At long last, Major League Baseball began its 2020 season on Thursday. The New York Yankees beat the 2019 World Series Champion Washington Nationals 4-1 in a rainout, and the Los Angeles Dodgers topped the San Francisco Giants 8-1 with their totally awesome, freshly paid right fielder. Baseball started off with a bang, which just made me even more excited for the next night’s game at Fenway Park.
The Boston Red Sox kicked off the 60-game season in style by beating the Baltimore Orioles 13-2. I’m sure I can speak for all of Red Sox Nation when I say that we all breathed a sigh of relief. We beat the Orioles. Phew.
That night, heavy-hitter J.D. Martinez and newly-acquired Kevin Pillar were the standouts. Martinez batted second in the lineup right after Andrew Benintendi—something I at first thought rather peculiar but now love—and had three hits with three RBIs. In his debut for the Red Sox, Pillar matched Martinez’s three hits with three of his own and also drove in three runs. Not a bad debut performance for the former Giant.
After scoring runs with ease on Friday, the Sox came up short Saturday afternoon, losing to Baltimore 2-7. Boston’s lineup couldn’t really figure out Baltimore’s starting pitcher Alex Cobb, but I’d place most the blame for the loss on Boston’s starting pitcher (a phrase I’m afraid might become more common as the season progresses). In his first start in a Red Sox uniform, Martin Perez let up six hits and allowed five runs. Though the Orioles have some pop in their lineup, it’s still a little embarrassing.
This afternoon in Boston’s third and final game of the series with Baltimore, I was feeling optimistic. I figured the loss on Saturday was a fluke, and the Sox were going to bounce right back and perform like they did Friday night. Sadly, I was wrong. The Orioles took the series by winning 7-4.
I know I’ve already said embarrassing, but I’ll say it again—today’s loss was embarrassing. The Red Sox have a better ballclub than the Orioles, and they should have won this series. Going into this shortened season we all knew Boston was going to have subpar pitching (David Price got traded, Eduardo Rodriguez is out with health issues, etc.) but to see it for real is just demoralizing. Perez’s debut was disappointing, but Ryan Weber’s outing today was worse. He let up six hits and allowed six runs, only having pitched 3.2 innings. I’ve gotta believe things can only go up from here.
On a lighter note, the Opening Day starter Nathan Eovaldi had a great day. He let up five hits but only allowed one run in the six innings he pitched. For a guy who seemingly became Boston’s ace in the blink of an eye, I was pleased.
I’m also pretty thrilled with certain facets of Boston’s offense. Martinez had a stellar weekend, currently boasting a batting average of .384, and we saw three solo home runs from Pillar, Mitch Moreland and Christian Vazquez. Along with Pillar, the other new additions to Boston’s roster are proving themselves in their own ways. In his Red Sox debut on Opening Day, Jose Peraza had four hits and scored two runs. On Saturday, the former-Dodger Alex Verdugo got three hits.
The new Red Sox are certainly pulling their weight, and now it’s time for a couple of the old Sox to do the same. Rafael Devers had a nice double today, but on Saturday he struck out four times. Similarly, Xander Bogaerts logged his first two RBIs of the season today, but in the previous games he was pretty cold. Benintendi still hasn’t had a hit, so I feel something big coming for him in this next series.
Tomorrow the Red Sox are going to face the New York Mets for two games in Boston before heading to Citi Field to finish out the series. The Sox have got to get back to how they played on Opening Day and have a more consistent offense. Baseball sure is back, and the Red Sox are going to be a force to be reckoned with.