Opening Day was off to a near perfect start for the Boston Red Sox. Eduardo Nunez ignited the offense with an inside the park home run and Chris Sale dealt through his six innings of work only allowing a single hit with three walks and striking out 9. Boston was up 4-0 and cruising and handed the ball off to Matt Barnes who pitched a clean 7th inning.
Then, the implosion took place. Behind four walks and a lack of command from Joe Kelly and Carson Smith, Boston coughed up the lead and six runs in the 8th inning and the Denard Span three-run double drove the final nail in the coffin. Alex Cora started 0-1 as a manager and the second guesses started to reign in from the peanut gallery calling for the elite closer to enter the game before it fell out of control, or at least bring out the left-hander to swing the matchups in his favor.
What’s done is done, Kimbrel wasn’t entering the game without it being a clean inning we found out afterwards from the manager and it’s not going to change the result of the opening game. David Price goes tonight, Rick Porcello tomorrow then it’s two with Miami and three more against the Rays next week at home. Boston will be fine, I figured the Rays would sneak in a game or two and granted this was an epic meltdown to start the season, but good news is it can only get better from here.
The Red Sox will still feast on the opening portion of the schedule and despite what many pundits will have you believe, the bridge to the closer in the 9th inning isn’t collapsing. Tyler Thornburg will be back at some point in May, Barnes and Hembree had success at times last season and Smith is a productive set-up man. Everything yesterday was compiled with the lack of command by Kelly and it all spiraled out of control. I’m not ready to hit the panic button just yet and I am full expecting an empathic statement by Boston tonight to the tune of an 8-1 score. David Price will look like his usual self, Martinez will go yard for the first time with the Red Sox and they will roll into Saturday and the rest of the weekend riding a wave of emotion.
Just like Jimmy Fallon said in Fever Pitch, it’s only one game.
Follow Frank on Twitter: @FrankBostonTank