Red Sox overreactions: Poor pitching spoils Opening Day vs. O's


The Boston Red Sox' redemption tour didn't get off to an ideal start Thursday at Fenway Park.

Their 2023 season opened with a 10-9 loss to the Baltimore Orioles. Veteran right-hander Corey Kluber got the Opening Day start and struggled, allowing five earned runs in only 3 1/3 innings. The bullpen didn't fare any better as the O's totaled 15 hits and nine walks.

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Boston's offense did its part with 11 hits and a late rally made things interesting, but it wasn't enough to overcome the shortcomings on the mound. The Red Sox will look for better results Saturday when southpaw Chris Sale makes his first start since July 17.

Here are some overreactions to the Red Sox' Opening Day loss to the Orioles.

Red Sox pitching is a problem

The Red Sox pitching staff was the subject of criticism throughout the offseason and it didn't do much to quiet the naysayers in Thursday's opener.

Kluber's Red Sox debut was a dud. The two-time Cy Young award winner allowed five runs on six hits and four walks before being pulled with one out in the fourth inning. Only 48 of his 80 pitches were strikes.

In the first inning, Kluber let up a solo home run to Orioles star Adley Rutschman.

The fourth inning is when this game started to unravel. Kluber walked O's top prospect Gunnar Henderson, then allowed a two-run homer to Ramos Urias.

He wrapped up his lackluster outing with an Adam Frazier double, a Jorge Mateo single, and a Cedric Mullins walk before being replaced by reliever Zack Kelly. It marked a rare occasion for Kluber as he walked more than two batters only once last season and allowed more than one homer only twice.

He was far from the only Red Sox pitcher to have a rough day at the ballpark. The first pitch Kelly threw was wild and allowed a run to score. He also walked in a run.

Ryan Brasier entered the game in the fifth inning and plunked the first batter he faced. He made up for it by inducing a double play but went on to walk two batters and allow two RBI singles.

Kaleb Ort, officially added to the roster earlier in the day after a poor spring training, let up two more RBI singles in the seventh. Altogether, Red Sox pitching allowed 10 earned runs on 10 hits and nine walks. Boston also allowed five steals, their most allowed in a game since Sept. 2013.

Despite a rough Opening Day, fans shouldn't panic about the pitching staff just yet. Brighter days should be ahead if Sale, Garrett Whitlock, and Brayan Bello stay healthy. The bullpen is in better shape than last year with Kenley Jansen and Chris Martin in the mix.

Verdict: Overreaction

The offense will be better than expected

If you're looking for positives, look no further than the effort from the Red Sox offense. The group nearly pulled off an impressive comeback with three runs in the eighth inning and two more in the ninth, but came up just one run short of tying the game at 10-10 to force extras.

Nonetheless, this lineup should exceed expectations this season. Alex Verdugo stepped up in the leadoff spot with two hits, including a triple in Boston's first at-bat of the game. Rafael Devers had two hits to begin what should be another All-Star season for the slugger. Newcomer Justin Turner went 2-for-4 with a walk and an RBI. Japanese import Masataka Yoshida added two hits of his own in his MLB debut. Triston Casas tallied two RBI and Christian Arroyo notched a clutch two-run double.

Even without Xander Bogaerts, Trevor Story, and J.D. Martinez, this group will manufacture its fair share of runs. It'll be up to the pitching staff to hold up its end of the bargain.

Verdict: Not an overreaction

Masataka Yoshida has a bright future in Boston

After putting on a show in the 2023 World Baseball Classic, Yoshida is ready to do damage in the big leagues. His MLB career got off to an encouraging start on Thursday.

Yoshida collected his first MLB hit and RBI in the sixth inning off of O's reliever Keegan Akin. He finished 2-for-4 with a hit-by-pitch.

It didn't take long for Yoshida to showcase his advanced plate discipline and bat-to-ball skills. The narrative that he would have a difficult time adjusting to the majors was greatly exaggerated, He'll be one of the Red Sox' biggest offensive contributors in 2023.

Verdict: Not an overreaction

Adley Rutschman is an MVP candidate

The 2022 American League Rookie of the Year runner-up was a problem all day for the Red Sox. He started his sophomore season with a homer off Kluber, then went on to finish 5-for-5 with four RBI.

Rutschman, a former top MLB prospect and No. 1 draft pick, could become the first catcher since Buster Posey in 2012 to win MVP. He finished 12th in the voting last year despite playing in only 113 games. That was only a preview as Thursday was further proof he's going to light the league on fire in his first full campaign.

Verdict: Not an overreaction

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