Final, Red Sox 7-6: Jackie Bradley Jr. started off the game with a bang. And while the Phillies eventually erased the big lead that Boston established early, the Red Sox used a ninth-inning, RBI single to secure a 7-6 victory in Clearwater.
Bradley finished the day 1-for-3 with four RBIs and two strikeouts. It was his second-inning home run, though, that set the tempo and added to fuel to the fiery debate about whether or not he’ll make the Red Sox’ Opening Day roster.
Jose Iglesias also increased his odds of starting the season in Boston. He went 3-for-3 with a double and two singles, while also displaying the glovework that turned him into one of the organization’s most intriguing prospects. Iglesias’ spring average now sits at .273, and it’s obvious that he’s improving offensively, which is perhaps a reflection of the muscle he put on in the offseason.
Mike Napoli and Will Middlebrooks also turned in solid performances in the Red Sox’ 14-hit attack. Napoli went 3-for-4, while Middlebrooks went 2-for-4 — although Middlebrooks would have been 3-for-4 if not for a fantastic, diving play by Ben Revere in the third baseman’s final at-bat.
Brandon Workman got the start for the Red Sox. It was his first outing with the big league club, and he went the first three innings, allowing two runs on three hits while walking two and striking out one.
The Red Sox built a 6-0 lead in the third inning, but the Phillies chipped away until Chase Utley and Ryan Howard tied the game with back-to-back home runs in the eighth inning. The Sox would regain the lead in the top of the ninth, when Shannon Wilkerson knocked an RBI single through the left side of the infield.
One other thing of note to come from Sunday’s game was the injury that Jacoby Ellsbury sustained. Ellsbury was removed and replaced by Bryce Brentz in the second inning, before what would have been Ellsbury’s second at-bat. The team described the injury, which Ellsbury suffered while retreating to first base on a pickoff attempt, as a bruised right heel. The club said the center fielder was removed for precautionary reasons, and he will be reevaluated on Monday.
The Sox also have a game on Monday, before then having an off day on Tuesday. They’ll take on the Orioles in Sarasota, and the game is scheduled to start up at 1:05 p.m. ET. I hope to see you all right back here at NESN.com so that we can do this again.
Mid 9th, Red Sox 7-6: It didn’t take long for the Red Sox to regain the lead.
Just minutes after Chase Utley and Ryan Howard connected on back-to-back home runs to tie the game, the Sox put up a run against Jeremy Horst.
Boston’s top prospect, Xander Bogaerts, started off the inning by hitting a line drive that dropped just in front of left fielder John Mayberry Jr.
Bryce Brentz, who had been having a tough 0-for-3 game, followed up with a hard-hit ball into right-center. It dropped in front of Ender Inciarte, and then ricocheted off the Phillies center fielder, allowing Bogaerts to advance to third and Brentz to dive into second.
Shannon Wilkerson then struck a base hit through the left side, which brought home Bogaerts with Boston’s seventh run.
The Red Sox could have had more, but Brock Holt lined out to third, and Wilkerson was doubled off first base. Mauro Gomez struck out to end the inning.
Marco Duarte will pitch the ninth inning for Boston.
End 8th, 6-6: Noe Ramirez hung a slider to Chase Utley, and he paid for it. Ramirez then made a 3-1 mistake to Ryan Howard, and — you guessed it — paid for it.
Utley connected for his fourth home run of the spring — and third hit of the game — to make it a one-run game. Then, not to be outdone, Howard absolutely crushed a home run into right-center to tie the game at six.
Ryan Rowland-Smith took over for Ramirez after the back-to-back blasts, and he recorded a strikeout and induced a fly out to end the inning.
Mid 8th, Red Sox 6-3: Two Phillies hurlers combined to keep the Red Sox off the scoreboard in the eighth.
Jeremy Horst struck out Jackie Bradley Jr. on four pitches. Bradley is now 1-for-3 with a home run, sac fly, two strikeouts and four RBIs.
End 7th, Red Sox 6-3: Noe Ramirez brought a pretty funky delivery into the game in the seventh, and he proved to be very effective.
Ramirez retired the side in order, and we’re still looking at a three-run game.
The Red Sox have made some substitutions in this one. Shannon Wilkerson, Brock Holt, Mauro Gomez, Drew Sutton and Xander Bogaerts are in. Shane Victorino, Dustin Pedroia, Mike Napoli, Will Middlebrooks and Jose Iglesias are out.
Mid 7th, Red Sox 6-3: There are plenty of overrated diving catches out there. Ben Revere’s grab in the seventh is not one of them.
Revere made an awesome snag on a sinking line drive from Will Middlebrooks to end the inning. The Phillies center fielder was completely outstretched when he made the play, which ended any potential threat the Red Sox could have posed.
Shane Victorino walked to lead off, but Dustin Pedroia then grounded into a double play before Mike Napoli smacked another base hit. That brought up Middlebrooks, who was absolutely robbed of his third hit of the game.
Napoli is 3-for-4, and the Red Sox now have 11 hits in the game.
End 6th, Red Sox 6-3: Jose Iglesias is doing it both at the plate and in the field.
Sean Henn took over in the sixth as the rain picked up in Clearwater. He issued a leadoff walk to Michael Young, but then got Domonic Brown to ground into a double play, which was started by Iglesias.
The twin killing was relatively routine, though. It was Iglesias’ next act that was impressive.
Laynce Nix grounded up the middle, and Iglesias ranged all the way over to the other side of the second-base bag to make the play. He then spun and delivered a strong throw to Mike Napoli to end the inning.
Mid 6th, Red Sox 6-3: Cliff Lee retired Ryan Lavarnway on a ground ball back to the mound for the first out, and he then gave way to old friend Jonathan Papelbon.
Papelbon was greeted with a single by Jose Iglesias, who is now 3-for-3 in this game. The Sox wouldn’t pose a threat beyong Iglesias’ base knock, though, as Papelbon got Bryce Brentz to ground into a double play.
Brentz has had a tough day since coming in for the injured Jacoby Ellsbury. He’s now 0-for-3 with two strikeouts and a double play.
End 5th, Red Sox 6-3: Daniel Bard racked up three strikeouts in the fifth, but the Phillies continued chipping away at the lead.
After Cliff Lee struck out for the first out, Ben Revere dropped down a bunt. It was hard enough to sneak past the mound, and Dustin Pedroia came charging in. Pedroia tried to quickly flip the ball to Mike Napoli at first, but it got past Napoli and rolled away, which allowed Revere to scamper up to second base.
Bard bounced back to strike out Jimmy Rollins, but Chase Utley delivered an RBI single into left field that scored Revere, who had moved up to third base on a passed ball charged to Ryan Lavarnway.
Utley would steal second to move up into scoring position, but Bard struck out Ryan Howard to end any additional threats.
Mid 5th, Red Sox 6-2: The Red Sox got a couple of runners into scoring position in the fifth, but they were unable to extend the lead.
Dustin Pedroia flew out to lead off the inning, but the middle of the Boston order posed a threat. Mike Napoli hit a base hit into center field, and Will Middlebrooks followed with a double into the left-center field gap.
That put runners at second and third for Jonny Gomes, who struck out for the second time.
Jackie Bradley Jr., who already has four RBIs in the game, had a chance to add to his total, but Cliff Lee was able to strike out the hot-hitting outfielder.
Daniel Bard is coming on to pitch for Boston.
End 4th, Red Sox 6-2: The wind really is brutal out there.
The wind already cost the Red Sox in the third inning, and it nearly cost them in the fourth.
After Andrew Bailey got two quick outs, Laynce Nix lifted a popup into shallow left field that proved to be problematic. Will Middlebrooks went out and seemed to have it sized up, but Jackie Bradley Jr. called him off late and the ball dropped in.
Humberto Quintero then popped one up in foul territory along the first-base line. Normally, such a popup would be an easy out, but the wind again played a factor, and Mike Napoli was unable to make the catch.
That gave Quintero new life, although Bailey ensured it didn’t matter by getting the Phillies catcher to ground out to short to end the inning.
2:15 p.m.: Quick update regarding Jacoby Ellsbury, who was taken out after the first inning.
Ellsbury did, in fact, jam his ankle while attempting to get back to first base. He was taken out as a precaution, and he’ll be reevaluated on Monday.
Mid 4th, Red Sox 6-2: Jose Iglesias kicked off the fourth inning by smacking Boston’s seventh hit of the game, but Cliff Lee managed to keep the Sox off the board.
Iglesias started hard toward second base during Bryce Brentz’s at-bat, but he fell down, which allowed the Phillies to take him off the base paths.
Brentz, who entered the game for Jacoby Ellsbury back in the first, then struck out for the second time. Both of Brentz’s strikeouts have come on a curveball from Cliff Lee.
Shane Victorino ended the inning with a little pop out to Ryan Howard in foul ground.
Andrew Bailey will now come on for Boston after an all-in-all pretty solid outing from Brandon Workman.
End 3rd, Red Sox 6-2: The Phillies grabbed their first two runs of the game in the third.
Laynce Nix started off the inning with a hard ground ball back up the middle. Typically, such a ball would go for a base hit, but the Red Sox had a shift on, and Jose Iglesias was in a perfect position to record the out.
Humberto Quintero then singled and moved up to second base on a sacrifice bunt. He would score on a base hit past a diving Dustin Pedroia. Shane Victorino made a nice throw from center field in an effort to throw out Quintero, but he snuck past Ryan Lavarnway’s tag despite not sliding.
With Revere on first, Jimmy Rollins worked a walk, prompting a mound visit to settle Brandon Workman down a bit. Workman seemed to be overthrowing, so it was a good time to try and slow the pace.
The mound visit yielded results, as Workman got Chase Utley to pop up into shallow right field. Unfortunately for the Red Sox, though, the wind proved to be menacing, and the ball dropped between Pedroia and Bryce Brentz. The play allowed a run to score, and it set up runners at the corners for Ryan Howard.
Howard ended the inning by popping up to Will Middlebrooks at third. The wind started to play with that popup as well, but Middlebrooks managed to secure it for the final out.
Mid 3rd, Red Sox 6-0: The Red Sox took some solid hacks and played some station-to-station baseball in the third.
Shane Victorino, Dustin Pedroia and Mike Napoli ripped three straight singles to load the bases to begin the inning. Will Middlebrooks then smoked a ground ball right at Jimmy Rollins. The veteran shortstop couldn’t handle the hot smash, and it ended up in left-center field, allowing two runs to score.
Jonny Gomes, who walked in his first plate appearance, struck out for the first out.
Jackie Bradley Jr., looking to repeat his second-inning, three-run shot, stepped up with runners at the corners. He drilled a hard line drive to center that Ben Revere was able to haul in, but it was still enough to bring home Boston’s sixth run of the game. Bradley now has four RBIs following the sac fly.
Cliff Lee was really leaving his pitches up in the zone in the inning. That’ll spell trouble in anyone’s league.
End 2nd, Red Sox 3-0: Shane Victorino shifted over to center field with Jacoby Ellsbury out of the game, and he made a sensational play for the first out.
Ryan Howard crushed one to center, but Victorino sprinted all the way back to the warning track and crashed into the wall while making the grab.
Victorino was also a bit shaken up, briefly holding his forearm/wrist, but he appears to be OK. In fact, he could even be seen joking with Howard — a former teammate — while running off the field.
1:35 p.m.: Jacoby Ellsbury, who was caught stealing in the first, has been taken out of this game. He was replaced by Bryce Brentz.
Ellsbury also had to slide back into first base on a snap throw, and it appeared he jammed his ankle a bit. Hopefully it’s not anything serious, but I’ll keep you posted with any further news that comes along.
Mid 2nd, Red Sox 3-0: This game figures to be an important one for Jackie Bradley Jr., who is still trying to prove he deserves to be on Boston’s Opening Day roster. The young outfielder couldn’t have started it off any better.
After Mike Napoli struck out to begin the inning, Will Middlebrooks shot a base hit into right field. A fan reached over and grabbed the ball, so Middlebrooks initially thought he would be awarded a double, but the umpire brought him back to first base.
Jonny Gomes then worked a walk with Middlebrooks on first, setting the stage for a three-run, opposite-field home run for Bradley.
Bradley is now 22-for-50 this spring, and he’s definitely making the decision regarding his future a difficult one for the Red Sox.
Jose Iglesias also showed some pop in delivering a two-out double over Ben Revere’s head in center field, but Bradley’s blow was the big highlight of the inning — and potentially the day.
End 1st, 0-0: Nice first inning for Brandon Workman, who is surely looking to impress in his first big league outing this spring.
Workman allowed one runner to reach, but Ryan Lavarnway quickly wiped him off the bases by firing a strike down to second base.
The Red Sox have now thrown out 12 of 27 attempted base stealers (44.4 percent) this spring, which is the best mark among AL clubs.
Mid 1st, 0-0: The Red Sox have slapped the boot on the vehicle known as Jacoby Ellsbury this spring, but manager John Farrell said that the team does expect Ellsbury to start running.
Well, it took all of seven minutes for the Sox to put him in motion on Sunday.
Ellsbury reached on a catcher’s interference call to begin the game. It looked at first as if he had grounded out to short, but the call put Ellsbury at first base.
Shane Victorino, who received a nice ovation from the Phillies’ fans, popped out for the first out.
Dustin Pedroia then struck out with Ellsbury taking off for second, and the Phillies executed the strike-him-out, throw-him-out double play to end the inning.
1:09 p.m.: We’re under way in Clearwater…
1 p.m.: We’re just about ready for action in Clearwater, but the Red Sox did have an intrasquad game in Fort Myers on Sunday as well.
Ryan Dempster threw 96 pitches over five innings amid windy conditions. He allowed six runs on nine hits, walked five and a hit batter.
Keury De La Cruz and Ryan Sweeney went deep in the game. Lyle Overbay went 1-for-3 with a walk and two strikeouts. Mike Carp went 0-for-4 with a walk and a strikeout.
Andrew Miller and Koji Uehara also pitched in the instraquad tilt, and each pitched a scoreless inning. Uehara threw 17 pitches (11 strikes) and struck out two, while Miller threw 18 pitches (10 strikes) and struck out three.
Stephen Drew took ground balls in Fort Myers on Sunday as he continues to battle back from a concussion.
12:55 p.m: Another rumor surfaced the other day involving Andrew Bailey. The Rangers reportedly may be interested in the right-hander and spoke to the Red Sox earlier this spring.
Now, if I was a betting man — which I am only sometimes given my track record of gambling failures — I would say there isn’t much to see here. Still, Bailey’s name continues to be tossed around when it comes to potential deals. I understand why, as the Sox are one of the teams fortunate enough to have solid bullpen depth, but I just don’t understand why there are some who feel like Bailey is expendable.
The Red Sox’ pitching has been great this spring, and I think the bullpen could be a huge asset this season. Why trade away Bailey and disrupt that?
I actually wrote about this topic, so if you’d like to check that out while we await game time, feel free to scope out the link below. As is always the case with these links, though, don’t feel pressured to do anything you don’t want to do.
11 a.m.: The lineup cards are in, and what do you know? Jackie Bradley Jr. will get the start out in left field.
Manager John Farrell said recently that Bradley would not play left field, insisting that the 22-year-old would play just center field and right field for Boston. It was hardly groundbreaking stuff, but it obviously led to further speculation about whether or not that would impact the decision regarding Bradley’s Opening Day status.
It’s spring training, though, which means that nothing is etched in stone, and Farrell soon changed his mind. Bradley played two innings in left field on Friday, and he’ll now see some more time out there as the Red Sox continue to weigh the pros and cons of bringing him up to the majors to begin the season.
I’ve said multiple times that I think Bradley should start the season in the minors. Based solely on production, yes, Bradley deserves a big league shot. But there are so many other factors involved, and all of them point to it making much more sense in the long run to start him at the Triple-A level.
You can check out my take on Bradley at the links below, and then you can scope out Sunday’s lineups below that.
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Shane Victorino, RF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Mike Napoli, 1B
Will Middlebrooks, 3B
Jonny Gomes, DH
Jackie Bradley Jr., LF
Ryan Lavarnway, C
Jose Iglesias SS
Brandon Workman, P
Ben Revere, CF
Jimmy Rollins, SS
Chase Utley, 2B
Ryan Howard, 1B
Michael Young, 3B
Domonic Brown, RF
Laynce Nix, LF
Humberto Quintero, C
Cliff Lee, P
8 a.m. ET: The Red Sox took down the Phillies at JetBlue Park on Thursday. Now, they’ll travel to Clearwater to see if they can repeat the feat on Sunday.
The Sox picked up a 6-1 victory on Thursday night behind a big, five-run seventh inning. The game had been knotted up at one until Daniel Nava’s hustle to be out a potential force out allowed Boston to score its second run of the game. Shane Victorino and Dustin Pedroia then extended the lead, with Victorino’s blow coming via a bases-clearing triple.
Victorino greeted some of his former Philadelphia teammates on Thursday, and one can assume he’ll do the same on Sunday. After all, The Flyin’ Hawaiian played 987 of his 1,076 career major league games to date with Philadelphia, and he won a World Series with the Phillies in 2008.
On Sunday, the Sox will send Brandon Workman to the mound. Workman, a second-round pick in 2010, was named the Red Sox Minor League Pitcher of the Year last season, when he went 10-8 with a 3.50 ERA in 25 starts between High-A Salem and Double-A Portland. This will be the 24-year-old’s first appearance with the big league club this spring.
Andrew Bailey and Daniel Bard are expected to follow Workman out of the bullpen.
Sunday’s action is scheduled to kick off at 1:05 p.m. ET. You can catch the game on NESN, so be sure to do that, while also spending some time right here. It should be fun.