The Sox finish their Grapefruit League schedule with a 17-17-1 record. On Monday, the slate will be wiped clean when the Sox Red visit the Yankees to kick off the 2013 regular season.
Felix Doubront went five scoreless innings in his final spring tune-up on Saturday. He gave up six hits, walked one and struck out six.
Boston’s offense was fueled by a two-hit day from Daniel Nava, who figures to play a prominent bench role this season after putting together a solid spring.
Monday’s season opener will kick off at 1:05 p.m. ET. NESN’s television coverage will begin at 11 a.m., so be sure to tune in — even if that means setting your alarm or calling in sick. We’ll also, of course, have live blog coverage of Monday’s opener right here at NESN.com. I hope to see you all then.
Have a good night everyone, and have a happy Easter.
End 8th, Red Sox 4-1: It was a quick inning for Jared Burton.
Burton retired Mike Carp, David Renfroe and Alberto Rosario in order. Carp flew out, and Renfroe and Rosario popped out.
Joel Hanrahan is now coming on to pitch for Boston. And it’s actually a save situation this time around. The regular season really is upon us.
Mid 8th, Red Sox 4-1: The Twins got on the scoreboard against Andrew Bailey in the eighth. (Feel free to blame me for mentioning his seven-outing scoreless streak.)
With a random cast in for the Red Sox, Harold Garcia grounded to the new second baseman, Mookie Betts. Betts made the play, but his throw to first was wide, which allowed Garcia to move up to second base.
The inning didn’t get any easier from there. Wilkin Ramirez singled into left field, as did Brian Dinkelman two batters later. Dinkelman’s hit brought home Garcia with Minnesota’s first run.
Doug Bernier grounded into a double play to end the inning.
End 7th, Red Sox 4-0: Brian Duensing took over, and he enjoyed a 1-2-3 inning.
Jackie Bradley Jr. grounded out to first base, putting him at 0-for-2 in this one. Keury De La Cruz — who entered the game for Shane Victorino — grounded out. Pedro Ciriaco popped out.
Andrew Bailey is coming on for Boston. Bailey hasn’t allowed a run in his last seven outings — a span of 6 2/3 innings.
Mid 7th, Red Sox 4-0: Andrew Miller took us into the seventh-inning stretch with a very good inning.
Miller got Danny Lehmann to fly out, and he then struck out Evan Bigley and Eduardo Escobar. Escobar went down swinging on a nasty slider low and away.
End 6th, Red Sox 4-0: Tyler Robertson pitched the sixth inning, and he kept Minnesota’s deficit at four runs.
The inning started off in a rather strange way. Mitch Maier, who has been banged up this spring, hit a soft, little, looping popup to second base that Brian Dinkelman could have played in the air. Instead, Dinkelman let it drop in, and he played it on a bounce. The play fooled first baseman Dan Rohlfing, who didn’t cover the bag because he thought Dinkelman was going to catch it on the fly, and Maier was able to reach.
The baserunner didn’t mean much, though. Daniel Nava flew out to center field, and Jose Iglesias grounded into a 6-4-3 double play.
Mid 6th, Red Sox 4-0: Koji Uehara keeps showing why he could be one of the league’s more underrated pickups.
Uehara retired the two hitters he faced in the sixth, bringing his spring scoreless mark to 9 2/3 innings. The right-hander has 12 strikeouts in that span after striking out Dan Rohlfing.
Jeremy Kehrt took over for Uehara after that, and two guys quickly reached base. Brian Dozier reached on an error charged to David Renfroe, and Pedro Florimon singled into left field.
Kehrt escaped the inning unscathed by getting Daniel Ortiz to fly out to Jackie Bradley Jr., who is rocking some sick sunglasses in left field.
End 5th, Red Sox 4-0: Josh Roenicke, who retired the last out of the fourth inning for the Twins, came back out to pitch the fifth. He made quick work of the Sox despite issuing a leadoff walk.
Mike Carp earned the free pass to lead off the inning, but Roenicke wiped him off the bases by inducing a 6-4-3 double play.
The inning ended with David Ross — pinch-hitting for Jarrod Saltalamacchia — striking out.
Mid 5th, Red Sox 4-0: Felix Doubront put a couple of runners on, but again he managed to keep the Twins scoreless.
Aaron Hicks, who will be Minnesota’s starting center fielder after a very nice spring, singled into left field to lead things off. He would move up to second base when a pitch got away from Doubront and plunked Joe Mauer.
From there, the left-hander buckled down.
Josh Willingham struck out swinging on a halfhearted cut at a high fastball. Trevor Plouffe then hit a slow roller down to third that David Renfroe — who entered the game for Will Middlebrooks before the inning — gloved. Renfroe stepped on the bag to record the force out.
Doubront ended the inning — and perhaps his outing — by getting Chris Parmelee to bounce out to first.
End 4th, Red Sox 4-0: Jackie Bradley Jr. really had a chance to put an exclamation point on his spring, but Mike Pelfrey battled back to strike out the outfielder with the bases loaded.
Still, the Red Sox managed to push across two runs.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Daniel Nava and Jose Iglesias each singled, which loaded the bases with one out. (A Jonny Gomes fly out was mixed in.)
Bradley got to a hitter’s count at 3-1, but he was unable to connect on either of his hearty cuts after that. Pelfrey pulled the string on Bradley to run the count full, and Bradley fanned on the next pitch, which had great downward movement.
The threat wasn’t over, though, and Shane Victorino came through with a two-run single into right field. Second baseman Brian Dozier probably should have made the play, but the ball kicked up over his glove when he went into a slide.
Mid 4th, Red Sox 2-0: The fourth inning was Doubront’s best. He retired the side in order for the first time.
Doubront struck out both Dan Rohlfing and Pedro Florimon while working a 1-2-3 frame.
The Red Sox made a few substitutions prior to the inning, and Jackie Bradley Jr. is now in the game. He came on for Jacoby Ellsbury in center field.
Pedro Ciriaco and Mike Carp also came on, while Dustin Pedroia and Mike Napoli exited.
End 3rd, Red Sox 2-0: The Red Sox threatened to score for the third straight inning, but Mike Pelfrey managed to work around a couple of baserunners.
Pelfrey got two quick outs in the inning. Jacoby Ellsbury nearly lined a base hit into right field, but second baseman Brian Dozier made a fantastic, diving play for the first out.
Shane Victorino then threatened to bloop one into left field. Initially, it looked like trouble, as three players converged in the sun-filled outfield. Josh Willingham called for it, though, and he made the play for the second out.
After that, Dustin Pedroia singled into left field and Mike Napoli got hit by a pitch. Will Middlebrooks then gave one a ride to right, but Wilkin Ramirez hauled it in to end the inning.
Mid 3rd, Red Sox 2-0: It was a much smoother inning for Felix Doubront in the third.
Doubront gave up a one-out single to Trevor Plouffe, but that was all the Twins could muster up.
Doubront got three fly outs — from Josh Willingham, Chris Parmelee and Wilkin Ramirez — to keep Minnesota off the board.
End 2nd, Red Sox 2-0: Will Middlebrooks led off the inning with a single, and he would later come around with Boston’s second run.
Middlebrooks continued his great spring by singling into center field. His spring average sits at .327.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia struck out swinging, which marks his 18th strikeout of the spring, and Jonny Gomes flew out to center field for the second out.
Middlebrooks then showed another dimension of his game by swiping second base, which proved to be huge, as Daniel Nava followed up with an RBI single into left field.
Mid 2nd, Red Sox 1-0: Felix Doubront again got into a little bit of trouble, but again he pitched his way out of it.
Dan Rohlfing led off the inning by driving one toward the triangle in center field. Jacoby Ellsbury showed off his excellent speed and range, though, hauling it in just short of the warning track.
Brian Dozier then lined a hit into left field. As Jonny Gomes went to scoop it up, the ball kicked back a bit, and it rolled past the left fielder. That allowed Dozier to scamper up to second base.
Pedro Florimon would then walk to increase the threat, and Dozier would tag up and move to third when the next batter, Aaron Hicks, flew out to center.
Doubront managed to get out of trouble, though, by striking out the always dangerous Joe Mauer.
End 1st, Red Sox 1-0: Mike Napoli looks ready for the regular season.
Napoli smoked a two-out double off the Green Monster in left field, and the Red Sox have jumped out to a 1-0 lead.
Jacoby Ellsbury led off the inning with an infield hit. He grounded one up the middle. Second baseman Brian Dozier made a nice, backhanded stop, but he was unable to get the speedy Ellsbury. Clearly, Ellsbury is experiencing no ill effects of the jammed heel he suffered last weekend.
Dustin Pedroia would bounce out to short with Ellsbury running for the second out. Ellsbury moved up to second on the play, and he’d score on Napoli’s hit.
Napoli was thrown out trying to stretch the hit into a double, but it did the trick.
Mid 1st, 0-0: Felix Doubront found himself in some trouble in the first inning, but a big strikeout kept the Twins off the scoreboard.
Aaron Hicks — who is actually featured in my 2013 awards predictions — led off with a harmless fly out to left.
Joe Mauer, batting out of the two spot, then stepped in, and the Red Sox quickly caught a break. Mauer lifted a fly ball down the left-field line into the corner. It appeared to drop directly on the line, but it was ruled foul.
Mauer still came away from the at-bat with a victory, though. He singled into center field to get the offense rolling. After Josh Willingham struck out, Trevor Plouffe and Chris Parmelee also added singles, which loaded the bases for Wilkin Ramirez.
Doubront started off Ramirez with back-to-back curveballs, and he would later strike him out looking on a fastball. Disaster averted.
1:37 p.m.: Felix Doubront’s first pitch is a strike, and we’re under way at JetBlue Park.
1:30 p.m.: We’re a few minutes from game time at JetBlue Park, and there are a few notes to pass along.
First, Clayton Mortensen has received confirmation that he’s made the Opening Day roster. It became obvious that this would be the case after Daniel Bard was optioned to Double-A Portland, but it’s always good to get confirmation from John Farrell himself.
On the injury front, the Red Sox are apparently hoping to get David Ortiz into a minor league game during the week of April 8. Ortiz will travel with the team to New York, but then return to Fort Myers to continue rehabbing from his injury.
Stephen Drew, meanwhile, will remain in Fort Myers, and he’s expected to participate in back-field games. He’s currently on the seven-day concussion disabled list.
I should also take this time to direct you to my 2013 MLB awards predictions. My picks were posted on NESN.com on Saturday, so they’re set in stone. Feel free to rip into me when I’m completely off.
11:32 a.m.: Just a friendly reminder that NESN’s coverage of Opening Day on Monday will begin at 11 a.m.
That’s two hours of baseball coverage leading up to the start of the regular season. Anyone else fired up?
11:15 a.m.: The lineup cards are in, and Jackie Bradley Jr. is not in the starting nine.
Getting the start as the designated hitter on Saturday will be Daniel Nava, who earned himself a roster spot with a very impressive spring — even if it may have flown under the radar due to Bradley’s amazing production.
Check out Saturday’s lineup below.
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Shane Victorino, RF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Mike Napoli, 1B
Will Middlebrooks, 3B
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C
Jonny Gomes, LF
Daniel Nava, DH
Jose Iglesias, SS
Felix Doubront, P
10:30 a.m.: As the Jackie Bradley Jr. watch continues, we’ve got some news to pass along.
Bradley will travel with the team to New York, according to The Boston Globe’s Pete Abraham. That seems to suggest that Bradley has a good chance of making the major league roster, although nothing is official. I’ll certainly keep my ears open and my eyes peeled, though, as this is obviously the biggest decision facing the Red Sox right now.
8 a.m ET: One game. That’s all that separates the Red Sox from the regular season.
The Sox finish up their Grapefruit League schedule on Saturday with a game against the Twins, who defeated Boston 8-3 on Friday. The Red Sox enter the game with a 16-17-1 record this spring, although let’s be honest, none of that really matters.
What really matters is that the Red Sox are two days from starting up the 2013 regular season in the Bronx, and it’s hard to pinpoint exactly what this season will hold for Boston. The Sox have certainly had their share of bright spots this spring, though, including the impressive performance of the starting rotation, the apparent change in clubhouse culture and the emergence of Jackie Bradley Jr.
Bradley’s Opening Day fate still hangs in the balance, but it’d be surprising if he didn’t open up the season with the big league club. Since the Sox decided on Thursday night not to purchase Ryan Sweeney’s contract, it seems that the only thing separating Bradley from the majors is clearing a spot on the 40-man roster and making a formal announcement.
We’ll see if that announcement comes on Saturday, although manager John Farrell said he does expect to take his time with the decision.
Felix Doubront will get his final tune-up on Saturday. He’s scheduled to be followed by Joel Hanrahan, Koji Uehara, Andrew Miller and Andrew Bailey.
Saturday’s first pitch is expected to be delivered at 1:35 p.m. ET. Coverage of the game will be provided on NESNplus, as the Bruins will be in action on NESN. If you’re unsure as to what channel is NESNplus for you, click the link below to view Saturday’s listings.
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