BOSTON — Bobby Poyner walked quickly into the Boston Red Sox clubhouse after pregame warm-ups on a blustery Thursday morning at Fenway Park. His face was red but animated.

“Just going out there for a catch is awesome,” Poyner said. “Being on the field is a lot different than being in the stands.”

Poyner, 25, would soon find out just how different – like when you get called on to pitch the 11th and 12th innings, even though Boston has other, more experienced relievers.

“To get in was incredible,” said Poyner after collecting his first major league victory in Boston’s 3-2 win. “Obviously I was very excited, but I was trying to keep my emotions in check.”

He did, showing the poise he possessed last year while recording an 0.94 ERA in four months with the Portland Sea Dogs.

Red Sox Manager Alex Cora saw the mentality in Poyner as early as a March 4 exhibition game. Poyner gave up a home run but kept pitching with control, coming in with fastballs – unafraid.


“That’s when he caught my eye,” Cora said.

With that, Poyner proves the adage that Sea Dogs players tell themselves all the time: You never know when the call will come.

Poyner went from beginning last season in Class A to receiving an invite to major league spring training, to becoming the only left-hander in Boston’s bullpen.

“Honestly, going into spring training I was really going to just try to make the most of it and make a good impression,” Poyner said.

He did that and is still impressing. After four appearances he’s allowed no walks and leads the team with a 0.64 WHIP (walks/hits allowed per inning). Opponents are hitting .188 against him.

It might be surprising for fans in love with radar-gun readings. Poyner’s fastball reaches 90 mph sometimes. It’s a deceptive pitch – rising above bats. That and a superb change-up make Poyner effective.


“It’s tough to pick up the ball (against him),” Cora said.

In Poyner’s debut March 31 against Tampa Bay, he induced a popup to end the seventh inning, then began the eighth with a curve to the right-handed Carlos Gomez, who homered.

“Had to put that behind me as quick as I could,” Poyner said.

He has retired 13 of the last 15 batters he’s faced, allowing no more runs. He gave up one single Thursday but also struck out three.

NOTES: David Price has pitched 291/3 straight scoreless innings at Fenway. … The Red Sox haven’t committed an error in their first seven games, tying a franchise record. … Rafael Devers was intentionally walked twice. … The only other time a Red Sox team won six straight games after losing their opener was in 1904. … This was the first walk-off win in a Red Sox home opener since 1998, when Mo Vaughn hit a grand slam.

HOME OPENING ceremonies included Ruth Pointer of the Pointer Sisters singing the national anthem, various Winter Olympians throwing out the first pitch, and Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman joining David Ortiz at the mound to announce “Play Ball.”

Kevin Thomas can be reached at 791-6411 or:

[email protected]

Twitter: @ClearTheBases

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.