Game 6 Grapefruit League: Red Sox 5, Rays 0

FORT MYERS, Fla. –- Daniel Bard and Alfredo Aceves both continue to look capable of holding down spots in the rotation. But the question lingers: Can the bullpen survive the loss of both of them?

What went right: Bard and Aceves both looked sharp while pitching three shutout innings against the Rays. Jose Iglesias executed a hit-and-run single in the first, moving Nick Punto to third. Iglesias also squared one up in his next at-bat and reached third when B.J. Upton misplayed his line drive to right-center.

What went wrong: Iglesias misread a sign and attempted a straight steal of home, only to be thrown out. Manager Bobby Valentine said after the game that it was supposed to a fake steal of home.

What they said: “I’m not a believer in the windup, period. I don’t get it. You throw your most important pitches of the game out of the stretch so you have to be more effective out of the stretch. Men are on base when you’re pitching out of the stretch so if that’s where you can throw your best pitches, why are you teaching yourself to throw twice, two different ways? It’s a crazy thought but I think if we were just starting the game right now, we wouldn’t teach anybody a windup.” – Bobby Valentine on his disdain for the windup.

What’s next: The Red Sox travel to Sarasota on Sunday to play the Orioles in a 1:05 p.m. ET contest. Jon Lester makes the start, and Aaron Cook will come out of the bullpen in his first appearance of camp. Cook is one of several candidates vying to be Boston’s fifth starter. Dustin Pedroia, Jacoby Ellsbury and David Ortiz will make the trip.

Injury update: Daisuke Matsuzaka continues to impress in his recovery from Tommy John Surgery. The righty threw a 40-pitch side session and should be on track for a return by midseason, if not sooner.


It sure has been nice getting to see some baseball again, even if only ST. I am glad Bard and Aceves did well today, and glad to see Tazawa get some pitching in. He’s looked good, coming off his surgery– I hope it continues. Perhaps down the line (not necessarily this season) he’ll get a shot in the rotation, or at least be a go-to option. Also nice, even if just ST, to shut out the Rays! Way to go!

If Julio Iglesias wants to make the team coming out of Florida he needs to learn the signs. I know it’s early but no excuse!

I wrote on here the other day that Alfredo Aceves is probably the best option for the fifth and final spot in the rotation, but he is way too valuable coming out of the bullpen. The bullpen is a total unknown at the moment and they will need Aceves to jump into action when needed. I’m not sure if the bullpen will survive without Bard and Aceves.

These castoffs like Aaron Cook scare me. Raise your hand if you have confindence in the following pitchers, Cook, Vicente Padilla, and Andrew Miller? I don’t see any hands raised, lol. Biggest difference between Boston, TB, and NY is starting pitching. The Rays have six solid starters. NY added Pineda (he could help the Knicks if he can’t take the pressure in The Bronx) and they also signed Kuroda, not sold on him pitching in the AL. Kuroda is prone to the longball, but he does give you innings. Phil Hughes might put it all together this season.

Lock of the year: The Orioles finishing in 5th place in 2012. The Birds are pathetic!

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