Spring Training Doesn’t Mean Nothing
(Photo Credit: USA TODAY Sports)
The Boston Red Sox are slogging through the long spring training schedule, winless in their last nine.
Several of these games along this streak have been blowouts, with 12-1, 10-2, 8-1, and 14-1 scores. Sure, spring training games do not mean anything in the grand scheme of things. But this concerning patter could spell trouble for the Sox as they look to repeat as champs.
While spring training games in and of themselves don’t matter, the individual performances do. For the bullpen, that rings especially true. Any and all relievers have struggled immensely throughout February and March, which is concerning for a bullpen that is without its All-Star closer from last year, Craig Kimbrel. Out of the two candidates for the closer’s role, Matt Barnes has been far from solid and Ryan Brasier hasn’t seen the mound due to a toe infection.
The starters also haven’t been outstanding. A few like David Price and Nathan Eovaldi have been solid, but have still given up runs. Chris Sale is set to see his first outing on Saturday, and while a reported extension is about to be agreed upon, some analysts are unsure if he will be ready for the start of the season.
Outside of the individual performances, fans must consider the mileage on the Red Sox. For core players such as Andrew Benintendi, Xander Bogaerts, and Mookie Betts, games are starting to stack up after three straight postseasons. The Sox might be tired, and it could carry over into the regular season.
With a team like the Yankees nipping at the Red Sox heels, Boston can ill-afford to start slow. Both Tampa Bay and New York are primed for improvement. It’s time for Sox fans to stop brushing off these spring training losses. Sooner or later, the Sox need to regain their form from last year that propelled them to a World Series championship.