Game 1 Recap: Pain
The Red Sox started the 2021 season looking fantastic for about 4 batters. Nathan Eovaldi—one of the few bright spots in this game—faced the minimum in the first, and new second-baseman Kiké Hernandez singled to lead off the bottom of the first. From that point forward, the team (or at least the offense) looked like the Red Sox of 2020. Alex Verdugo flied out to right, then Hernandez was picked off of first. To make matters worse, Hernandez was originally called safe, before the steaming pile of bloated excrement known as Joe West took what felt like several eternities to review the call and determine that Hernandez’s foot had come off the bag for roughly a tenth of a second and was thus out. The team then failed to get another BASE RUNNER until J.D. Martinez hit a double with two outs in the ninth. Just an atrocious offensive performance. After about the sixth inning I almost decided to walk into traffic rather than watch the rest of the game. I decided to stick it out, however, and was
rewarded with nothing. Not a great opening day for the lineup.
On the other hand, the pitching was pretty great overall. Eovaldi went 5.1 innings, giving up 4 hits and 1 run with 4 strikeouts. He shouldn’t even have given up that one run. Nasty Nate started the fifth by giving up a single to Pedro Severino. He then struck out Cedric Mullins and was promptly taken out of the game. It was the first game of the season, and literally freezing weather, so pulling him despite his dominance wasn’t that strange of a decision. Newcomer Matt Andriese entered the game, and honestly looked fine. He simple got absolutely no help at all from the defense or the aforementioned pile of waste. On a 3-2 count to Trey Mancini, Andriese threw a gorgeous changeup right on the black at the bottom of the zone. Beautiful pitch, clear strike, but nasty. To top it off, Severino was stealing second and got hosed by Christian Vazquez. Inning over right? No, because Joe West called the pitch ball 4. Runners on first and second, one out. The next batter, Anthony Santander, hit a sharp grounder to Hernandez at second. Hernandez bobbled it, slapped it, fell directly on his butt, and rolled around on the ground before coming up with the ball. Unsurprisingly, everyone was safe. After the umpire screwed him out of a strike-him-out-throw-him-out and his defense screwed him out of a double play, Andriese gave up a two-run double. He got a strikeout and a fly out to end the inning, but the damage had been done. Two runs was more than insurmountable for the impotent Sox offense.
Andriese pitched a 1-2-3 7th, then Josh Taylor came in for the top of the 8th and looked pretty awful. He gave up three consecutive singles to give up a run, only getting an out because the Orioles ended up with two runners on second after the third single and Rafael Devers was able to tag one of them out. Taylor then got pulled, and Austin Brice finished off the inning without further incident. In the 9th, the Sox brought newcomer to both the team and America, Hirokazu Sawamura, into pitch. He looked filthy, and besides Eovaldi was probably the second biggest bright spot on the day. He gave up one hit, got a strikeout, and gave up no runs in the inning.
Opening day kind of sucked. The offense looked terrible, the defense was brutal, and Joe West was Joe West. It wasn’t all negative—as mentioned above, Eovaldi and Sawamura looked awesome, and Bobby Dalbec was flashing absolute leather at first, picking everything in sight (there were an unfortunate number of throws in the dirt from the other three infielders). There was, however, definitely way more negative than positive. On the bright side, the rainout yesterday means we won’t have to wait through an off-day before getting to watch the team redeem themselves in game 2. 161-1 is still in play, and we can’t let one bad game cause us to lose faith in this team. It’s a long season, and I’m extremely confident the offense will look better tomorrow. After all, looking any worse would essentially mean getting no hit.