The strangest sight of the 2020 Boston Red Sox season may be no fans at Fenway Park. Charles Krupa/Associated Press

Chaim Bloom was hired last fall as chief baseball officer of the Boston Red Sox, brought in to rebuild the organization while continuing to field a winning team.

That could be a tall order in 2020 for a team that has a severe lack of quality pitching. Bloom recently added two pitchers: Zack Godley, who compiled a 5.97 ERA last year and was cut earlier this month by the Tigers; and Dylan Covey (7.98 ERA in 2019), who was cut by the White Sox and not protected by the Rays, who let him go to Boston.

These are desperate times for the Red Sox, who open their 60-game schedule – as part of the strangest season in Major League Baseball history – Friday night at Fenway Park versus the Baltimore Orioles. They’ll play before a paid attendance of zero.

When talking about the Red Sox in 2020, the conversation is twofold. One (and not in order of importance) is Boston’s shambles of a starting pitching rotation. Three of five starters from last year are gone and another, Eduardo Rodriguez, is on the injured list indefinitely, recovering from COVID-19.

The coronavirus brings us to the other part of the conversation. Because of the pandemic – and a few weeks of bickering between MLB and the players’ union – the season is only 37 percent of the normal 162-game slate. Games will be played in front of no crowds because of the demands of social distancing.

Curmudgeons may pooh-pooh the legitimacy of a 60-game schedule, but other fans – and those in uniform – just want baseball, after months of nothing and then an abbreviated preseason that was mostly intrasquad games. For some, the season opener cannot come soon enough.

“That will be very nice with everything we’ve gone through, Red Sox Manager Ron Roenicke said during a Zoom call Thursday. “To sit there and know you’re playing nine innings. Know you have one team to root for. You have an opponent you want to beat, and you’re starting the season that hopefully goes really well.”

Roenicke, 63, became manager when the Red Sox and Alex Cora parted ways in February after Cora was named in the Astros’ sign-stealing scandal. Roenicke, who was Cora’s bench coach for two years, has managed once before, in Milwaukee from 2011-15. There is always pressure on a Red Sox manager, but Roenicke shrugs it off.

“We talk about this (being) a tough time for me to go through and stuff, but think of what Chaim’s been through,” Roenicke said. “This is his first year in the position he’s in.”

Bloom, 37, does have it tough, but in a way, he will feel no extra heat this year. Expectations are low because of the skeleton pitching staff, and if the Red Sox do fail in 2020, it was only a short season anyways.

Offense should not be a problem. Even with the trade of Mookie Betts to the Dodgers, Boston has a solid lineup.

But the pitching …

“It’s definitely more unsettled than I think you would want,” Bloom said on a Zoom call earlier in the week.

For starters, the Red Sox knew they would be without Rick Porcello (not re-signed) and David Price (dealt to the Dodgers). Then Chris Sale needed Tommy John surgery, and Rodriguez remains a question mark. He recently joined the team but was shut down Thursday because a complication from the coronavirus was detected.

Roenicke said Rodriguez feels OK but needs to be monitored and will be down for at least week before resuming baseball activities.

“Minor complications” is how Roenicke described the situation, without going into details. He expects Rodriguez to pitch this season – but not soon.

Another setback for the rotation.

“When we came to spring training, we were looking forward to having (Sale and Rodriguez) in our rotation,” Bloom said, “and obviously we hope sooner rather than later they’ll be able to be.”

Roenicke could only name three members of the rotation: returning right-hander Nathan Eovaldi, free-agent signee Martin Perez and Ryan Weber, who pitched 18 games in Boston last year (5.09 ERA). The No. 4 and 5 starters are TBD.

As for Godley, he’s not on the initial 30-man roster announced Thursday, but that should be only temporary. He pitched three hitless innings Wednesday in an exhibition against Toronto. He could be called up to pitch Monday, if not earlier.

Covey was just added to the team, so his role is unknown. The right-hander has potential and the Red Sox saw it up close in 2018, when he beat Boston at Fenway by allowing three hits in six scoreless innings.

Another possible starter is Brian Johnson, who is not on the major league roster or the 40-man roster. Johnson is in Pawtucket where the “pool players” not on the major league roster are working out. Roenicke expects to be dipping into the pool regularly.

“We know we won’t get through all this without making some changes,” he said.

Roenicke will not need to tinker as much with the lineup. In the field, there’s Christian Vazquez at catcher, Mitch Moreland and Michael Chavis at first base, Jose Peraza and Chavis at second, Xander Bogaerts at shortstop, Rafael Devers at third, outfielders Andrew Benintendi, Jackie Bradley Jr., Alex Verdugo and Kevin Pillar, and designated hitter J.D. Martinez.

For a 60-game stretch, the Red Sox might be able to put something together and make a run for the playoffs, which are being expanded from five to eight teams in each league.

If not, the season will be over quickly, and Chaim Bloom can get to work on next year and beyond. Then the pressure will be on.

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