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Oh, what a night...

April 5, 2010
By James Wheeler

Last night was the night we’ve all be waiting for. It was opening night for the Boston Red Sox and the schedule makers threw us right into full gear. We weren’t given the luxury of easing ourselves into the regular season. Instead we were given the Yankees as our opening opponent. Instead of being able enjoy the return of my favorite sport, I find myself immediately in the middle of life or death baseball. The Bronx Bombers are the one team strips me of logic and reason, reducing me to the basest of emotion. I will tell you right now that I was not ready for the Yankees last night and I know by Thursday morning I will be emotionally drained. I guess I won’t be the only one, why else would the schedule makers give us a day off today and Thursday? Is it rational to let the first three games of the season mean this much to me? Of course it’s not. Would I put this much weight on the first three games of the year if the Yankees weren’t involved? Without hesitation I can answer no.

The game was set to be a tale of two aces, Josh Beckett and CC Sabathia. While it looked like the Yankees won that battle early in the game, with a score of 5-2. By the end of the sixth inning, neither starter was a factor in the game as the Red Sox were able to continue their rally and tied the game 5-5.

Despite a seven pitch first inning, Beckett never looked sharp tonight. The Yankees were able to get to him early by bringing seven batters to the plate in the second inning. Beckett escaped the inning with only two runs scored on back to back home runs by Jorge Posada and Curtis Granderson, however, the inning set the tone for what would turn into an inconsistent night. There were two factors in Beckett’s disappointing 4 2/3 inning performance. The first was his inability to get a feel for his curveball, leaving him with only a fastball and change-up. Giving a lineup like the Yankees only two pitches to look for puts a pitcher at too much of a disadvantage and the Bombers jumped on Beckett. The other factor was the home plate umpiring, which never looked consistent. Beckett never seemed to get the close calls and more than a few of those borderline pitches should have been strikes.

Sabathia looked like he was in mid-season form for the first four innings, as he one hit the Sox and only gave up one run. Our offense was unimpressive, but looking back there was hope. The Red Sox hitters were making contact as Sabathia only struck out four. Fortunately for the Red Sox, the Yankees allowed Sabathia to go too far in the game and the wheels came off for him in the sixth inning.

The sixth inning for the Red Sox started as most big innings due with the leadoff hitter, Pedroia, drawing a walk. Victor Martinez quickly moved Pedroia to third with a double, bringing up Youkilis with two runners in scoring position. Youk tripled to right field, bringing in two runs and setting up the tying run. The Yankees would take the lead one more time after the top of the seventh, but that lead was short lived. The game was tied a second time on a two run shot by Pedroia that flew high over the monster. Youkilis would manufacture what turned out to be the game winning run by scoring on a wild pitch after doubling and advancing to third on a different wild pitch.

While I would have preferred a stronger outing by Josh Beckett, it was probably better in the long run for all of us to see what this lineup can do. A four run deficit seemed too great for the Red Sox to overcome. Then the bats woke up and everyone in the lineup contributed, with only Ellsbury left off the base paths last night. After having today off, the Red Sox and their rivals face off again on Wednesday when Jon Lester takes the mound against A.J. Burnett. Hopefully the Sox will have the same success and the enthusiasm a win over the Yankees brings won’t be short lived.

My Sox Star of the Game was Kevin Youkilis. The Red Sox first baseman went 3 for 4, scored 3 runs and drove in 2 others. In a 9 run game, Youk accounted for half of the Sox offense.

1 comment:

  1. See the Red Sox offense can score runs just fine, the pitching is even supposed to be ahead of the hitting this time of year isn't it.