Looking at the way the game unfolded, you have to believe that this is the way the Red Sox expect to win most of their games — good starting pitching, timely hitting, aggressive base running and a lock-down bullpen.
The Red Sox were aggressive and they were patient. They made C.C. Sabathia work. This was like the ’04 Red Sox who would make the starting pitcher throw a ton of pitches.
Jackie Bradley Jr. had a wonderful game without even getting a hit. He drew three walks, including one that started with him down 0-2 in the count that really stood out. He hustled to beat out a force play and made a great grab in the fourth inning that saved a run or two. You would have never known that he was playing his first game in the pros.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia had one of his best games that I can recall with the Red Sox, going 1-for-2 with three walks. His disciple at the plate really forced Sabathia to throw a ton of extra pitches, knocking him out after five.
Jose Iglesias had a great start with three hits and a solid day in the field. Now, all three of those hits didn’t leave the infield, but that isn’t the point. He got on base. He wasn’t an automatic out. If Iglesias can hit .250, he’s likely going to be your starting shortstop due to what he can provide in the field.
The Red Sox appeared to be much more aggressive on the bases, trying to force the issue and make the defense make plays. It didn’t always work, but I love the fact that the Red Sox weren’t playing station-to-station baseball and waiting for home runs. Given the lifeless play for the majority of last season, today was a much more enjoyable experience.
The bullpen was as advertised. Jon Lester struggled to go deep into the game, but he left with a lead. Five Boston relievers combined to hold the Yankees scoreless through four innings — the way manager John Farrell hoped to draw it up.
It’s only the beginning, but compared to last season, it already feels like the Red Sox are much improved.