The Rays managed to get one of the runs back after starter David Price surrendered two in the first inning to the Red Sox. However, the Sox offense has proven to be relentless, adding an additional two runs in the third inning. Leading off the frame, David Ross hit a high fly ball off of the Green Monster for a double, then came around to score when Jacoby Ellsbury dunked a ball just over third baseman Evan Longoria for a double of his own. Shane Victorino perfectly placed a ground ball in the hole between third and shortstop, moving Ellsbury to third. Dustin Pedroia then allowed Ellsbury to score, grounding into a 6-4 fielder’s choice. David Ortiz ended the inning by grounding into a 3-6 double play.
Through three innings, the Red Sox have tagged Price for four runs on five hits. The lefty has recorded only one strikeout.
The Rays’ lone run thus far came in the top of the second on a Delmon Young sacrifice fly against Red Sox starter John Lackey.
All spring training there was at least some mild confusion about Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman. He played in almost no regular big league spring training games, instead, staying on the back fields, playing in simulated and minor league contests. When that usually happens, it’s because a player is rehabbing or even hiding an injury, but the Nats insisted that was not the case with Zimmerman. Not everyone believed it. I, for one, was skeptical.
The skepticism was unwarranted, as Zimmerman answered the bell for Opening Day and has played all season. As Jared Diamond of the Wall Street Journal writes today, it was all by design. He skipped spring training because he doesn’t like it and because he thinks it’ll help him avoid late-season injuries and slowdowns, the likes of which he has suffered over the years.
It’s hard to really judge this now, of course. On the one hand Zimmerman has started really slow this season. What’s more, he has started to show signs of warming up only in the past week, after getting almost as many big league, full-speed plate appearances under his belt as a normal spring training would’ve given him. On the other hand, April is his worst month across his entire 14-year career, so one slow April doesn’t really prove anything and, again, Zimmerman and the Nats will consider this a success if he’s healthy and productive in August and September.
It is sort of a missed opportunity, though. Players hate spring training. They really do. if Zimmerman had made a big deal out of skipping it and came out raking this month, I bet a lot more teams would be amenable to letting a veteran or three take it much more easy next spring. Good ideas can be good ideas even if they don’t produce immediately obvious results, but baseball tends to encourage a copycat culture only when someone can point to a stat line or to standings as justification.
Way to ruin it for everyone, Ryan. 😉