Opening Day 2022 news, updates, and lineups

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Box score | Play-by-play

Bullpen questions are amplified on Opening Day — 4:55 p.m.

The Red Sox bullpen came unglued down the stretch in 2021. Once closer Matt Barnes started struggling in August, ultimately losing his job as closer, manager Alex Cora was left with the ongoing task of assembling a Frankenbullpen, with roles shifting seemingly by the day. The Sox bullpen was charged with 27 losses from August 1 through the end of the season, the most bullpen losses of any playoff team over that stretch.

Despite that formless late-season setup, the Red Sox made modest additions to their bullpen during the offseason, with their key additions being lefthanders Matt Strahm and Jake Diekman as well as righthander Hansel Robles. While Cora may consider all in high-leverage situations, he acknowledged in recent days that he did not have a set closer, and would need to mix and match based on matchups and what he was seeing from his relievers.

On Friday, Cora tried to lean hard on Garrett Whitlock in a 4-3 game, but the righthander – after 2 1/3 scoreless innings – allowed a game-tying solo homer. Two innings later, after the Red Sox took a 5-4 advantage in the top of the 10th inning, the Red Sox could not preserve it. Lefthander Jake Diekman – summoned with the Manfred Man on second to open the inning – hit the first batter he faced (D.J. LeMahieu), then induced a groundout that put runners on second and third. After an intentional walk, Cora brought in Ryan Brasier, who immediately allowed a game-tying sac fly to center by Gleyber Torres.

While Brasier preserved the tie with a strikeout of Isiah Kiner-Falefa, the second blown save of the game by the Sox bullpen will only amplify questions about a bullpen group that inspired plenty of questions in spring training. The fact that Cora avoided using Barnes in late-inning situations also warrants notice.

Bogaerts out for bottom of the 10th — 4:40 p.m.

Bogaerts appeared to grab at his right hamstring as he left the batter’s box, and continued to hobble on the bases. He was replaced for the bottom of the 10th inning at short by Jonathan Araúz.

Bogaerts knocks in go-ahead run — 4:36 p.m.

Xander Bogaerts does not fear velocity. After an intentional walk of Rafael Devers, the Red Sox shortstop turned on a 2-1, 97 mph sinker from Yankees reliever (and Massachusetts native) Michael King with one out in the 10th, lining a soft single to shallow left. Jonathan Araúz – on second to open the inning thanks to the resurrection of the ghost runner rule for 2022 – scored to put the Red Sox ahead, 5-4.

The Red Sox will now turn to lefty Jake Diekman to close out the game in the 10th.

Robles was ready after all — 4:32 p.m.

The Red Sox weren’t sure if Hansel Robles would be ready for the start of the season given that he only reported for spring training in late-March due to visa issues. But Robles had stayed ready, throwing 15 bullpen sessions at the Red Sox’ Dominican academy, as well as some live batting practice sessions against professional hitters.

Ultimately, the Red Sox felt comfortable with the idea of having Robles on their Opening Day roster. On Friday, that faith was rewarded, as Robles contributed a scoreless ninth inning to preserve a 4-4 tie. His four-seam fastball topped out at 97 mph and he got a pair of swings-and-misses on his slider, allowing Robles to work around a double by Aaron Judge to contribute a scoreless ninth and send the game into extra innings.

The game marks the first Opening Day extra-innings game for the Red Sox since a 6-5, 10-inning win over the A’s in Japan in 2008.

And we’re on to the 10th — 4:29 p.m.

With runners on first and second, Robles struck out Giancarlo Stanton to end the ninth.

It’s all tied in the bottom of the ninth — 4:18 p.m.

Hansel Robles is in.

Oh, and … another unicorn! — 4:05 p.m.

Yankees aim right — 4:03 p.m.

The Yankees have built a lineup to take advantage of the cozy dimensions of their right field porch, particularly with righthanded hitters capable of hitting the ball in the air or on a line to the opposite field. The rationale for such an approach has been amply evident in the season opener.

With one out in the eighth, D.J. LeMahieu got to a 96 mph fastball from Garrett Whitlock at the top of the strike zone. LeMahieu’s all-fields approach produced a hard flyball to right – with the 103 mph exit velocity providing plenty of juice to get the ball to the bleacher seats for a solo homer that tied the game, 4-4.

The Yankees’ third homer of the game – following the two-run blast to right-center by Anthony Rizzo in the first and the solo shot by Giancarlo Stanton in the third – ended the afternoon for Whitlock. Though Whitlock showed an impressive arsenal in striking out four over 2 1/3 innings, he will take a blown save in the first Red Sox game of 2022.

Lefthander Matt Strahm – making his Red Sox debut – is on in place of Whitlock, and the questionable depth of the Red Sox bullpen will be tested in the first game of the season.

And with that, Whitlock is done — 3:58 p.m.

Matt Strahm is in for Boston.

Whitlock’s line: 2 ⅓ innings, 2 hits, 1 run, 4 strikeouts. 38 pitches, 27 for strikes.

DJ LeMahieu ties it up — 3:55 p.m.

It’s 4-4 with one out in the bottom of the eighth.

Another quick inning for Whitlock — 3:39 p.m.

Til Whit’s end? — 3:29 p.m.

Nate Eovaldi departed after five innings, giving way to righthander Garrett Whitlock. The Red Sox stretched out Whitlock to as many as four innings in spring training, and so it’s worth asking: Might they seek four innings from the impressive righthander today?

Whitlock pitched 3⅓ innings in his big league debut last April, then never pitched more than three innings in any other outing. But the Red Sox clearly like the idea of using Whitlock as a “piggyback” starter – providing multiple innings behind a starter, certainly trusting him to go through the lineup at least once and perhaps twice. The team plans to avoid having Whitlock pitch again until Rich Hill starts the fifth game of the season on Tuesday.

So: Today marks a first glimpse of how far the Red Sox might let Whitlock run. While he’s never worked four innings in a big league game, the former Yankees minor league starting pitcher is being groomed for a long role, and it wouldn’t be a shock to see him remain in today’s game through the ninth.

Whitlock strikes out the side — 3:20 p.m.

The second-year pitcher threw 15 pitches, 12 of them for strikes, in the bottom of the sixth.

Eovaldi is done — 3:12 p.m.

Nate Eovaldi went five innings for the Sox on opening day, allowing three runs on five hits. He walked one and struck out seven.

Whitlock is on for Boston in the bottom of the sixth.

The power of contact — 3:08 p.m.

With Gerrit Cole out of the game and Clay Holmes in for the sixth inning, the Red Sox manufactured a sixth-inning run against the high-octane Yankees bullpen. Xander Bogaerts — who was tied for seventh in the big leagues last year with 70 hits in two-strike counts — turned on an 0-2 slider on his hands and hit a hard grounder down the third-base line for a double. J.D. Martinez advanced him to third with a grounder to second, and Alex Verdugo followed by shooting a grounder through the drawn-in infield for an RBI single, putting the Red Sox back ahead, 4-3.

Alex Cora has preached the value of contact. It’s worth noting that against a Yankees pitching staff that typically resides near the top of the big leagues in strikeout rate, just four of 27 Red Sox hitters through six innings have struck out.

Verdugo hits Bogaerts home — 3:01 p.m.

Getting defensive — 3:00 p.m.

With runners on first and second and two outs in the bottom of the fifth inning of a 3-3 tie, D.J. LeMahieu lashed a hooking liner to left off Sox starter Nate Eovaldi. Alex Verdugo raced to his right and made a diving catch for the final out of the inning.

The Sox are hoping that the combination of Verdugo in left, Kiké Hernández in center, and Jackie Bradley Jr. in right can give them the sort of line-to-line coverage that has characterized the team at its best. The play by Verdugo to end the fifth inning – and preserve a 3-3 tie – gave a first glimpse of what the team hopes will be an ongoing theme of 2022.

Eovaldi, meanwhile, has had his full five-pitch mix working to great effect. While using his four-seamer as his primary weapon, he’s been very comfortable with his splitter, curveball, and slider, while also mixing in a half-dozen cutters through five innings, a combination that has kept the Yankees guessing en route to 17 swings-and-misses and seven strikeouts – with the ability to miss bats helping to limit the damage of the hard contact that has occurred when the Yankees have put the ball in play.

Yankees turn to Holmes for sixth — 2:53 p.m.

Chad Green goes just one inning, and Clay Holmes is in for New York.

Eovaldi, Sox escape a jam thanks to Verdugo’s glove — 2:50 p.m.

Alex Verdugo made a diving catch in left to get the third out in the bottom of the fifth with runners on first and second.

Eovaldi allowed a single to Donaldson to start the inning, then struck out Judge before hitting Rizzo with a pitch.

With Rizzo on first and Donaldson on second, Eovaldi got Stanton to strike out. Then, LeMahieu lined out to Verdugo.

Top 6: Red Sox 3, Yankees 3

Cole is done for the day — 2:30 p.m.

His final line: 4 innings, 4 hits, 3 runs, 3 strikeouts, one walk.

Chad Green is on the mound for the Yankees.

A unicorn home run by Stanton — 2:25 p.m.

Nate Eovaldi’s All-Star season in 2021 rested in no small part on his ability to keep the ball in the park. He has not been able to do so on Opening Day of 2022.

A 1-1 Eovaldi slider to Giancarlo Stanton caught far too much of the plate, and the ridiculously strong Yankee slugger sent a low-flying hypersonic rocket to right. He hit it so hard (116 mph) that, despite the fact that it had just a 15-degree launch angle, it snuck just over the right-field fence in Yankee Stadium for a game-tying solo homer.

To put that homer into context: In 2021, there were just two homers on balls with a launch angle of 15 degrees (one by Vlad Guerrero Jr., the other by Manny Machado). Save, perhaps, for a seed hit straight down the line to the Pesky Pole in Boston, it would be virtually impossible to hit a homer with a lower launch angle.

But Stanton hit the ball so hard, and Yankee Stadium proves so accommodating to balls drilled to right-center, that he managed to leave the yard and tie the game. According to @would_it_dong, Stanton’s liner would not have been a homer in any of the other 29 ballparks.

Eovaldi never allowed more than two homers in a start in 2021. He has now allowed two on Opening Day of 2022, resulting in a 3-3 tie through four innings.

Gerrit Cole is leaving the game after four innings, turning the contest over to the Yankees bullpen. Eovaldi seems likely to stick around into the fifth, having navigated the first four frames in just 56 pitches.

Stanton ties it up — 2:20 p.m.

Radar love — 2:11 p.m.

Both starters have settled into better rhythms, spotting their fastballs with improved command and allowing their high-90s stuff (Cole is averaging about 98 mph on four-seamers, while Eovaldi is sitting around 99 mph) to set up a diverse array of secondary pitches.

Amazingly, in a game where both starters are flirting with triple-digits velocity (Eovaldi has reached 100 mph already), the first 31 four-seam fastballs from the two pitchers did not yield a single swing-and-miss. Aaron Judge became the first batter of the game to swing-and-miss at a four-seam fastball when he could not catch up to a 98 mph fastball from Eovaldi in the bottom of the third inning.

Hitters have largely evolved with pitchers. It is an era where everyone throws hard, and where those who cannot hit velocity are getting quickly weeded out of the game. Pitchers like Cole and Eovaldi find themselves, at times, relying on the command of their four-seam fastballs as a means of setting up their wipeout secondary pitches rather than as a direct means of overpowering their opponents. It is an almost unrecognizable state of affairs for the game now as compared to previous baseball generations.

Eovaldi gets Yankees 1-2-3 — 2:05 p.m.

Nate Eovaldi made quick work of the top of the Yankees’ order, inducing Donaldson and Judge to ground out, and getting Rizzo to fly out to center.

Top 4: Red Sox 3, Yankees 2

Red Sox go down in order in the third — 1:59 p.m.

It’s still 3-2 entering the bottom of the third.

The Empire strikes back — 1:38 p.m.

Nate Eovaldi gave up the second-fewest homers per nine inning (0.74) of any qualifying starter in the American League in 2021. He allowed just two first-inning homers all year.

So naturally, after Aaron Judge dumped a jam-shot single into shallow right, Eovaldi left a fastball over the heart of the plate for Anthony Rizzo. The Yankees first baseman launched the ball deep into the right-field bleachers, a 414-foot shot to bring the Yankees back to 3-2.

Rizzo – a sixth-round draft pick by the Red Sox in 2007 – now has 252 career homers. It’s the most homers by any player drafted and signed by the Red Sox since the team selected both Jeff Bagwell (449 homers) and Mo Vaughn (328) in 1989.

Rizzo hits one out — 1:32 p.m.

Red Sox ambush Cole in the first — 1:29 p.m.

Everyone — EVERYONE — in spring training thought that Rafael Devers looked like a player on the verge of jumping from stardom to superstardom in 2022. He got off to a good start in that regard in his first plate appearance of 2022, jumping on an elevated 98.6 mph Gerrit Cole fastball and driving it out to right-field for a two-run homer.

The homer was part of an absolute ambush of Cole by the Red Sox, with the Yankees starter looking uncharacteristically dreadful to start the game. In 2021, Cole faced 726 batters and issued one four-pitch walk. He matched that total in the first plate appearance of 2022, issuing a four-pitch free pass to Kiké Hernández.

Devers followed that walk by pulverizing his two-run homer (101 mph exit velocity), and Xander Bogaerts followed by drilling a slider off the fence in left – a ball hit so hard (111 mph exit velocity) that Bogaerts had to stop at first for a 357-foot single. The near-miss homer, however, soon turned into a run, as J.D. Martinez lined a 99 mph fastball down the right-field line (true to his approach at his best – fastballs hit to the opposite field, breaking balls pulled) for a run-scoring double, with Bogaerts scooting home from first.

With the walk, homer, single, double sequence, Cole matched a career-worst stumble at the start of a game. It marked just the fifth time in his career that he allowed the first four batters of the game to reach. Though Cole settled to retire the next three batters (with Trevor Story fouling out to third in his first Red Sox plate appearance), the Sox claimed an immediate 3-0 lead.

J.D. Martinez hits Bogaerts in to make it 3-0 — 1:20 p.m.

Rafael Devers puts Sox on the board, 2-0 — 1:16 p.m.

Did we not just say he was going to have a monster season?

Why Rafael Devers seems poised for a monster season — 12:50 p.m.

Everyone who spent time around Rafael Devers this spring saw a player who looks determined to establish himself as one of the game’s elite. There have been times when Devers approached spring training as an opportunity to work himself into shape. That was not his outlook when the lockout ended this year.

Read the full story here.

An AL Wild Card rematch — 12:30 p.m.

Just over six months after the Red Sox brought the Yankees’ 2021 season to an end in the Wild Card Game last October 5, the two teams will kickstart their 2022 campaign in a rematch of their aces.

Two of the hardest-throwing starters in the game, Gerrit Cole (97.7 mph average four-seam fastball velocity, first among MLB starters) and Nate Eovaldi (96.8 mph, third) will again oppose each other, though it’s fair to wonder how far into the game either will be permitted to work coming off of a compressed buildup in spring training.

The Red Sox will unveil a lineup that now features Trevor Story at second base, while Story and Jackie Bradley Jr. are expected to overhaul a defense that was uninspiring last year. The Yankees, meanwhile, will feature a lineup that may inspire infielders to play back a couple of steps. Aaron Judge (1st), Giancarlo Stanton (2nd), and newcomer Josh Donaldson (4th) – batting leadoff for the eighth time in his career and the first since 2015 – posted three of the four highest average exit velocities in MLB last year.

The AL East – which last season featured four teams that won 90-plus games, including three that finished the year within a single win of each other – promises to be unforgiving. Every game represents the potential difference between a playoff berth and an October vacation. As much as players are still building their stamina following an offseason lockout and hasty spring training, there’s little time for teams to ease into the start of the season.

It’s go-time! First pitch at 1:05 p.m.

Red Sox and Yankees lineups — 12:20 p.m.

Red Sox lineup: Kiké Hernández CF, Rafael Devers 3B, Xander Bogaerts SS, J.D. Martinez DH, Alex Verdugo LF, Trevor Story 2B, Bobby Dalbec 1B, Jackie Bradley Jr. RF, Christian Vázquez C.

Pitching: RHP Nate Eovaldi

Yankees vs. Eovaldi: Josh Donaldson 3-12, Joey Gallo 1-7, Marwin Gonzalez 0-4, Aaron Hicks 3-16, Kyle Higashioka 2-3, Aaron Judge 8-20, Isiah Kiner-Falefa 1-4, DJ LeMahieu 12-37, Anthony Rizzo 5-9, Giancarlo Stanton 7-27, Gleyber Torres 7-29, Jose Trevino 0-2

Yankees projected lineup: Josh Donaldson DH, Aaron Judge CF, Anthony Rizzo 1B, Giancarlo Stanton RF, DJ LeMahieu 3B, Joey Gallo LF, Gleyber Torres 2B, Isiah Kiner-Falefa SS, Kyle Higashioka C

Pitching: RHP Gerrit Cole

Red Sox vs. Cole: Jonathan Araúz 0-2, Christian Arroyo 1-2, Xander Bogaerts 5-24, Jackie Bradley Jr. 3-11, Bobby Dalbec 0-4, Rafael Devers 4-19, Kiké Hernández 5-11, J.D. Martinez 6-25, Kevin Plawecki 1-3, Travis Shaw 3-17, Trevor Story 2-12, Alex Verdugo 4-14, Christian Vázquez 5-17

News and notes — 12:15 p.m.

Stat of the day: This pitching matchup is a rematch of the AL Wild Card Game on Oct. 5, the last time these two teams played each other. The Red Sox got three runs off Gerrit Cole before he was taken out in the third inning. Boston won, 6-2.

Notes: Cole, in his third season in New York, is 23-11 with a 3.11 ERA in his first 42 regular-season starts. He was 16-8 with a 3.23 ERA last season when he finished second behind Robbie Ray in the Cy Young voting. … He is 5-3 with a 3.81 ERA in 10 career starts against the Red Sox and was 2-2 with a 4.91 ERA in four starts against them last season. … On the two new additions: Josh Donaldson batted .247 with 26 homers and 72 RBIs in 135 games for the Twins last season. Isiah Kiner-Falefa batted .271 with eight homers and 53 RBIs in 158 games for the Rangers last season. … Eovaldi was 11-9 with a 3.75 ERA in his third full season with Boston. He was 2-2 with 3.71 ERA in six starts against the Yankees last season and is 3-4 with a 3.64 ERA in 15 appearances (12 starts) against New York.

Happy Opening Day! — 12:10 p.m.

Baseball is back.

Squabbling between owners and players over the collective bargaining agreement delayed the season by a week, but the Red Sox will take the field against the Yankees at 1:05 p.m. in New York.

Alex Speier can be reached at Follow him on Twitter at @alexspeier. Katie McInerney can be reached at Follow her on Twitter at @k8tmac.

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