Quick Thoughts from the Red Sox vs. Twins at jetBlue Park, March 10 (In other words, David Price‘s Spring Training debut):
- Make no mistake, that was a disaster. There will be a lot said about how David Price was just “working on things” and how maybe there was a “little bit of rust” to shake off for his Spring Training debut. But for as much as Pablo Sandoval was roasted for being tone deaf upon entering Spring Training, the Red Sox staff made a tone deaf play starting Price by pitching him out of the stretch. The first pitch, a fastball clocked at 92 mph, was belted for a double. In three innings, he gave up four hits – two of which were home runs – and walked another. For as much scrutiny as Price will face for the contract and for his age (that “30 as the magic number of decline” looms large this morning), the Red Sox needed to let him pitch as he would to start any other game. He was the last starter to make his debut and performed better only than Clay Buchholz – disturbingly the Red Sox projected No. 2.
- Looking for the positives: A) It’s his first outing … of Spring Training. B) He struck out three in three innings of work. C) He really was “working on things.”
- The elephant in the room: What if David Price is hurt? We’re all thinking it, right? His rollout has been … well, odd. Almost a week in before throwing live batting practice. Opting for work back at camp in a simulated game when he realistically should have made his first start last week. Not pitching out of the wind-up today. Getting battered in not pitching out of the wind-up. Hoping for the best, one still has to wonder if there is more of a subtext to this debut. Embed from Getty Images
- Whatever the case, this day still went better than Oakland’s Jarrod Parker, who coming back from an elbow fracture (and Tommy John surgery prior to that) had to leave the field after throwing a pitch and yelling in pain this morning.
- The Pawtucket broadcast team can’t agree on how to pronounce Berrios. I can’t say I have a strong opinion on the matter.
- Looking back to earlier in the week (It’s been a couple days since I’ve been on): Wednesday’s win over Pittsburgh was the archetype of the Joe Kelly Experience. Blisteringly good stuff (3K in 2 IP) coupled with lapses in focus (2 BB) and performance (3 hits).
- Travis Shaw (.547 avg., 1,482 OPS) is going to force Boston’s hand. There has to be a spot in the lineup for him somewhere. Thus far, Sandoval and his .083 batting average look like the most likely target at third.
- Spring training records obviously don’t matter – you have a group of prospects and upstarts closing out most games, which have no real bearing on how the same games would play out in the regular season – but I’m starting to get real worried if I’m an Orioles fan. They’ve opened the Spring 0-9, completely defying the basic win-loss odds of Major League Baseball. Chris Davis is batting .083, Adam Jones is batting .167, and the Pedro Alvarez signing is a head-scratcher (career .236 hitter with a .309 on-base). Dexter Fowler bailing on an apparent deal to return to the Cubs is another sign that perhaps Baltimore is in for a long, long year. I haven’t made a final pick for AL East champ yet, but Baltimore is my pick to finish in the cellar.
- Back to the game: When the largest cheer of the game is on an infield hit from a backup catcher, it’s a bad day. This is as miserable as a game has felt since last August.
- If there are any highlights to be had out of this one, it’s Tommy Layne continuing a strong spring with a perfect sixth. His role will be as a specialist during the year, but he’ll be well served there.
- The Twins are really much improved – another club that has been quietly building the right way for some time. I’ll have to take a closer look as I assemble my AL Central predictions later this spring.
- Someone in the crowd is absolutely belting out “Sweet Caroline” in the middle of the eighth. It’s the best thing I’ve heard all day.
- They said at the beginning of the broadcast we’d see Craig Kimbrel today. Apparently, that’s not going to be happening.
- All told, it’s an 8-2 loss. We get to see Marcus Stroman tomorrow as the Red Sox take on the Blue Jays. Plus, another look at Steven Wright.