Run prevention on display in chilly Florida
It was 62 degrees at game-time. Or at least that’s what was announced.
“My [butt],” said Red Sox manager Terry Francona following his team’s 2-1 Grapefruit League victory over the Twins on Thursday night at City of Palms.
The manager was asked if he thinks he’ll need to get out of Florida before rediscovering what it is like to be warm. The manager was tempted to peel off some layers before answering the question.
“Everything that the Red Sox have ever issued me, I wore,” quipped Francona. “It was awful. “
Not so awful, however, was the type of baseball the Red Sox put on display. All winter, there was talk of their improved run-prevention, the type of ball that will play well in the October chill.
The plan was showcased against the Twins. Marco Scutaro made two dazzling defensive plays. The bullpen got shutout innings from everyone, a group that included Jonathan Papelbon, Hideki Okajima, Daniel Bard (pictured below by Brita Meng Outzen), Ramon Ramirz, Brian Shose, Scott Atchison and Joe Nelson.
The man who wowed the crowd was the new shortstop. Scutaro ranged smoothly to the hole to start an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play in the first. And wiht Hideki Okajima pitching in the fourth, Scutaro opened the inning with a brilliant diving stop to rob Alexi Casilla of a hit.
“I think I’ve said early on, as people watch him play, they’ll come quickly to realize why we wanted him,” Francona said. “Those are really good plays. We played a crisp game defensively. We didn’t’ do much offensively. And I know it’s Spring Training, but it’s a nice way to win a game. “
And don’t forget about the vital importance. The Red Sox have taken a 1-0 lead against the Twins in the all-important Mayor’s Cup standings. But the Twins are hardly panicking, with six games left, including today and tomorrow. Ever wonder what the Mayor’s Cup Trophy looks like? Check it out, in all its’ glory.