Rangers Fall to Red Sox in Spring Finale

Rangers Red Sox
(Photo by Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox 4, Rangers 1

ARLINGTON, Tex. (Mar 26) — The Texas Rangers fell to the Boston Red Sox, 4–1, in their final exhibition game on Tuesday afternoon. Home runs by Rafael Devers and Mark Contreras were the difference-makers in this one. With spring training behind them, the Rangers look to begin their World Series title defense in 2024. They’ll begin that long journey on Thursday when they open the season against the Chicago Cubs, with first pitch scheduled for 6:35 pm Central at Globe Life Field. Lefty Justin Steele will get the ball for the Cubs, and righty Nathan Eovaldi will make the Opening Day start for the Rangers.

Early Lead for Red Sox

For the second consecutive day, the Red Sox got on the board quickly. Due up second in the top of the first was Devers, the third baseman. He proceeded to hit a solo home run to right off Rangers starter Dane Dunning. The Red Sox’ second run came in the top of the fourth off Rangers reliever Jesus Tinoco. A sacrifice fly by Ceddanne Rafaela plated Bobby Dalbec, who entered the game as a pinch-runner for Trevor Story. Story reached on a single to left moments earlier.

The Rangers cut the lead in half in the bottom of the sixth. Elier Hernandez scored on a single to left by Jared Walsh off Red Sox reliever Justin Hagenman. Hernandez entered the game as a pinch-runner for Josh Jung, who reached on a single to right off reliever Josh Winckowski. In the top of the eighth, the Red Sox put their third run of the afternoon on the board. With Rangers reliever Shane Greene on the mound, Jamie Westbrook singled to center to drive in Mickey Gasper. Gasper entered the game as a pinch-hitter for Masataka Yoshida. Their fourth and final run came in the top of the ninth. Mark Contreras led off the frame with a home run to right off closer candidate Jose Leclerc.

What Went Right for the Red Sox

For the second day in a row the Red Sox had multiple home runs. This time they came off the bats of Devers and Contreras. They were a hard riddle for the Rangers to solve during this brief exhibition series.

What Went Wrong for the Red Sox

The Red Sox’ only miscue came in the bottom of the sixth when Hernandez scored on the single to left by Walsh off Westbrook.

Tough Loss for Dunning

The loss went to Dane Dunning on Tuesday. The Rangers’ 2023 ‘Pitcher of the Year’ went 2-2 with a 5.04 ERA over five appearances/starts in Cactus League ‘A’ games this spring, striking out 17 of 62 (27.4%) batters he faced.

Postgame Comments

Rangers manager Bruce Bochy held court with reporters after the game. He was asked what his impression of his team was now that spring training has ended. He said, “Overall, I thought it was a good spring. When you have spring training and you have two or three guys that are dealing with injuries and rehab, you miss them, but you saw them come back at the end. So that was good news. These guys are very competitive, and on the pitching side, we’ve had some great efforts from everyone. There are some tough decisions to be made on who will be on the 26 (man roster), but that’s a problem any manager will gladly take.”

Bochy was also asked about how his players will balance Opening Day and all the festivities surrounding their 2023 World Series triumph while still hanging onto that competitive mentality for the game. “We talked about this in spring training. I want them to soak it up and savor it. They’ve earned that, but at the same time, we’ve got to get ready. It’s a new season, so that’s going to be important for us to do. I think the focus has been good, but when you’re raising the flag and getting the rings, it’s a special time and it’s why you play the game. You should enjoy that.”

 

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