Masset struggles, Red Sox rout Reds
It was not a stellar Saturday night for the Reds, who were handed a 16-5 rout by the Red Sox.
Fifth starter candidate Nick Masset did not get out of the gate very well as Boston dropped a four-spot in the bottom of the first. The right-hander used 31 pitches (18 strikes).
The basic rundown of the inning:
Following Julio Lugo’s leadoff hit, Brad Wilkerson hit grounder back to the mound. In what should have been a routine double play, Masset’s throw to second base was wide for an E1. After bouncing a changeup for a wild pitch, he walked David Ortiz on a 3-2 pitch to load the bases. Second baseman Danny Richar saved a run with a nice diving stop to his left that went for a fielder’s choice. Jason Bay smoked a lined RBI single to left field and Jason Varitek followed with a two-run double to left-center field gap. Another gaffe came as Chris Carter was hit by a Masset 0-2 pitch and Nick Green singled to re-load the bases. Ninth batter Gil Velazquez 3-6-1 double play ended the first.
“It’s Northeastern all over again,” joked a Boston scribe. A split-squad Red Sox team beat Northeastern Univ., 14-0, in the afternoon.
Masset didn’t return for the second inning and was replaced by Robert Manuel.
Masset’s line: 1 IP, 4H 4R 3ER, 1 BB 0 K 1 HB 1 WP
Manuel didn’t fare any better and was on the hook for six earned runs, including Wilkerson’s two-run homer to right field. He was pulled with one out after facing nine batters. A total of 11 Red Sox batted in the second and the score was 10-0.
Here’s what Masset had to say. On the error throw, he said he actually threw it straight to Richar instead of Hairston at SS..
“That really started things off right there. I make those plays all day in practice. I’ve made them 100 times in games before. I think things were going just a little too fast for me. I picked up the wrong fielder right there and from there I really needed to slow things down. It got out of hand.”
It was Masset’s first start since April 30, 2008 for the White Sox.
“I think nerves were going a little too fast today,” Masset said. “I needed to slow things down and I really didn’t. I just let the game take over. I really wasn’t making my pitches.
“First time out in Spring Training, first game of the season, my nerves were a little worked up. I was trying to do more than I needed to do. I really was just throwing through my pitches and not letting them move and do the work themselves. When that happens, you get behind the count.”
Reds manager Dusty Baker on Masset:
“He might have been a little over amped today. He was throwing the ball hard. He was wound up. Hopefully, he will do better the next time out. I know he’s disappointed.”
And in an unrelated note, I’d like Reds fans that bombarded me with Andruw Jones emails all winter to please click on the story below from my colleague, T.R. Sullivan. In a nutshell, Jones is 1-for-9 this spring with eight strikeouts. I know you can’t put much stock in Spring Training stats but yeesh…