Red Sox's offseason acquisitions showed up big in win vs. White Sox originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
The Boston Red Sox had their nine-game winning streak snapped against the Minnesota Twins on Thursday, but it didn't take them very long to get back to their winning ways.
On Saturday afternoon, the team took down the Chicago White Sox 7-4 in what was, for most of the afternoon, a closely contested game.
While the White Sox led from the jump after building a first-inning lead, the Red Sox battled their way back into things and limited the White Sox to just two runs in the next eight innings.
Boston finally was able to vault convincingly over Chicago in the eighth inning to earn their 10th win of the season.
Here are three observations from the Red Sox's series-opening victory that got them back in the winner's column.
Red Sox's offseason acquisitions showed up big on Saturday
Though many doubted the approach that Chaim Bloom took during the offseason, there's no doubt that his acquisitions have paid off. And Saturday was a perfect example of how they've helped the team.
The eighth inning was when the Red Sox were able to pull away from the White Sox, and it started with Adam Ottavino.
The veteran reliever, acquired via an extremely rare trade with the New York Yankees, had his best inning of work in Boston. Ottavino struck out the side on 12 pitches (10 strikes) and brought the Red Sox up to bat in a 3-3 game.
The first batter of that eighth inning was Marwin Gonzalez. The late offseason signing had been 0-for-3 on the day and was batting just above the Mendoza line when he came up to bat, but he managed to put a charge into a pitch and sent it just right of the triangle for his first Red Sox homer. That timely smack gave the Sox a lead that they wouldn't relinquish.
Outside of that inning, Kiké Hernández, signed away from the Dodgers, had his best day as the lead-off man in the Red Sox lineup. He went 4-for-5 from the plate with three singles, a double, two runs scored, and an RBI. He helped to spark the top of the Sox lineup, something that didn't happen often last season.
Franchy Cordero also got in on the action. The outfielder acquired in the Andrew Benintendi trade scuffled a bit at the plate, but he had one of the defensive plays of the day in left field. He gunned down a runner at second base to give the Red Sox a three-up, three-down inning.
All of these players, along with Matt Andriese, who pitched three shut-out innings for the Red Sox, played a massive role in keeping this game close and ultimately earning the team the victory. After seeing the Sox through 14 games, their offseason looks like it was a very strong one overall.
Nick Pivetta's potential Achilles' heel has been revealed
Through his first two starts of the season, Nick Pivetta was very good for the Red Sox. He posted a 2-0 record with a 3.27 ERA and notched a shut-out in his first game of the year. In his second game, he pitched six innings and allowed four runs, but only because the Sox left him in longer than expected as they had a big lead.
However, there was a minor issue for Pivetta in those two games. He did issue seven walks in those contests. It didn't matter too much, as he logged at least five innings of action in each game and the Sox won both of them, but that issue proved to be his Achilles' heel on Saturday.
Against the White Sox, Pivetta lasted only 3 2/3 innings. He allowed only two runs, but he walked four batters. As a result, he now ranks bottom-three among qualified MLB players in walks per nine innings pitched.
Additionally, the walks caused Pivetta's pitch count to quickly skyrocket. Pivetta threw 83 pitches before being pulled; just 49 of them were for strikes. If he continues to have issues throwing strikes, he won't be able to go as deep into games as Boston would like.
The good news is that Pivetta continues to do well to work himself out of jams, and the Red Sox bullpen has been strong to start the season. Still, it would be nice for Pivetta to cut down on his walks and pitches and go deeper into games.
If Pivetta can't do that, he could be a bit more inconsistent than the team would like at the back end of the rotation.
The Red Sox go as Xander Bogaerts goes
For all the buzz that J.D. Martinez and Christian Vazquez got out of the gate this season for the Red Sox, little attention has been paid to Bogaerts. However, he has been the team's most consistent hitter for most of the season.
Against the White Sox, Bogaerts went 4-for-5 from the plate. He singled in his first three at-bats, but his most crucial hit came in the eighth inning when he blooped a ground-rule double done the right field line. The play scored two runs and gave the Red Sox the cushion they needed to hold off the White Sox.
Bogaerts' great performance Sunday extended his on-base streak to 10 consecutive games. In nine of those 10 games, he has a hit.
And just how impressive has Bogaerts been as a hitter in general? On the year, Bogaerts already has two four-hit games. That's already more than he had in 56 games last year.
Needless to say, Bogaerts is hot. And as long as he stays that way, the Red Sox will have a very good chance to continue their winning ways. After all, they are 8-2 in games where he gets a hit this year and 1-2 when he doesn't.