The Red Sox started opening week in the right direction; starting the year 2-0 against the Pirates. Today’s game was postponed to next week, but the Red Sox have already won this series regardless. We saw a lot of good in this team, and a few bad as well.
Opening Day for the Red Sox was enjoyable; Brady and company joined the ceremony and threw the first pitch to start the season. This game was a back and forth pitching match up until the fifth inning. It started off with a Bradley triple, followed by a Sandoval single to score Bradley. Two batters later Pedroia drove in Sandoval from second with a single. Leon and Pedroia were on base when Benintendi came to the plate; he then proceeded to hit a 3 run homer, making it 5-0. That was Benintendi’s first hit and only hit of the day, and boy was it huge in this game. Porcello was the Opening Day starter, and he did not disappoint; throwing for 6.1 innings, allowing 3 ER, and striking out 5. After he was taken out the bullpen went to work and did extremely well. Red Sox went on to win 5-3, Porcello getting the W on Opening Day.
This game was more of a pitching battle than last game; going into extras with the score 0-0. This game was also the debut of recently acquired Chris Sale, and he shined that night. Throwing for 7.0 innings, he didn’t allow a run, walked one hitter, and struck out 7. Quite a debut for a pitcher that may be heavily relied on throughout the season. The highlight of the night, however, went to Sandy Leon; who in the bottom of the 12th inning hit a 3 run homer to end the game. The bullpen, once again, played extremely well and held the Pirates to 0 runs; helping the Sox win this game 3-0 thanks to Leon.
So a few things that need to be pointed out here; first off being that our bullpen played a huge role in this series. Many thought that after last year and how our bullpen was awful that it would be the same, that didn’t seem to be the case this series. The Pirates aren’t very well known as being a great team, but nonetheless the bullpen played great. Another player that deserves some recognition is Jackie Bradley Jr., who made some amazing catches in center field to keep the Pirates scoreless. In Game 1 he made a phenomenal grab that looked to be a home run/triple if went right through him; but Jackie being Jackie made a great jumping catch and kept the Pirates off the scoreboard. Game 2 was just as better, in the 12th inning making a sliding catch to keep the Red Sox alive in that ballgame. Just terrific defense by Bradley and I have no doubt he’ll be doing that all season.
Now to the bad things for the Red Sox, just two players in particular. One being Moreland; as good as he is at first base, he’s not that good at hitting the ball. With 9 plate appearances, 0 hits, 5 strike outs and a couple of pop-outs. This may be a bit critical, but with 9 plate appearances you have to at least get a hit. Now we move on to the next player, who I’ve not been a fan of since he took over Holt’s spot on the roster. Yes that player is Sandoval, he made 2 fielding errors in Game 2 and struck out twice; one strike out when he had runners in scoring position. Yes he did have one hit that turned into a RBI in Game 1, but in Game 2 was 0-4. 8 plate appearances, 1-8 in those two games; slightly better than Moreland, but defensively he’s a mess. I would rather have Holt in at third base honestly, but for now we have to deal with Sandoval and see if he’s capable of keeping that starting role.
The Red Sox now hit the road for a 4 games series against the Detroit Tigers, hoping to get the series win in that one as well.