BOSTON — Craig Kimbrel essentially lost the game for the Red Sox during their home opener Monday, but he’s not packing it in.
The Red Sox closer walked two batters before sacrificing a long home run to Baltimore Orioles first baseman Chris Davis in the ninth inning. Needless to say, Kimbrel wasn’t happy about coming out with the 9-7 loss.
“It was disappointing,” Kimbrel said. “I felt like (starter) David (Price) went out there and battled all day, and the offense gave us a chance, and I’m frustrated I went out there and kind of beat myself. I can’t be walking guys in that situation, and Davis put a good swing on a pitch.”
But when Kimbrel was asked how badly he wants to get on the mound again, he said he’s ready to go as soon as possible.
“Very badly,” Kimbrel said. “Any time you fail, you want to get a chance to get out there and be able to succeed, and that’s the beauty of being in the bullpen. I’m going to get the chance tomorrow, and hopefully I can do my job.”
And, for what it’s worth, Price wants to see him out there again, too.
“It happens,” Price said of Kimbrel’s ninth inning. “We’re human. He’s one of the best closers in all of baseball, and we’re definitely happy he’s on our team. If it’s a save situation tomorrow, he’s going to be right back out there, and we still have confidence in him, and I know he has confidence in himself. That stuff happens, and he’ll be just fine.”
Here are some more notes from Monday’s loss to the Orioles.
— Price had a rough day himself, giving up five runs in the fifth inning, which ended up being his last. The left-hander finished the day with five runs on five hits with two walks and eight strikeouts, but he still enjoyed pitching at Fenway Park in a Red Sox uniform.
“I enjoyed having all those fans behind me,” Price said. “That felt good. Even after I gave up that five spot in the third, they were still behind me, and that was huge. That last strikeout to (Orioles catcher Matt) Wieters to end the fifth inning, to finish my day, they all cheered, and I definitely appreciated that. It didn’t go the way I wanted it to or the way we wanted it to, but that’s part of it.”
— Mookie Betts found his swing again after going 1-for-18 in his previous four games before Monday. Bets went 3-for-5 in the home opener with two runs, two RBIs and a solo home run in the ninth.
Betts said the problems mostly have been in his head.
“It was more talking to teammates, and they’ve been telling me pretty much to get over it,” Betts said. “It’s a long season. It’s just the beginning. That’s pretty much what mattered most.”
— Manager John Farrell sent Chris Young to pinch hit for Travis Shaw in the sixth with an Orioles lefty on the mound, but it was surprising to see him come back in the seventh over Pablo Sandoval with Baltimore righty Mychal Givens pitching.
Farrell said the decision was based purely on the Orioles having a left-handed closer.
“Yeah, with a left-handed closer in (Zach) Britton, that was the swing decision,” Farrell said. “It’s an aggressive move in the sixth inning, but the way the wind is blowing, the way the ball is carrying, (we’re) looking for spots for Chris Young against a left-hander. And that was it, knowing that Britton was going to close that game out if they were to take the lead.”
— The Red Sox’s pitching definitely wasn’t anything to call home about Monday, but Koji Uehara was a bright spot, pitching a 1-2-3 eighth inning with two strikeouts. In fact, the 41-year-old former closer has retired 12 of the 13 batters he’s seen in four appearances so far.
— Don’t expect Kimbrel to give up too many more three-run homers. It was the first time the reliever had ever given one up with multiple runners on base.
— Farrell also had an update on starter Eduardo Rodriguez and reliever Carson Smith before Monday’s game. Rodriguez pitched a simulated game Sunday, and Smith threw a bullpen Saturday.
“(Rodriguez) threw the ball fine (Sunday),” Farrell said. “It was 36 pitches. It was two simulated innings. His next work session will be Wednesday, as will Carson’s, and from that point forward, from Wednesday, we’ll look to get Eddie in a five-day routine, work schedule. I don’t have a date in which he’d make his first start out at an affiliate as of yet.”
— In the visiting dugout, the Orioles won their sixth straight game to start the season, setting a new franchise record.
Thumbnail photo via David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports Images
Thumbnail photo via Boston Red Sox relief pitcher Craig Kimbrel throws a pitch against the Baltimore Orioles in the ninth inning at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports