For one, the Red Sox have started 2-10 the past two seasons. Getting off to a good start was so important to developing team chemistry and building confidence.
John Farrell managed a great game. He brought the right pitchers in at the right times and they did what they were supposed to do. He managed to his players’ strengths, particularly Jose Iglesias who managed to get three hits without hitting the ball out of the infield.
Several players gave us reasons to get the duck boats ready for the World Championship parade. Jacoby Ellsbury was rock solid, going three for six with two RBI. Shane Victorino made his Red Sox debut with three RBI and two hits. Jackie Bradley Jr. played his first career MLB game in Yankee stadium and made a tremendous catch on the warning track. Although he didn’t get a hit, he walked three times. Great hitters know how to get on base, just ask Kevin Youkilis.
The pitching was excellent. Jon Lester didn’t have his finest outing, but he struck out seven in five innings. Koji Uehera showed that he could be an invaluable asset out of the bullpen, needing only five pitches to take care of Ichiro Suzuki, Travis Hafner and Lyle Overbay. Andrew Bailey responded well to his new role as a middle reliever, striking out Youkilis with two men on base and two outs in the 7th.
We wouldn’t be Red Sox fans though if we couldn’t find something to complain about in an 8-2 win. Lester pitched well, but he only pitched five innings. He’s got to keep his pitch count down to save the bullpen. Iglesias had three hits, but none of them made it out of the infield. Mike Napoli didn’t get a hit in the cleanup spot and struck out twice. Andrew Miller walked two guys. The pitching did well, but let’s have some perspective; the best lineup in the Bronx might belong to the Fordham Rams.
The most positive aspect of yesterday’s game though simply cannot be quantified. That’s because there is no way to measure enthusiasm and camaraderie. Whether it was Uehera going nuts after dominating the three Yankees he saw, or Jonny Gomes punching home plate while sporting a lumberjack beard, the attitude of the team seems to be completely different from last year. They may not be as talented as the Detroit Tigers or Los Angeles Angels, but they have a chip on their shoulder and they have a lot to prove. This team will compete all year, and that alone is a refreshing sight to see.
How many games can the Red Sox win this year? Feel free to share your comments to continue the conversation.
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