The Boston Red Sox are in good shape if they can string together wins like this during the regular season.
The Red Sox won their sixth consecutive Grapefruit League game Wednesday by defeating the New York Yankees 10-6 at George M. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, Fla. Boston pounded 18 hits in the victory.
The Sox have had an encouraging spring training to this point, and they?ll look to keep things rolling Thursday against the Pittsburgh Pirates in Bradenton. First, let?s run down some notes from Wednesday.
— Joe Kelly looked untouchable through the first two innings before running into trouble in the third.
Kelly retired six straight to open the game, four via strikeouts (two looking, two swinging). The right-hander then allowed two earned runs on three hits and a walk in the third.
It was a strong effort for Kelly despite the third-inning implosion, especially when compared to his spring debut, when his control and his pure stuff both seemed off against the Minnesota Twins.
“Certainly a step in the right direction,” Red Sox manager John Farrell told reporters in Tampa. “I think more than anything, command within the strike zone was an improvement over last time out.”
— Kelly was pleased with his performance, but he wasn?t buying into one aspect of the outing.
The radar guns at George M. Steinbrenner Field registered Kelly as high as 99 mph. It isn?t like Kelly is incapable of touching 99 — he usually sits in the mid-90s — but he was a bit skeptical of Wednesday’s readings given it?s only mid-March.
?That?s probably false. My arm doesn?t feel that good,? Kelly told reporters. ?It?s definitely running a little hot. If they told me that at the end of the season last season, when my arm was feeling good, I?d believe that. But there?s no way.?
— Yankees starter (and former Red Sox hurler) Chris Capuano left the game in the first inning with a strained right quad. Capuano, who was battling for a spot in New York?s rotation, now could begin the season on the disabled list.
— Brandon Workman surrendered a home run in relief — to Alex Rodriguez, no less.
The homer was A-Rod?s first of spring training. The 39-year-old, of course, sat out all of 2014 because of a performance-enhancing drug suspension.
— Perhaps more impressive than A-Rod?s blast was Travis Shaw?s home run off Andrew Miller.
Miller allowed just three homers last season — two against left-handed hitters (Chris Parmelee and Brian McCann) — yet Shaw (a lefty) took the former Red Sox reliever deep in the third inning.
Shaw added a two-run double in the fourth.
While Shaw will begin the season at Triple-A Pawtucket, it?s worth noting the 24-year-old corner infielder was added to the Red Sox?s 40-man roster over the offseason.
— Mookie Betts led the way with a three-hit performance atop the order. The Red Sox might as well anoint him the starting center fielder and leadoff hitter now.
— Shaw, Bryce Brentz, Christian Vazquez, Garin Cecchini, Jeff Bianchi and Luke Montz each collected two hits.
— Edwin Escobar, Craig Breslow and Mitchell Boggs each contributed a scoreless inning.
Boggs, who pitched the eighth, is worth keeping an eye on given his previous success with the St. Louis Cardinals.
?I haven?t thrown like this since 2012,? Boggs told WEEI.com?s Rob Bradford after Wednesday?s outing.
Thumbnail photo via Tommy Gilligan/USA TODAY Sports Images