After tying the Orioles in their first game of Friday’s split-squad action, the Red Sox took care of business against the Twins.
Felix Doubront and three other Boston pitchers combined to shut down Minnesota, and Jarrod Saltalamacchia’s two-run home run helped power the Boston offense.
Doubront was followed by Junichi Tazawa (two innings), Chris Carpenter (two innings) and Anthony Carter (one inning). Minnesota’s biggest threat came in the eighth inning, when they loaded the bases, but Carpenter managed to escape that jam unharmed.
Saltalamacchia’s blast back in the fourth inning was his first of the spring, but the Red Sox catcher is having a very solid camp. Salty is now hitting .417 (10-for-24) with five RBIs after Friday’s 2-for-3 performance.
Dustin Pedroia and Deven Marrero (who actually played in both of Friday’s games) also had two hits apiece.
The Red Sox will be back in action on Saturday. They’ll take on the Rays in Port Charlotte at 1:05 p.m. ET.
End 8th, Red Sox 5-0: Heiker Meneses has only seen limited action, but he has taken advantage of every opportunity he’s had this spring.
Shannon Wilkerson dropped a bunt down the third-base line to begin the inning. Despite a nice, barehanded play by Ray Olmedo, Wilkerson beat out the throw for a leadoff single.
Daniel Nava made it back-to-back singles. He shot one into center field, which put runners at first and second for Meneses, who entered the game hitting .571 (4-for-7) with two RBIs in six Grapefruit League games. Meneses kept up the hot streak — albeit in limited opportunities — by planting a double off the Monster in left.
Wilkerson scored on Meneses’ double, but Nava had to hold up at third because Aaron Hicks played the ball well off the wall. Daniel Butler ensured Nava would score, though, by lifting a sac fly to left field.
Anthony Carter will pitch the ninth for Boston.
Mid 8th, Red Sox 3-0: The Twins loaded the bases in the eighth inning, and Chris Carpenter was really forced to work. But in the end, we’re right back to where we were when the inning started.
Darin Mastroianni led off with a slow roller that resulted in an infield single, and Aaron Hicks followed up by striking out for the second time.
From there, Carpenter struggled with his command. He sandwiched a strikeout of Chris Colabello with a walk to both Ray Olmedo and Ryan Doumit to load the bases.
Brian Dinkelman stepped up to the plate for his first at-bat of the game, and Carpenter struck him out by painting the black on the inside corner.
It was a perfect opportunity for the Twins to chip away, but the Red Sox again showed an ability to escape a jam. That’s been a common theme over the past couple of days. Check out the link below to see what I mean.
End 7th, Red Sox 3-0: Pedro Hernandez has done a nice job since taking over for starter Liam Hendriks.
He enjoyed an easy, 1-2-3 inning in the seventh, and has now twirled three scoreless innings.
Mike Carp led off the seventh by grounding out to first. Ryan Sweeney then decided that Aaron Hicks’ range needed to be tested again, and again Hicks was up to the task. He tracked down Sweeney’s bid for an extra-base hit in right-center for the second out.
Deven Marrero, who had been 2-for-2, ended the inning with an easily fielded groundball to second base.
Mid 7th, Red Sox 3-0: The Red Sox’ pitching continues to thrive. In the seventh, it was Chris Carpenter’s turn to shut down the Twins.
Joe Benson flew out harmlessly to Ryan Sweeney to lead off the inning, and Brian Dozier grounded out to Deven Marrero at short for out No. 2.
Eduardo Escobar then hit one down to the new third baseman, Ryan Dent. Dent had to hurry, and it was a bang-bang play at first, but Escobar was nailed in time.
The Red Sox made a number of subs before the inning. Shannon Wilkerson, Daniel Nava, Heiker Meneses, Lyle Overbay, Dan Butler and Ryan Dent are in. Jacoby Ellsbury, Jonny Gomes, Dustin Pedroia, Mike Napoli, Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Will Middlebrooks are out.
End 6th, Red Sox 3-0: The Red Sox scooped up two hits in the sixth, but we’re still looking at a 3-0 game.
Dustin Pedroia led off with a single into right field. He was then lifted for a pinch runner in Heiker Meneses before Mike Napoli grounded into a 5-4-3 double play.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia stepped up with two outs. This time, the Twins kept the Boston backstop in the yard, but he still collected his second hit of the ballgame. Salty singled into right field, just under the glove of third baseman Darin Mastroianni.
Will Middlebrooks is now 0-for-3 after popping out to first base in foul territory to end the inning.
Mid 6th, Red Sox 3-0: Jamey Carroll led off the inning with a single, but Junichi Tazawa recorded three straight outs to get back into the dugout with the three-run lead.
Carroll singled into right field, and he then advanced to second on a groundout off the bat of Chris Parmelee.
Despite the runner in scoring position with only one out, the Twins couldn’t find a way to push across the run. Ryan Doumit flew out to right field, and Oswaldo Arcia ended the inning with a flyout to left.
Tazawa is a bit of an under-the-radar reliever for Boston. While much of the focus is on the back end of the pen — with Joel Hanrahan, Andrew Bailey and Koji Uehara providing plenty of firepower — Tazawa is coming off a very impressive 2012, and he could have a huge impact this season.
Tazawa was 1-1 with a 1.43 ERA and 0.96 WHIP in 37 relief appearances with Boston last year.
End 5th, Red Sox 3-0: Deven Marrero is taking advantage of the opportunity given to him.
Marrero is now 2-for-2 after picking up another single in the fifth. The shortstop hit one up the middle, and Twins second baseman Brian Dozier made a nice, diving play. Dozier was forced to throw from his knees, though, and his chuck brought first baseman Chris Parmelee off the bag, which allowed Marrero to reach.
Marrero’s hit came after Ryan Sweeney flew out, and it preceded flyouts by Jacoby Ellsbury and Jonny Gomes.
Tazawa will take the mound for a second inning of work in the sixth.
Mid 5th, Red Sox 3-0: Junichi Tazawa yielded a couple of hits in the fourth, but he succeeded in keeping a goose egg in Minnesota’s run column.
Brian Dozier singled into right field for his second hit of the game, but Tazawa took care of business against Eduardo Escobar, inducing a 4-6-3 double play.
Darin Mastroianni tried to resurrect the relay by legging out a double. It didn’t amount to much, though, as Tazawa struck out the hot-hitting Aaron Hicks to end the inning.
End 4th, Red Sox 3-0: There has been a lot of talk recently about which players will need to provide the power if David Ortiz is sidelined to begin the year. The Red Sox’ 2012 home run leader rarely comes up in those discussions.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who hit a team-leading 25 bombs last season, connected on a two-run shot in the fourth inning. It adds to what has been a nice spring thus far for Salty. The Sox catcher entered the game hitting .381 (8-for-21) with five doubles, three RBIs and three walks in nine Grapefruit League games.
Salty’s table was set by Dustin Pedroia, who singled into center field to lead off the inning.
After the blast, Will Middlebrooks and Mike Carp each went down by way of the K.
Junichi Tazawa will come on to pitch for Boston after four scoreless innings from Felix Doubront.
Mid 4th, Red Sox 1-0: It’s been a nice outing for Felix Doubront.
The left-hander enjoyed a 1-2-3 fourth inning.
Ryan Doumit and Oswaldo Arcia flew out to Jacoby Ellsbury in center for the first two outs. Joe Benson then put on a battle, working the count full, but he too fell victim to the cruising Doubront. Doumit grounded out to short.
Doubront has given up two hits, and he’s walked one in four scoreless innings. He also has four strikeouts.
End 3rd, Red Sox 1-0: Deven Marrero has already played in one game, but don’t tell him he’s tired.
Marrero, who appeared in Friday afternoon’s game against the Orioles, was a late addition to the lineup after Pedro Ciriaco was scratched due to back spasms. He promptly hit a single into center field after Ryan Sweeney led off the inning with a groundout.
Jacoby Ellsbury nearly hit into an inning-ending double play, but he beat the throw on the back end to keep the inning alive.
The frame ended when Jonny Gomes popped out to Brian Dozier at second base.
Mid 3rd, Red Sox 1-0: Aaron Hicks flashed some leather in the second inning. In the third, he showcased his offensive potential.
Hicks, who robbed Mike Carp in center field the previous half inning, doubled down the left-field line with one out.
Hicks wouldn’t advance beyond second, though. Felix Doubront battled back to strike out Jamey Carroll, and Chris Parmelee flew out to center to end any potential threat.
End 2nd, Red Sox 1-0: It’s easy to see why the Twins are so high on center fielder Aaron Hicks.
After Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Will Middlebrooks grounded out to begin the inning, Mike Carp got a hold of one. It looked destined to be a gap shot, but Hicks sprinted toward right-center and laid out to make a sensational, diving grab.
Hicks showed a great first step and covered a lot of ground. To think, it’s been his bat that has really turned heads this spring.
7:40 p.m.: The Red Sox announced that Rubby De La Rosa and Allen Webster — the two pitchers acquired in last August’s megadeal with the Dodgers — have been optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket. Catcher Christian Vazquez has been sent to Double-A Portland.
All three of those players did some pretty impressive things this spring, although the decision to send them to their respective minor league clubs doesn’t come as much of a surprise.
It might not be long before Red Sox fans see Webster and/or De La Rosa up in the bigs, though, as they appear on the cusp of becoming valuable major league hurlers.
Vazquez has a little bit more time in the minors ahead of him, mostly because his offense is still a work in progress, but you can’t deny his defensive prowess. Vazquez has shown a tremendous arm throughout camp, and he’s emerged as a very intriguing prospect.
I actually touched on all three of these players recently. If you’re interested in reading about what their respective futures hold, you can do so at the links below.
Mid 2nd, Red Sox 1-0: Brian Dozier smacked one off the Green Monster with two outs, but his two-bagger went for naught.
Felix Doubront started the inning by getting Oswaldo Arcia to ground out to third. The lefty then struck out Joe Benson swinging, marking his second K of the contest.
That’s when Dozier gave Doubront’s offering a ride. Eduardo Escobar had an opportunity to drive him in, and actually put up a very good battle against Doubront, but the Boston left-hander was able to pick up his third strikeout of the game to end the inning.
End 1st, Red Sox 1-0: Boston’s first two hitters reached base, and the Red Sox have jumped out on top.
Jacoby Ellsbury got the fun going by dropping one into right field. Ellsbury was thinking two right out of the box, and he was able to slide in safely with a leadoff double.
Jonny Gomes then smacked one down the third-base line. Jamey Carroll made a tremendous, diving play, but he had no chance to retire the hustling Gomes. The hit allowed Ellsbury to advance to third.
With runners at first and third, Dustin Pedroia grounded into a run-scoring, 4-6-3 double play. Mike Napoli ended the inning with a groundout to short.
The Red Sox were probably thinking more after getting two aboard to start the game, but any lead is a good lead, right?
Mid 1st, 0-0: Felix Doubront struggled a bit with his control, but he worked around a leadoff walk to hold the Twins scoreless.
Aaron Hicks, who likely earned himself a starting spot on Minnesota’s big league roster with his play this swing, worked a walk to begin the game.
Doubront then fell behind Jamey Carroll before getting him to ground to Will Middlebrooks at third base. Middlebrooks looked to second, perhaps thinking double play, but he then thought better of the situation and fired to first for the sure out.
Chris Parmelee struck out for the second out, and Ryan Doumit didn’t fare much better. He hit a groundball between third base and shortstop. Middlebrooks went into the dive and didn’t come up with it, but Deven Marrero was there to make the play going into the hole.
7:06 p.m.: Doubront wheels, deals, kicks, the offering…
7:01 p.m.: One more note to send on over. It looks as if Pedro Ciriaco is a late scratch because of back spasms. I’ll keep you posted as more information becomes available.
6:55 p.m.: We’re about 10 minutes away from Felix Doubront’s first pitch. Before things get under way at JetBlue, I’ll get you up to speed on what you may have missed while carrying out your Friday.
Manager John Farrell spoke to the media in the morning, and he provided an injury update on a trio of Sox players.
David Ortiz, whose injury battle has been well-documented, is apparently responding favorably to the rest and treatment he’s been getting since being shut down for five-to-seven days with inflammation in both of his heels. The hope is that he’ll be able to take batting practice on Monday.
The news isn’t as good for reliever Franklin Morales and shortstop Stephen Drew.
Morales, who traveled to Boston on Thursday to see specialists, has a bulging disc in his lower back, and he is out indefinitely at this point.
Drew, who was plunked in the head by a pitch on March 7, is still experiencing symptoms of his concussion. He is continuing to work his way back, but one has to wonder if he’ll be ready to play on Opening Day.
Finally, in case you missed it, the Red Sox tied the Orioles 3-3 in their first split-squad game of the day.
Check out the links below for more information on these topics.
5:53 p.m. ET: One game down, one to go.
Half of the Red Sox — who are signed up for split-squad action on Friday — played the Orioles to a 3-3 tie in Sarasota earlier in the day. Now, it’s on to the Twins, who arrive at JetBlue Park for a 7:05 p.m. ET throwdown with the rest of Boston’s players.
Felix Doubront will get the nod for the Sox. It’ll mark his third start of the spring. The left-hander tossed 1 2/3 scoreless innings in his first outing on March 4, and he then allowed two runs in three innings against the Orioles on March 9.
The first six hitters in the Boston lineup on Friday night figure to be regulars when the Red Sox kick off the regular season.
Mike Carp will bat seventh and serve as the DH. He’s battling with the likes of Lyle Overbay (who DH’d on Thursday) and Ryan Lavarnway (who DH’d in Game 1 on Friday) when it comes to a spot on the big league roster. If David Ortiz isn’t healthy to start the season, manager John Farrell will need to find someone capable of producing at the plate, so the rest of the spring is very important for that trio, among others. Lavarnway struggled on Friday, going 0-for-5 against the O’s.
Friday night’s action will be televised live on NESN, so be sure to tune in. I don’t want to lose you all together, though, so feel free to poke around here as well whenever you get the chance.
The lineups for Friday night are below.
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Jonny Gomes, LF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Mike Napoli, 1B
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C
Will Middlebrooks, 3B
Mike Carp, DH
Ryan Sweeney, RF
Pedro Ciriaco, SS
Felix Doubront, P
Aaron Hicks, CF
Jamey Carroll, 3B
Chris Parmelee, 1B
Ryan Doumit, C
Oswaldo Arcia, RF
Joe Benson, DH
Brian Dozier, 2B
Eduardo Escobar, SS
Darin Mastroianni, LF
Liam Hendricks, P