Josh Osich was the Red Sox starting pitcher Monday night at Fenway Park in the role of opener. Osich pitched two innings, allowing wo runs on two hits against the New York Mets. Charles Krupa/Associated Press

Josh Osich started Monday night for the Red Sox as they opened up their series with the Mets. To be more precise, he opened the game for Boston. The plan was never to see how deep into the game Osich would go.

At least the Sox played. Two games were postponed Monday in the wake of a COVID-19 outbreak in the Miami Marlins clubhouse. All of baseball was holding its breath that the outbreak could be contained and the season could continue as planned.

For the Red Sox, that means a lot of planning around the pitching staff. For the foreseeable future we won’t know who Boston’s starting pitcher will be until the last minute about 40 percent of the time.

Nathan Eovaldi, Martín Pérez, and Ryan Weber are the top three pitchers in this rotation. Eduardo Rodriguez would’ve been ahead of them all, but he’s been shutdown because of complications from COVID-19.

The last two spots of that rotation will be open auditions. The bullpen will have to fill the holes, and Manager Ron Roenicke will have to be creative with how he uses those arms.

Some days he’ll use an “opener,” a one-inning guy who will set the tone in the first and then hand it off to a “bulk” pitcher who will go longer.

Other days he will “piggyback” a couple of multi-inning arms together. That’s where a pitcher like Matt Hall can come in. He’s stretched out and could go more than three innings. If he’s performing well he could stay in five innings and be a traditional starter. If not he’ll be out quickly.

And then there will be days when Roenicke goes “bullpenning.” On those days, you might see nine pitchers throw an inning apiece.

“When you have 15 guys on your pitching staff it allows you to be creative,” Roenicke said on Sunday. “I kind of like the idea of it, if you don’t have five true starters that you like and have the experience, that you try to piece it together. And that’s OK. I don’t mind doing that. I think it gives the other team trouble with lineups.

“I know the last two years when we played Tampa that we were always talking about that. OK, they’re going to open with somebody. Which lineup do we go with? So it creates some uncertainty from other teams on how to go about it. Or they may rearrange their order a little bit. Maybe the same personnel.”

Roenicke was smart to mention Tampa. The Rays are the gold standard when it comes to bullpenning. Last year they used 33 different pitchers and had the lowest ERA in the American League at 3.65.

Chaim Bloom helped run baseball operations for the Rays, and now oversees that group in Boston as the chief baseball officer. I’m sure he’d love to have five Cy Young-caliber starters on his roster, but that’s not the reality his team faces. So he will try to find pitchers on the margins who can help Roenicke patch together innings.

We’ll see how it plays out in the days to come. Pérez and Weber will have to pitch well for the plan to work. That didn’t happen against the Orioles this weekend when the duo combined to pitch 8 2/3 innings, giving up 10 earned runs.

The return of Rodriguez will help the Red Sox ease off their reliance of relief innings. E-Rod said on Sunday he has no plans of opting out of the season even though he has dealt with a frightening heart issue surrounding his bout with disease. At the same time he admitted he currently isn’t supposed to get his heart rate up, a reminder that it could be a long time before he’s ready to pitch in a game this season. If at all.

It’s also a reminder that in the summer of 2020 the state of a pitching staff is a minor concern in the middle of a pandemic.

Tom Caron is a studio host for Red Sox broadcasts on NESN. His column runs on Tuesdays in the Portland Press Herald.

Comments are not available on this story.