The Red Sox could finish off a three-game sweep of the Rays tonight. They are off to a quick start on that end.
After Jacoby Ellsbury singled to lead off Game 3, Alex Cobb hit Shane Victorino with a pitch. Dustin Pedroia followed with a ground ball to third base, but Victorino’s take-out slide at second base caused a wild throw from Ben Zobrist which allowed Ellsbury to score the game’s first run. Cobb then walked David Ortiz, but was able to avoid any further damage by retiring Mike Napoli and Daniel Nava.
The Red Sox lead the Rays 1-0 as we move to the bottom of the first inning at Tropicana Field. Clay Buchholz is on the mound for Boston.
Jake Arrieta‘s bat is in midseason form already. The Cubs’ ace swatted a solo home run to center field off of Zack Greinke in Thursday afternoon’s Grapefruit League exhibition game, his first homer of the spring.
The blast went 465 feet, according to MLB.com’s Daren Willman.
Arrieta has hit two home runs in each of the past two seasons. Madison Bumgarner (eight) and Noah Syndergaard (four) are the only other pitchers to match or exceed his output in that department.
Greinke, meanwhile, is hoping to bounce back after a miserable 2016 season. He finished with an uncharacteristic 4.37 ERA in 26 starts in his first year with the Diamondbacks.
Angels first baseman Luis Valbuena will miss the next four to six weeks with a strained right hamstring, Pedro Moura of the Los Angeles Times reports.
Valbuena, 31, signed a two-year, $15 million contract with the Angels in January and was on track to get the lion’s share of the playing time at first base. While he’s out, however, C.J. Cron will handle first base on a regular basis. When Valbeuna returns, the two will likely form a platoon.
Last year with the Astros, Valbuena hit a solid .260/.357/.459 with 13 home runs and 40 RBI in 342 plate appearances.