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Red Sox struggle as season opens

SEATTLE%2C+WA+-+MARCH+28%3A+Chris+Sale+%2341+of+the+Boston+Red+Sox+reacts+after+giving+up+a+solo+home+run+to+Edwin+Encarnacion+%2310+of+the+Seattle+Mariners+in+the+third+inning+during+their+Opening+Day+game+at+T-Mobile+Park+on+March+28%2C+2019+in+Seattle%2C+Washington.
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Red Sox struggle as season opens

SEATTLE, WA - MARCH 28: Chris Sale #41 of the Boston Red Sox reacts after giving up a solo home run to Edwin Encarnacion #10 of the Seattle Mariners in the third inning during their Opening Day game at T-Mobile Park on March 28, 2019 in Seattle, Washington.

SEATTLE, WA - MARCH 28: Chris Sale #41 of the Boston Red Sox reacts after giving up a solo home run to Edwin Encarnacion #10 of the Seattle Mariners in the third inning during their Opening Day game at T-Mobile Park on March 28, 2019 in Seattle, Washington.

Abbie Parr/Getty Images

SEATTLE, WA - MARCH 28: Chris Sale #41 of the Boston Red Sox reacts after giving up a solo home run to Edwin Encarnacion #10 of the Seattle Mariners in the third inning during their Opening Day game at T-Mobile Park on March 28, 2019 in Seattle, Washington.

Abbie Parr/Getty Images

Abbie Parr/Getty Images

SEATTLE, WA - MARCH 28: Chris Sale #41 of the Boston Red Sox reacts after giving up a solo home run to Edwin Encarnacion #10 of the Seattle Mariners in the third inning during their Opening Day game at T-Mobile Park on March 28, 2019 in Seattle, Washington.

Frank Fishman, Sports Editor

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Following a 108-54 regular season record and a World Series Championship, the Boston Red Sox started the Major League Baseball (MLB) season poorly, with a 2-5 record through their first seven games.

Though considered a strong suit for the team, starting pitching has been an issue so far. According to the Entertainment Sports Programming Network (ESPN), the team owns a combined 8.18 Earned Run Average (ERA) for its five starting pitchers, ranking last in the league. Most notably has been the poor performance of ace Chris Sale, who recently signed a five year, $150 million extension before the start of the season. Sale currently has an 8.00 ERA and has not been able to throw with his typical velocity.

Additionally, the Sox haven’t produced offensively as they did in 2018. After finishing with the most runs scored (876) in the league last season, they only rank ninth (30) so far. The first two batters in the team’s lineup, Andrew Benintendi and reigning Most Valuable Player (MVP) Mookie Betts, are only batting .190 (gets a hit 19 percent of his at bats) and .226 respectively.

Despite their struggles, there has been some positives to the season so far. The biggest question mark coming into the year was their bullpen and if it was good enough to lead Boston to another title. However, the trio of Colton Brewer, Ryan Brasier, and Matt Barnes that make up the late innings have yet to allow a run across a combined eight appearances and are striking out batters at a high rate (13 strikeouts per nine innings).

While the team sits last in the American League East Division, it is too early to strike great concern. There have only been seven games, all coming on the West coast far away from their native Fenway Park. That said, manager Alex Cora must monitor Sale’s arm and get the bats going in order to ensure that this “initial rough patch” does not prolong.

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Red Sox struggle as season opens