Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

3 takeaways from the Red Sox 12-4 opening day loss to Mariners

By Matt McCarthy, 985TheSportsHub.com

The Red Sox opened their title defense with a 12-4 opening day loss to the Seattle Mariners Thursday. Here are three takeaways from the game:

1. Chris Sale wasn’t sharp:

Sale was lit up in his 2019 debut, giving up seven runs on six hits, including three home runs.. The lefty’s velocity was concerning, dropping with each of the three innings he worked. The Red Sox have been careful with their ace’s workload so far this year – he only threw nine innings in two spring training appearances - so it’s fair to wonder just how ready he was to start the season, but he looked much more like the late-2018 version of Chris Sale than the pre-shoulder injury version.

2. The rest of the pitching staff wasn’t much better, either:

Red Sox pitching gave up five home runs in total. Tyler Thornburg, who was named a closer candidate by Dave Dombrowski for some reason, gave up a two-run homer in his lone inning of work. Hector Velazquez was charged with three runs in 2 1/3 innings pitched.

The 12 runs given up by the Red Sox are the most ever allowed by a defending World Series champion on opening day in baseball history.

3. Mookie Betts and J.D. Martinez picked up where they left off:

Betts went 3-for-5 with three singles and a run scored to begin his 2019 campaign. Martinez went 2-for-5 and drove in a run in his first at-bat.

Up next:

The Red Sox and Mariners meet again on Friday night, with postseason hero Nathan Eovaldi making his season debut against lefty Yusei Kikuchi, who will make his U.S. debut for the Mariners.

You can hear Matt McCarthy on 98.5 The Sports Hub's own Hardcore Baseball podcast and on various 98.5 The Sports Hub programs. Follow him on Twitter @MattMcCarthy985.