For one day, it was the Red Sox worst nightmare


The magic of Opening Day

As the Red Sox found themselves in a mid-game torture chamber against the Orioles Thursday, Sean McDonough stated what had to considered a truism.

"This has to be Chaim Bloom's worst nightmare," the Red Sox Network's broadcaster stated.

For this one day - the first introduction to the Chief Baseball Officer's master plan for 2023 - that would have to seem indisputable.

Losing on Opening Day always stings a bit more than most of the other 162. A win represents the opportunity to automatically sit atop the standings while believing that the six months won't be a waste of time. A loss, however, introduces the idea that football season can't come soon enough.

This one - a 10-9 loss to the Orioles - was layered with even more uncertainty and uneasiness than most. Basically, almost everything the Red Sox had offered in the way of optimism coming out of spring training turned into a return of those Winter Weekend boos.

"We’ve got to do a better job," said Red Sox manager Alex Cora. "All around it wasn’t a great game. The score is what it is. We were one swing away from winning this but overall there’s a lot of stuff that we saw today that we didn’t do in spring training and we’ve got to be better."

An investment of $11 million into Corey Kluber was supposed to offer the starting rotation anchor Nathan Eovaldi left behind. That turned into five runs on four hits and six walks over 3 1/3 innings.

The priority of pounding the strike zone immediately went out the window, with Red Sox pitchers walking eight batters through the first five innings. (The nine walks tied for most issued by a Red Sox team on Opening Day.)

The preparation that went into leveraging the new rules only seemed to work for the Orioles, but not Alex Cora's club. Baltimore used the pitch clock and the Sox' pitchers inability to manage their time on the way to five (virtually uncontested) stolen bases.

The idea that the Orioles were nothing but a flash in the pan also was doused, with the likes of Adley Rutschman (5-for-5, HR) offering the image of a contributing new star, the likes of which the Red Sox are starving for.

And there was the missed opportunity to make people believe this is actually going to work.

By the time the offense - which was the part of the promised plan that did seem to work - made its final push with three runs in the eighth inning before getting the potential tying run to second in the ninth - easily half the Fenway crowd had left, having to already turn off the Opening Day glow while coming to grips with the real regular season.

That’s the sign of a good team, not rolling over when you get down four or five runs. You keep putting together quality at-bats and don’t give anything away. Next thing you know in the eighth or ninth inning and we’re one swing away from winning the ballgame. I’m proud of the guys. I’m proud of the fight we have in here. We’ll take our off day tomorrow, reboot and go at it again Saturday.

This result wasn't anything out of the ordinary. Alex Cora, after all, is now 0-5 on Opening Day as a manager, with two of those seasons ending up deep postseason runs. But this one was the uncomfortable reminder of how things can go awry.

Day 1 could have helped extinguish the boos and doubts. Instead, the flames have just been fanned a bit more.

Featured Image Photo Credit: USA Today Sports