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Grapefruit League Opener

Friday, February 24, 2017 – JetBlue Park, Ft. Myers

Mets 3, Red Sox 2

On Friday the Grapefruit League games got underway with a contest against the Mets.  We again arrived well before the gates opened, and walked around to the practice fields in the back of the complex.  On one field, most of the major league team was practicing calling for and catching pop-ups.  On another field, the PawSox-caliber guys were doing their drills.  When the major leaguers went in (those players who were in the game today would be taking their batting practice in the stadium) the minor leaguers stayed out to take several rounds of B.P.

Marco Hernandez takes a break between rounds of B.P.  He started at second base in both of the first two games.

Marco Hernandez takes a break between rounds of B.P. He started at second base in both of the first two games.

Left to right: Matt Barnes, Robbie Ross, Edgar Olmos, Craig Kimbrel, Joe Kelly, Chris Sale, and Tyler Thornburg were among the pitchers running sprints on the agility field.

Left to right: Matt Barnes, Robbie Ross, Edgar Olmos, Craig Kimbrel, Joe Kelly, Chris Sale, and Tyler Thornburg were among the pitchers running sprints on the agility field.

Off beyond the agility field, we could see Rick Porcello and David Price throwing off mounds.  Apparently this is the closest I'm going to be to seeing any of the "big three" pitch in a game, despite going to all of the first four games. They'll be throwing a few innings in simulated games over the next couple of days, while Brian Johnson, Henry Owens, Roenis Elias, and Hector Velazquez get the starts in the first four games.

Beyond the agility field, we could see Rick Porcello and David Price throwing off mounds. Apparently this is the closest I'm going to be to seeing any of the "big three" pitch in a game, despite going to all of the first four games. They'll be throwing a few innings in simulated games over the next couple of days, while Brian Johnson, Henry Owens, Roenis Elias, and Hector Velazquez were named as starters for the games I'm going to.

As the players went in at the end of batting practice, we got autographs from John Farrell, Bryce Brentz, and Allen Craig, then headed into the stadium ourselves for the game.

Before the game, Sandy Leon warmed up in front of the bullpen.

Before the game, Sandy Leon warmed up in front of the bullpen. He caught the first five innings but hit into a double play in his only at-bat.

It was a gorgeous sunny day as the game got underway.

It was a gorgeous sunny day as the game got underway.

Henry Owens pitched the first few innings.  He gave up 2 runs on 3 hits and a walk, and threw (by my count) 42 pitches.

Henry Owens pitched the first two innings. He gave up 2 runs on 3 hits and a walk, and threw (by my count) 42 pitches.

Brock Holt started at short and went 0-2.

Brock Holt started at short and went 0-2.

After Owens was done, Kyle Kendrick pitched the next two innings, giving up a solo homer that put the Sox down 3-0.  And through the first six innings, three Mets pitchers combined to hold the Red Sox hitless.  That finally changed when Hanley Ramirez doubled to lead off the seventh.

Hanley broke a couple of things today: He broke up the no-hitter in the seventh, and he broke his bat in the fourth.

Hanley broke a couple of things today: he broke up the no-hitter in the seventh, and he broke his bat in the fourth.

The best part was that after Hanley’s double, Brian Bogusevic followed with a homer. That made the score 3-2 and put the Sox back in it.

The best part was that after Hanley's double, Brian Bogusevic, a 33-year-old journeyman outfielder who's played for the Astros, Cubs, and Phillies and spent last season in Japan, followed with a homer. That made the score 3-2 and put the Sox back in it.

Brian Bogusevic is a 33-year-old journeyman outfielder who's played for the Astros, Cubs, and Phillies and spent last season in Japan. Besides today's homer, he's made good catches in left field in both games so far.

It wasn't a bad day for Fernando Abad, who had two strikeouts and a groundout in a 1-2-3 fifth inning. All the relievers did well today, as Noe Ramirez, Robby Scott, Brandon Workman, and Kyle Martin each threw a scoreless inning.

It wasn't a bad day for Fernando Abad, who had two strikeouts and a groundout in a 1-2-3 fifth inning. All the relievers did well today, as Noe Ramirez, Robby Scott, Brandon Workman, and Kyle Martin each threw a scoreless inning.

After the first few innings, all the starters were replaced.  There are always a couple of subs that aren’t even in major league camp, who are just brought in for the day.  While all the players in major league camp have a unique number, the guys brought over from minor league camp don’t.  Some years they give them a number in the 80s or 90s to wear for that one day, but other years (like this one) they let them wear whatever number they would wear with the team they’re on.  That means that sometimes there are repeat numbers in a game.  (And for those like me who like to keep score, it can make things tricky!)  Yesterday there were two number 5s (Allen Craig and Mike Miller) and today there were two 17s.

After the first few innings, all the starters were replaced. There are always a couple of subs that aren't even in major league camp, just brought in for the day. While all the players in major league camp have a unique number, the guys brought over from minor league camp don't. Some years they give them a number in the 80s or 90s to wear for that one day, but other years (like this one) they let them wear whatever number they would wear with the team they're on.  That means that sometimes there are repeat numbers in a game. Yesterday there were two number 5s (Allen Craig and Mike Miller) and today there were two 17s. Here's #17 Deven Marrero at-bat, with #17 Tzu-Wei Lin on deck. Lin spent last year in Double A and projects to open the year there again.

Here's #17, shortstop Deven Marrero, at bat, with #17, second baseman Tzu-Wei Lin, on deck. Lin spent last year in Double A and projects to open the year there again.

Aside from Ramirez and Bogusevic, no one else did much of anything offensively for the Red Sox, and they ended up losing 3-2.  But we left the house at 9 am and got back at 5, which makes for a very full day of baseball, and any day like that is a good day in my book.

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