We’re one game into the regular season and the 2019 Red Sox have already begun to make history.
First, Chris Sale was the only American League pitcher in the last 35 years to throw the final out of the World Series followed by the first pitch of Opening Day for the same team the next year. Nobody had accomplished that feat since Scott McGregor of the 1983/84 Orioles.
After punching out Mitch Haniger to begin the bottom of the first, Sale became the first pitcher since at least 1908 to strike out the final batter of the World Series and then the first batter of Opening Day for the defending champs.
That’s where the good stats ended on Thursday night. The second and third innings were atrocious.
Sale allowed seven runs through three in what was quite possibly the worst start of his Red Sox’ career, and statistically the worst Opening Day start by a Red Sox pitcher since Pedro Martinez also allowed seven runs in three innings to the Blue Jays on April 1st, 2002.
After Sale was pulled, Hector Velazquez, Heath Hembree, and Tyler Thornburg were tagged for five more, leading to a lopsided 12-4 Mariners win in Seattle.
The good news is that Pedro ended up going 20-4 with a 2.24 ERA in ‘02. The bad news is that no World Series champion has ever given up 12-plus runs on Opening Day, and no team has ever won a World Series after giving up 12-plus runs on Opening Day. But the best news is that nothing I’ve said in this article actually matters because there are still 161 regular season games remaining.
It doesn’t even feel like baseball season yet, and that’s because it’s not. The Sox are off to their second earliest start in franchise history behind 2008 when they opened against the A’s in Japan on March 25th. March Madness hasn’t even made it past the Sweet 16 yet and the Bruins and Celtics are gearing up for the playoffs. I’m stoked for the Sox to defend their crown, but I’m about as ready for baseball as Chris Sale was for that start. If he’s still getting lit up in June then we can talk. Until then let’s keep the overreactions to a minimum.
Follow Jack Bardsley on Twitter @BostonsBigFour