Red Sox and Rays met again yesterday for a Spring Training game with the Sox crushing the Rays 8-0. They’ll play just one more game against each other on March 31 before gearing up for their first regular season match-up, the Sox home opener on April 13.
Scheduled home opener starting pitcher, Josh Beckett, continued his impressive Spring Training, allowing only one hit and no runs through five innings. This spring, Beckett has a 0.95 ERA, has allowed only seven hits, two earned runs, eight walks, and ten strikeouts in 19.0 innings pitcher over a five game span.
Though Spring Training does not necessarily indicate how a player will do during the regular season, it’s clear with this start that Beckett is ready to leave the 2012 season behind him and prove himself.
To start off the game, Beckett got the Rays to go down 1-2-3, but met with some trouble in the second when he walked both first baseman Carlos Pena and third baseman Jeff Keppinger, then center fielder Jeff Salazar’s bunt moved the runners to second and third. Beckett came back firing, striking out shortstop Sean Rodriguez and catcher Jose Lobaton in succession to end the inning.
Beckett had some trouble again in the third after he let up a single to DH Desmond Jennings with one out, a walk to second baseman Ben Zobrist with two outs, but Pena coming up again. He struck Pena out to end the inning and cruised the rest of his outing.
He got some offensive support from Cody Ross in the Sox half of the third when the left fielder hit a three-run home run off of Ray’s starter Joel Peralta. Third baseman Kevin Youkilis walked and David Ortiz hit a double to get runners on base. No more runs were scored again until the seventh when center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury singled and second baseman Dustin Pedroia hit him in with a triple.
The Sox got four more runs in the eighth. Starting off, Ross walked followed by catcher Kelly Shoppach’s single. The Rays doubled off Ross on right fielder Ryan Sweeney’s line drive to center which was caught. But pitcher Brandon Gomes was not out of it yet, walking Nate Spears, Jason Repko, and Pedroia to force in a run. Johnny Nunez came in to relieve Gomes and let up a wild pitch for a run followed by a single to Mauro Gomez, adding two more runs.
That was it for the game as pitchers on both sides finished off the game in quick fashion. The Sox are now 12-10-3 in Spring Training with only six games left until the regular season. With the Major League roster shaping up and questions being answered, like the Red Sox making Mike Aviles their everyday shortstop, the Sox are ready for the season to begin and look to be in good shape.