Kevin Pillar, Jose Peraza Shine in Debuts as Red Sox Open 2020 Season With 13-2 Rout of Orioles

The Red Sox are undefeated in the Chaim Bloom/Ron Roenicke era, as the club picked up their first win in their first game of the 2020 season in a 13-2 whopping of the Orioles at a fanless Fenway Park on Friday night.

Nathan Eovaldi, making his first career Opening Day start, got the nod for Boston in this one, and as he had done during spring training and Summer Camp, impressed once more to kick off his second full season with the Sox.

Working six one-run innings on Friday, the right-hander scattered five hits and one walk to go along with four strikeouts on the evening.

That lone Baltimore tally surrendered by Eovaldi came in his final frame of work, when Renato Nunez drove in Anthony Santander on a two-out, RBI double with two outs in the sixth.

Other than that one blip though, Eovaldi looked solid, accidentally wore a No. 7 jerseyfor an inning, worked at a consistent pace, and ended his outing by fanning Chris Davis on an 0-2, 89 MPH cutter at the top of the zone.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 89, 67 of which were strikes, the 30-year-old hurler relied on his four-seam fastball nearly 40% of the time he was on the mound Friday, inducing one swing and miss and topping out at 100 MPH with the pitch.

Able to start the truncated season 1-0, Eovaldi will look to pick up from where he left off in his next time out, which should come against the Mets in Queens next Wednesday.

In relief of Eovaldi, right-hander Austin Brice made his Red Sox debut by coming on for the seventh inning, and he served up a solo homer to Rio Ruiz on a 94 MPH fastball in his lone frame of work.

From there, Phillips Valdez, another slender righty making his team debut for Boston, plunked two Orioles and struck out two more over a scoreless top of the eighth and ninth to ultimately secure the 13-2 victory for his side.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup, with J.D. Martinez batting out of the two-hole, was matched up against Orioles veteran left-hander Tommy Milone to start things out in their first game of the season.

Perhaps they needed to shake some rust off during their first go around, but after going down quietly in the first and second innings, the Sox offense was jump-started by Jackie Bradley Jr. and newcomer Jose Peraza in the bottom half of the third.

Bradley Jr. led the frame off by ripping a leadoff double off Milone to the left field corner. Peraza followed a few moments later with a two-bagger of his own to plate Bradley Jr. and give the Sox the early one-run lead.

As it turned out, doubles would be the theme of the night for the Boston bats, as J.D. Martinez drove in Peraza by pulling a one-out RBI double to left field once more, and Kevin Pillar plated both Martinez and Rafael Devers on another two-base hit to make it a four-run contest before it was even a third of the way over.

In the fourth, the Sox lineup took advantage of Orioles reliever Cody Carroll, who seemingly couldn’t find the strike zone, by loading the bases on two walks and a single and scoring yet another run on a bases-loaded walk drawn by Andrew Benintendi.

With the bases still full and no outs recorded, Martinez nearly lifted a grand slam to right field off new O’s reliever and old friend Travis Lakins, but he settled for a two-run ground rule double instead to increase his side’s advantage to seven runs.

A Rafael Devers groundout to third was good for the first out of the inning, but three consecutive one-out, run-scoring knocks off the bats of Xander Bogaerts, Pillar, and Christian Vazquez put the Sox ahead 10-0.

Fast forward to the sixth, and the Sox’ No. 8 and No. 9 hitters were at it again, as Bradley Jr. and Peraza all but put this one to bed with back-to-back, run-producing doubles off David Hess, which in turn made it a 13-1 contest.

As previously mentioned, Baltimore would tack on a run of their own a half inning later, but the Red Sox pretty much sailed to their first win of the 2020 season in a 13-2 rout of the lowly Orioles.

Long story short, the Sox doubled the O’s to death.

Some notes and observations from this win:

Kevin Pillar’s Red Sox debut got off to a great start right away in this one.

From MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith:

From MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo:

From MLB Stats:

Starting a season 1-0 for the first time since 2017, the Red Sox will look for win No. 2 against the O’s back at Fenway on Saturday afternoon.

Left-hander Martin Perez will be making his first career start in a Red Sox uniform in the middle game of this weekend series, while familiar foe Alex Cobb will be taking the mound for Baltimore.

First pitch Saturday is scheduled for 1:35 p.m. eastern time on NESN and WEEI.

Author: Brendan Campbell

Blogging about the Boston Red Sox since April '17. Also support Tottenham Hotspur.

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