ON THE AIR: Today’s spring training finale will be televised on NESN and carried on WEEI Radio on 93.7 FM.
HOME SWEET: Last night’s game marked Boston’s final contest of the spring at JetBlue Park…The club sold out each of its 15 completed home Grapefruit League games this spring — with a total attendance of 148,862 — as well as all 63 Grapefruit League games in the park’s history dat- ing back to 2012…The average attendance of 9,924 set a new Red Sox record for Grapefruit League play. After today’s game, the team will return to JetBlue Park before departing for Philadelphia.
GRAPEFRUIT STAND: The Red Sox are 16-12-2 (.571) in Grapefruit League play, 4th in the GL standings…The 16 wins are 5 more than their 2014 GL total (11-17-2)…The club has won 5 of its last 7 decisions, and 6 of its last 9. Boston has won 16 of its last 28 games (.571) beginning with a 7-game winning streak over 6 days from 3/7-12…The win streak was Boston’s longest in spring training since a 7-gamer in 2009…The club last produced a longer win streak in spring training with a 9-game tear in 1981 (Source: Bill Nowlin – SABR).
CHAIRMAN’S CUP CHAMPS: The Red Sox secured the 2015 Chairman’s Cup (formerly Mayor’s Cup) with Thurs- day night’s 8-5 victory at the Twins…Including last night’s 5-2 loss, Boston holds a 5-2-1 advantage in this spring’s 9-game series with the final game remaining. This cross-county rivalry, in its 23rd season, is now tied 11-11-1…Boston has lost just 1 of the last 9 Cup titles, taking 7 of those series and tying once…Prior this 8-year stretch, the Twins won 10 of the first 14 series from 1993-2006…Minnesota hold a 65-63-2 advantage in the individual spring games between these clubs since the start of 1993.
YESTERDAY’S RECAP: Boston dropped a 5-2 decision last night at in the JetBlue Park finale…All the scoring was complete after the Twins tallied 2 runs in the top of the 5th. Brian Johnson started and took the loss, allowing all 5 Twins runs while fanning 7 in 4.2 innings…4 relievers combined for scoreless relief: Anthony Varvaro (1.1 IP), Edward Mujica (1.0 IP), Junichi Tazawa (1.0 IP), and Tommy Layne (1.0 IP). Boston took a lead in the 2nd inning when Pablo Sandoval (1-for-2, R, 2B) scored form 3rd base on a single by Shane Victorino (1-for-2, RBI)…Mike Napoli (1-for-2, R, HR, RBI) went deep for the 6th time this spring and the 2nd time in as many days, hitting a solo shot in the 4th inning.
BETTS IS ON: Mookie Betts, who has hit safely in 15 of 18 Grapefruit League games this spring, leads Grapefruit League qualifiers with a .444 AVG and .778 SLG, and 1.261 OPS…He also tops the GL in extra-base hits (12), total bases (42), and doubles (tied, 8).
CLAY’S DAY: Clay Buchholz will start for the Red Sox on Opening Day, facing PHI’s Cole Hamels on Monday at Citizens Bank Park…This marks Buchholz’s first such assign- ment…He has started the club’s second (2013), third (2011- 12), fifth (2014), and 6th (2008, 2010) games. Rick Porcello will start the second game of the season, opposing Aaron Harang on Wednesday…Justin Masterson will start the 3rd game in Philadelphia on Thursday, with the Phillies’ third starter yet to be announced.
ROSTER MOVES: Yesterday the Red Sox optioned RHPs Matt Barnes and Brandon Workman to Triple-A Pawtucket, reassigned LHP Dana Eveland to minor league camp, and placed RHP Joe Kelly on the 15-day DL (retro to 3/27) with a right biceps strain
IT CAN HAPPEN AGAIN: In 2015, the Red Sox will at- tempt to repeat their worst-to-first championship run of 2013…That year, the Red Sox joined the 1991 Twins as the only teams ever to win a World Series one season after fin- ishing in last place. In fact, the last six World Series Champions missed the playoffs the previous year, including the 2014 Giants, 2013 Red Sox, 2012 Giants, 2011 Cardinals, 2010 Giants, and 2009 Yankees…In addition, the 2008 Rays made it to the postseason after a 66-96 finish in 2007 (Credit: Elias Sports Bureau).
AT THE HELM: John Farrell returns in 2015 for his 3rd sea- son as Red Sox Manager…He guided the Red Sox to the World Series title in 2013, his 1st year as skipper, when he was runner up for the AL Manager of the Year Award…In 2 years at the helm of the Red Sox, he is 168-156 (.519). On 2/21, the Red Sox extended Farrell’s contract through the 2017 season with a club option for 2018.
COACHING CREW: The Red Sox hired Chili Davis as major league hitting coach in October…The addition of Davis, who returns to the Red Sox organization after serving as hitting coach for Triple-A Pawtucket in 2011, marks the club’s only major league coaching staff change from 2014. Torey Lovullo returns as Bench Coach, Juan Nieves as Pitching Coach, Brian Butterfield as Third Base Coach, Arnie Beyeler as First Base Coach, Victor Rodriguez as Assistant Hitting Coach, and Dana LeVangie as Bullpen Coach — all joining Farrell for their 3rd season in their current roles.
PROSPECTING: This week, Baseball America ranked Bos- ton’s farm system as the second best in baseball, trailing only the Cubs…Boston also ranked second entering 2014. With the addition of Cuban infielder Yoan Moncada, who was signed to a minor league contract on 3/12, Boston now boasts a major league-leading 8 players on Baseball America’s 2015 Top 100 Prospects List: Moncada (10), Blake Swihart (18), Rusney Castillo (22), Henry Owens (45), Eduardo Rodriguez (60), Manuel Margot (73), Brian Johnson (83), and Rafael Devers (100).
DAVID IS BOSTON: With the offseason trade of Jimmy Rollins from the Phillies to the Dodgers, the active players with the longest continuous tenure for any MLB team are now David Ortiz with Boston and Chase Utley with Philly, who debuted for those teams in 2003. Ortiz’s 1,656 games for the Red Sox are the most among active players for any single team, as are his 408 HR with Boston.