The Red Sox started the 2020 season with a bang on Friday night, with a dominant 13-2 performance over the Baltimore Orioles. Nathan Eovaldi went six innings giving up just five hits and one run, but the real story of this one was the Sox offense.
All of Boston's runs came in the third, fourth and six innings, but they were hitting top to bottom in the lineup. In fact, the bottom of the lineup was even better than the top. In all, it led to Boston's largest margin of victory ever on Opening Day.
A few other things to note was that the Sox did not hit a single home run all game. When was the last time a team scored thirteen runs without a homer? They also reached base via a walk seven times. It certainly looks like Chaim Bloom and many of Tampa Bay's principles have leaked over to Boston.
Baltimore is a pretty horrendous club though, so try not to read too much into this game (although every game does mean that much more this season). While saying that, it certainly was an excellent way to start the 2020 season for the Red Sox.
Below, see how each player that saw the field (besides pinch hitters, who combined only had two at bats last night) did on Opening day:
Nathan Eovaldi: I'm not sure how many Sox fans were thrilled about Eovaldi being Boston's opening day starter. And, he will be their ace until Eduardo Rodriguez returns from Coronavirus. He was a huge part of their World Series team in 2018, but had a weak, injury riddled 2019 season on a contract well to large for his production. He started off the 2020 season on a high note though, going six innings, and giving up just one run (in the sixth), with four strikeouts. Honestly, he might be the most important player to the Red Sox, because if he can pitch well this shortened season, it would be such a huge boost to the team.
Austin Brice: Brice made his Red Sox debut, going one inning, and giving up one run on a solo shot by Rio Ruiz of the O's. Hopefully, Brice won't be someone relied on in this Red Sox bullpen. That's really all I have to say.
Phillips Valdez: Another new bullpen acquisition for the Sox, Valdez was shut down in his Sox debut. He pitched scoreless eighth and ninth innings last night without giving up a single hit, and striking out two. Despite being 28 years old, this is just his second season in the majors, and last year with the Texas Rangers he only pitched sixteen innings. He is certainly an unknown still, but he did make a good first impression.
Andrew Benintendi: All summer we've been hearing how well Benny is swinging the bat, but he threw up a dud in this one. He went hitless in four at bats, although he did have two walks, a run, and an RBI. He hasn't batted leadoff a ton in his career with Mookie Betts getting the honors the past few seasons, so we will have to wait and see how he likes it.
J.D. Martinez: The two spot is not one the Martinez has been very often in his Red Sox career, but he was excellent last night. Three for five with two doubles, one of which came with the bases loaded. He is just such an excellent hitter, especially because he is so dangerous to all areas in the park. One of his doubles was down the left field line, and one was down the right field line.
Rafael Devers: With everything happening around him, the young lefty did not have a great day. He was hitless in four at bats with one walk and a run scored. Devers showed last year though that he is one of the best hitters on this team, and one of the best young hitters in the league. Like Martinez, he is someone who can hit for both power and average. Don't be too worried about him.
Xander Bogaerts: Bogaerts did not start the night off the way he wanted with his first two at bats being strikeouts swinging, but he seemed to settle in after that. In his third at bat with runners on the corners, he knocked in Benintendi with a single to right center to make it eight to nothing Boston. He finished the day one for four.
Kevin Pillar: I've heard a lot of talk about switching Pillar and Alex Verdugo in and out of that third outfield position based on if lefties or righties are pitching, but I just don't get it. At this point, and I am not exagerating, Pillar might just be the Sox best outfielder. He should be a staple in this lineup. Ive been saying this all offseason, but he proved it last night. Three for five with a double, a run, and three RBI. He also made an excellent catch in right field. Welcome to Boston Kevin.
Christian Vazquez: Vazquez broke out last year for a career year (23 HR, 72 RBI, and a .276 AVG), and he had a strong opening day last night. Two for three with a run, RBI, and a walk. It is honestly just really nice knowing that the Sox finally have a catcher that can hit. Vazquez is a very important part of this team, especially if he can give the Sox some power from the six spot.
Michael Chavis: With lefty Tommy Milone on the mound for the O's, Chavis got the nod at first base. He will split time with Mitch Moreland this year at first. In his 2019 rookie campaign, Chavis was one of the league's best rookies before a major slump and shoulder injury. How he will look, and if he has solved some of his issues at the plate is completely up in the air in 2020. Luckily for him, Moreland utterly cannot hit against lefties, but going 0-4 with three K's is not a great way to start off the season for Chavis.
Jackie Bradley Jr.: Jackie, who has been pretty consistently the Sox worst hitter over the last six or so years showed up last night. He was three for four with two doubles, three runs, 2 RBI, and a walk. I still think he should be the fourth outfielder (and he comes in late in games for his defense), but he shut me up last night. Him hitting well from anywhere but the nine whole is also rare, but maybe this is a new JBJ (don't keep your fingers crossed).
Jose Peraza: Peraza was the best Sox hitter last night. He was four for five with two doubles, two runs, and two RBI. Expectations have been pretty low for the new Sox second baseman, but it looks like he is trying to cement his spot is the everyday man at the position. 2018 was his best career year, in which he hit 14 home runs, 58 RBI, and batted .288. Similar production this year would be a big boost for the Sox.