With an early Opening Day on March 29, the Boston Red Sox had a tough go in their first game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field, blowing a 4-0 lead in the eighth inning to lose 6-4 to start the season. Despite the early gaffes from the bullpen, Boston would recover for the next three games of the series, winning 1-0 on Friday, 3-2 on Saturday, and 2-1 on Sunday. Even with the lack of a powerful offense which has yet to be showcased, Sox pitching was stellar throughout all four games.
The first three starters: Chris Sale, David Price, and Rick Porcello combined to throw 18 and a third innings with 17 strikeouts while only allowing one run. Hector Velazquez, called up in place of a few injured starters on the disabled list, had a well-pitched game on Sunday, throwing five and two-thirds with only an earned run and five strikeouts. The bullpen itself has been just as impressive aside from the Opening Day mishaps. Matt Barnes has stepped up exceptionally in his role as a setup man, while Craig Kimbrel is still just as lights out as he’s been.
Boston’s bats were cool for the four games, not scoring more than four runs, but were efficient enough for the three where they scored less. Shortstop Xander Bogaerts has proved to still be an extra-base hitting machine throughout the first four games, Rafael Devers is picking up pace in what could be called his sophomore season, and newcomer J.D. Martinez is starting to find his stroke with the Sox. While the offense still needs time to get going, the efficiency of the starting rotation bullpen is making for what looks to a good season for Boston.
After a quick two-game series against the Miami Marlins, the Red Sox will have a day off before delivering their home opener to Tampa Bay on Thursday, April 5. Baseball is finally back, and Boston looks to deliver a great season!