There were indications before this game that the Red Sox were going to use a “true opener” in tonight’s game, which would mean using a reliever for three-to-six outs and then using a starter-type for at least four innings and hopefully more. Instead, it was a bullpen game with a handful of relievers covering the first four innings before then using the starter-type, who shoved with his team already getting blown out. The definition of an opener is, if we’re being honest, a distinction that really doesn’t matter but it bothers me to no end. It is probably my biggest pet peeve in baseball, which to be clear is entirely a me problem. But I wanted to say all of that because it was far, far less annoying than what actually happened on the field with those pitchers, because it was another brutal beginning to a baseball game for the hometown team.
Anyway, yeah, this game was no fun. The Red Sox fell way behind in the first four innings and that was about it. There were a couple of positives with Zack Godley pitching well in four innings at the end of the game and Mitch Moreland and Xander Bogaerts each hitting home runs, but that was about it. Fun start to the year!
Josh Osich got the start for Boston in this one, giving them a lefty against a Mets team that likes to start their lineup off with a handful of lefties. It was a sound strategy. It did not work out. He got a ground ball to José Peraza at second base to start the game, but it was hit pretty hard and Peraza couldn’t handle it so it was a leadoff error. After a deep fly ball made the first out, Jeff McNeil hit another rocket, this one right at Rafael Devers. It ricocheted off him and was picked up by Xander Bogaerts, who then chased down the speedy Amed Rosario trying to get to the abandoned third base bag. Then, while J.D. Davis was at the plate, McNeil jumped too early on an Osich pick off move and was tagged out at second to end one of the more truly bizarre three-batter innings I have ever seen.
Unfortunately, things weren’t as goofily blissful in the second. Osich came back out for that one, and it proved to be a mistake. Davis was back at the plate to lead off the inning and he drew a walk to start things off. That brought Conforto to the plate, and he absolutely demolished one. Osich threw a fastball middle-in and the Mets outfielder hit it over the secondary bullpen that is already behind the regular bullpen, and just like that it was a 2-0 lead for the Mets.
Osich did get out of the second after that with three straight outs, and then another lefty in Jeffrey Springs came out for the third. After a quick first out, he gave up a base runner as Rosario smacked a one-out single. That brought Peter Alonso to the plate, and he did something I’m not sure I’ve ever seen. It is hard to put into words, but he took a 3-0 changeup and obliterated it into the Monster Seats. It’s impossible to properly articulate how quickly this left the park — Manny Ramirez is the only player I’ve ever seen maybe hit a home run that hard to the Monster — so I’ll just leave you with this video. Anyway, that made it 4-0. There were no more runs in the inning after that, though Rafael Devers did make his third error on the season on a bad throw in the dirt that couldn’t be scooped by Mitch Moreland.
Springs would then come back out for the fourth, and wouldn’t you know it things didn’t go well there either! Wilson Ramos got things started by smoking a double over the head of Jackie Bradley Jr., and Robinson Canó followed that up with a walk. Young first baseman Dominic Smith came up after that, and it was a familiar story in this game. Springs hung a slider out over the plate and Smith hit it into the bullpen for a three-run shot. Just like that, it was a 7-0 game.
You may notice as part of that score that the Red Sox were not on the board. That’s right, this was not only bad for the pitching! Michael Wacha got the start for the Mets, and he turned the clock back a half-decade. Not to give an out to the Red Sox bats, who need to be better than this, but Wacha looked legitimately good in this game. That was particularly true for his changeup, which was a weapon seemingly whenever he needed it. Through the first five innings, the only bit of damage was on a solo homer from Mitch Moreland in the bottom of the fourth, though the Red Sox did have a couple of innings with a pair of stranded runners in each as well.
There was a bit of a bright spot for the Red Sox pitching as Zack Godley, who was expected to come in after Osich, came on for the fifth and tossed a couple of scoreless innings. He did work around a couple of baserunners in the sixth, but beggars can’t be choosers, ya know? That was also followed by Xander Bogaerts’s first homer of the year in the bottom of the inning, too, to make it 7-2. Then Godley tossed another 1-2-3 inning in the seventh before coming back out for a scoreless eighth. In all, he tossed four scoreless innings with seven strikeouts, leading us to wonder further why he didn’t come in until the fifth.
That performance from Godley kept the score from getting totally out of hand, and the Red Sox offense decided to make a run at it in the bottom of the eighth. The rally started with a J.D. Martinez walk, and then a Devers double put a pair in scoring position with just one out. Bogaerts then brought one home on a ground out before Moreland brought home another on a base hit, and suddenly it was just a three-run game.
After Phillips Valdez came on for a scoreless ninth, Boston had one last chance. They went down in order, and that was that. The third loss in a row for the Red Sox was a 7-4 contest in favor of the Mets.
The Red Sox will look to snap their three-game skid on Tuesday with their final game of this season-opening homestand. They’ll send Matt Hall to the mound while New York’s starter is still not announced. First pitch is at 7:35 PM ET.