By Don Porcaro
Don’t look now Boston, but the Red Sox are undefeated. Only 161 more consecutive wins until the Red Sox make history with the first ever perfect season in baseball history! Alright, we all know it’s not gunna happen but opening day sure came with much more positives than negatives. However, the game was not perfect. Lets start with the positives.
Your opening day starter Rick Porcello went 6 full innings without giving up a run. He dominated the Pirates lineup for much of the day before entering the 7th inning. Even then, things were not completely his fault. A low Bogaerts throw combined with a failed scoop attempt by former gold glove first basemen Mitch Moreland let the leadoff man David Freese on first. 2 more hits in the inning and Porcello was done. Coming out in the 7th, with only one run on the board. Pretty solid first start for the new ace. Reliever Matt Barnes then entered the game in a not-so-great situation. Even after failing to save the two runners left on base from scoring, he did eventually get out of the jam by K’ing Andrew McCutchen. I do not consider this a positive, but it wasn’t a huge negative either. Final line for Porcello, 6 1/3 IP, 6 H, 5 K’s, 3 ER.
After the first 4 innings of scoreless baseball, the Red Sox started to get the bats going. Pablo Sandoval, who had many questions entering the season ended up bringing in the first run of the Red Sox season by actually beating out an infield single. After a Pedroia single which brought home another run, up steps the rookie Phenom. Andrew Benintendi shows at only 22 years old, why he is a man amongst boys. Benintendi blasted a three-run homerun into the bullpen to give Boston a comfortable five run lead. This kid is going to be something special.
Alright, time for the negatives. Lets start with the bats. Sure the core of the order seemed to be hitting the ball pretty well. In fact, everyone in the lineup besides Mitch Moreland recorded at least one hit. The Sox hit the ball well, but were not able to drive in base-runners. All 5 runs were scored in one inning. Take away the 5th inning, and the Red Sox go scoreless. Of course, its good in the long run for teams to be able to win games in different ways, however they need to be more consistent in driving in runs.
The John Ferrel bullpen has been a question all pre-season. How would it work, and who would throw in different situations? Well we didn’t find an answer in the first game, Barnes came in relief for Porcello in the 7th, and didn’t pitch that well. In the 8th, it was both Robby Scott and Heath Hembree who retired the side in order. They did the job, but Joe Kelly who most thought would be the 8th inning guy with the absence of Thornburg and Carson Smith, was left warming in the pen. The 9th came down to Kimbrel. Of course he got the job done, but a lead-off double high off the monster was not the he envisioned starting the inning. A hit batter with one strike left didn’t help his case either. For as much as we gave up for Kimbrel, I expect a 1-2-3 inning in the 9th.
Of course Boston did end up getting the win. A Beautiful day that started with Tom Brady tackling Rob Gronwkowski, finished with a Kimbrel save to bring the Red Sox to 1-0. Dirty Water played over the loud speaker and Boston summer is right around the corner.