Boston Red Sox

Sox begin spring training with 6-5 'B' game loss to Twins

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Sox begin spring training with 6-5 'B' game loss to Twins

FORT MYERS, Fla. The Red Sox began their spring training game schedule Thursday afternoon, losing a B game to the Twins, 6-5, at Hammond County Stadium. While the results will not count in Grapefruit League standings or results, it gave manager Bobby Valentine a chance to get into the rhythm of game activities.

Tim Bogar was there as the bench coach doing his thing, Valentine said. Bench coaches Alex Ochoa and Jerry Royster and I need a rhythm as to what were going to be doing. Bogey needs a little rhythm with me also. This is all necessary stuff.

Alfredo Aceves and Daniel Bard, who are expected to move into the rotation this spring, pitched the first and second inning, respectively. Aceves, who threw 26 pitches, 17 for strikes, allowed one run on two hits with a strikeout. Bard allowed one run on two hits with a strikeout, throwing 25 pitches, 15 for strikes.

Aceves was ok, Valentine said. He threw a lot of pitches that he wanted to work on. He was ok with his work so I was ok with his work. Bard had good pitches, upset with his selection. He threw changeup behind the count 1-0, and then he threw the two-seamer after he hung the slider. He wasnt too happy with that. But his stuff was all right. He was working on the two-seamer. He didnt get much work on his changeup or his slider but pitched out of the windup and got that over with. Pitched out of the stretch and looked OK.

Catcher Ryan Lavarnway opened the scoring with a solo home run to left in the first inning.

Lavarnway got a little jammed and hit it 380 feet, Valentine said. I think he can improve on his catching and Im sure that he will.

But the Twins came back with a run off Aceves in the bottom of the frame, and took the lead in the second with a run off Bard.

Former Red Sox minor leaguer Aaron Bates hit a two-run home run off Jesse Carlson in the fourth to extend the Twins lead, 4-2. Brian Dinkelman added a two-run double in the fifth off Tony Pena, Jr.

Nate Spears two-run triple in the sixth cut the Sox deficit to 6-4. Daniel Butlers solo homer in the seventh completed the Sox scoring.

Shortstop Jose Iglesias, who made a nifty running basket catch on in foul territory behind third base, led off the game with a first-pitch single to center field. He also grounded into a double play in the third, and walked.

He walked once today, Valentine said. I think plate discipline is a wonderful thing and it comes from confidence in a mechanic and aggressive attitude I believe. He has an aggressive attitude and when he has a good mechanic he can have good plate discipline.

As planned, the Sox had nine pitchers throw one inning each.

I think I saw things that people are working on that they brought into the
competition, Valentine said.

Andrew Bailey, who had been slowed by a strained lat suffered during the vertical leap part of his physical, threw a bullpen session Thursday morning.

Bailey threw a bullpen, said he felt better, Valentine said. Still really didnt let go because he doesnt want to have a setback.

Drellich: Forget Red Sox resiliency or luck, banked wins are what matter

Drellich: Forget Red Sox resiliency or luck, banked wins are what matter

BOSTON — The minutiae starts to fade now. Steal a few wins, rattle off a gorgeous run when people didn’t expect you to — what should or shouldn’t happen doesn’t matter.

Are the Sox really this good? At a certain point, it’s irrelevant how many wins were lucky (Friday’s, arguably), or against bad teams (the White Sox), or anything else. Those victories are cinderblocks in the standings that the Yankees are will find increasingly difficult to budge.

There’s simply no challenging the value of banked wins, no eliminating them.

Look, you didn’t need Friday night’s 9-6 Red Sox win over the Yankees to realize the Sox are resilient. All of August has been a coming out party: for a pitching staff that’s making due without David Price, for an offense liberated by a 20-year-old third baseman who homered again Saturday, Rafael Devers, as the team adapts smoothly to the absence of Dustin Pedroia.

“We miss them,” Sox manager John Farrell said Saturday night. “There’s no question we miss those two guys, and [are] really looking forward to their return. But it speaks volume to the team we have, the depth and talent that’s here. 

“What Raffy has done by coming up, and Eduardo [Nunez’s] arrival here at the time when Pedey goes down, they’ve been instrumental in the way we’ve played. I don’t know if you want to call it the next-man-up mentality, but we have not skipped a beat and guys are beginning to flourish and shouldering a greater burden.”

But what, beyond this sense of resiliency, have you learned since the trade deadline? What can you tell about the Sox’ future from watching them reach a season-high 19 games over .500? 

That discussion is more complicated. The Sox are of the best anywhere, just as they were projected to be entering the year — albeit with some different personnel fulfilling those predictions. They’re just the second AL team to reach 70 wins.

Yet, it’s fair to wonder how many times a reliever like Tommy Kahnle — one of the Yankees’ significant trade additions — will let Mitch Moreland come through with a go-ahead hit on an 0-2 count in the seventh inning. 

It’s fair to wonder how many times Heath Hembree, Matt Barnes and Joe Kelly can fall into trouble without swing-and-miss stuff and be bailed out. Or how many times Farrell can keep holding back guys like Addison Reed, as the skipper did on Friday, until he really has no other choice — and be let off the hook for those choices.

The Red Sox are homer-happy right now, with multiple long balls for the 9th time in 14 games. Those home runs could be long overdue, or it could be a cluster and an aberration.

Again, those questions start to diminish in importance. Because in the same way we talk about time running out for Price’s return from injury, time also starts to run out for other teams.

There’s a cushion of five games in the AL East going into Saturday’s middle game of three with the Yankees, one of just four remaining head-to-head match-ups between the Sox and Yanks this season. The last time the Sox and Yankees were playing each other as the top two teams in the division this late in the year was 2011, a reminder of how quickly leads can dissipate. 

This isn’t a suggestion the Sox should be foolhardy, or have anything wrapped up. It’s a reminder that whether you believe Eduardo Nunez will keep up his .361 average down the stretch, or whether you find anything dubious about some of these Sox wins — they’re still in the bank, appreciating in value from now until October.

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BOSTON SPORTS TONIGHT PODCAST: Could Jaguars pursue Jimmy Garoppolo?

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BOSTON SPORTS TONIGHT PODCAST: Could Jaguars pursue Jimmy Garoppolo?

0:43 - Drew Pomeranz left Friday’s Yankees game with back spasms. Meanwhile, the Red Sox are still waiting for David Price to come back. Evan Drellich checks in from Fenway Park to talk about this bullpen situation. 

08:03 - Rookie defensive end Derek Rivers is out for the season with a torn ACL. Tom Giles, Tom Curran, Michael Holley and Phil Perry decide if it’s time for the Patriots to look elsewhere for backup.

13:38 - Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone is not happy with the performance of his quarterbacks. Giles and Curran discuss whether Jimmy Garoppolo could end up in Jacksonville. 

18:15 - Holley and Curran take a look at the top free agents in the NBA right now and if the Celtics should be exploring any of them.