Brayan Bello's hilarious wardrobe change helped him rebound in Red Sox win

Boston Red Sox v Seattle Mariners
Boston Red Sox v Seattle Mariners / Alika Jenner/GettyImages

Brayan Bello took the mound in the Boston Red Sox's first game against the Seattle Mariners looking nervous, as many 24-year-olds would in their first-ever Opening Day start.

The pitcher lacked his usual cool on the bump at the beginning of the night. It could've been the nerves, the chill in the Seattle air, or the tens of thousands of away fans' screams ringing through the fog that draped the field.

Bello opened the bottom of the first inning inducing a soft grounder from J.P. Crawford. Julio Rodríguez followed with a double, and Jorge Polanco advanced him to third on a single to right field. When reigning World Series champion Mitch Garver took the plate and hit a hard grounder to Trevor Story, he turned the double play and saved his starter's night.

Bello's pace and command changed in the second. Cal Raleigh led off the inning with an infield single, but a lineout followed by two strikeouts roped the game back into Bello's control. But not because he was too nervous in the first inning.

His sleeves were too tight! The right-hander began the game in a long-sleeved shirt underneath his jersey. In the second frame, it was gone.

Bello braved the chilly Pacific Northwest air and fought through adversity in his first Opening Day start in his Red Sox career. After his performance, it likely won't be his last. Bello pitched five innings, and allowed two earned runs on two hits and zero walks. But he showed the grit that he's becoming so famous for in the eyes of Red Sox Nation — the same mental toughness that earns him comparisons to his mentor and Red Sox legend, Pedro Martínez.

"We were joking, it looked like he was panicking," manager Alex Cora said postgame. ". . . In the first inning, he had the sleeves on, he came in and [Andrew Bailey] was like, 'are you nervous?' He said "no, no, no, they're too tight, that's the reason I want to take them off.'"

Brayan Bello needed a wardrobe change to feel comfortable in his Red Sox Opening Day start

Bello has felt cramped in his sleeves in the past and the young starter doesn't pitch in undershirts often. Baseball players are infamously superstitious — after the way his fortunes changed in the absence of sleeves, he may never wear them again.

Bello threw his newly-tuned-up slider much more than fans are used to on Thursday night, and the pitch worked for him. The changes the 24-year-old made over the winter may have transformed him into the top-of-the-rotation starter that Boston desperately needs.

"He was excellent. He can be better. I think command was off but, he was able to make pitches," Cora said. "For a kid from Samaná to be on this stage and go out there and perform, it was awesome."

Yeah, just ditch the sleeves, Brayan.

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