Analysis: Four takeaways from the Red Sox loss to the Cardinals

By Briggs Loveland, WEBN Correspondent

A beautiful day in Fort Myers and over nine thousand people in attendance at JetBlue Park could not get the Red Sox to secure the victory, losing to the St. Louis Cardinals 8-6. In the midst of a loss, the Sox showcased to fans their $55 million dollar arm in Brayan Bello, along with what their future looks like and the potential the team has to surprise the baseball world. Here are the main takeaways from the game:

Potential in the Starting Lineup
In front of the second sellout crowd of the spring, fans strolled into jetBlue Park with excitement and anticipation. Red Sox manager Alex Cora gave a glimpse into what the every day starting nine could look like at Fenway Park, featuring Boston’s star players, top prospects and new acquisitions.

1. LF Jarren Duran

2. 3B Rafael Devers
3. SS Trevor Story
4. DH Masataka Yoshida
5. RF Tyler O’Neill
6. 1B Triston Casas
7. CF Ceddanne Rafaela
8. 2B Enmanuel Valdez
9. Connor Wong

Well-balanced with a veteran presence, this is one of the more underrated lineups in baseball. In four innings of play, the starting nine totaled nine hits, six being extra-base hits, and scored five runs. With consistent offensive production, the Red Sox can be so dangerous up at the plate that pitchers should feel uncomfortable on the mound.

Brayan Bello’s forgetful start
This was Brayan Bello’s first start after signing a six-year contract extension worth $55 million. It was an opportunity to show why Bello is worth the money the Sox are spending on him, but the Cardinals had his number. Expecting to last four innings, the 24-year-old only got to three. Giving up six hits and four runs, only throwing one strikeout on 63 pitches. Bello started the 4th inning, but after giving up a leadoff walk, manager Alex Cora pulled him and went to his bullpen. Bello talked to the media after his start and was asked if he was distracted from the trip back home to the DR and signing the contract.

“No it wasn’t a distraction.” Bello said, “I kept my routine, I worked out in the Dominican Republic, it just didn’t work out for me.”

A performance that Brayan Bello will have to shake off until his next start, which will have more eyes watching him.

A healthy Trevor Story goes perfect
The everyday Red Sox shortstop had an impressive day at the plate. It started way before the game in batting practice, going to all parts of the field and casually putting balls over the LF wall. When the game started it was like deja vu. Beginning with a towering two-run blast over the JetBlue green monster, his first big fly of Spring Training. Then an RBI ground-rule double to RCF, and for good measure another base hit.

The story ended the day going a perfect 3-3 with 3 RBIs and two extra-base hits. The former all-star is now hitting .360 this spring with 5 RBI, giving Red Sox fans hope he returns to MVP-caliber form. What makes Story more likable is his leadership role. Being an active talker at practice, constantly communicating on defense, and going to work every day ready to compete.

Brayan Bello had nothing but high praise about the talent Story provides to this ballclub.

“I love watching him play, I know he can make every play, every throw, it’s going to be fun this year watching him play behind me.”

Don’t be surprised if we see Trevor Story unleash at Fenway Park. He has all the talent in the world to be a fan favorite, if he stays healthy enough.

Connor and Ceddanne
Connor Wong and Ceddanne Rafaela had impressive days at the dish. Wong batted ninth today, but it didn’t seem to matter. Following Story’s footprints, he went 3-3 with three doubles on the day. Jumping his average up to .381 and a 1.054 OPS during his time in Florida. Wong is playing really good baseball, and it is clear he is ready for another full season. Last year, the Texas native played in 126 games and looks ready to play a bigger role in 2024.

Top prospect Ceddanne Rafaela is looking to make that jump to be a clear must-have in Alex Cora’s lineup. Today, he continued that push, launching a two-run moonshot over the green monster wall for his third home run this spring. With an OPS at .927, the CF is making a case for himself. He has to be in the lineup for the Sox to produce runs. He’s proved it in the minors, being the only prospect to have back-to-back seasons of 20+ HR and 25+ SB the past two years.

These two played so well today that it couldn’t be ignored, which is what you want to do to prove yourself.

The only rough patch from this game was Bello, and if he can bounce back in his next start, it should give Red Sox fans a confidence boost going into the season. Boston has the veteran and young pieces to put up a surprising season with a consistent offense and young pitching.