Red Sox vs. Twins takeaways: Pivetta pummeled as Boston drops home opener originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
Falling behind by four runs early wound up being too much for the Boston Red Sox to overcome in their Fenway Park debut in 2022.
The Red Sox fell back below .500 on the season to boot, now 3-4, after an 8-4 loss to the Minnesota Twins in which Boston stretched its pitching staff thin and received far too few contributions from the bulk of its lineup.
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Here are some takeaways from the first home game of the season at Fenway Park, in which Mo Vaughn's son may have delivered the best pitch from a Boston hurler on the afternoon.
Nick Pivetta slammed again
Considered one of the only sure things about the Red Sox' rotation entering the season, Pivetta hasn't been good in either of his first two starts in 2022.
Not that his 4.53 earned run average over 30 starts last season was going to win Pivetta any Cy Young Awards, but after getting shelled for four runs over just two innings on Friday, his ERA stands at 9.39.
Pivetta served up a two-run homer to Miguel Sano, who had been hitless in 19 at-bats to begin the season, giving up five hits and walking two on 54 pitches (32 for strikes) in his home debut in '22.
Pivetta's 54 pitches were his fewest as a starter in a Boston uniform, and after pitching at least six innings in six of his first 11 starts in 2021, he has now failed to do so in either of his first two this year.
If there's one silver lining from Pivetta's outing, it's that several Red Sox relievers had solid outings, including a much-needed one for Ryan Brasier. Entering the afternoon with a 5.40 ERA over three appearances, the veteran righty fanned all three batters he faced in a scoreless seventh inning against Minnesota.
Austin Davis also fanned three batters in a scoreless frame of relief and Phillips Valdez struck out four over two scoreless innings. But Hirokazu Sawamura and Matt Barnes weren't great out of the 'pen for the Red Sox, who are going to need a lot of innings out of Tanner Houck on Saturday.
Xander Bogaerts struggling to make contact
To state the obvious, it's early. And Bogaerts has been too good for too long to continue striking out at his current rate.
Still, he entered the afternoon striking out in 28.6 percent of his plate appearances on the season, a figure which would represent, by far, the highest of his 10-year career. Bogaerts, who hasn't had a strikeout rate above 20% since 2014, fanned three more times against the Twins.
That's now two games with at least three strikeouts for Bogaerts in his first seven starts in 2022.
Rafael Devers delivers
After going yard in his first at-bat of the season at Yankee Stadium last week, Devers has continued to mash for the Red Sox, to the tune of a .367 average and 1.054 OPS.
He hadn't homered since that first at-bat of the season, however, until the bottom of the eighth inning on Friday.
Just a wild pitch for Devers to deposit out of the park, even if Twins right fielder Kyle Garlick could have had a chance at a play on the ball if he'd taken a different route.
The homer cut Boston's deficit to 6-4, but the Sox would get no closer after Matt Barnes struggled in the ninth by allowing two runs on a hit, two walks and a hit batsman.