Red Sox

First impressions of Red Sox' 5-4 loss to Blue Jays


First impressions of Red Sox' 5-4 loss to Blue Jays

BOSTON -- First impressions of the Boston Red Sox’ 5-4 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays:

Boston doesn’t know how to give up.

Despite being down five runs until the seventh inning, the Red Sox still managed to make a comeback after not getting a hit all game -- though they came up just shy.

This team has often been described as relentless, and showed again why it is Sunday.

Chris Young can hit righties apparently.

His home run off Marco Estrada was no small task, given the starter had no-hit the Red Sox to that point.

What might be more impressive is his single off Roberto Osuna in the ninth, solely because Osuna is a high-velocity righty and Young is known to struggle against those pitchers the most.

Estrada has Boston’s number.

It’s not just because he moved past his two walks to start the game and nearly threw a no-hitter. He had a 2.77 ERA in 2016 against Boston heading into today’s game, and has left hitters baffled, mixing his pitches consistently.

Estrada’s one of a few pitchers to start against Boston more than once this season, and been one of the -- if not the -- most dominant to do so.

With the exception of his start against White Sox, Estrada’s been impressive all year; posting a good ERA against the other AL East rivals Baltimore and the Yankees (1.80), too.

Rodriguez is going to have some rough patches before he catches up with the rest of the starting rotation.

Rodriguez threw four change-ups and no sliders his first pass through Toronto’s lineup. While the game plan might have been to make them prove they’re going to be on your fastball, Rodriguez can’t expect to throw 41 fastballs and almost no off-speed pitches and not give up big hits like the ones on Sunday.

Rodriguez fell into his old habit of trying to nibble the corners, and falling behind when he doesn’t get the call. And then, just like his other teammates, missed down the middle after he fell behind gave up big hits -- sometimes with runners on.

The fact that he only gave up four hits is comforting, but they were all home runs. That goes back to his game planning and not going after hitters aggressively.

Sunday was a disappointing setback, but far from the end of the road for Rodriguez

It’s good to have Heath Hembree back.

With Rodriguez’s start finishing sooner and worse than expected, Hembree got the chance to pick up right where he left off.

The righty has been great in middle relief appearances and given Boston a chance to rest everyone when needed.

While he can help Boston in tight contests, too, his value really comes from his extended appearances when Boston only trails by a few runs.

Xander Bogaerts’ arm strength is remarkable.

His play in the seventh where he ranged into the 5-6 hole was reminiscent of Nomar Garciaparra and Derek Jeter in their primes.

Boston’s shortstop continues to make big plays either at the plate, in the field or on the base paths.

Dustin Pedroia keeps his hitting streak alive by the skin of his teeth.

Pedroia hadn’t gotten much to hit all day, extending the streak’s life in his final at-bat in the ninth.

Nick Friar can be followed on Twitter: @ngfriar

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.