Strong Red Sox debut for Edward Mujica
BALTIMORE — Greetings from Baltimore, where it feels like the Red Sox have taken up residence. The team has been here since Saturday night and only played two games.
A few notes for you:
• Edward Mujica did not enter a high-leverage situation on Wednesday. The Sox were up by four runs when he came in to face the Orioles in the seventh inning. But he showed high-leverage stuff against Nelson Cruz, striking him out on three pitches.
The third pitch was particularly nasty. PitchF/x called it a splitter and that is what John Farrell termed it, too. But Mujica says it’s a changeup.
“I don’t hold it like a splitter,” he said after the game, grabbing a baseball to demonstrate. “I use three fingers and it’s more of a changeup. But you can call it a splitter if you want.”
Mujica said the pitch usually drops like a splitter would, but sometimes cuts into a righthanded hitter.
“I don’t know what it’s going to do sometimes,” Mujica said. “That’s good, right?”
Mujica is the seventh-inning man now. But that could change over time as needs arise.
• Xander Bogaerts in two games: Line out to left field that was nearly a home run, fly ball to right, double to right, walk, single to left, walk, walk, grounder to shortstop.
You can credit his uncle, Glenroy Brown, for the all-field approach. “He always told me to look to hit the ball up the middle,” Bogaerts said. “I’ve always tried to use all the field.”
• David Ortiz was 2 for 37 in spring training and struck out 13 times. He has two hits in two games, one a home run, and struck out once. The lesson as always: don’t pay attention to spring training statistics.
• Both teams are annoyed at the idea of playing a night game this evening. The Sox have a 2:05 p.m. game back in Boston on Friday and the Orioles have a 1:08 p.m. game in Detroit.
Night games tend to draw better than day games on weekdays. But the Orioles are inconveniencing their own players in this case because any game they play against the Red Sox would draw well.
• On the flip side of Ortiz is Will Middlebrooks. He had a great spring training but is so far 0 for 7 with three strikeouts. But he has twice hit the ball hard the other way and that’s a good indication his swing is in synch.
• It’ll be interesting to see where Shane Victorino slots into the lineup once he returns because the 2-3-4 of Dustin Pedroia, Ortiz and Mike Napoli is pretty appealing to John Farrell. Getting Ortiz up in the first inning makes a lot of sense.
• Not in a game yet: Burke Badenhop, Clay Buchholz, Chris Capuano, Felix Doubront, Jonathan Herrera, Andrew Miller, Jake Peavy, David Ross and Andrew Workman.
Who will be the last man standing? A few names could fall off the list Thursday night.
• No details yet on the ring ceremony on Friday, although it was described last night as “pretty extensive.” The Sox invited every player back and obviously those playing elsewhere will not attend. But Ryan Dempster will be back. Wonder if he will be in uniform?
• Here is hoping the Sox will invite UConn guard Shabazz Napier to throw out a first pitch after he’s home from the Final Four. Napier is from Roxbury.
• The Celtics, in a coincidence, were at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center at the same time the Red Sox were on Tuesday and the players intermingled as they visited some of the wounded veterans.
One patient had his wife and mother with him. “His mom had an Oklahoma City Thunder shirt on and his wife was wearing a Yankees jersey,” Mike Napoli said. “Everybody had a good laugh over that.”