Team USA Exhibitions vs. Red Sox Before World Baseball Classic
In one of the more highly anticipated games of the 2017 Spring Training schedule, Team USA of the World Baseball Classic traveled to JetBlue Park in Fort Myers, Spring Training home field of the Boston Red Sox for an exhibition game. Team USA decided to play a game in the Grapefruit League in order to get some game action in before beginning the World Baseball Classic Tournament in Miami.
Team USA did not throw any of their pitchers during this exhibition game, as the Red Sox loaned some of their minor league prospects to the USA squad, in an effort for manager Jim Leyland to preserve all of his pitching staff’s arms for the World Baseball Classic.
After a late scratch of expected SP, Roenis Elias (strained rib muscle) of the Red Sox, manager John Farrell turned to Jalen Beeks. Beeks is a southpaw who was selected by the Red Sox in the 12th round of the 2014 MLB draft from Arkansas. After finding out he was going to be the starting pitcher just 11 minutes prior to first pitch, Beeks fared well against the star-powered lineup of Team USA, as he pitched two scoreless innings, allowing only one hit to Nolan Arenado, while also striking out two and allowing one walk.
Teddy Stankiewicz of the Red Sox (37th ranked prospect in the Red Sox organization) was handed the ball, as he was the starting pitcher for Team USA in this exhibition game.
The scoring opened up in the bottom of the 2nd inning, as CF Jackie Bradley Jr. hit a solo HR off of Stankiewicz.
RHP Ty Buttrey (Red Sox), was the next victim of runs allowed as he pitched the top of the 5th for Team USA, allowing a walk to Sandy Leon and a 2B to Deven Marrero, before giving up a 2-run single to first baseman Mitch Moreland, making the score 3-0 in favor of the Sox.
This game got interesting in the 7th inning as the Red Sox were up to bat, but looking out on the field, most players were in a Red Sox uniform, with the exception of Team USA leaving Eric Hosmer at 1B, Alex Bregman at SS, and Josh Harrison in LF. It was almost as if the game became an inter-squad scrimmage, as Team USA substituted most of their players out of the ballgame.
Team USA finally got on the board in the top of the 8th inning. Buster Posey led off the inning with a walk, followed by a Jantzen Witte (Red Sox player) double over the head of Red Sox CF Rusney Castillo, leading to a Josh Harrison 2-run base hit to LF. Harrison later scored on a throwing error by Red Sox 2B Marco Hernandez, shortening the Red Sox lead to 7-3.
Team USA tacked on two more runs in the top of the 9th. Witte was able to reach base on a fielding error by Red Sox SS, Marrero. Harrison made Marrero pay for the error, as he hit a 2-run HR to RF. Following Harrison’s at-bat, Hosmer came to the plate and ended the game on a hard line-drive out to CF.
The Red Sox walk away with a 7-5 victory over Team USA, in a game where it nearly ended up being Red Sox vs. Red Sox, in a very unique Spring Training game in Fort Myers.
Notable Red Sox stats from the game: Marrero 2-3 with a 2B. Bradley Jr. 1-3 with a solo HR. Dominguez 1-1, HR and 2 RBI.
Notable USA stats: Harrison went 2-2 with a HR and 4 RBI. Arenado 1-2 with a 2B and BB.
Final Red Sox stat line: 7 runs on 7 hits and 2 errors.
Final USA stat line: 5 runs on 8 hits and 1 error.
Team USA will travel to Miami to play in Marlins Park, taking on Colombia in their first World Baseball Classic game on Friday at 6:00 pm ET. Tampa Bay Rays pitcher, Chris Archer will be the first to pitch in the World Baseball Classic for Team USA. Toronto Blue Jays starter Marcus Stroman expected to start for Team USA in their game Saturday at 6:30 pm ET.
Team USA has a squad that is full of talent and determined to take the WBC by storm by winning the gold medal.