The Boston Red Sox faced a lot of questions as the unusual 2020 season began Friday at Fenway Park against the rebuilding and injury-plagued Baltimore Orioles.
Boston seemed to have just three real starters in the rotation with many more questions, so this is a team that could very well need to rely heavily on its bats. That’s something shortstop Xander Bogaerts said before the Red Sox crushed the Orioles 13-2 in the opener.
“Honestly, we don’t have one of the best pitching staffs in baseball,” he said.
And so the bats led the way, posting four runs in the third inning, six in the fourth and three more in the sixth, Now, Boston cannot score 13 runs every game, and Baltimore is one of the weaker teams in baseball, but the Red Sox are hoping for more of the same in Game 2 of the three-game set on Saturday afternoon.
Martin Perez will pitch for the first time as a member of the Red Sox. The 29-year-old left-hander reportedly was expected to be the No. 5 starter, but injuries along with the trade of David Price pushed him to No. 2, and so he goes Saturday against Baltimore right-hander Alex Cobb.
Perez went 10-7 with a 5.12 ERA in 32 games (29 starts) last year for the Twins. He is 4-4 with a 5.00 ERA in nine career starts vs. Baltimore.
The Red Sox are a team in flux early in the season in many ways. There’s the pitching questions plus the addition of new manager Ron Roenicke. The offense is going to be there, and that’s something the new skipper can lean on a bit as 2020 gets underway, as there’s no time for slow starts in a 60-game season.
Baltimore, meanwhile, needs to get past the Opening Day rout. The Orioles will send out Cobb, and he is going to make his first start since having season-ending surgery since April 2019. He underwent season-ending hip surgery in June.
That limited him to only three games and 12 1/3 innings and left a huge hole in the Orioles’ rotation. Manager Brandon Hyde said after Friday’s game that he was looking forward to seeing Cobb pitch again.
Cobb is 7-6 with a 3.84 ERA in 17 career starts against the Red Sox.
Cobb had been tentatively penciled in as the No. 2 starter, and top guy John Means, a 2019 American League All-Star, was going to start the opener against Boston. But Means has been dealing with a case of arm fatigue, and the Orioles have him on the injured list. That’s why Tommy Milone started Friday; he gave up four runs in three innings while taking the loss.
Hyde removed several players from the game, including center fielder Austin Hays, who was hit by a pitch in the eighth inning. But the skipper said that Hays and everyone else was just fine, and since the team had an early game Saturday, he just kind of gave them a rest for a few innings.
“I’d like to flush this,” Hyde told the media regarding the blowout defeat. “The middle of their order is dangerous. I think that we’ll be fine tomorrow. I figure our guys will turn the page.”
–Field Level Media