The Red Sox may have elicited a lot of grumbling and frustration with their opening to the 2022 season. Boston lost its first two games against the Yankees.
That is no way to start the year off, especially when the American League East looks so formidable again this season.
The Red Sox and the rest of the division may spend the season chasing the Toronto Blue Jays.
Vladimir Guerrero’s three-homer game against the Yankees on Wednesday was a clear signal that the road to the American League East title, and possibly the path to the American League pennant, will go through Toronto.
The Boston Red Sox Recover From An 0-2 Start
Boston Roars Back When Down Early
In the latest odds to win the American League from Caesars Sportsbook, the Blue Jays are the favorites to win the American League at +420. The Red Sox are sixth at +1100, yet they are -125 to make the playoffs. We know they have the offense to slug it out with anyone in 2022. How the pitching holds up will be the key to how far they advance in the playoffs. The Sox must survive until Chris Sale returns.
To finish off the opening season road trip, though, the Red Sox did bounce back to win the finale of the Yankees series and three of four overall. After a day off on Thursday to revel in a victory over Detroit that saw the team explode for nine runs, a busy stretch began for the team on Friday. Starting with their first home game, the Red Sox were scheduled to play games on 17 consecutive days.
Boston bounced back from an 0-2 start to end up splitting their first six games before it headed home. The Red Sox also earned their first comeback win of the season on Tuesday. They trailed 3-0 after five innings and then scored three runs in the sixth inning and two in the eighth to procure a 5-3 win over Detroit.
Last season, we learned that the Red Sox can never be counted out when they fall behind early. They led the Major Leagues with 47 comeback victories in 2021. Tuesday’s win and the rebound from the first two defeats of the season have already shown us that the 2022 edition of the Red Sox can be just as hard to stave off when they are behind.
Although the team has yet to settle on a clear-cut closer, the bullpen was very strong throughout most of the first road trip. The Boston relievers posted a 1.27 ERA through the first five games of the season but did allow five runs in relief of Nathan Eovaldi on Wednesday. Jake Diekman and Hansel Robles, though, kept the Tigers off the board in their combined two innings of work to sew up the victory.
Garrett Whitlock Has Been A Money Man
Garrett Whitlock’s exact role on the pitching staff was a bit unclear in the preseason, but it is apparent he can continue to shine as a reliever. He earned the win on Tuesday by not allowing a hit or run in four innings of relief work. He threw only 39 pitches. Whitlock became the first pitcher in franchise history to throw less than 40 pitches in a relief outing.
Since the start of the 2021 season and through the first road trip of 2022, Whitlock led all MLB pitchers in scoreless innings of one inning or more, with 25 total. He ranked second in MLB in scoreless outings of at least two innings with 17 during that span. Whitlock is a true “glue guy” on the Boston pitching staff.
Having strong pitching in the bullpen was essential on the first road trip, as the Red Sox were involved in numerous tight contests. Each of Boston’s first six games this season was decided by two runs or fewer, with two of them being decided by one run. Last year, the Red Sox were 42-31 in games decided by two runs or less, the sixth-best mark in the Majors.
As we expected, the offense was not an issue for the Red Sox as the season opened. The team homered in five of its first six games. Last season, Boston led the majors in doubles with 330 and extra-base hits with 572. Rafael Devers hit .346 with a .947 OPS on the first road trip of the 2022 campaign.
The Red Sox will continue to be held to a high standard under Fenway Sports Group this season. In the last 20 seasons, Boston has won four World Series championships, more than any other MLB team. Since 2002, only the Patriots have more pro sports championships with six, and the Lakers and the Spurs have four each.
Getting Sale back later this season and finding a regularly effective closer can help the Red Sox in a quest to upset the favored Blue Jays. Rebounding from an 0-2 start was encouraging, but playing .500 ball as the team did overall on the road to begin the season may not be enough for a franchise that has raised annual expectations in the current century.
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