Red Sox Opening Day Recap

Verlander returned to his Cy Young/MVP winning form as he stymied Sox hitters for 8 innings

Well, at least it wasn’t as bad as last year.  Last season Jon Lester gave up 5 runs in 6 and 1/3 innings in a 9-5 loss to Texas on opening day.  This year Lester look determined as he only gave up a run in 7 innings of work today, and that run came with two outs in the 7th inning.  The bullpen is another story but with so many new guys they’ll have to settle into their roles which haven’t really been figured out yet.  The troubling thing about it was none of the guys who came in were particularly good and Valentine burned through 4 pitchers in an inning and a third.  The only one who kind of gets a pass is Aceves who had a ticky-tack HBP and a ground ball through the drawn in infield for the game winning hit.  It will be interesting to see how the bullpen responds and how Valentine tinkers with it.  One thing is for sure is the Bailey injury really stung the team right out of the gate.

As for the offense, well let’s face it – Verlander’s stuff was just ridiculously good today.  I’m not saying Verlander’s stuff is as good right now as Pedro’s in his prime but honestly it is not all that far off either.  Certainly the best I’ve seen since then.  The other encouraging thing is that they showed fight and came back against Tigers’ closer Jose Valverde who was 49 for 49 in save opportunities last season.  Also the guy I had the least amount of hope for in the Red Sox lineup, Ryan Sweeney, came up big with 2 hits including the game tying triple in the 9th.  If these guys score 4 or 5 runs for Lester in his starts when he’s not facing the game’s most dominant pitcher then he’ll be in for a big year.

A few more quick thoughts:

  • Not to beat a dead horse but Justin Verlander is going to have a really, really good year again this season.
  • Jon Lester looks poised for a big year as well
  • I’m not sure about blowing through so many bullpen guys so quickly but I will give Bobby V. the benefit of the doubt after Game 1 for 2 reasons: 1) He’s still feeling out roles for pitchers and half of the pitchers themselves are new to the Sox and 2) None of them performed particularly well anyway
  • I find Mark Melancon’s post game comments interesting.  He mentioned that he thought Bobby V. had a quick hook but he only faced three guys and gave up hits, neither of them exactly of the “seeing eye” variety, to two of them.  Maybe perform better next time and stay in the game?
  • The Theo Epstein era didn’t start on a happy note in Chicago.  In his defense Stephen Strasburg might be the Verlander of the National League this season
  • After seeing that embarrassing pregame ceremony in Miami last night (I won’t even get into the sad Ali appearance) and listening to that ridiculous loud house club music playing as the teams were introduced in Detroit today give me the corny and old school Fenway ceremonies any day of the week over this other crap

Beckett hopes to better John lackey's game 2 performance last year

Now all eyes are on Josh Beckett’s Saturday start.  He says his thumb is fine and we will see.  This could be a big one because a win against the Tigers and starter Doug Fister will set the Sox up nicely for a series win with a great match-up on Sunday when Clay Buchholz (career 2.58 ERA vrs. DET) faces Max Scherzer (career 9.45 ERA vrs. BOS).  If the Sox can win Saturday and take the Easter Sunday game and get out of Detroit 2-1 it will be a far cry from last year.  Remember if we had only one 2 of those first 6 games we lost last season we’d have been playing in the postseason.  Let’s not get too ahead of ourselves though, just take it one game at a time.  Fans and the media have wanted Beckett to show remorse for what he did last season in the clubhouse.  He’ll have his chance to start on Saturday.  Win this one and the team will have infinitely more confidence than they played out the rest of last April with.

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About evonsports
30 year old sports enthusiast and aspiring writer from Boston.

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