Red Sox Notes: Alex Cora Disappointed By Opening Day Pitching Woes

'We have to be better in that aspect'


Mar 30, 2023

BOSTON — It didn’t take long for Red Sox manager Alex Cora to address Boston’s underwhelming pitching performance after a 10-9 Opening Day loss to the Baltimore Orioles at Fenway Park on Thursday.

“Too many walks. A lot of traffic, right?” Cora said after the game. “We got to be better at that.”

Boston’s staff allowed 10 earned runs on 15 hits with nine walks. Corey Kluber struggled with his command before middle relievers including Zack Kelly and Ryan Braiser had trouble finding the strike zone themselves. The Red Sox faced deficits of 8-2 and 10-4 in the early frames because of those issues on the mound.

“Corey (Kluber) he walked four guys, but then in the middle of the game we felt like we had a chance and we got to do a better job holding them down,” Cora said. “Nine walks as a team, we’ve been talking about throwing strikes and attacking the zone. … Not great, we have to be better in that aspect.”

Kluber, who walked four batters just once in each of the past two seasons, threw just 48 of his 80 pitches for strikes. He was pulled with one out in the fourth inning. Kelly, who threw 12 of his 22 pitches for strikes in 2/3 of an inning, inherited a bases loaded situation from Kluber in the fourth. He proceeded to allow a runner to score on a wild pitch before a bases-loaded walk. And Brasier, who threw just 16 of his 35 pitches for strikes, then came on for the fifth inning and allowed three runs on two hits, two walks and one hit batter.

“All around it wasn’t a great game,” Cora said. “I think the score, it 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 got to be better.”

Here are more notes from Red Sox-Orioles:

— Red Sox fans should be plenty optimistic about Masataka Yoshida after his MLB debut. Yoshida, an offseason addition and Japanese import, finished with two of Boston’s 11 hits and two RBIs. Yoshida kept the game alive in the ninth inning as he reached on a fielder’s choice and advanced to scoring position in a 10-9 game on a throwing error.

“He’s a good player, he’s a good player,” Cora said. “Made some nice plays. He had a good throw to the plate, put good at-bats. … Overall, I thought he did a good job.”

— Alex Verdugo ripped a leadoff triple off the left-field wall to start the game. It marked just the third time Boston’s first plate appearance on the season went for a triple, and the first time since Rabbit Warstler in 1931, per Sox Notes’ J.P. Long.

— Kluber’s command struggles made for a handful of notable stats. Among them, he walked multiple batters in the same inning just once in 2022 and never walked back-to-back hitters, per The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier. That changed Thursday as he allowed back-to-back walks with two outs in the first inning.

“Yeah, I mean, I think I said it previously I’d rather them beat me by earning it and me not handing free passes,” Kluber said after the game. I did that more than I would have liked to today. Just got to make some adjustments for the next time and hopefully it’ll be better.”

— The Red Sox had a sell out crowd of 36,049 for Game 1 of 162.

— Thursday’s game last three hours and 10 minutes.

— The Red Sox will return to Fenway Park on Saturday for their second game of a three-game set against the Orioles. Chris Sale is set to take the mound with first pitch is set for 4:10 p.m. ET. You can watch it live on NESN after an hour of pregame coverage.

Thumbnail photo via Eric Canha/USA TODAY Sports Images
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