By Matt McCarthy, 985TheSportsHub.com
The Red Sox picked up their first win of 2019 in dramatic fashion, beating the Seattle Mariners 7-6 after erasing a two-run deficit in the ninth inning on a pinch-hit three-run homer by Mitch Moreland.
The Sox trailed 6-1 before rallying to win.
W: Brian Johnson (1-)
L: Hunter Strickland (0-1)
S: Matt Barnes (1)
Here are five takeaways from the game:
1. Moreland’s pinch-hit, go-ahead home run in the ninth inning was crushed:
I think this ball is still traveling:
It’s only game 2 of 162, but that is one of the hardest hit home runs you’ll see all year.
That HR by Moreland was hit 114 mph, tied for the hardest ball he has ever hit.— Red Sox Stats (@redsoxstats) March 30, 2019
Thought 1-A: you think the Red Sox bullpen has questions? At least Hunter Strickland isn’t closing games here.
2. Matt Barnes gets the first chance in a save situation:
Barnes entered Friday with just two saves in his major league career, but was the first pitcher called upon in 2019 to close out a game. Barnes tossed a 1-2-3 ninth, striking out two Mariners.
The Red Sox bullpen was strong, combining for four shutout innings.
3. The long ball powered the Red Sox to victory:
Xander Bogaerts, J.D. Martinez, and Christian Vazquez all hit solo shots before Moreland’s 3-run bomb in the ninth.
4. Is the Red Sox starting pitching staff ready for the start of the season?
It’s fair to wonder just how ready Red Sox starters are for the regular season after the team deliberately backed off their usage in spring training after a taxing October. Nathan Eovaldi tossed only seven innings in Grapefruit League play, and was hit hard in his 2019 debut. The righty gave up six runs on eight hits over five innings of work. Chris Sale threw only nine innings in spring training, and he was hit hard too on Thursday. The Sox are taking the long view with their pitchers, which is a wise approach, but it will be interesting to see if the first few trips through the rotation are a bit bumpy before the starters get on schedule.
5. Eduardo Nunez did what?
The Red Sox trailed 6-4 in the top of the eighth and had a prime opportunity to do some damage when they loaded the bases with one out. But then this happened:
Bases loaded with 1 out and Eduardo Nuñez grounds into an inning ending double play. He even helped by ducking ???? pic.twitter.com/GQlEG66PQ3— Adam Abramson (@Adam_Abramson1) March 30, 2019
What in the world was Nunez thinking?
By stopping in the basepath, Nunez guaranteed a double play on a play where they almost certainly would not have been one had he kept running and allowed himself to be tagged.
The Eduardo Nunez Experience is always interesting, that’s for sure.
The Sox send Eduardo Rodriguez to the mound in the third game of their series against the Mariners on Saturday.