BRADENTON, Fla. -- Takeaways from McKechnie Field, the splendidly refurbished spring home of the Pittsburgh Pirates, who have had 20 consecutive losing seasons and offered little evidence in a 16-6 loss to the Red Sox on Thursday that that streak will end anytime soon.
If this had been a regular-season game, we would have been reaching for the record books. Since we had nothing better to do -- and with Pirates pitchers walking batters at a rate that left us plenty of time to do so -- we went to the spanking-new 2013 Red Sox media guide just to see if more Red Sox batters had ever walked in a nine-inning game than they did here Thursday afternoon.
The answer? No. Eight Pirates pitchers walked 15 Red Sox batters in nine innings, tying the Sox record for walks in a nine-inning game in the regular season. The Sox have drawn 15 walks five times in their history. The last time it happened was May 7, 1992, when Butch Hobson’s team walked 15 times and had 6 hits but still managed to lose, 7-6, to the White Sox.
Sox pitchers have walked 14 or more three times in their history, a record 18 on May 20, 1948, when starter Mickey Harris walked 7 in 1 1/3 innings and reliever Mickey McDermott walked 11 more in the next 6 2/3 innings -- manager Joe McCarthy evidently deciding to save his bullpen. Somehow, that game was completed in 2 hours and 33 minutes, more than a full hour quicker than the 3:34 it took this one to be completed.
Pirates pitchers walked four batters with the bases loaded, three in the fourth inning, and also hit two batters and threw a wild pitch.
* Great plate discipline by the Sox? Hey, we can always ask.
“It continued as we went to the ‘B’ squad," manager John Farrell said. “A lot of patience. What did they throw, 230 pitches? We saw a lot of ‘em."
* The Sox also banged out 14 hits, 3 by Jackie Bradley -- who also had a hit taken away by a diving stop in the first, scored three runs, played his usual stellar defense and is batting .571 this spring. Oh, he also stole his first base.
“It’s becoming a recurring theme as we talk," said Farrell, whose nonstop praise of Bradley is undoubtedly filling up one of Scott Boras’ binders.
* John Lackey gave up a three-run home run to non-roster invitee Jared Goedert on a hanging curveball but otherwise chalked up his two innings as another step in the right direction.
“I thought he had much better fastball command than he did five days ago," Farrell said, echoing Lackey’s self-assessment. “He mixed three pitches in for strikes, he left one breaking ball that stayed up in the middle of the plate. I thought today was another impressive step."