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Monday, April 1, 2013

It's Baseball Season Already? Ugh, Well At Least The Red Sox Won Their First Opener Since 2010

I did my best to avoid Spring Training like the plague that it is so I have to say it was strange to sit down this afternoon and watch the Red Sox 2013 regular season opener at Yankee Stadium against the Yankees. I got bored quickly and it went way too long (3:37) but that's how it always is for Red Sox-Yankees so the important thing is that Boston (1-0) won their first opener since 2010, 8-2 over the soon-to-be dumpster fire Yankees (0-1).

The expected pitcher's duel of Jon Lester (1-0) vs. C.C. Sabathia (0-1) never happened since both were gone after five innings. Who needs aces? Lester allowed two earned runs on five hits with seven strikeouts and two walks which made him look like Felix Hernandez compared to Sabathia: four earned runs on eight hits with five strikeouts and four walks.

Boston had 13 hits but only a pair of extra base hits: a triple by Jacoby Ellsbury (3 for 6, 2 RBIs, run) and a double by Jarrod Saltalamacchia (3 walks, 2 runs). Making their Red Sox debuts were Shane Victorino (2 hits, 3 RBIs), Jonny Gomes (2 hits, run, walk) and heralded rookie Jackie Bradley Jr. (3 walks, 2 runs, RBI, 1 sick catch in left field). Jose Iglesias had three hits, a run and RBI which is misleading since none of his "hits" made it out of the infield.

The Red Sox bullpen is seen as one of their few obvious strengths and they played that way for one game at least. Koji Uehara had a 1-2-3 sixth (on five pitches!), Andrew Miller got two outs then Andrew Bailey cleaned up his mess (two walks) by striking out Kevin Youkilis to end the seventh, Junichi Tazawa had a scoreless eighth and Joel Hanrahan put up a clean ninth albeit in a non-save situation.

Boston got all the runs they'd need in the second inning as Iglesias had an infield RBI single, Victorino added a two-run single and Dustin Pedroia (2 hits) notched an RBI single.

New York's only two runs were courtesy of Francisco Cervelli's two-run single in the fourth. With Curtis Granderson, Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter and Mark Teixeira all currently on the shelf, it's hard to see the Yankees playing well or scoring any runs for that matter. That's why the Red Sox and other AL East teams have to rack up as many wins as they can while the Yanks are fielding lineups more suited for the Royals.

Bradley Jr. tacked on a run via a grounder in the seventh, Ellsbury had an RBI infield single in the ninth and Victorino drove in Bradley Jr. with a single, a fitting way to end a memorable MLB debut for the 22-year-old former South Carolina Gamecock.

This always seems to happen but there is an off-day tomorrow so we won't see these teams again until Wednesday night (7 p.m., NESN) as Clay Buchholz faces Hiroki Kuroda.

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