The 2021 season got underway Thursday night out in Anaheim, and with expectations high, the Sox took an early lead, but couldn’t hold it late, and fell to the Angels 4-3.
Lucas Giolito had a solid debut, going 5.1 innings, striking out 8, walking 2, and allowing 2 hits, one of which was a solo home run. His change-up was really working, particularly in the first, when he struck out the side, including a filthy change-up down and in to Mike Trout.
Codi Heuer came on in relief, and held the Halos in check with 1.2 innings of scoreless work, pitching around 2 hits and one walk.
Luis Robert showcased all his skills to create the first run of the season in the 2nd inning. He doubled to left, hustling all the way into 2nd base, then, with 2 outs, he stole 3rd base, and scored on a wild pitch shortly thereafter.
Yoan Moncada is poised to have a big 2021, and it got off to a good start, going 2-for-3 with a walk. He said all spring training that he was feeling better after dealing with the after effects of COVID-19 throughout the 2020 season. A productive season from Moncada could offset the loss of Eloy Jimenez.
Adam Eaton, who was brought in to help solve the problems in right field, hit the ball hard twice, one of which sent Trout back to make a nice running catch on the warning track, but the second one cleared the right field wall for a go-ahead 2-run home run, the first one of the season for the Sox.
The one chink in the armor for this Sox team could be team defense, and that’s what bit Aaron Bummer in the behind in the 8th. Two ground balls that didn’t get out of the infield, and a passed ball gave Trout the opening he needed to tie the game, and made his first inning of work this season atypically stressful.
David Fletcher’s bouncing ball off Bummer’s glove allowed Fletcher to get on base, and then Shohei Ohtani’s grounder to Nick Madrigal led to an error on Madrigal as his throw to 2nd to get the lead runner was off target. Trout did the rest to tie the game, and then a walk and ground ball to third later, and the Angels took the lead.
Bummer didn’t pitch all that bad, but walks, and an error did him in. It was his first outing since early last year, so there could have been some rust, but his defense did let him down, which cost them the game.
The Sox will send Dallas Keuchel to the hill on Friday in search of the first win of 2021. It’s only one game, and there’s 161 to go.