March 28, 2019

G1: Mariners 12, Red Sox 4

Red Sox  - 110 002 000 -  4 11  2
Mariners - 034 012 20x - 12 12  2
Psst .... the Red Sox also lost on Opening Day last season. It did not seem to affect them all that much.*

The first 1.5 innings went according to plan, with the Red Sox scoring a single run in each of the first two innings and Chris Sale striking out the side in the first and retiring the leadoff man in the second. After that ... bad things happened, and often. The 12 runs were the most ever allowed on Opening Day by a team that won the World Series the previous fall.

The Mariners belted five home runs (something they did not do in any game last year), with Tim Beckham tagging Sale (3-6-7-2-4, 76) twice. Beckham entered the game 0-for-15 (with nine strikeouts) in his career against Sale, who actually allowed three dongs (he did not do that in any of his 27 starts last season).

The seven runs surrendered by Sale tied his career-worst in a Red Sox uniform. After Beckham went deep in the second, Sale got the second out, but then gave up a walk and single to the bottom two hitters in the Mariners' lineup and he hit Mitch Haniger. Domingo Santana doubled into the right field corner, scoring two runs. Haniger tried to score from first and was thrown out, a call that was upheld after Seattle challenged it.

Sale gave up four runs in the third. Edwin Encarnacion homered to lead off the inning. Ryon Healy walked with one out and Beckham went yard again. Mallex Smith then tripled and scored on a sac fly. Healy homered in the fifth off Velazquez, who left the bases loaded for Heath Hembree in the sixth. Hembree walked Jay Bruce to force in a run and another run scored on an error. Santana belted a two-run dong in the seventh off Thornburg.

The start of the game was nice. Although Andrew Benintendi grounded out to first on the first pitch of the day, Mookie Betts, Rafael Devers, and J.D. Martinez all singled, giving the Red Sox a 1-0 lead. Eduardo Nunez reached on an infield error to start the second. Jackie Bradley grounded a single into center. With Christian Vazquez batting, Boston pulled off a double steal without a throw. Vaz struck out, but Nunez was able to score on Benintendi's pop-out to shallow left. Third baseman Healy had his back to the plate when he caught the ball.

After that, there was not much from the bats. Xander Bogaerts doubled with two outs in the third. Mitch Moreland walked, but Nunez struck out. Singles by Betts and Martinez in the fifth went for naught.

Nunez doubled to left-center to open the sixth. He went to third on a balk - Vazquez asked for time, the plate umpire refused, but Marco Gonzales (5.1-9-4-1-4, 94), thinking time had been granted (since it almost always is), stopped mid-motion). Vazquez shot a double to the base of the wall in left and, after a pitching change, he scored on Benintendi's single to right. Seattle's lead had been cut to 8-4, and a sliver of hope might have been sighted. But Betts flied to center and Devers looked downright ugly on a three-pitch strikeout. He swung and missed at three fastballs. The first one actually hit him, the second was down the middle, and the third one was up and away.

Everyone in the Boston lineup had at least one hit, except for Moreland (who walked).

More from the bright side: Dave O'Brien did not annoy me even once today.**

*: The 2004 and 2007 teams also started their seasons 0-1.

**: That's because ESPN broadcast the game.

Chris Sale / Marco Gonzales
Benintendi, LF
Betts, RF
Devers, 3B
Martinez, DH
Bogaerts, SS
Moreland, 1B
Nunez, 2B
Bradley, CF
Vazquez, C
The Boston Red Sox's 119th season starts today!

Rafael Devers, 22 years old, batted .385 with a .954 OPS in spring training, will be Boston's #3 hitter. In the words of manager Alex Cora:
I challenged him and he did a good job. ... He hung in there with lefties. He creates balance. Maybe with Steve Pearce being hurt it's a little bit different. When Steve is healthy, he'll hit third against lefties and we'll decide what we'll do with the rest of the lineup. Steve is not here, Rafael did a good job, so go get them, kid.
If we do what we set out to do, people are going to be talking about this group forever and that's cool. We talked about it [Tuesday], in the era that we are it's very difficult to have so many guys who have played in the World Series back on one team. I don't want to make a big story out of it. I hate talking about next year. But we know where we're at (with free agents) ... Hopefully they're all back but some of them won't be. It's a pretty close group. [Tuesday] that was the message. We have a chance to do something special, very special. ... I think baserunning is going to better earlier this year than last year. Last year we were awful. But I think they understand that part of the game now and every out counts so offensively baserunning wise I think is something we feel is an advantage for us so we'll be better.
Xander Bogaerts:
I think if everyone does their job and does similar to what they did last year, we'll be in a good place. But it ain't easy, man. It ain't easy repeating. In 2014 (after winning it all in 2013), we had a bad year. I don't think we even had a winning record. But this is a better team. This is a talented team. Hopefully we have something good for a long run. ... [W]e have pretty much the same team. All these guys know each other well. The guys we traded for at the deadline are also here, with Nate and Pearce. That was huge for us during the season and also in the playoffs. ... It's not something you can do easily but I think we have the team to do it.
Red Sox chairman Tom Werner:
The best you can hope for is you get into the postseason and then I think you have eight very evenly matched teams. I think we were very, very fortunate. We rolled over three very good teams. There's a degree of good fortunate and randomness to it. Statistically it's very hard.
J.D. Martinez:
Everything has to go right. No. 1 is starting with health, keeping your 25 guys healthy for an entire season ... To be able to keep that and then once you get into the playoffs it's a different animal. The timings gotta be right. Everyone's gotta be clicking on the right cylinders. You need those big hits. ... Baseball is a weird game, you know? You can do everything right and the ball bounces one way and you lose. So it's not easy.
Principal owner John Henry:
If you see what is going on behind the scenes, especially last year, I don't think that we had a lot of good fortune. There were a lot of things going on behind the scenes that were really smart last year. I do feel that you have to have some good fortune.
David Price:
[A] lot of teams make a lot of improvements to their teams in the offseason and you're playing almost a month more of baseball than everybody else, so your offseason is a little bit shorter. ... [T]he World Series hangover. I don't know. I don't think a lot of guys in our clubhouse have been through that. I guess we'll find out.
Chris Sale:
[Cora] wins championships. Back-to-back World Series champion [2017 Astros, 2018 Red Sox]. You talk to some of the Houston guys, too, they'll have nothing but really, really good things to say about him. He makes it fun. He can light a fire underneath you. He holds it down. He's an unbelievable leader. With any team that is great, they have to have a great leader. There's no question that he's that.
Dustin Pedroia:
[Repeating is] the toughest thing in sports. You're the hunted and everyone is coming after you. Every game you play, you have to be on top of your game and be the best. We're ready for that. We're excited. Just seeing the look on some of our guys' faces, I saw most of them come up in '14. Some of them took their lumps, know what I mean? We all did as a team. Just remembering those times and then seeing them celebrate and be on the best team in the world [last October], that was the best part for me to see ... how happy they were in what they accomplished.
2019 AL East Predictions Wrap-Up (number of votes):             Yankees 35, Red Sox 17
MLB Network Radio :  Yankees 11, Red Sox  7
ESPN:                Yankees 16, Red Sox 14, Rays  1
Sports Illustrated:  Yankees  7, Red Sox  2
The Sporting News:   Yankees  9, Red Sox  4
NBC Sports:          Yankees  7, Red Sox  0
CBS Sports:          Yankees  3, Red Sox  2
USA Today:           Yankees  5, Red Sox  2
New York Post:       Yankees  5, Red Sox  2
Boston Globe:        Red Sox  3, Yankees  3
Sneaking in under the wire with some 2019 predictions is Sean McAdam of the Boston Sports Journal:
AL East: Red Sox
Other Divisions: Twins, Astros, Nationals, Cubs, Dodgers
ALCS: Red Sox over Yankees
NLCS: Cubs over Dodgers
World Series: Cubs over Red Sox

AL MVP: Mike Trout
AL Cy Young: Gerrit Cole
AL ROY: Vladimir Guerrero Jr.
AL MOY: Rocco Baldelli

NL MVP: Anthony Rendon
NL Cy Young: Walker Buehler
NL ROY: Fernando Tatis Jr.
NL MOY: Davey Martinez
And: I now live on the west coast - three time zones away from where I watched last year's World Series (and, actually, spent my entire life) - and I'm extremely curious how the change in game times will feel ... and how many games I will realize with a start have already begun (without me).

Night games will start at 4/5:00 PM, weekend day games will be at 10:30 AM, and I'll have to set an alarm to get up for the Patriots Day game (8:00 AM!). Of course, generally speaking, thi si snot so strange - a fair amount of readers have always been in this (or a similar) boat.

I'm going to continue using Boston time in post titles, though, and hope I don't get too confused.

So without further ado ...


allan said...

Sandy Leon has accepted an assignment to Pawtucket.

D.Ing said...

During Inning 3...

"And I don't know who that is wearing Chris Sale's uniform..."

I think I'm going to like Josh Lewin. Hope David Price doesn't get too sensitive about things this year.

Zenslinger said...

I think you will like the West Coast baseball experience. A lot easier on your sleep patterns.