Will Middlebrooks, Bryce Brentz go deep but Henry Owens struggles as Red Sox fall to Orioles

March 08, 2014 - 11:12 am
Will Middlebrooks is at his best when he's driving the ball to the opposite field, capitalizing on his considerable all-fields strength to deny opposing pitchers a go-to area against him. Thus it came as one of his more promising signs of the early spring that the third baseman got ahead in the count against Orioles reliever Tommy Hunter -- a notoriously tough opponent for right-handed hitters -- and drove a 2-1 pitch out to right-center for his first homer of the spring. Outfielder Bryce Brentz, meanwhile, continued to offer a glimpse into his considerable power, going deep to left against left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez. The homer was Brentz's third of the spring in 19 plate appearances; he's 6-for-18 with a walk and seven strikeouts. "He's had a very productive camp so far," manager John Farrell told reporters of Brentz prior to Saturday's split-squad game against the Orioles in Sarasota. "You see the raw skills. You see the raw power. He's got all-field power. With that comes along with some aggressive and maybe some swing and miss in there." Both Middlebrooks and Brentz went 2-for-3. It wasn't a great afternoon for the Red Sox beyond that pair, however. Jackie Bradley Jr. went 0-for-4 with a pair of strikeouts, and he's now 3-for-17 with two walks and five strikeouts this spring. Left-hander Henry Owens, meanwhile, allowed three runs on five hits in 2 1/3 innings, walking two and striking out one. Right-hander Alex Wilson was roughed up for four runs on five hits while recording just two outs in the sixth inning, allowing the Orioles to sail to a 7-3 win in the day-night, Sarasota-Fort Myers split-squad doubleheader between the two teams. The Sox and Orioles will play the second half of their contest on Saturday night in Fort Myers.