BOSTON -- First impressions from the Red Sox' 9-7 loss to the Orioles Monday in their home opener:
It goes without saying that this wasn't David Price's best outing, though really, most of the trouble was limited to a single inning.
In the third, a fit of wildness (walk, hit-by-pitch) got a big inning started for the Orioles, and the Baltimore lineup has people who will mash mistakes. Case in point: Mark Trumbo, who hammered a fat fastball over the Red Sox bullpen for a three-run homer.
A bigger (short-term) concern: Price hasn't been very efficient in his first two starts. He threw 103 pitches over six innings last week in Cleveland and needed 103 Monday to get through just five.
Maybe it's the lack of regular work in the first week, but Craig Kimbrel paid dearly for a lack of command.
The new Red Sox closer issued two walks -- one to the No. 9 hitter in the Orioles lineup -- and both came around to score when Chris Davis crushed a pitch into the center-field bleachers with two outs in the top of the ninth inning, breaking a 6-6 tie and giving Baltimore the victory.
Homers are going to happen, especially against a team like the Orioles. But a solo homer is far different than a three-run shot in the ninth.
Over the course of his career, Kimbrel has averaged 3.4 walks per nine inning, which is a bit high for a closer.
Matt Barnes had a far better spring, in part because he improved his curveball and seemed to understand that he can't get away with throwing his fastball -- hard as it is -- in fastball counts. Or right over the middle of the plate, for that matter.
He seemed to forget that Monday, allowing two hard-hit doubles to the first two hitters he faced -- J.J. Hardy and Jonathan Schoop -- in surrendering a run and enabling the Orioles to break a 5-5 tie.
In the early going, Hanley Ramirez continues to shine at first base.
He expertly dug a throw out of the dirt in the first inning, saving a poor throw from Xander Bogaerts. Later, he drifted back and made a nice over-the-shoulder catch near the line, then quickly fired the ball to third to prevent Manny Machado from tagging up at second.
Koji Uehara seems to have made the transition from closer to set-up man seamlessly.
Uehara retired the three hitters he faced quickly in the eighth. He's now faced 13 batters this season; he's retired 12 and walked one. Of the 48 pitches he's thrown, 33 have been strikes.
In an effort to get Chris Young involved as the Red Sox face a long stretch of right-handed starters, John Farrell may be overdoing it.
Monday marked the third time in the first six games that Farrell pinch-hit Young for Travis Shaw against a lefty reliever in the middle innings. Young has a double and two strikeouts in those instances.
But in doing so, Farrell has to move Brock Holt from left to third . . . and should he later pinch-hit Pablo Sandoval for Young, back to left again. Further, he ends up with Sandoval at third late in games, who, at this point, may be the third-best defensive third baseman on the roster.