Red Sox

First impressions of Red Sox 5-3 loss to Blue Jays


First impressions of Red Sox 5-3 loss to Blue Jays

BOSTON -- First impressions of the Red Sox 5-3 loss to Toronto:

Steven Wright’s knuckleball is just like any other -- inconsistent.

Boston isn’t naïve to the Jekyll-and-Hyde nature of knuckleball pitchers. So Wright’s first-inning struggles (i.e. José Bautista’s home run) shouldn’t come as a shock. While Wright’s knuckleball can move like a ‘90s back-up dancer at times, there are others when it hangs like he’s playing slow-pitch softball.

That’s why it’s nice to have a knuckler at your disposal, but not to rely on -- magnifying how important Joe Kelly and Rick Porcello’s solid starts were.

With Christian Vazquez righting the ship in his return and Eduardo Rodriguez due back sooner than later, Boston won’t have worry about the wind’s direction every fifth day too much longer.

Chris Young should not have started against Aaron Sanchez.

Manager John Farrell continues to search for time for Young with the Red Sox not facing a left-handed starter through the first 11 games. He needs to limit Young's at-bats solely to lefties -- even if that only means pinch-hitting -- particularly when the opposing right-handed starter sits in the mid-90s, because Young doesn’t stand a chance.

His first at-bat was a prime example. He took two fastballs for strikes on the outer half, and then got buckled up by a get-me-over curveball. His next two at-bats against Sanchez didn’t look much better either.

Then when it came time for him to perform in the ninth, he didn’t do anything, striking out looking once again. In fairness, he wasn't brought in to face righties, so why should Boston expect anything else?

Marco Hernandez can be a serviceable utility player.

The rookie showed in his first game that he won’t be intimidated. After working a walk in his first plate appearance, he broke up Aaron Sanchez’s no-hit bid in his second. Then he stole his first base and didn’t hesitate after Russell Martin’s throwing error, advancing to third to set up Boston’s (and his) first run.

Most importantly, he looked solid at second base. He showed off his quick range and ability to get rid of the ball quickly, starting a double play in the eighth to bail out Robbie Ross, Jr.

After Junichi Tazawa, Koji Uehara and Craig Kimbrel, Boston’s bullpen is very suspect.

Wright did his part by working a quality start and keeping Boston within a run, but the arms after him couldn’t do the same.

Tommy Layne and Noe Ramirez each allowed a run in the seventh when the game was still close. Robbie Ross, Jr. gave up two hits with one out and luckily got bailed out by Rodriguez -- . Then to top it off, Matt Barnes gave one up in the ninth -- which could have easily been two or three -- giving the Blue Jays a nearly insurmountable lead.

If they hold down the fort, Travis Shaw’s two-run home run in the ninth is a walk-off.

Strong Grapefruit League debut for Price

Strong Grapefruit League debut for Price

David Price's Grapefruit League debut was nearly perfect.

The Red Sox left-hander pitched four scoreless innings, allowing a hit and a walk and striking out five in a 7-5 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays in Fort Myers, Fla.

Price threw 55 pitches, 34 for strikes. He cruised through the first on nine pitches. He allowed the single and walk in the second.  

"It feels good. This is March 15 and I've never been able to have a four-pitch mix on March 15," Price told reporters after his start. "I've never been this far along in spring training even though I've only thrown in one game. I'm excited about that."

The Red Sox open March 29 at Tampa Bay, with Chris Sale likely to start. Price will likely pitch the second game of the season, March 30 at Tropicana Field.