Red Sox vs. Orioles observations: Nathan Eovaldi looks sharp in loss

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Justin Leger
·3 min read
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Eovaldi looks sharp, offense does not in Opening Day loss originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

The Boston Red Sox opened their season Friday with a loss to the Baltimore Orioles at Fenway Park.

Nathan Eovaldi looked sharp as Boston's Opening Day starter, but he was outdueled by O's southpaw John Means. The Red Sox were only able to muster two hits -- a leadoff single by Kiké Hernández and a ninth-inning double by J.D. Martinez -- in the 3-0 defeat.

Here are three quick Opening Day observations:

1. Nathan Eovaldi turns in an encouraging start.

The only bright spot for the Red Sox in the loss was Eovaldi, who replaced Eduardo Rodriguez as the Opening Day starter. 

Eovaldi tossed 89 pitches in 5 1/3 innings but was able to prevent Baltimore from doing any real damage. Three of his four hits allowed were infield singles. His one earned run resulted from a double off Matt Andriese in the sixth inning. The right-hander struck out four O's hitters in the losing effort.

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It was an encouraging performance following what was a shaky spring training (6.60 ERA in four starts) for Eovaldi. It looks like he carried his strong spring finale into the regular season, which bodes well for the Sox rotation going forward.

2. Bats go cold, but let's not overreact.

The Red Sox bats were colder than Friday's frigid weather at Fenway Park. Kiké Hernández's leadoff single and J.D. Martinez's ninth-inning double marked their only two hits of the ballgame.

Orioles starter John Means was the man responsible for those struggles. The left-hander was dominant, tossing seven innings of shutout baseball while striking out five. Just watch this strikeout pitch on Xander Bogaerts:

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Tough to do much against a guy pitching like that.

It was a poor start to the season, to say the least, but this Red Sox lineup is going to score plenty of runs. Don't hit the panic button just yet.

3. A forgettable day for the newcomers.

It was a rough day for pretty much every Red Sox player not named Nathan Eovaldi, but it's worth spotlighting Boston's offseason additions. Here's how they fared in their Sox debuts:

Kiké Hernández

Hernández earned the only Red Sox hit of the day, a single to lead off the bottom of the first. He promptly was picked off at first base following a ridiculous replay review that took about two minutes too long.

The former Los Angeles Dodger finished 1-for-4 at the plate and had a less-than-stellar day at second base. A two-run sixth inning by the Orioles could have been avoided if Hernández didn't boot a hard-hit grounder that could've been turned for an inning-ending double play.

Marwin Gonzalez

Hernández's fellow super-utility man started in left field and finished 0-for-3 at the plate.

Hunter Renfroe

Renfroe, like most of his teammates, also went hitless with an 0-for-3 day. The former Tampa Bay Ray started in right field.

Matt Andriese

Andriese allowed a two-run double in the sixth inning after Hernández failed to handle the aforementioned grounder. He settled down after that, allowing just the one hit and one earned run and striking out two O's hitters in 1 1/3 innings.

Hirokazu Sawamura

Sawamura was impressive in the 9th outside of a double allowed to Freddy Galvis. The Japanese right-hander struck out the first batter he faced and showed off a filthy split-fingered fastball.

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The Sox and O's will do battle again Saturday with first pitch set for 1:10 p.m. ET at Fenway Park.