BOSTON — The Lowell Spinners participated in the ninth annual Futures at Fenway event in Boston on Sunday afternoon. The Spinners played host to Cleveland Indians affiliate, the Mahoning Valley Scrappers.
While Lowell played exceptionally well defensively for eight innings, the final outcome was not so favorable.
The Spinners took an early lead when Mauricio Dubon doubled to right field and brought home the first run of the game. The following four innings would play out very well for the Spinners on defense. Dubon and Raymel Flores would combine for three double plays in Sunday’s game, while the outfielders were on point to deny any damaging extra-base hits. Shane Victorino, who is currently rehabbing in Lowell, had a memorable throw out from right field to home plate that saved a run from crossing the plate in the fifth inning.
Despite their best defensive efforts, the Spinners were unable to pick up any insurance runs along the way; and it came back to haunt them.
With Chandler Shepherd on the mound in the ninth inning, the Spinners were one pitch away from securing a 1-0 victory more than once. Unfortunately, Shepherd could not end the game promptly and wound up walking home a runner that would tie up the game for Mahoning Valley. This is when the momentum turned completely towards the Scrappers.
A confusing pitching change followed that seemed as if an injury might have occurred. Carlos Pinales came out to the mound and began warming up, but manager Joe Oliver called him off the plate before Oscar Perez came out to take over.
“I take full credit for that” said Oliver. “I have so many guys that I put on and off my roster and I didn’t triple check. I take full responsibility.”
It may have hurt the Spinners chances to keep it a tie, as Perez walked the first batter he faced and brought in another runner which gave the Scrappers their first lead of the game. A big blow was dealt by Steven Patterson in the next at-bat, who doubled to deep center field and cleared the bases for Mahoning Valley. Patterson would cross home plate after Bradley Zimmer drilled a double off the Green Monster and sealed up the 6-1 final score.
The Spinners did not seem confident enough to pull off a comeback in the bottom of the ninth. After holding on to a lead for that long, it’s tough to see it fall apart and try to regain momentum so late in the game.
Oliver was sad to see today’s game end the way it did, considering their terrific play at the major league ballpark.
“I feel really bad for these guys, they really played their heart and soul out” said Oliver. “To have it slip away so fast, it’s a real shame.”
While it may appear that the day was all bad news for Lowell, the experience of being able to play in a major league park for the first time is an incredible experience. The Spinners were able to play a game in the most famous ballpark in the country, and that’s truly something to behold especially as a younger player.
Who knows, perhaps not too far down the road some of these players will move their way up and find a permanent spot in that field with the Boston Red Sox. For now it may just be a special day in their memories, but it’s a taste of the future for those who strive to one day play at the highest level; their future at Fenway Park.