Final, Orioles win 8-7: Drew Sutton singles off of Daniel McCutchen, but otherwise nothing doing for the Red Sox, who fall to the Orioles on Tuesday 8-7. Danny Valencia gets the game-winning home run.
However, despite the loss, the Sox didn’t just go down without a fight, putting up an impressive eighth inning to come back from six runs down to tie the game. Another positive is the work of Ryan Dempster, who throws five innings of three-run ball, but is really only touched up in one of those frames. And don’t forget Jackie Bradley Jr., who gets another hit and another RBI to add to an already marvelous spring campaign.
Among the negatives, it certainly wasn’t what the Red Sox wanted to see from Daniel Bard, who yields three runs on a walk, a hit batter and a balk in his inning of work. His control problems seemed to resurface after he had made some positive strides this spring.
Well, that’s it for today for your Red Sox Live Blog. Your regularly scheduled NESN.com Red Sox beat writer, Ricky Doyle, will be back on the bump tomorrow. However, in the meantime, if you’re so inclined you can follow this live blogger on Twitter at @ZachStoloff to chat Red Sox and MLB any time.
Mid 9th, Orioles 8-7: Well, that was a short-lived tie. Danny Valencia, who spent some time with Boston last season, hits a monster home run off of Doyle, and the Orioles are back on top.
End 8th, 7-7: You know, folks, sometimes life is good. Due to the weather this live blogger is working from home today, and while I’m following the Red Sox and live blogging via Gameday, the Angels and Brewers are on my TV via MLB.TV. Yes, it’s hard to complain.
Likewise, things are also good for the Red Sox, who score six times against two Orioles pitchers to roar back and tie the game 7-7. Boston scores its six runs on seven singles and a walk, and that included Bradley’s latest knock and RBI, making a further argument that he deserves to break camp with the Red Sox. Aside from him, Daniel Nava, Brock Holt, Mike Carp Drew Sutton, Jeremy Hazelbaker, Mauro Gomez and Jonathan Diaz also get in on the action, as we go to the final frame all knotted up.
And, for those not familiar with spring protocol, the squads might play a 10th inning, but even if the game is tied they’ll likely call it after that.
Mid 8th, Orioles 7-1: So, Terry Doyle (no relation to Ricky) does indeed come into the game to take over for Bard.
Chris Dickerson opens the inning by doubling, and eventually scores on a single by Yamaico Navarro, making the score 7-1. There have been pretty much wholesale changes for both teams. We’ll spare you all the painful spring details, but we thought it was worth noting.
In any case, Doyle is a Boston College product who relies much more on command than pure stuff to get by. He doesn’t figure to have a role on the team right now with all the bullpen depth around, but he’ll be insurance in Pawtucket should the Red Sox need a spot starter. Right now Alfredo Aceves is the sixth option, with Franklin Morales usually taking on that role if healthy.
End 7th, Orioles 6-1: Sorry folks, MLB Gameday is drunk, apparently. What I can tell you, however, is that the Red Sox went down 1-2-3 in their half of the seventh inning, with Jackie Bradley Jr. flying out to end the inning.
Should Bradley start the year with the Red Sox? With David Ortiz on the shelf indefinitely, that would be the big question right now in camp.
Mid 7th, Orioles 6-1: Not an encouraging inning there for Daniel Bard.
Machado doubles to open the frame, moving up on a ground out before Teagarden gets hit by a pitch. A balk scores Machado and moves Teagarden to second, before Brian Roberts singles, steals second, and both score on a Flaherty single.
So, Bard’s control issues seem to resurface, and the balk points to a mental error stemming from a lack of composure on the mound. This is something you rarely want to do, but it’s hard not to read into that that Bard may have been a little flustered on the mound. In any case, he definitely seemed to regress a bit in that last half inning. We’ll see if he comes out for a second.
End 6th, Orioles 3-1: Kevin Gausman comes on to pitch for Baltimore, and he gets the Red Sox to go down 1-2-3. For the record, it’s still the starters in there for Boston, as Baltimore begins its wholesale changes.
Mid 6th, Orioles 3-1: So, Dempster’s day is indeed done, and he throws five innings of work, yielding three earned runs on six hits and two walks, with a lone strikeout on 73 pitches, 45 of which were strikes.
Junichi Tazawa comes on and gets the Orioles in order 1-2-3. Actually, Tazawa pitched so well down the stretch last year it’s a bit surprising the team didn’t create a bigger role for him in the bullpen. Rather, the Sox went out and acquired Joel Hanrahan and Koji Uehara to fufill some back-end roles.
End 5th, Orioles 3-1: The Red Sox can’t quite manage to push across a run after Ryan Sweeney gets into scoring position with one out, but let’s get back to Iglesias.
Stephen Drew is set to head for Pittsburgh, I believe, to be examined by a concussion specialist, so chances are he won’t be playing Opening Day. Pedro Ciriaco is best deployed as a super utility guy — and with his free-swinging ways, not one who gets regular at-bats — so Iglesias is probably the Sox’ man when it comes to shortstop for the immediate future.
Coming into the game, Iglesias was hitting just .220 on the spring, but that sacrifice bunt actually showed a lot. In addition to his anemic hitting, before this spring Iglesias wasn’t even able to do the little things to help the team win, but even something as simple as getting down a sacrifice speaks volumes to how much his approach at the plate has improved. This live blogger is still skeptical about his ability to ever hit enough to stick as a major league regular, but he’s certainly working on improving himself.
Mid 5th, Orioles 3-1: So, for the record, the answer is yes, Dempster comes back out for a fifth inning of work, and after yielding a single to Jason Pridle, he gets Brian Roberts to bounce into a double play and Ryan Flaherty to line out to Middlebrooks.
So, one would assume that Dempster is done for the day, we’ll check on that before giving his final line, but overall it was a good outing for him. One third-inning blip, but otherwise he was able to make his pitches when he needed to and got a couple double plays to help his cause.
End 4th, Orioles 3-1: Another quick inning there for Matusz, who puts down Middlebrooks, Saltalamacchia and Gomes in order.
One interesting footnote of this game is that Orioles manager Buck Showalter has found an interesting way to get work in for two of his outfielder. Every inning Showalter has been flipping Robinson and Nate McLouth between center field and left field. That’s something you surely won’t see during the regular season, and it’s not too common during the spring season, either. Either way, credit Showalter with finding a creative way to get both of his outfielders time at both positions.
For what it’s worth, I don’t know the defensive scouting report on Robinson, but McLouth is a barely plus defender in center. Certainly capable of playing the position regularly, but not necessarily spectacular out there.
Mid 4th, Orioles 3-1: Solid bounce-back inning for Dempster there, who starts off by walking Wilson Betemit before getting Machado to ground into a double play and Teagarden to pop out.
Not exactly sure what Dempster’s pitch count is for the day, but I’ll work on that one for you, or at least grab a figure after he’s done. But we’ll see if he goes out for another inning despite the rough third. With probably just two more starts to go before the regular season, you’d like to see Dempster stretch himself out to five innings at this point in the spring. Aside from the one blip, he’s pitched well Tuesday.
End 3rd, Orioles 3-1: Quick inning there for the Red Sox, who go down 1-2-3. Victorino, Pedroia and Napoli all ground out, so Matusz gets right back to where he was five days ago when he was shutting down the Minnesota Twins.
Mid 3rd, Orioles 3-1: Well, that’s the most damage Dempster has given up this spring, as the inning opens with a solo home run to Trayvon Robinson, then a double to Taylor Teagarden before a singles attack yields a couple more runs. Dempster does get Glynn Davis to go down looking on strikes to end the frame.
Robinson’s certainly showed a lot of power throughout his minor league career, so he’s really just looking to stick in the big leagues and certainly helped his case there. Incidentally, he was actually part of the trade that brought Erik Bedard to the Red Sox, so there’s that, as well.
End 2nd, Red Sox 1-0: Well, folks, it’s not often that you see a 4-5 double play, but, well, there you go.
Will Middlebrooks starts the inning with a single and Jonny Gomes does what Jonny Gomes does by drawing a walk. However, Ryan Sweeney then grounds into that elusive 4-5 double play, and Jose Iglesias knocks a single before Jacoby Ellsbury flies out to end the inning.
We’ll talk about Iglesias a bit more later, but that’s an encouraging sign to see him continue to hit. He may yet end up playing a big role for the team, as it remains to be seen whether or not Stephen Drew can make Opening Day.
Mid 2nd, Red Sox 1-0: Well, well, who needs Christian Vazquez when you have Jarrod Saltalamacchia?
Before being sent down to minor league camp, the young backstop had impressed the Sox with his defensive prowess behind the plate — specifically is powerful arm. Your regular NESN.com Red Sox beat writer, Ricky Doyle, recently wrote about Vazquez’s bright prospects going forward, and his potential major league career will basically come down to whether he can hit enough to justify keeping him in the lineup.
In any case, after Dempster yields a single to wunderkind Manny Machado, Saltalamacchia swiftly catches him napping for the pickoff. And, for the record, Mike Napoli was perfectly in place to make the play, so he’s clearly picking up the finer points of playing first base.
End 1st, Red Sox 1-0: Shane Victorino, back from Team USA in the World Baseball Classic, gets things started for the Sox, doubling to left field. A Dustin Pedroia single moves him up 90 feet, and then credit Mike Napoli for getting the run home with a sacrifice fly.
That’s cerainly something the Red Sox are better equipped to do this year — manufacture runs. There were too many free-swingers and easy at-bats in the lineup last year, but the team’s offseason additions were largely count-working types, and guys with great baseball acumen.
So, again, credit Napoli for knowing the situation and just trying to get the ball up in the air.
Mid 1st, 0-0: So Dempster takes over right where Buchholz left off yesterday, throwing a perfect 1-2-3 inning.
This is Dempter’s fifth time out to the hill this spring, and in his last appearance he threw four innings. Thus, expect the team and the right-hander to aim for about five innings or 65 pitches on the day. We’ll see if that holds up, but that would be about his schedule at this time of the spring.
1:35 p.m.: We have first pitch! And, just an unfortunate reminder, that while it’s snowing up here in Boston, it’s 77 degrees and partly cloudy in Fort Myers.
1:15 p.m.: Hey all, officially signing on for the day, and what better way to start than with the starting lineups.
Brian Roberts, 2B
Ryan Flaherty, SS
Nate McLouth, CF
Glynn Davis, 1B
Wilson Betemit, DH
Manny Machado, 3B
Trayvon Robinson, LF
Taylor Teagarden, C
Jason Pridle, RF
Brian Matusz, LHP
Boston Red Sox
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Shane Victorino, RF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Mike Napoli, 1B
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C
Jonny Gomes, LF
Ryan Sweeney, DH
Jose Iglesias, SS
Ryan Dempster, RHP
8 a.m. ET: It’s far too easy too look at results during spring training and, quite frankly, they hold little bearing on how a player will perform during the regular season. Most of the time, getting through the spring without anything noteworthy happening is a success.
However, when you’re coming off the kind of season the Boston Red Sox (13-10 in Grapefruit League play) are, it’s difficult not too get excited when looking at the performances of guys like Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz — who threw five innings of one-hit ball on Monday. Ditto for Ryan Dempster (1-1, 2.13), who’s putting together a great spring, himself. For the record, Dempster has always been a strong pitcher during March, so perhaps his consistency is the most encouraging sign to take out of his four starts so far.
For the Baltimore Orioles (13-6), they’ll send Brian Matusz (1-1, 2.70) to the mound. The 26-year-old came up to the big leagues as a starter, but in 2012 he was used by Baltimore as a swingman, and so far this spring they’ve appeared to stick with that plan, as of Matusz’s four appearances, two have come out of the bullpen. However, in his last time out, five days ago, he threw four no-hit innings against the Minnesota Twins.
First pitch is scheduled for 1:35 p.m. ET, but we’ll have the starting lineups and, as Vin Scully would say, “all the stats and stories” leading up to the game at Fenway South. And, if you’re so inclined, you can follow this live blogger on Twitter at @ZachStoloff for additional baseball analysis and the occasional knock-knock joke.