Takeaways from Red Sox Grapefruit League Game No. 16: The Travises keep mashing, Henry Owens hits speed bump
|03.17.16 at 4:27 pm ET|
FORT MYERS, Fla. — The seven-game losing streak is history!
You probably had no idea the Red Sox had lost that many in a row. It was news to me. But in any event, they hammered the Orioles 9-5 on Thursday afternoon at JetBlue Park behind some more slugging from the two Travises, Shaw and Sam.
Here are some thoughts on the game:
Forget about getting Travis Shaw on the roster. That’s already a done deal. What about finding room for Sam Travis?
That’s obviously not happening for Opening Day, but the young slugger is making a case to earn one of the first calls when a need arises with just a monstrous spring.
The 22-year-old went 2-for-3 with a homer and four RBIs, raising his spring average to .591 and his OPS to 1.475. His homer, a mammoth shot to center off of Vance Worley, easily traveled over 420 feet.
Before the game, manager John Farrell expressed how impressed he has been with the first baseman, a teammate of Cubs slugger Kyle Schwarber at Indiana.
“He’s got lightning quick hands and a compact swing,” Farrell said. “I marvel at a guy who sits for two hours and then gets up and hits line drives when he comes in in the seventh inning of a ballgame. He’s a gritty, hard-nosed kind of player. For someone who’s coming into a major league camp for the first time, you sit down with guys in the beginning of camp and you hope that they make an impression. He’s made an impression on everyone who’s sat in the stands and watched games, let alone us that work with him day in and day out.”
While it’s too soon to find a roster spot for Travis, he is putting himself in the mix to arrive sooner than later, particularly if an injury were to sideline first baseman Hanley Ramirez.
“His bat-to-ball ability,” Farrell said. “I mean, it’s hard contact. … It’s been loud outs, it’s been line drives, it’s been handling different kinds of pitches, whether it’s mid-90s solo home run up in Dunedin to breaking balls that have stayed in the zone that he’s squared up. He squares up a lot of pitches.”
As for Travis Shaw, he went 1-for-3, dropping his spring average to .464.
— Left-hander Henry Owens is not making a strong case to open the season as the fifth starter. He went 2 2/3 innings, allowing four hits and four runs, including a homer, and afterwards admitted frustration at being unable to repeat his delivery.
“The third inning, I felt like some mishaps with my mechanics,” Owens said. “I was thinking about it too much on the mound. I had a few conversations in the dugout about what [Ryan] Hanigan saw. I’ll work on that tomorrow and continue to work on it.”
As Owens alluded, he had particular trouble in the third. He walked the first two hitters before allowing a three-run homer to Christian Walker to left. He recorded two outs, and then watched his outing end with a double and hit by pitch.
“My attack plan stays the same every single outing,” Owens said. “Last time I fell into the trap of being too soft late. This time I tried to stay hard late. I got into a couple of predictable counts. Obviously, with the walks, the 1-0 changeup, (Walker) was just sitting on it. That was the worst pitch I threw all outing. The two walks, 3-2, a couple of pitches down in the zone that they took. You tip your cap. Two fastballs I pulled in. It’s a byproduct of my arm being in the wrong spot, which I talked to Hanny about it. There were some positives, a lot of negatives, but a lot of stuff that I can work on tomorrow.”
It would be natural for Owens to be concerned about winning a spot in the rotation, since one is suddenly up for grabs.
“I’m trying to get outs. I’m not trying to fall into any mind traps out there,” Owens said. “It’s a mental game enough. I’m trying to get outs and prepare myself for the season, whatever position that’s in. I just want to help this team.”
— Infielder Marco Hernandez, whom has impressed this spring, left the game with a slight subluxation of his left shoulder after slipping rounding first. He said it’s the third time he has suffered the injury, but doesn’t expect it to sideline him long. “I’ll be back tomorrow,” he said. Farrell added that the club hopes he doesn’t even require further testing. Hernandez went 2-for-2 to raise his average to .579.
— Right-hander Matt Barnes went 2 1/3 scoreless innings to pick up the win, striking out one. Farrell said the hard thrower is being stretched out as long relief depth. His ERA stands at 0.00.
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