It was a strange ending to a strange preseason Wednesday night when the Boston Red Sox entertained the Toronto Blue Jays in each team’s second and final exhibition game.
One aspect, however, was an optimistic sign for the Red Sox — right-handed pitcher Zack Godley.
Godley three three innings in the rain-shortened 4 1/2-inning game, a 2-0 loss for the Red Sox. He finished without allowing a hit, tallying two strikeouts and one walk. Of the 35 pitches Godley threw, 24 of them were strikes.
He had multiple pitches working, and most importantly, as noted by Red Sox manager Ron Roenicke, Godley was hitting the strike zone.
“I thought it really important to see Godley out there and get his three innings, and really good innings, so that was nice to see,” Roenicke said, as seen on NESN’s “Extra Innings Live.”
“Certainly threw strikes better. He’s got really good stuff. His fastball moves. He’s got a great curveball and it’s just about him throwing strikes and being in the zone. The other day when we saw him for the two innings, wasn’t in the zone as much. Today, in the zone,” Roenicke continued. “He was in the zone, if you look at the ball-strike ratio it was really good. And we know when he pitches in the zone he’s going to do a good job.”
Red Sox first baseman Mitch Moreland was optimistic with Godley’s performance, too. It seems Moreland believes the right-hander will have to be one of the many who step up for Boston this season.
“He threw the ball well, mixed it up a lot,” Moreland said of Godley on NESN’s postgame coverage. “He’s kind of one of those guys that pitches to contact a little bit. He looked good out there tonight. And he looked pretty good the first time around. So, I mean we’re going to have a ton of guys step up, and have to step up right now. Obviously, when we get Eddy (Rodriguez) back that’s going to help and a couple of the other guys who stepped up for us and became big arms out of the bullpen last year. We get those guys back and I think it’ll help too, but everybody is going to have to step up this year and help this team win.”
Godley could be a middle of the rotation guy for the Sox, and while Wednesday’s performance is a step in the right direction, it’s certainly not definite.
Here are some other notes from Wednesday’s exhibition:
Moreland, another former teammate of Betts, felt a similar way.
“Yeah, I’m definitely excited for him,” Moreland said postgame. “Obviously a teammate, friend. Shot him a text, I know a few of the guys have, too. And he deserves it, man. He’s a great player, and happy for him and his family.”
— While the Red Sox had their short preseason cut even shorter Wednesday, Moreland thinks the Sox are ready to go entering Opening Day on Friday.
“Obviously, this (Wednesday) went pretty fast, but I think we were looking forward to actually playing another team. Last night (Tuesday) kind of gives you the itch a little bit to start up the regular season finally,” Moreland said. “I think everybody is pretty ready to get that going, and get to play in some games that count, and have some meaning behind it. So, we’re looking forward to getting out there and opening it up right.”
— Roenicke noted Wednesday was a “tough day” for some players on the roster bubble with the hours ticking down until the Red Sox’s roster will be announced. Roenicke noted he believes it will be Thursday around noon.
“Still trying to figure out with what we’re doing with the roster,” Roenicke said on NESN’s postgame coverage. “Like I told you guys, some tough decisions today — some happy guys and some guys that weren’t so happy. So, tough day, but we got a few innings in the game and that was important.”
— The Sox are relatively healthy entering Opening Day, even after a few positive COVID-19 tests.
“Health concerns? No,” Roenicke said. “(Xander Bogaerts) did pretty good, didn’t really feel that little tweak he had the other day in his hamstring, so that was good. Besides that, some guys just a little sore maybe, but nothing that should keep anybody out of the ball game.”
— Real baseball for the Red Sox will begin Friday, guys.
Boston will host the Baltimore Orioles on Friday night for the club’s first regular-season game of the 2020 campaign. First pitch is set for 7:30 p.m. ET.