Red Sox hope bullpen steps up vs. Mets

MLB

The Boston Red Sox will host the New York Mets Monday night as both teams try to recover from dropping two of three in their respective opening series.

Boston got a mild surprise when the Baltimore Orioles rebounded from a 13-2 loss on Opening Day on Friday to win the next two. The Orioles jumped out to big early leads in both weekend games and, after the pitching staff battled some control issues on Friday, they walked none in the final two games.

Those big early leads put the Red Sox into a hole they couldn’t climb out of on Saturday or Sunday, as the Orioles won 7-2 and 7-4. It’s something Boston manager Ron Roenicke wants to see changed.

“Hopefully we can get them to just plug away, do what they do best and if we keep plugging away, we feel like we have a chance to keep scoring some runs through the ballgame and get close,” the skipper told MLB.com. “(Then), we’ll bring in some guys that will throw up some zeroes and (we’ll) have a chance to win those ballgames.”

Josh Osich, who went 4-0 in 57 games (no starts) with a 4.66 ERA with the Chicago White Sox last season, will pitch as an opener for Boston and go a few innings before Roenicke turns it over to a bullpen that was shaky the last two days. Osich is 0-1 with a 6.48 ERA in nine career appearances (8 1/3 innings) vs. the Mets.

New York counters with Michael Wacha, who was 6-7 with a 4.76 ERA in 29 games (24 starts) last year.

Wacha appeared to be headed for long relief or a possible trade when he failed to secure a spot in the rotation during spring training. Injuries to Marcus Stroman and Noah Syndergaard gave him new life.

Pitching for the Mets after seven seasons with St. Louis, Wacha has faced the Red Sox but not since 2013 as a member of the Cardinals. Wacha got the ball at Fenway Park in Game 6 of the World Series in 2013, when Boston clinched the championship.

The bullpen for the Red Sox pitched better but gave up runs at the wrong times during the weekend. Dylan Covey handed over two late in the game Saturday, and Boston sent him to Triple-A Pawtucket afterwards.

Pitching is going to be the problem as the Red Sox have a strong lineup — especially the top half — but it’s doubtful that the bats can carry the whole team for the season and stay in contention with teams like the Yankees and Tampa Bay.

For New York, it will hit the road for the first time — heading to Boston — but the Mets won’t fly. They’ll do it with several busses.

The New York Daily News said the Mets would spend plenty of time playing “Call of Duty” during the bus trips, and that’s fine with them.

“It’s fun,” New York’s Michael Conforto told the Daily News. “You play with a different group of guys every night and just enjoy something that’s not baseball and just relax a little bit.”

New York is bouncing back after starter Rick Porcello gave up seven runs in two-plus innings in his debut in Sunday’s 14-1 loss to the Atlanta Braves. The Mets need to get their offense in gear as they scored five runs in three games, one of which came in the season-opening 1-0 victory over the Braves.

Brandon Nimmo drove in the lone Mets’ run Sunday night with a second-inning double, but that’s all New York could muster.

The good news for the Mets is they won the aforementioned opener Friday. But now, heading to Boston, New York is going to have to get its bats in gear as the Red Sox bring a powerful lineup to the ballpark every night. If the Mets can’t hit, they’ll have problems.

–Field Level Media

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