The Boston Red Sox get one final chance to salvage their first homestand of the season before a grueling road stretch as they host the New York Mets on Tuesday night.
The contest is the second of a four-game series that shifts back to New York for the final two games. From there, the Red Sox will face 2019 playoff teams and key division opponents in the New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays before returning home Aug. 7.
Boston enters Tuesday's matchup having lost three straight, including a 7-4 setback in the series opener Monday night. Since a 13-2 win on Opening Day, Red Sox pitching has put the team in a hole early each game, with seven runs allowed in each defeat.
"It's hard," said manager Ron Roenicke. "You know you have a good offense, but when you get down early every game, it's hard to bounce back."
Left-hander Matt Hall will get the nod for Boston on Tuesday in both his team debut and first career major league start. New York's starter has not yet been determined, with manager Luis Rojas saying he is "not there yet" when asked about it after Monday's game.
The Mets snapped a two-game skid against the Red Sox on Monday, with Michael Conforto, Pete Alonso and Dominic Smith each hitting home runs for a 7-0 lead within the game's first four innings. Smith's blast drove in three, but Alonso's two-run shot over the Green Monster at 116.3 mph certainly got the most attention.
"There is an advisory throughout the ballpark: You have to be aware of flying baseballs and bats," Alonso said, joking about the possibility of taking out one of the cardboard cutouts in the stands at Fenway Park.
Alonso, the home run champion a season ago with a record-setting 53 as a rookie, was off to a 1-for-11 start at the plate before Monday's 1-for-5 performance. Also still cold for New York is second baseman Robinson Cano, who is 1-for-12 thus far.
The Red Sox bats showed life in the late innings Monday, but it wasn't enough to emerge from the early hole dug by starter Josh Osich. Boston is hitting an American League-leading .283 as a club, but its 7.02 starters ERA is among the worst in the league.
Hall, 27, gets a new chance to prove himself after washing out as a reliever with the Detroit Tigers. The southpaw had a 7.71 ERA in 16 appearances last season. Hall's longest career outing is three innings.
Help for the Red Sox could come in the form of new addition Zack Godley, who struck out seven in four scoreless innings of relief Monday night. Roenicke indicated Godley, who started 32 games for the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2018, would get a look the next time through the rotation.
After Wednesday and Thursday's home games, the Mets will return to the road for six against the Atlanta Braves and Washington Nationals.
--Field Level Media