Boston Red Sox at Seattle Mariners
When: 7:10 PM ET, Thursday, March 28, 2019
Where: T-Mobile Park, Seattle, Washington
SEATTLE – The Boston Red Sox step up to the plate in the defense of their latest MLB world championship when they visit the Seattle Mariners this evening. While the Red Sox will be enjoying their regular-season opener, the Mariners already have a jump on the competition after earning a pair of wins over the Oakland Athletics in Japan last week.
Boston won a franchise-record 108 games in the regular season before going on to win the World Series and brings back much the same team, led by reigning MVP Mookie Betts, slugging designated hitter J.D. Martinez and a strong starting rotation.
“We want to win year in and year out, and I think it starts with great players,” team president Dave Dombrowski told reporters. “Ownership is fantastic here. We have a great, loyal fan base. (Manager) Alex (Cora) and his staff, they’ve really brought a great deal (to the table). I really don’t think there are too many places that have that. Our goal is to not just to have won last year, but we’ve started a new chapter and we’re looking to win this year and win for years to come.”
The Mariners are in a bit of a transition after trading away players like Robinson Cano, Jean Segura, James Paxton and Edwin Diaz in the offseason but got solid performances from some of the newcomers in the two victories in Japan. Domingo Santana homered and drove in five runs while new shortstop Tim Beckham went 5-for-7 with a homer and four runs scored.
TV: 7:10 p.m. ET, ESPN, NESN (Boston)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Red Sox LH Chris Sale (2018: 12-4, 2.11 ERA) vs. Mariners LH Marco Gonzales (1-0, 4.50)
Sale battled shoulder inflammation down the stretch and into the playoffs but struck out the side to cap off the World Series win and was signed to a $145 million extension last week that will keep him in Boston through the 2024 season. “I like to win,” Sale told reporters. “Last year was awesome and I want to keep doing that.” Sale finished in the top five of the AL Cy Young Award voting in each of the last seven seasons and is 29-12 with a 2.56 ERA and 545 strikeouts in 372 1/3 innings over two seasons in Boston.
Gonzales allowed four runs – three earned – on seven hits and a walk in six innings against the Athletics last week, striking out four. The 27-year-old was still being extended as part of his spring training routine and was limited to 69 pitches in that outing. Gonzales went 13-9 with a 4.00 ERA in a breakout 2018 campaign but suffered the loss in his lone outing against Boston, yielding five runs and seven hits in six innings on June 24.
1. Red Sox 1B and World Series hero Steve Pearce (calf) will begin the season on the injured list.
2. New Mariners closer RHP Hunter Strickland struck out three across two perfect appearances in Japan.
3. Boston took four of seven in the series last season.