Fenway Park

Red Sox sputtering in first two games

Losing their first two games of any season will generate far more panic in New England streets than losing two games in the middle of July.

Losing their first two games of the season to the Ever-Evil Empire will blow the top of Red Sox Mountain.

Thus, the Red Sox went into the Sunday night game at Yankee Stadium 0-2, not looking particularly potent in the process. Their bullpen took the loss the opener, Nick Pivetta took the loss Saturday, a five-plus-inning stint that had optimists muttering “Except for two bad pitches, he looked good.”

Each of those bad pitches resulted in two-run home runs. A pessimist might be tempted to ask if five bad pitches in one outing would drop Pivetta in a 10-0 butter.

Pitching was the great unknown all winter and remains so. In two games, nothing should be taken as proof positive of anything, but it can inspire some nervous squirming.

Ditto for the Red Sox lineup, which was the great known quantity all winter. Baseball sages near and far proclaimed that on any given day Boston would be trotting out the modern version of the Murderers’ Row. There were no casualties in the first 20 innings of 2022 except for a nick or two on that reputation.

The season began as envisioned. Yankees ace Gerrit Cole struggled to find the plate and the Red Sox made him pay, scoring three runs in the first inning Friday.

They scored two more runs over the ensuing 10 innings. They stranded seven baserunners on the day, managing just two hits in 12 at bats with runners in scoring position.

It didn’t get much better Saturday. Alex Verdugo reveled in his two-run homer off Luis Servino in the second inning, flashing the traditional We’re No. 1 signal to his left-field antagonists. By the end of the day, it is safe to assume those antagonists responded by saluting Verdugo with a different one-finger message.

Saturday ended with the Red Sox stranding eight baserunners, going 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position.

So, the rhetorical fire blazed with Saturday’s loss, fueled by geography and glowing winter dreams.

It was only two games … against the Yankees … in the Bronx.

At least they were the season’s first two games and not the last.

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