After a rough stretch of play to begin the 2019 MLB season, the Boston Red Sox have begun to tighten up their game as a team. Although they haven’t quite hit their stride yet, they seem to be taking a step in the right direction. The Red Sox closed out their difficult season-opening west coast trip with a 1-0 shutout win over the Arizona Diamondbacks. The win was fueled by a committee pitching performance. Hector Velasquez started on the mound for the Red Sox and pitched three scoreless innings, including three strikeouts. The bullpen stole the show afterward, as Brandon Workman, Marcus Walden, Matt Barnes and Ryan Brasier combined for the remaining six innings. The bullpen crew kept Arizona’s bats cold, allowing Boston to take the series 2-1 against the Diamondbacks.
Tuesday, April 9, the Red Sox charged out onto Fenway for their season home opener against the Toronto Blue Jays. As is the tradition for all league champions from the previous season, the Red Sox 2018 World Series championship banner was raised and hung up in the stadium, and all of the players finally received their championship rings. In addition, Fenway Park hosted the New England Patriots in honor of their Super Bowl championship, having the players come onto the field for a celebration.
Though the cause for celebration from previous seasons was on their minds, the Toronto Blue Jays were determined to take Boston’s pride. Toronto’s bats took advantage of another poor performance from stud pitcher Chris Sale. Sale gave up five earned runs in only four innings pitched. Through three starts on the mound, Sale is 0-3 with an ERA of 9.00 and only eight strikeouts. Not exactly what you want to see from a player that just signed a five year, $145 million contract. It is still far too early in the season to hit the panic button. Sale, one of the most dominant pitchers in the MLB, is likely just off to a slow start. At any point, Sale could come out and pitch eight innings allowing zero runs and striking out 10 batters and nobody would be surprised. Regardless, Boston’s bats weren’t able to keep up against Toronto’s offensive firepower and ended the evening with a 7-5 loss.
The Red Sox were able to level the series against Toronto the following night. Pitcher Nathan Eovaldi got the start on the mound for Boston. Similarly to Sale, Eovaldi has had trouble shaking off the cobwebs from the offseason. Eovaldi surrendered five earned runs in five innings, bringing his season ERA up to 8.40. The Red Sox found themselves down 6-5 going into the bottom of the ninth inning. First baseman Mitch Moreland belted a double into deep center field which brought in right fielder Mookie Betts to tie the game up at 6-6. Second baseman Eduardo Nunez came in to pinch run for Moreland with third baseman Rafael Devers coming to the plate. Devers delivered a strong single, which went deep enough to drive Eduardo Nunez in for Boston’s first home victory of the season.
Boston was finally able to pick up a consecutive win for the first time this season after hosting the Baltimore Orioles Friday, April 12. The Red Sox finally got a strong start from one of their pitchers, with Eduardo Rodriguez able to pitch six innings while only allowing two runs. The Red Sox were in control for most of the game. Boston’s only score of the night came in the ninth inning when relief pitcher Tyler Thornburg took over on the mound with a 6-2 lead and surrendered a two-run home run to Renato Dunez. Ryan Brasier came in to relieve Thornburg and closed it out for the Red Sox to give them the 6-4 win over Baltimore.