The Boston Red Sox have lost four of their first five games, and that was the easy part of their early schedule.
Now, things get infinitely harder as they hit the road for the first time this season beginning Wednesday against two-time Cy Young winner Jacob deGrom and the New York Mets. The contest kicks off two games in Queens after the Mets took two in Boston on Monday and Tuesday -- their first ever sweep of the Red Sox.
The Red Sox enter the latter half of the home-and-home having lost four straight and have given up at least seven runs in each of those defeats. Right-hander Nathan Eovaldi (1-0, 1.50 ERA) gets the nod opposite deGrom (0-0, 0.00).
Since Eovaldi held the Baltimore Orioles to one run over six innings in the season opener, Boston's starting pitching has been an absolute disaster. Martin Perez and a trio of pitchers who primarily have relieved during their careers have combined to give up 16 runs (15 earned) in 13 1/3 innings during the team's skid, including an 8-3 setback Tuesday night.
"We're just starting out, they're giving it everything they have," said Red Sox manager Ron Roenicke, dismissing the idea that the lack of fans in the stands at home was behind the poor showing. "The crowd always helps, but I don't think that's the reason why it's not going well so far."
The rough stretch has put the Red Sox's offense in an unenviable position, though the bats have also struggled after a 13-run explosion in Game 1. Boston has failed to score more than four runs in a game since, despite an American League-leading .285 batting average as a team.
"(A big inning early) is what we need, and that's what the other teams are doing to us," Roenicke said.
Good luck getting that off deGrom, who is riding a 28-inning scoreless streak dating back to last season. The right-hander went five innings on Opening Day, holding the Atlanta Braves to one hit and one walk while striking out eight. deGrom was held to 72 pitches after battling back tightness in summer camp.
"I was just letting it fly and letting the chips fall where they may," he said after the outing.
deGrom is 0-1 with a 3.46 ERA in two career starts against the Red Sox. Eovaldi is 2-4 with a 4.40 ERA in 10 starts against the Mets.
After the series, the Red Sox will continue their road trip to face two 2019 playoff teams and key division rivals, the New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays, before returning home Aug. 7. By that time, Boston will have played 20 percent of its 60-game schedule.
The Mets' two-game set at home marks their shortest homestand of the season. New York hits the road for three games in Atlanta and two in Washington following Thursday's finale.
After hitting a home run Monday, Mets first baseman Pete Alonso went 0-for-4 Tuesday to drop to 2-for-20 on the young season.
--Field Level Media