|Bobby Valentine’s postgame thoughts: Jose Iglesias, Felix Doubront and more||03.08.12 at 5:24 pm ET|
JUPITER, Fla. – Jose Iglesias impressed with his glove. Nothing new there.
But on Thursday, he also did something noteworthy at the plate, rifling a line drive just inside the first base bag and down the right field line for a three-run triple against Cardinals right-hander Mitchell Boggs.
It was the only hit of the day in four at-bats for the 22-year-old, but manager Bobby Valentine noted after the Sox’ 9-3 loss that Iglesias made good contact in three of his four at-bats. Prior to the three-run triple, on which Iglesias got his hands inside of an inside 93 mph fastball from Boggs and lined it just inside the first base bag, he also flied to center and lined hard to center on a ball that died against the stiff wind that was blowing in towards the plate.
“He took the first pitch with the bases loaded, got another fastball in, didn’t overswing,” said Valentine. “His rhythm is getting close to being decent.”
Iglesias is now 2-for-7 with a walk, strikeout and triple this spring, and he continues to make dazzling plays. That was true not just of a play on which he made a sliding stop of a missile to his right, but also when his quick hands permitted him to turn a line drive directly at him into a double play.
“He has a very quick exchange. I think you saw that on the line drive double play in the fourth inning off a left-hander’s bat. He looks like he’s playing under control, too,” said Valentine. “In the field, he’s been alert for the pickoff plays and the bunt plays. He’s been in the right place on the cutoffs and relays. He’s erasing some of the preseason reports – trying to erase them, hasn’t done it yet.”
– Left-hander Felix Doubront, in a battle for a spot in the Red Sox rotation, started strong and then struggled with his command in his second and third frames. While he snapped off some good curveballs and his fastball was in the low-90s, he ended up allowing two runs on three hits, three walks and a hit batter while striking out two in two-plus innings. He threw 24 strikes and 23 balls.
Still, Valentine said that there was plenty to like about the outing.
“He threw the ball well. He’s a good pitcher,” said Valentine. “I thought he threw the ball extremely well until he got out of his rhythm. He wasn’t feeling good about his leg mechanic. I think he took the idea of slowing the day down a little literally.”
– Right-hander Chris Carpenter made his first appearance in a game for the Red Sox. He looked good in his first inning of work, hitting 95 mph and getting a strikeout on a wipeout slider as well as a couple groundballs. However, brought back out for a second inning, he struggled to command, walking three batters and allowing a single without recording an out.
Still, that’s a typical sort of performance for a pitcher as he tries to build arm strength, particularly a reliever in a second inning after not throwing a single inning in games to this point of the spring.
– Will Middlebrooks punched out three times against three different Cardinals pitchers (twice called, once swinging). He wasn’t alone, as the Sox struck out 10 times.
– Alex Hassan, on the other hand, walked in each of his three at-bats. However, as Hassan explains in this podcast, don’t confuse walks with a desire not to swing. Valentine affirmed the point.
“He’s a very aggressive hitter and knows the pitches he wants to swing at,” said Valentine. “Good player.”
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