Cleveland came into today’s game against Boston with the majors’ best run differential at plus-65, but that number took a beating at Progressive Field as the Red Sox scored 14 runs in the first six innings and coasted to a 14-2 victory.
Mitch Talbot took the brunt of the damage in his first start since April, giving up seven runs in the first inning and eight runs in three innings overall as his ERA rose from 1.46 to 5.87 in 76 pitches.
Boston wasn’t done when Talbot exited after three innings either, knocking around reliever Frank Herrmann for six more runs.
Carl Crawford went 4-for-4 to raise his batting average from .212 to .229, call-up Drew Sutton had three hits starting in place of the injured Kevin Youkilis at third base, and everyone in the Red Sox’s starting lineup had at least two hits except Jed Lowrie, who somehow managed to go 0-for-5 while his teammates went 20-for-40.
Since starting the season 2-10 (including 0-6) the Red Sox have now gone 25-12. They’re four games behind the Indians for the best record in the league.
The Twins have reportedly signed free agent shortstop Erick Aybar to a minor-league deal, LaVelle E. Neal III of the Star Tribune reported Friday. FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman adds that the deal comes with a potential $1.25 million if Aybar reaches the majors, with additional incentives based on plate appearances. He’ll be able to opt out on March 27. The team has yet to confirm the signing.
Aybar, 34, is now four years removed from his career year in 2014. He’s been in a state of steady decline since then, slashing just .234/.300/.348 with seven home runs and 11 stolen bases over 370 plate appearances for the Padres in 2017. His poor performance wasn’t helped by a fractured left foot, either, which cost him almost six weeks on the disabled list.
Still, the Twins see something promising in the veteran infielder, and reportedly intend to use him as another utility option this spring. Per Neal, Aybar will join fellow backup infielders Eduardo Escobar and Ehire Adrianza and may even (temporarily) take over for Miguel Sano at third base if Sano isn’t able to shape up for the role by Opening Day.