The World Series hangover is real. They just want to get home in front of their fans already after a taxing 11-game west coast trip to open the season. Only one other club joins the Boston Red Sox in not having played any home games yet, the Chicago Cubs.
The Red Sox have stumbled out of the gate, losing 3 of 4 to both the Seattle Mariners and Oakland Athletics, then losing the first two in Arizona including a walk-off loss on Saturday, hoping to avoid being swept. Nothing has clicked. Starting pitching has been pedestrian at best, the offense spotty and disappearing in for long stretches at a time, and their overall defense messy.
Manager Alex Cora has kept a positive outlook and satisfied with the energy he’s seeing from his players. Despite the struggles, players have openly expressed looking forward to celebrating their World Series Championship in front of their fans. And they’ll get to do that with their ace on the mound in their home opener. Chris Sale comes in 0-2, however, pitched great in his last start, giving up only one run over 6 innings after getting tagged in his first start of the year. They face Blue Jays starter Matt Shoemaker, who’s been outstanding in his first two starts becoming only the fifth pitcher in team history to pitch consecutive games of at least seven innings, allowing zero runs and striking out at least seven.
Nathan Eovaldi faces Aaron Sanchez in the finale of the short two game set. As with many Red Sox pitchers, Eovaldi has labored, giving up nine runs in 10 innings of action. For Sanchez, he’s off to a strong start with 11 strikeouts in 11 innings and a 1.64 ERA, while only allowing two runs in two starts.
The Blue Jays have struggled as well out of the gate, but that was to be expected. After splitting their season opening series with the Detroit Tigers, they lost 2 or 3 to the lowly Baltimore Orioles. They followed that up by getting beat pretty handily in a four-game visit to Cleveland.
It’s home sweet home for the Red Sox. Look for them to start beating up on their American League East division foes beginning with the Blue Jays.