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Game Day

Thursday, February 22, 2018 – JetBlue Park

Red Sox 15, Northeastern Huskies 2 – Game 1

Red Sox 4, B.C. Eagles 2 – Game 2

On Thursday the workouts were all over and it was time for some actual games for the first time in 2018.  This was my first Opening Day of the year (which sounds a little like when they have a “second ceremonial first pitch,” but I’ll also be at the season opener in Tampa Bay and the home opener at Fenway).  Gates open at 11:00 for a 1:00 game, but we arrived at 10:30 and went around back to the practice fields, where we found some of the players taking batting practice.

Eduardo Nunez and Xander Bogaerts wait for batting practice to start.

Eduardo Nunez and Xander Bogaerts wait for batting practice to start.

Mookie Betts shares a laugh with Eduardo Nunez and Lee May, Jr., the hitting coach for the Sea Dogs.

Mookie Betts shares a laugh with Eduardo Nunez and Lee May, Jr., the hitting coach for the Sea Dogs.

When they finished up, we went into the park and found our seats, nice ones in the section behind home plate.  The netting was extended in the off-season to go behind the dugouts and beyond.  Many more seats are now behind netting, so if we have to sit behind it, we might as well be close to the plate.  Dave Dombrowski was sitting a couple of rows ahead of us on the other side of the walkway.  (It’s good the netting was there, though, because during the game a bat flew from a hitter’s hand and went over the dugout, where in past years it would have hit a fan.)

For the first time in 2018: Baseball!

For the first time in 2018: Baseball!

Given that these games are against college teams, we know the Red Sox are going to play mostly minor leaguers.  The first game had about half of the regulars starting, and in the second game, Sandy Leon was the only one from the major league roster.  We also know the starters are only going to get one or two at-bats this early in the spring.  So let me summarize the games this way: the first game had major leaguers who were replaced by guys from Double A, and the second game had Triple A guys who were replaced by players from Single A.

Jalen Beeks started the first game and allowed one hit and one walk while striking out three in two innings of work.

Jalen Beeks started the first game and allowed one hit and one walk while striking out three in two innings of work.

Highlights of the first game included a grand slam by Kyri Washington, who spent last year in high-A Salem, and a triple by Blake Swihart.  Righty reliever Ty Buttrey, who split last season between Portland and Pawtucket, struck out the side in his one inning of work.  Jalen Beeks started the first game, and Chandler Shepherd started the nightcap.  Both are projected to open the year in Triple A.

Boston College players warm up in front of JetBlue's Green Monster before the second game.

Boston College players warm up in front of JetBlue's Green Monster before the second game.

Highlights of Game 2 included doubles by Sam Travis, Tzu-Wei Lin, and Oscar Hernandez, a catcher who was serving as DH.

Highlights of Game 2 included doubles by Sam Travis, Tzu-Wei Lin, and Oscar Hernandez, a catcher who was serving as DH.

For some reason we had an easier time than usual keeping score.  It’s generally really difficult to keep track of all the substitutions, especially with so many players who are not in big-league camp and duplicate uniform numbers (Game 1 had three players wearing #18) but there was only one I had to look up later, so that’s a win in my book.  By the time the second game was over, we had seen a total of 36 position players and 10 pitchers from all levels of the organization, so it was definitely a day well-spent.

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