Quick Thoughts on Red Sox Game #1

The good news is that for the first time since 2010 the Red Sox started 1-0.  The better news is that for the first time since 2010 that the Red Sox will not be swept in the first series of the season.  The new look Red Sox offense put a ton of pressure on Yankees ace CC Sabathia and Jon Lester got his first opening day victory in three tries for the Red Sox.  Here are some quick, very premature thoughts on the first game of the season.

  • Lester was sharp in all but 1 inning

    Lester was sharp in all but 1 inning

    Jon Lester looked sharp in all but 1 inning but that 1 inning is a killer.  Last year the guy would just lose himself at times and that is what led to his downfall.  It happened again in the 4th inning but luckily he got it back in the 5th to finish out the start and get the win.  Lester needs to eliminate that problem inning because the bottom line is he’s piling up too many damn pitches early in the game.  He can’t rely on the bullpen all season long to clean up his messes.

  • All that being said above the Red Sox bullpen did a hell of a job cleaning up his mess.  It was an interesting strategy by Farrell to use virtually everyone but it worked out today.  Andrew Miller showed how maddening he can be by walking the first two and striking out the next two.  Bailey and Hanrahan both had some extra juice on their fastballs today, they may have been saving that stuff for the regular season.  If the guys in the back end pitch like they did today this team will be tough to beat with a lead late in games.
  • Jonny Gomes celebrate his hustle run in the 7th

    Jonny Gomes celebrate his hustle run in the 9th

    The Red Sox offense did work without Napoli or Middlebrooks doing anything.  Crazy as it sounds I’m not rushing Papi back because Jonny Gomes is a gamer.  That was a great hustle play to score on Ellsbury’s infield single in the 9th.

  • It was nice to see the Red Sox get back to basics overall.  There was no half-assing on the base paths.  Iglesias did what he had to do to get on base with a bunt single and two infield hits.  Bradley walked 3 times, which is as many times as Crawford walked ALL SEASON last year.  They worked Sabathia early and drove up the pitch count and he only lasted 5 innings.  This is the kind of thing that you saw night in and night out during the Francona years and hopefully it’s a sign of things to come this season.
  • I can’t believe I saw Jarrod Saltalamacchia walk 3 times in the same baseball game.  I’ll wait and see if it was just an aberration or if he has finally learned how to take pitches.
  • Jackass

    Jackass

    It was a great start for the Red Sox no doubt but there is one thing that can’t be denied – the Yankees lineup sucks.  Every time they started a rally they’d have a scrub like Lyle Overbay or Jayson Nix come up (or is it Lance Nix?  I’m not even sure which one it was.)  Guys like Vernon Wells, Travis Hafner, even Ichiro, these guys haven’t been any good in years and they are relying on them in key spots.  You could see that Youk strike out against Bailey in the 7th coming from a mile away.  Like we haven’t had that scouting report on him for a decade.  And he’s their clean-up hitter right now.

  • Joba Chamberlain looks like a jackass with his porn stache.
  • The thing that I hate about opening day is they play the first game and you are all pumped up for baseball to be back and then they don’t play again for another day and a half.  We’ll see if the Red Sox can make it 2 for 2 Wednesday night in the Bronx.

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Red Sox/Rangers series recap

The Red Sox returned to their early season pitching futility in a two game series against the Rangers on Tuesday and Wednesday.  Jon Lester was lit up early and Mark Melancon was lit up late in an 18-3 loss of game 1.  Josh Beckett held his own but it was not enough to overcome a great pitching performance by Derek Holland on Wednesday night and the Sox once again fell to the Rangers 6-3.

Jon Lester had no answers for the Rangers lineup on Tuesday

As far as the starting pitching goes, Jon Lester’s performance was inexplicable.  It was just one of those things.  He had some trouble getting a feel for the ball after the long home run he gave up to Mike Napoli, who absolutely murders Red Sox pitching.  He actually looked good before that but the home run seemed to throw him off and he couldn’t get into a rhythm after that.  He threw 50 pitches in the 2nd inning and couldn’t record an out in the 3rd before getting yanked.  I’m guessing this was an aberration for Lester and he’ll throw the ball better next time out.  Josh Beckett was much better on Wednesday night.  He is gaining velocity, he went from 91-92 in his first two outings to 93-94 last night, and continues to locate his secondary pitches well.  He gave the Sox a quality start in 7 strong innings and the only blemish was a run scored on a ground ball up the middle and a 2-run homer by, yup, Mike Napoli.  Beckett seems to have settled in after that first outing.

The bullpen is still as mess at times.  Mark Melancon was supposed to be a primary set-up guy for this team but he’s now down in Pawtucket after giving up 3 home runs on Tuesday night.  Michael Bowden has been designated for assignment.  Franklin Morales, who looked great before last night, gave up 3 runs to the Rangers in the 8th inning.  The good news is that Aceves is settling in and Matt Albers and Scott Atchison are pitching better for the Sox.  Vicente Padilla is holding his own in a set-up spot as well.  Perhaps we’ll see if Junichi Tazawa, called up for Melancon and coming off of Tommy John surgery, can contribute.  We may look back at the Andrew Bailey injury and see it as the thing that undid the Bobby V. era before it even started.

Youkilis celebrated his 1st HR of the season Wednesday night

The lineup is doing alright but faced some tough pitching in the two games.  It’s a pretty good staff when you have two guys, Scott Feldman and Alexei Ogando, who have been all-stars as starers as your primary set-up guys.  Papi continues to hit with 1 in each of the 2 games against Texas.  Dustin Pedroia hit his 3rd jack of the young season and Adrian Gonzalez added his 2nd in Game 1.  Kevin Youkilis finally got on the board with a 2-run shot on Wednesday night.  Ryan Sweeney continues to hit well and added an RBI single in the bottom of the 9th last night against Joe Nathan.  Kelly Shoppach continues to hit with another double last night.  Mike Aviles went 2-for-6 with two walks in the series and continues to hold his own at the lead-off spot.  The Sox defense is actually the best in the league so they’re not getting killed in that department either.

So the Sox are 4-8 after 12 games.  Too bad they didn’t start that good last year, they’d have been in the playoffs if they had.  Now they have a crucial series against the Yankees to finish the home stand.  The funny thing is, as a Sox fan, the Yankees don’t scare me as much as the the other teams we have played so far.  We’ve played this team well over the past couple seasons, something you couldn’t say about the Rays or Rangers.  Friday should be exciting, regardless of the record.  I’m looking forward to watching the ceremony and I hope there are a lot of older players that were kind of forgotten about over the years (Luis Rivera, Jeff Frye, Jody Reed, Bob Zupcic, the list goes on and on.)  Anyway until then keep your heads up and go B’s.

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