Feb. 28: Winners and losers from Friday’s Spring Training action

PORT CHARLOTTE, FLORIDA - FEBRUARY 24: Vidal Brujan #22 of the Tampa Bay Rays hits the ball during the sixth inning of a baseball game against the Boston Red Sox at Charlotte Sports Park on February 24, 2020 in Port Charlotte, Florida. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)
PORT CHARLOTTE, FLORIDA - FEBRUARY 24: Vidal Brujan #22 of the Tampa Bay Rays hits the ball during the sixth inning of a baseball game against the Boston Red Sox at Charlotte Sports Park on February 24, 2020 in Port Charlotte, Florida. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images) /
facebooktwitterreddit
Prev
3 of 3
Next
(Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images) /

Losers: Atlanta Braves offense

In a split squad matchup, Braves manager Brian Snitker sent out most of his regulars Friday against a bunch of pitchers whose Yankee experience is likely to end in March. Snitker could not have been happy with the results.

In a 5-3 Yankee victory, the Braves rustled up just three base hits, two of them home runs by Johan Camargo and minor leaguer Trey Harris.

As for the projected regulars, Ronald Acuna Jr., Ozzie Albies, Marcel  Ozuna, Nick Markakis, Travis d’Arnaud and Ender Inciarte went a collective 1-for-14, Markakis’ single being the only positive note. One week into spring training, Acuna is hitting .154 and Ozuna is hitless.

Will the Mets leave Rojas be?. light. Related Story

Loser: Whit Merrifield, Kansas City Royals infielder-outfielder

Merrifield was an All-Star last season and probably Kansas City’s best player. But his spring experience to date isn’t living up to that status.

Facing the San Francisco Giants Friday, Merrifield went hitless in three at bats, striking out once. He’s no 1-for-12 this spring, an .083 batting average.

The Royals aren’t going to be worried about a Merrifield February slump, nor should they be. The logical assumption is that at some point over the next three weeks, Merrifield will find his batting eye. His status as the starting center fielder is not in question.

All the same, it’s not possible to paint 1-for-12 as a good thing.

Loser: Ivan Nova, Detroit Tigers pitcher

Penciled in as the No. 4 Tigers starter, Nova is hoping to end a streak of six straight seasons with an ERA above 4.00. If his Friday performance against the Toronto Blue Jays is any indication, that may be a longshot hope.

Nova did last two innings. That’s the good news. Here’s the bad. Of the 11 batters he faced, three doubled, a fourth singled and a fifth walked. The damage amounted to three runs, all of them earned. Two starts into his spring, Nova is staring at a 6.75 ERA.

Loser: The three-out requirement

Thanks to Kiriloff’s hitting, the Twins already had a leg up on victory Friday with their 4-1 lead when the Red Sox came to bat in the top of the 8th. But when minor leaguers enter the picture, as they generally do in spring games you just never know.

So when Boston sub Marcus Wilson opened the eighth with an infield hit and Jeter Downs drew a walk. The tying run came to the plate in the person of Tate Matheny. However many remained of the 8,000 paid crowd at Century Link Sports Park were about to get a thrill, albeit a confusing and possibly illegitimate one.

Matheny lined a pitch right back at pitcher Charlie Barnes snared it to retire the batter, then turned and threw to Yunior Severino at second to double off Wilson. Severino then threw to first for what appeared to be a triple play.

It wasn’t … not yet and maybe not ever. Umpire Tim Timmons ruled that Severino had failed to touch second, meaning that Wilson wasn’t actually out. So after tagging first to retire Downs, first baseman Tomas Telis threw back to Severino at second, and he tagged Wilson for the triple play.

Or did he? Replays suggested that Severino actually tagged Downs, who had already been retired, not Wilson…who technically may not be out yet. No matter…Wilson and the rest of the Red Sox presumed he was out so everybody left the field and the game went on. Ah, the joys of no replay review.

Next. Top ten fantasy first basemen. dark

Losers: Pirates spring (continued)

At least this time the Pirates got a little offense. In their seventh consecutive loss of what is to date a winless spring, Pirates batters did manage to generate a sort-of-respectable four runs and six hits.

Given the state of the Pirate pitching staff, that wasn’t nearly enough. Baltimore batters lit up Pirate starter Trevor Williams for four runs on four hits and two walks in one inning of work, and breezed to an 11-4 victory.

The Pirates Spring From Hell currently stacks up this way. Pittsburgh hitters are carrying a team .206 batting average – the game’s worst. With a 6.91 team ERA, the Pirates are also 28th in team pitching.