After winning back to back series on the road against the Yankees and Tigers, the Red Sox came home to play their first game of the 2022 regular season in front of the Fenway faithful.
The home opener did not go as Boston would have hoped as the Red Sox were defeated handily 8-4 by the Minnesota Twins. Despite having won two series to start the season, there’s something about this Red Sox team that just doesn’t inspire confidence right now.
It was 29 year old Nick Pivetta who got the home opener nod for Boston in this one, and he was far from impressive. Pivetta allowed four earned runs on hits through just two innings pitched and was replaced by the bullpen in the third inning.
Pivetta just couldn’t locate as the Twins’ Miguel Sano destroyed his breaking ball for a two-run home run out of Fenway in the 2nd inning. In fact, after the Twins took the lead on a Luis Arraez RBI single in the first, they never looked back.
Alex Verdugo went deep for his 2nd home run of the season to cut 25% of the way into the deficit but it didn’t do much as the Twins padded the lead on a two-run single by former Yankee, Gary Sanchez.
Sanchez’s RBI base hit put Minnesota up 6-1, although there was some late life for the Red Sox offense. Boston put up three runs in the bottom of the 8th on a Kiké Hernandez RBI double and a two-run home run by Rafael Devers.
However, this late rally would not come to fruition as Minnesota put up two more runs in the top of the 9th to take an 8-4 lead; the score they’d ultimately ride to victory.
It was a disappointing result for a massive Fenway crowd who have high expectations for the Red Sox this season. Boston had as many hits as Minnesota in this game at eight, but the Twins’ pitching was much better which was ultimately the difference in this one. Minnesota’s early offensive barrage also took a lot of the air out of Fenway on Friday afternoon and it doesn’t help that it was a former Yankee whose RBI hit was the difference on offense.
Of course it’s only seven games into the season for the Red Sox, but this game should have fans somewhat worried. The big weakness for this team is undeniably starting pitching and when Pivetta is your number two starter, there’s cause for concern.
Boston’s ability to attack on offense is without question but this team is not going to have success in the American League East if their pitching does not shape up. With Chris Sale on the 60-day injured list, things are off to a shaky start for this ballclub.
The Red Sox will play two more with the Twins before beginning what should be a difficult 10 game stretch. Boston will host the early division champion favorite Toronto Blue Jays for a three game series before hitting the road to take on the Tampa Bay Rays for three and then rematching with the Jays in Toronto for a four game set.
This team has its work cut out for it, and if they expect to compete for the AL East crown, the Red Sox need to be able to beat teams like the Minnesota Twins.
The glaring weakness on this ballclub begins on the mound, an issue that the front office did virtually nothing to address in the offseason. As Sale continues to struggle with a rib injury, it continues to put this team’s success into question as the 2022 season marches on.