The bullpen was not the cause for Red Sox struggles
It was a disappointing Opening Day, to say the least, as the Boston Red Sox were shut out by a mediocre Baltimore Orioles team 3-0. Their bullpen was not the major issue as they put up a respectable 3 2/3 innings pitched, allowing five hits, one earned run, a walk, and three strikeouts. It is plain and simple, you can’t win with two hits and not scoring a single run.
After Nate Eovaldi threw 89 pitches in 5 1/3 innings, Alex Cora decided to bring in one of his newest weapons out of the bullpen in Matt Andriese.
He entered the game in a scoreless sixth inning with Pedro Severino on first base, who led off with a single. Andriese, in his first few pitches in a Red Sox uniform, got behind quick to a 3-1 count to the power-hitting Trey Mancini and would later walk him on a 3-2 changeup. He would automatically find himself in a jam as it was the first tension for any pitcher in the entire game.
Anthony Santander would then hit a hard one bounce ground ball to Kike Hernandez at second that looked to be a double play. Instead, Hernandez was unable to handle it as Santander reached on an error. That would then load the bases for Ryan Mountcastle.
Andriese struggled throughout the inning to get ahead of batters and we saw very few fastballs, with mostly breaking balls. After falling behind again, Mountcastle jumped on a 3-2 fastball that went off the top of the Green Monster, just missing a grand slam. He would settle with a two-run double.
It was safe to say the Hernandez error was costly as it would have been an inning-ending double play. Andriese eventually got out of the inning without any additional damage. Striking out Rio Ruiz and getting Austin Hays on a fly out to keep the score at 2-0 Orioles.
The command for the Red Sox newest reliever was concerning, especially that we rarely saw him showcase his best pitch which is his changeup. Despite a gem, Eovaldi suddenly was in line for the loss. Andriese would then finish the day going 1 2/3 innings allowing a hit, an unearned run, a walk, and two strikeouts.
Sawamura was most impressive for Boston in his MLB debut. He has an effective pitching arsenal and kept Baltimore hitters off-balance in the ninth inning. He allowed one hit while striking out one. It was an encouraging sign that we could be seeing a quick emergence of Sawamura who will be a vital part of the bullpen’s success.
Despite the loss, the Sox bullpen kept them in the game which is something they struggled with all year in 2020. Unfortunately, the lineup that was supposed to be their strength was the main reasoning for the defeat to start them off at 0-1.