down 2-0 in the seventh inning, Jose Iglesias launched a ball into the replica Green Monster seats to tie the game. Iglesias, who also had an error in the game, is trying to prove the Red Sox front office wrong. Boston signed Stephen Drew, who went 0-for-1 with a walk, this winter that will likely send Iglesias to Triple-A Pawtucket to start the season.
Oscar Villareal allowed a two-run home run to Leslie Anderson in the eighth inning, putting Boston against the wall late.
Xander Bogaerts, the team’s top prospect, hit an RBI single in the bottom of the night to cut the Rays’ lead to 4-3, but Daniel Nava struck out looking to end the game with him on first base.
None of the Red Sox starters were that impressive offensively and aside from the shaky first from Lackey, a couple of poor innings from Drake Britton and the home run allowed by Villareal, the pitching wasn’t too bad.
The Red Sox travel to take on the St. Louis Cardinals on Sunday, with first pitch set for 1:05 p.m. ET.
Final: Rays 4, Red Sox 3
Bottom 9: Rays 4, Red Sox 2
Buschmann is still in for the ninth inning, pitching a clean eighth inning just a few moments ago.
Ross grounds out to short for the first out of the inning. He didn’t do much at all this afternoon at the plate, although he need have the nice throw-out in the top of the frame.
Hazelbaker hits a double off the wall in deep center field and the Red Sox will have the tying run coming to the plate. That player is Iglesias, who homered earlier.
Iglesias hits a fly ball to left-center field and Boston is down to its final out. It’s all up to Bogaerts, who will be leaving after the game to head to practice with Team Netherlands for the upcoming World Baseball Classic.
Bogaerts hits an RBI single up the middle to cut the deficit to one run. Hazelbaker scores Boston’s third run of the game. Let’s see if Nava can keep it going.
And he can’t. Buschmann strikes Nava out looking and the game is over. Tampa Bay defeats Boston 4-3 in the Grapefruit League opener.
Top 9: Rays 4, Red Sox 2
Clayton Mortenson takes over for Villareal in the ninth. Villareal served up that two-run shot an inning ago that gave the Rays a 4-2 lead after the Red Sox tied it in the seventh. It was reported that Steven Wright would pitch today, but it seems that Mortenson will pitch the ninth instead.
Morrison leads off the top of the frame with a single to center field.
Morrison takes off on a 2-0 pitch from Mortenson and Ross makes a great throw and Iglesias makes a great tag to retire him. Iglesias then cleanly fields a ground ball by Tinoco for the second out.
Brett Nommensen pops out to Bogaerts at third and the inning is over.
To the bottom of the ninth we go with the Red Sox needing two runs to stay alive.
Bottom 8: Rays 4, Red Sox 2
Matt Buschmann takes over for the bottom of the eighth.
Bradley, another one of the top prospects in the organization, hits a hard ground ball through the right side for a single. He may try to swipe a base here.
Hult, who just had that miscue at second, steps into the box for his first at-bat of the spring. He hits a weak fly ball to center field and is retired for the first out of the inning.
Maier strikes out looking on a pitch that looked way outside and Bradley, going on the full count, is thrown out trying to steal to end the inning.
We head to the ninth inning with Tampa Bay still holding a two-run lead.
Top 8: Rays 2, Red Sox 2
Beato’s day is done as Oscar Villareal is now on the mound for the Red Sox. Beato was just fine in his one inning of work as the one runner that got on base was Iglesias’ fault, not his.
Thomas Coyle, who is very tiny, leads off the eighth inning by striking out looking. MLB.com has him listed at 5-foot-7 and 170 lbs.
Cust, who is the only starter still in the game, hits a line drive to right field for a single.
O’Malley lines a ball to Brock Hult at second base, but Holt took his eye off the ball and it bounces off his glove. Luckily, Cust went back to first as he wanted to avoid the double play and he’s thrown out at second. Hult got lucky there.
Villareal has one get away from him and O’Malley takes second base on a wild pitch. Anderson then crushes a ball to deep right field, over the wall for a two-run home run. That gives Tampa Bay a 4-2 lead here in the eighth.
Thomas then grounds out to Iglesias at short to end the inning.
But that two-out, two-run home run by Anderson could end up deciding this game. Boston down to its final six outs of the afternoon.
Bottom 7: Rays 2, Red Sox 0
Fleming is still on the mound for Tampa Bay.
David Ross comes up for his at-bat of the game and his first of the spring. He strikes out for the first out of the frame. He didn’t look very confident in that at-bat against Fleming, looking foolish on a couple of swings. He’s expected to back Saltalamacchia up this year.
Jeremy Hazelbaker comes to the plate, playing left field. He has a great at-bat, working a walk after falling behind.
Iglesias gets his first at-bat of the day here, making a defensive miscue in the top of the inning. He hits a bomb to left field for a two-run home run, tying the game for the Red Sox. That’s certainly a rare occurrence since he isn’t known for his hitting whatsoever. He knew it was gone the second it left the bat.
Bogaerts, Boston’s top prospect, ground out to second base for out No. 2.
Nava, competing for a spot on the 25-man roster, draws a two-out walk. He may have gotten hit with ball four, but it doesn’t really matter as he’ll take first base anyway.
Mark Hamilton, replacing Sweeney, grounds out to first base to end the inning.
But the Red Sox tie the game on a big home run by Iglesias. It’s 2-2 going into the eighth.
Top 7: Rays 2, Red Sox 0
Pedro Beato takes over on the mound for Boston, relieving Anthony Carter, who pitched very well in his one inning of work today.
Iglesias turns a nonchalant throw into an adventure and Ty Morrison reaches first base on an error.
Mitch Maier catches a Steven Tinoco fly ball for the first out of the inning.
Nava fields an Anderson grounder at first base for the second out and Morrison takes second base in the process.
Bourgeois hits a ground ball to Xander Bogaerts, now playing third base, and Morrison finds himself in a pickle. He’s eventually tagged out to end the inning.
The Red Sox are down to nine outs and head into the bottom of the seventh down 2-0.
Bottom 6: Rays 2, Red Sox 0
Marquis Fleming is now pitching for the Rays, taking over for Lueke who tossed two innings for Tampa Bay.
Sweeney grounds out to second base for the first out of the sixth.
Ellsbury comes up for his third plate appearance of the afternoon. He’s 0-for-1 with a walk thus far. Ellsbury hits a short fly ball to left field that the outfielder can’t come up with and he takes second base for a double. Jackie Bradley takes over for him on the base paths.
Pedroia draws a walk and the Red Sox might be in business here in the bottom of the sixth.
Victorino hits into another double play and I may have jinxed Boston by saying it could come up with something there. He’s 0-for-3 and has grounded into two double plays this afternoon.
Heading into the seventh inning, the Rays still lead by two runs.
Top 6: Rays 2, Red Sox 0
Anthony Carter takes over on the mound for the Red Sox. De La Torre was relatively impressive in his one inning of work.
Shawn O’Malley, pinch-hitting, strikes out swinging for the first out of the inning.
Leslie Anderson, getting an at-bat here, grounds out to Pedroia and there are two quick outs.
Mark Thomas, a non-roster invitee, strikes out looking and Carter retires the side in order.
The Red Sox have 12 more outs to score two runs. The bottom of the sixth would be a nice time to get something going.
Bottom 5: Rays 2, Red Sox 0
Lueke is back on the mound for his second inning of the afternoon.
Drew draws a walk on a low 3-2 fastball. Jose Iglesias pinch runs for him at first base.
Middlebrooks hits a weak line drive to second base and Iglesias was way too far off the bag at first base and gets thrown out for a double play. Terrible play by Iglesias there. He should know better, but I guess he’ll figure it out in Triple-A this year.
Overbay hits one back at Lueke, the ball bounces off the rubber to shortstop and he gets thrown out for the third out of the fifth.
Through five innings, the Rays still hold a 2-0 lead.
Top 5: Rays 2, Red Sox 0
Jose De La Torre replaces Wilson on the mound for the Red Sox. Wilson was easily the best of the three pitchers to play for Boston today, striking out the side in the fourth. De La Torre will be pitching for Puerto Rico in the upcoming World Baseball Classic.
De La Torre gets Zobrist to fly out to right field for the first out of the fifth.
Jason Bourgeois gets an at-bat here, grounding out to Drew at short for out No. 2.
Joyce hits a grounder just fair done the first base line. Joyce takes a wide turn and heads to second for a double. Victorino nearly caught Joyce trying to take two, but it was a little late and Drew couldn’t handle the throw.
De La Torre strikes out Cust swinging and the inning is over.
The Rays strand Joyce at second base, but go into the bottom of the frame with a 2-0 lead.
Bottom 4: Rays 2, Red Sox 0
Josh Lueke replaces Rivero on the mound for Tampa Bay here in the fourth.
Pedroia flies out to first base to start the inning. He hasn’t been that great today, striking out in his first at-bat this afternoon.
Victorino grounds out to second base for the second out of the inning. He was fooled on an off-speed pitch earlier in the at-bat. He’s 0-for-2 on the day.
Saltalamacchia crushes a ball to deep left field that hits high off the wall. Saltalamacchia stops at second base for a double. He showed great power to the opposite field here, hitting the screen on the replica Green Monster.
Gomes grounds out to end the inning. Gomes just missed beating the throw, but he strands Saltalamacchia and the Red Sox have yet to score through four innings today.
Heading into the fifth, it’s 2-0 in favor of the Rays.
Top 4: Rays 2, Red Sox 0
Alex Wilson takes the mound for Boston, replacing Britton. I wasn’t really impressed with Britton at all. He has good speed on his fastball, but really had a hard time locating it. His curveball was definitely his better pitch in the two innings he tossed. He ended up walking two and giving up one earned run on one hit.
Wilson strikes out Rodriguez to start the inning. A nice first at-bat by Wilson, working his fastball and his off-speed against the Rays’ third baseman.
Wilson strikes out Duncan on three straight pitches and there are two quick outs. Wilson blew a high fastball right by Duncan to sit him down.
Lobaton lines a fastball to center field for a single and the Rays have one man on with two done.
Lee strikes out and Wilson strikes out the side.
The Rays strand one as the Red Sox are set to come up in the fourth inning down 2-0.
Bottom 3: Rays 2, Red Sox 0
Felipe Rivero is now on the mound for Tampa Bay, taking over for Brandon Gomes.
Middlebrooks swings at the first pitch he sees and lines it to right field for a single. That’s Boston’s first hit on the afternoon.
Overbay strikes out on three straight pitches for the first out of the bottom of the third.
Ryan Sweeney takes three balls in a row before Rivero battles back to work the count full. Sweeney takes ball four, though, on a fastball up and in. Boston has two men on with just one out and Ellsbury coming to the plate.
Ellsbury hits into a 4-6-3 double play to end the inning.
Through three innings, the Rays hold a 2-0 lead.
Top 3: Rays 1, Red Sox 0
Drake Britton returns to the mound for his second inning of work. He didn’t show great command of his fastball in the second, but didn’t allow a run. If he wants his stat line to show a zero under earned runs, he needs to locate his fastball better this time around.
Jennings hits the first pitch he sees off the wall in left-center field for a double. The wind absolutely carried that ball as it first looked like either Ellsbury or Gomes could make the play, but neither could catch it on the fly.
Britton gets Joyce to hit a foul ball between home plate and third base, but it hits off of Saltalamacchia’s glove and he’s still alive. Britton walks Joyce and Jennings steals third base on the play. Saltalamacchia tosses it wide, by Will Middlebrooks, and it goes into the outfield. The Rays get their second run of the afternoon as Jennings trots home.
Britton gets Cust to hit a weak grounder right back at him that he throws to second to start a 1-6-3 double play. He desperately needed those two outs as he’s already at 27 pitches.
Roberts hits one back at Britton, which Britton throws to Overbay and the side is retired.
But the Rays get another run and it’s 2-0 Tampa Bay heading into the bottom of the third.
Bottom 2: Rays 1, Red Sox 0
Jesus Colome’s day is done as Brandon Gomes takes the mound in the second.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia strikes out swinging to start the top of the frame. Saltalamacchia took a couple of very close pitches and was fooled on the final pitch of the at-bat.
Johnny Gomes’ first at-bat of the spring is a fly out to Jennings in center field. There are two away quickly for Boston.
Stephen Drew hits a short line drive to left field that’s caught by Joyce and the Red Sox go down without a baserunner in the second.
Through two innings, it’s 1-0 Rays.
Top 2: Rays 1, Red Sox 0
John Lackey is done after one inning of work as Drake Britton takes the mound for Boston. He wasn’t sharp early, but looked more comfortable later in the inning. He managed to only allow one run after the Rays had the bases loaded without anyone out. He threw 10 strikes on 20 pitches.
Shelley Duncan hits a ground ball that Lyle Overbay fields cleanly at first base. Overbay flips to Britton and there’s one down in the second.
Britton goes 3-0 to Jose Lobaton. He manages to work the count full, but walks Lobaton on a high fastball. He didn’t show great command in that at-bat.
Britton’s first pitch to Hak-Ju Lee is very high, bringing Jarrod Saltalamacchia out of his stance. And the second goes over Saltalamacchia’s head and Lobaton takes second base. The Red Sox backstop catches the third pitch, but it was still very outside. Britton works the count full and Lee flies out to Ellsbury in center. Lobaton takes third base and there are two away with Zobrist coming up.
Zobrist grounds out to Will Middlebrooks and the side is retired.
Heading into the bottom of the second, it’s 1-0 Rays.
Bottom 1: Rays 1, Red Sox 0
Jacoby Ellsbury draws a 3-2 walk and the Red Sox have their first baserunner of the afternoon. Ellsbury showed great patience in the at-bat, not chasing pitches out of the zone.
Jesus Colome strikes out Dustin Pedroia looking on a fastball on the outside corner. Pedroia was one of the toughest batters to strike out last year, going down by way of the K in just 9.6 percent of plate appearances, the seventh-best in baseball.
Shane Victorino bounces into a double play and the side is retired. He nearly beat the throw back to first base, but was called out by the first base umpire.
After one inning, it’s 1-0 Rays.
John Lackey misses high and away with the first pitch of the afternoon and we are underway from JetBlue Park in Ft. Myers, Florida.
Lackey throws three straight balls to Ben Zobrist, fires a strike and then walks him to start the game.
Desmond Jennings rips a single through the left side of the infield. Zobrist moves to second.
Matt Joyce gets hit in the shoulder and the Rays have the bases loaded with nobody out.
Lackey works the outside corner against Jack Cust to bring the count to 1-2 and then strikes him out on a pitch high and away. First out of the spring for Lackey and the Red Sox.
Ryan Roberts hits a sacrifice fly to deep right fly and the Rays take a 1-0 lead. Tampa Bay has men on the corners with two down. Lackey is at 16 pitches.
Lackey works the corner against Sean Rodriguez to get ahead in the count and he then flies out to Shane Victorino in shallow right field to end the inning.
It’s 1-0 Rays with the Red Sox coming up for the first time.
It should be noted that the Rays are also playing the Pittsburgh Pirates today. The notable Rays playing against the Pirates today include Yunel Escobar, Kelly Johnson, Jose Molina, James Loney and top prospect Wil Myers. Roberto Hernandez is the Tampa Bay starter.
Myers was acquired this offseason in a deal with the Kansas City Royals that sent James Shields and Wade Davis, among others to the AL Central. Myers was recently ranked the No. 4 prospect in baseball by Baseball America behind Jurickson Profar of the Texas Rangers, Dylan Bundy of the Baltimore Orioles and Oscar Tavares for the St. Louis Cardinals.
Here are the pitchers for the Red Sox scheduled to take the mound today, according to Peter Abraham of The Boston Globe:
John Lackey (starter), Drake Britton, Pedro Beato, Anthony Carter, Jose De La Torre, Oscar Villareal, Alex Wilson and Steven Wright.
Of those eight, the two more intriguing pitchers are Lackey and Wright. Lackey hasn’t pitched in a game in a long, long time. It was be interesting to see how he does early against the Rays and whether he shows good command or not.
And then there’s Wright, a knuckleballer who’s expected to start the season in Triple-A Pawtucket. Pitching in the minor league systems of Boston and the Cleveland Indians last season, Wright went 10-7 with a 2.54 ERA in 141.2 innings. B/R Featured Columnist Andrew Martin recently did a player profile on the young right-hander.
Here are the starting lineups for Boston and Tampa Bay, with hundreds of changes expected once the game gets going.
|Boston Red Sox|
|Tampa Bay Rays|
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