BOSTON — For all the good feelings that a five-run fifth inning produced for the Boston Red Sox in their season opener, things look hairy in the seventh. Matt Barnes allowed two inherited runners to score, making the score 5-3 with two runners on base.

With Robby Scott warming up, Barnes got out of the inning, striking out Andrew McCutchen.

Scott began the eighth with a one-pitch effort – getting lefty Gregory Polanco to ground out. Heath Hembree retired the next two batters. Closer Craig Kimbrel made things interesting, but got his first save.

But where was Joe Kelly or Robbie Ross in that seventh or eighth inning?

“The guys who have been throwing the ball well coming out of spring training were the ones on the mound before Kimbrel today,” Boston Manager John Farrell said.

Farrell said the bullpen is in flux with newly-acquired setup man Tyler Thornburg out with a sore shoulder (and still five days away from even throwing). Farrell had to go with the hot hand.

Craig Kimbrel’s first season as Boston’s closer was the worst of his career. He struggled again Monday in the 2017 season-opener. Associated Press/Elise Amendola

“Without a lock-down eighth-inning guy, we’re going to have to mix and match,” Farrell said. “We have to settle into roles as quick as possible …

“You’d like to be able to assign an inning and let them run with it. But if need be, we have others guys to bail somebody out.”

So before relievers settle into roles, the pen looks like it could be in for a wild ride. Of course, Kimbrel adds to the excitement, like Monday when he allowed two base runners (double, hit-by-pitch) before closing it out.

Eventually, Farrell will have to call on Kelly, Ross and Fernando Abad.

“We’ll see how things unfold,” Farrell said.

WHEN BEN TAYLOR was called into Farrell’s office near the end of spring training, he figured he was headed to the minors.

“They told us they were going to give us an update on where we were going,” said Taylor, a reliever who finished last season with the Sea Dogs. “I was expecting Portland, maybe Pawtucket.

“To get the call to come here … can’t even describe it. This is going to be a special day.”

Taylor did not get into Monday’s game. He may only be up until the end of the week when Drew Pomeranz is expected to come off the disabled list.

THERE ARE QUESTIONS about Boston’s bullpen depth after the promotion of Taylor. Two relievers with major league experience were sent to Triple-A Pawtucket. Brandon Workman is still working his way back from Tommy John surgery in 2015, and Noe Ramirez was not consistent enough this spring. That Chandler Shepherd, Austin Maddox and Jamie Callaghan stayed in major league camp longer than Ramirez and Workman speaks volumes about who Farrell and company have confidence in.

BRIAN BUTTERFIELD WAS as excited as anyone about opening day. Butterfield, 59, of Standish, was able to coach third base for the Red Sox for the first time this year.

“I’ve been working all spring toward this game,” said Butterfield, who underwent knee replacement surgery in the offseason. He was not able to coach third base during spring training.

“I didn’t take bus trips. I didn’t hit fungoes. I worked toward this day.”

Butterfield was out hitting ground balls during batting practice. He had some experienced help, with Jason Varitek catching the infielders’ throws.

THE OTHER THIRD BASE coach Monday was Joey Cora, whom the Pirates promoted in the offseason. Cora, 51, a native of Puerto Rico, managed the Altoona Curve last year. When the Curve were in Portland last August, Cora spoke about the lack of Latin American managers in Major League Baseball. Cora had interviewed for major league managing job six times but, he believes, only because of MLB rules.

This is Cora’s first major league coaching job since he was Ozzie Guillen’s bench coach in Miami in 2012.

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, and players Rob Gronkowski, Tom Brady, James White and Dion Lewis display the team’s five Super Bowl trophies before the Red Sox opening day game. Associated Press/Steven Senne

THE OPENING CEREMONIES featured the defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots. After a series of highlights shown on the video board, owner Robert Kraft and players Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski, Dion Lewis and James White entered the field, each carrying one of New England’s five Super Bowl trophies.

Brady, who had his jersey stolen after the Super Bowl (and later recovered), held up that jersey to the crowd. Gronkowski took it out of Brady’s hands and ran around, with Brady giving chase. Brady tackled him in right field. Brady threw the ceremonial first pitch to Dustin Pedroia.

LEFT FIELD had a new occupant for the 10th straight opening day, although it appears Andrew Benintendi may have the job for a few years. Can you name the nine previous starting left fielders on opening day?

The nine are Brock Holt, Hanley Ramirez, Mike Carp, Jackie Bradley Jr., Cody Ross, Carl Crawford, Jacoby Ellsbury, Jason Bay and Manny Ramirez.

POMERANZ THREW six innings in an extended spring training game in Fort Myers, Florida. “Uptick in overall stuff. Encouraging day for him,” Farrell said.

Kevin Thomas can be reached at 791-6411 or:

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Twitter: @ClearTheBases