Red Sox (2-9) vs. Blue Jays (6-6)
Friday, 7:10 p.m. on NESN
Saturday, 1:10 p.m. on NESN
Sunday, 1:35 p.m. on NESN
Friday: Clay Buchholz (0-2, 7.20) vs. Brett Cecil (0-1, 7.20)
Saturday: Josh Beckett (1-1, 2.08) vs. Jo-Jo Reyes (0-1, 5.23)
Sunday: Jon Lester (0-1, 3.72) vs. Jesse Litsch (1-0, 2.38)
The Red Sox lost both games against the Rays in a rain-shortened series this week. Their last game was Tuesday, a 3-2 defeat in which David Price outpitched Jon Lester in a battle of Cy Young favorites. Jed Lowrie had two hits and an RBI in a losing effort.
The Blue Jays lost their first two games against the Mariners this week before winning Wednesday's series finale, 8-3. Jose Bautista hit a three-run homer and Yunel Escobar and Jose Molina had three hits apiece for Toronto.
The Red Sox went 12-6 against the Blue Jays last season. This is the first meeting between the AL East rivals this year.
Reliever Bobby Jenks has yet to allow a hit or a run in four appearances (spanning four innings) this season. Lowrie is 6-for-9 in his last three games. Dustin Pedroia has scored a run in five straight games, going 10-for-19 during that span.
Obviously the Red Sox are still looking to get their season on track. From their starting pitching to their relievers to their offense, no area of the team is without blame to this point. This will be the first game for Blue Jays manager John Farrell against the team for which he worked as pitching coach the last four seasons.
The Red Sox signed Cuban outfielder Rusney Castillo to a seven-year, $72.5 million contract bn August 2014. Over parts of three seasons, the 29-year-old has a .679 OPS across 337 plate appearances in the majors and spent the vast majority of the 2016 season at Triple-A Pawtucket.
Castillo had a chance to start things off on the right foot in 2017, but that ship has already sailed. On Thursday against Northeastern at JetBlue Park, Castillo didn’t run out a routine ground ball. He claims he lost track of the outs. Manager John Farrell isn’t happy about the situation. Via Evan Drellich of the Boston Herald:
“Disappointing for a couple of reasons,” Sox manager John Farrell said. “One, he has lost the number of outs. Still, regardless of another of outs, getting down the line is controllable. And for a player in his situation, every little aspect of the game is important. That’s something that was addressed in the moment. He needs to execute the game situation. And for that matter, every player. But that one obviously stood out.”
Everyone always makes far too big a deal about running out grounders. It’s a real nit to pick when it’s February 23 and your team just finished playing an exhibition game that is even more meaningless than the other exhibition games that will be played in the coming month.
That being said, Castillo has to prove himself to merit inclusion on the 25-man roster and that means dotting all his i’s and crossing all his t’s. Even if he went hitless all spring, Castillo could have at least said he couldn’t have done anything else better. But on day one, he already gave his team a reason to count him out.