Red Sox pitching, lineup both ensure plenty of first-inning runs will score

Mar 11, 2020; Port Charlotte, Florida, USA; Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez (57) walks back to the dugout at the end of the fourth inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Charlotte Sports Park. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 11, 2020; Port Charlotte, Florida, USA; Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez (57) walks back to the dugout at the end of the fourth inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Charlotte Sports Park. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /
facebooktwitterreddit

We can count on runs scoring early during Boston Red Sox games

If you’re planning to attend a Boston Red Sox game this season, make sure you show up on time. Whether it’s the pitching staff coughing up an early lead or the lineup jumping on the opposing starter early, we can typically count on seeing runs scored in the first inning.

Sunday afternoon’s game to wrap up the series with the Seattle Mariners was no different. Eduardo Rodriguez has been as steady as anyone in the Red Sox rotation but he struggled to find his form in the opening frame.

The Mariners led off the game with consecutive doubles against E-Rod, both of which were hit to nearly identical spots in left field. J.D. Martinez, the designated hitter masquerading as an outfielder for the day, was a bit slow to track down both hits as they rolled toward the left field corner.

Rodriguez settled down to escape without any further damage but the run driven in by Ty France’s double was the 19th allowed by Red Sox pitching in the first inning this season. No other American League team has allowed that many first-inning runs and only the Pittsburgh Pirates have allowed more in the majors. Boston owns a 7.43 ERA in the first inning this season.

The silver lining to the pitching staff’s frustrating habit of falling behind early is that they are backed by an offense that is equally proficient in lighting up the scoreboard.

The Red Sox put pressure on Nick Margevicius early and the Mariners starter quickly unraveled. Kike Hernandez led off the bottom of the first with a base hit followed by consecutive walks to load the bases.

Christian Vazquez has been struggling lately but his first trip to the plate in this game was a great piece of hitting. It’s tempting to swing for the big hit with the bases loaded but Vazquez shortened his swing to line a fastball to the opposite field for an RBI single that tied the game.

Margevicius crumbled under pressure, walking consecutive batters to push in two more runs before getting a quick hook.

More from Red Sox News

Drew Steckenrider’s command wasn’t any better in relief, hitting Christian Arroyo on the hand with a pitch to reward the Red Sox with their fourth run of the inning. That’s a painful way to pick up an RBI but Arroyo shook it off to remain in the game.

The four-run frame gave the Red Sox 17 runs in the first inning of games this season, tied with the Chicago White Sox for the most in the AL.

Boston entered the day tied for the league-lead with 26 hits and third in the league with a .299 batting average in the first inning this season. They only needed two hits to score four runs this time due to all the free passes from a generous Mariners pitching staff.

The early run support was significant for Rodriguez. Since September 2017, the Red Sox were 38-2 (.950) when they scored at least four runs with E-Rod on the mound. Boston’s offense already had four runs by the first inning today and Rodriguez did his part to earn the win with seven strong innings.

The Red Sox have a powerhouse offense that can rack up runs in any inning. If they don’t strike early, we still can’t count them out even if they trail late in the game. Comebacks aren’t a trend this team wants to keep testing though. It puts a tremendous amount of pressure on an offense when they are constantly playing from behind and that’s bound to catch up to them eventually.

Next. Bogaerts is one of MLB's most underrated stars. dark

Boston’s pitching staff has exceeded expectations in many ways this season but they need to do a better job of limiting damage early.