The Red Sox showed a patient approach at the plate throughout Monday’s season opener, drawing eight walks and collecting 13 hits. Jackie Bradley Jr., who made his big league debut, walked three times and scored two runs. Jarrod Saltalamacchia also earned three walks, and he reached base safely four times total.
Jacoby Ellsbury and Jose Iglesias each collected three hits, while Shane Victorino, Dustin Pedroia and Jonny Gomes banged out two hits apiece.
The Red Sox got the scoring going with a four-run second inning that was highlighted by a two-run single from Victorino, who finished with three RBIs. The Sox added a run in the seventh and three more in the ninth.
Jon Lester went the first five innings for Boston, allowing two earned runs on five hits and two walks while striking out seven. Koji Uehara, Andrew Miller, Andrew Bailey, Junichi Tazawa and Joel Hanrahan then tossed four scoreless frames to close out the win.
Lester ran into some trouble in the fourth inning, when the Yankees struck for a pair of runs, but he was otherwise very effective. Lester featured a nasty cutter, and it was a very encouraging start overall.
The Red Sox will have Tuesday off before squaring off with the Yankees again on Wednesday. Clay Buchholz will get the start in that game.
Wednesday’s contest is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. ET. NESN’s coverage of the game will start at 6 p.m. ET with Red Sox First Pitch.
For those looking to keep talking baseball, feel free to follow me on Twitter (@TheRickyDoyle). More importantly, though, be sure to check back with NESN.com, as we’ll try to satisfy all of your baseball needs throughout the season.
It’s one down, and 161 to go. Have a good night, everyone.
Mid 9th, Red Sox 8-2: The exits suddenly got very crowded at Yankee Stadium, as the Red Sox put up three more runs in the top of the ninth.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Jackie Bradley Jr. sandwiched a single by Jonny Gomes with a pair of walks, which loaded the bases for Jose Iglesias. Salty and Bradley have each walked three times in this one, and the Red Sox have earned eight free passes in total.
Iglesias struck out swinging on a slider against Joba Chamberlain, who came on to pitch at the start of the inning, but the hard-throwing right-hander ran into some two-out trouble from there.
Jacoby Ellsbury chopped one to the right side. Robinson Cano juggled it, which enabled the hustling Ellsbury to reach and Saltalamacchia to score. Ellsbury wasn’t the only one hustling, though, as Jonny Gomes made a good read, and he managed to come all the way around from second base to score Boston’s seventh run.
Shane Victorino added another run and ended Chamberlain’s day with a single into right field.
Cody Eppley then came on and retired Dustin Pedroia on a ground out. Pedroia dove head first into first base in an effort to beat out Eduardo Nunez’s throw, but he was unable to get there in time. Pedroia appeared to jam his hand or wrist on the dive, but he’ll stay in the game.
Joel Hanrahan will come on to try and close this one out at what is now a very empty Yankee Stadium.
End 8th, Red Sox 5-2: Travis Hafner beat the Red Sox’ shift for a one-out single, but Junichi Tazawa got a 1-6-3 double play started to ensure Boston will take a lead into the ninth.
After Vernon Wells flew out to right field for the first out, the Sox stacked the right side of the infield with Hafner at the dish. The slugger did rip one to the right side, but it fell in front of right fielder Shane Victorino. Victorino actually thought about firing to first, but he ultimately made the wise decision to hang onto it.
Tazawa would get out of the inning a hitter later when Ichiro bounced back to the mound. Tazawa snagged it, turned and fired to second to kick off the inning-ending twin killing.
The Red Sox will send Will Middlebrooks, Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Jonny Gomes to the plate in the ninth inning as they look to extend their lead for closer Joel Hanrahan, who is currently warming up in the bullpen.
Mid 8th, Red Sox 5-2: Shawn Kelley got his season off to a nice start with a 1-2-3 inning in the eighth.
Shane Victorino and Dustin Pedroia each grounded out in the inning. Victorino rolled one down to Kevin Youkilis, who charged in and made the play, and Pedroia bounced out to Eduardo Nunez at short. Neither team has made an error thus far.
Kelley ended the inning by striking out Mike Napoli, whose first game with the Sox hasn’t exactly been impressive. Napoli is 0-for-5 with two strikeouts in his Boston debut.
Junichi Tazawa will pitch the bottom of the eighth for the Sox.
End 7th, Red Sox 5-2: The knock on Andrew Miller has always been his lack of control. That flaw almost cost the Red Sox in the seventh.
Miller walked Francisco Cervelli and Brett Gardner to begin the inning, putting the tying run at the plate for New York. The tall lefty pulled it together, though, striking out Eduardo Nunez and Robinson Cano before manager John Farrell made the decision to go to Andrew Bailey.
Miller dialed it up to 97 in order to get Cano. Overall, with two walks and two K’s, it was a very Andrew Miller-like performance. The left-hander fanned 14 in 9 1/3 innings during spring training, and there’s no denying he has the ability to dominate hitters at times. The issue has always been his control, though, and he’ll need to cut down on the walks in order to establish any sort of consistency going forward.
Upon entering the game, Bailey was greeted by Kevin Youkilis, who doubled to start New York’s rally back in the fourth inning. Bailey struck him out, elevating a 95 mph fastball to finish the job.
Mid 7th, Red Sox 5-2: Jackie Bradley Jr. has his first big league RBI.
Will Middlebrooks and Jarrod Saltalamacchia each walked to begin the seventh inning. After Jonny Gomes flew out to right field, which allowed Middlebrooks to tag up and move to third, manager Joe Girardi turned to a left-hander in Boone Logan.
Logan fell behind Bradley, who showed bunt a couple of times throughout the at-bat. The 22-year-old then lined Logan’s 3-1 offering right back where it came from. The ball caromed off Logan and over to second base, but Robinson Cano’s only option was to go to first. That allowed Middlebrooks to score Boston’s fifth run of the game.
With Saltalamacchia at second base, Jose Iglesias picked up his third hit of the game by hitting a slow roller down to Kevin Youkilis at third. All three of Iglesias’ hits have been of the infield variety. In fact, you could line up the distance of all of them, and the end result wouldn’t even reach the middle of the outfield.
Jacoby Ellsbury lined out softly behind the second base bag to end the inning. Andrew Miller is coming on for Boston.
End 6th, Red Sox 4-2: Koji Uehara wasn’t messing around in the sixth. He’s here to throw strikes, and he breezed through three Yankees hitters to enjoy a 1-2-3 inning.
Travis Hafner pinch hit for Ben Francisco, and he popped out to short for the first out. The Red Sox had a major shift on, so Jose Iglesias had to go a ways to make the catch.
Ichiro then popped out to third base before Lyle Overbay — who was with the Red Sox during spring training — pinch hit for Jayson Nix. Overbay flew out to left field to end the inning.
It only took Uehara five pitches to get through the inning. All five were strikes. That’s efficiency, folks.
Overbay will remain in the game as the first baseman. Kevin Youkilis will shift over to third base.
Mid 6th, Red Sox 4-2: The Red Sox received a stinger in the sixth.
Jacoby Ellsbury led off the inning with a triple into the right-center field gap, but the Yankees cut him down at the plate to keep the score 4-2.
After Ellsbury’s triple, Shane Victorino grounded out to second base with the infield pulled in for the first out.
Dustin Pedroia then grounded down to third base, and Ellsbury took off on contact. Jayson Nix made the play and delivered a strike to the plate to nail Ellsbury.
Mike Napoli flew out to left field to end the inning. He’s now 0-for-4 in his Red Sox debut.
End 5th, Red Sox 4-2: Jon Lester struck out two Yankees hitters in a scoreless fifth inning, and he’s now up to seven punch-outs on the afternoon.
Lester started the inning by striking out Eduardo Nunez with a changeup.
Robinson Cano would reach via a one-out single into center field, but Lester buckled down to retire Kevin Youkilis and Vernon Wells to end the inning.
Youkilis made a loud out on a fly ball to center, and Wells went down looking to cap off what was overall an encouraging inning for Lester.
The Yankees will turn to their bullpen in the sixth inning. David Phelps will take over for CC Sabathia, who allowed four runs on eight hits while striking out five and walking four.
Lester’s day might also be done. He’s thrown 96 pitches (63 strikes), and Koji Uehara has been warming up in the Boston bullpen.
Mid 5th, Red Sox 4-2: CC Sabathia got two quick outs, but the inning really slowed down from there, as the left-hander found himself in the middle of some trouble.
Mike Napoli and Will Middlebrooks started the inning with a ground out and pop out, respectively. At that point, it looked as if Sabathia was poised to enjoy an easy inning, and thus allow the Yankees’ bats to get right back to work against Jon Lester. A two-out single from Jarrod Saltalamacchia sent the inning down a different path.
After Salty’s hit, manager Joe Girardi visited the mound, and the Yankees opted to intentionally walk Jonny Gomes to face Jackie Bradley Jr. The rookie responded by drawing a walk to load the bases.
Sabathia escaped the bases-loaded jam by getting Jose Iglesias, who had been 2-for-2, to pop out to Kevin Youkilis on the edge of the outfield grass.
End 4th, Red Sox 4-2: Jon Lester experienced his first struggles of 2013 in the fourth inning, and the Yankees have jumped back into the ballgame.
Old friend Kevin Youkilis kicked off New York’s offensive attack by turning on an inside fastball and drilling a double into the left-field corner.
Vernon Wells nearly did the same, but his bid was just foul. Wells would eventually walk, though, setting up first and second with no outs.
Youkilis and Wells each saw eight pitches in what was a lengthy inning for Lester. The left-hander struggled a little bit with his control, and Jarrod Saltalamacchia was a busy man behind the plate.
After Ben Francisco popped out to Saltalamacchia in foul ground, Ichiro hit a looping line drive into right-center field that dropped just in front of Jacoby Ellsbury. That loaded the bases with one out.
Jayson Nix was the first to take his hacks with the bags packed. He worked the count full, but Lester froze him with a 3-2 fastball on the outside corner to pick up the strikeout. It was a great pitch from Lester, and I really can’t imagine why Nix didn’t offer at it.
Francisco Cervelli then strolled to the plate, and Lester quickly got ahead of the Yankees catcher. Cervelli lined a two-strike, two-out, two-run single into left field, though, and we’ve got ourselves a game.
Brett Gardner ended the inning by hitting a line drive that stayed up just long enough for Shane Victorino to haul in in right field.
It was a less-than-impressive inning for Lester. What has to really sting, though, is that through it all, he was one pitch away from escaping the jam unharmed.
Mid 4th, Red Sox 4-0: The Red Sox threatened to extend their lead in the fourth, but CC Sabathia settled down to escape the inning unscathed.
Jackie Bradley Jr.’s second at-bat didn’t go quite as swimmingly as his first AB. Bradley — who bounced back from falling behind 0-2 to work a walk in the second inning — struck out on three pitches against Sabathia in the third. The strikeout came on a sinker.
The Red Sox would put two runners on after that. Jose Iglesias dropped down a bunt single, and Jacoby Ellsbury followed up by shooting a base hit the other way into left field.
Shane Victorino, who has two RBIs, grounded out back to Sabathia, and both runners advanced. The lefty would escape the jam, though, by getting Dustin Pedroia to ground out to Eduardo Nunez at short. It’s the first time that Pedroia has been retired.
End 3rd, Red Sox 4-0: The Yankees put a runner in scoring position, and Robinson Cano nearly got them on the scoreboard. Jackie Bradley Jr. was able to track down Cano’s bid for an extra-base hit, though, and the Red Sox’ lead is still four runs.
Francisco Cervelli led off the inning with a fly out to Jacoby Ellsbury in center, and Brett Gardner followed up with a little dribbler in front of the mound that resulted in an infield hit. It was essentially a swinging bunt from Gardner, who actually tried to drop down a real bunt in his first at-bat of the game back in the first inning.
Gardner would eventually move up to second base when Lester fired a pitch into the dirt while facing Robinson Cano. Cano would lift the next pitch to left field. At first, it looked like trouble, but Bradley was able to make a running grab while going back toward the warning track.
It certainly wasn’t a pretty catch by Bradley, as his body was flailing all over the place, but it got the job done.
Mid 3rd, Red Sox 4-0: CC Sabathia gave the Yankees exactly what they needed in the third inning.
Sabathia bounced back from his second-inning struggles and enjoyed a quick, 1-2-3 frame. The big lefty struck out two hitters in the inning.
Will Middlebrooks was the first to take his cuts against Sabathia in the third. Sabathia would eventually win the battle by offering a changeup that Middlebrooks waved at to no avail.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia also went down by way of the K. He looked at three pitches, including an 81-mph slider that resulted in strike three.
Jonny Gomes popped out to shortstop to end the inning.
End 2nd, Red Sox 4-0: Jon Lester has three K’s through two innings.
Lester started off the second inning by getting the vastly overpaid Vernon Wells to ground out to Jose Iglesias at short.
The next batter, Ben Francisco, worked a walk, but Lester would retire the next two hitters in order to keep the lead at four.
With Francisco at first, Ichiro grounded to short. Iglesias tried to start a double play, but even at 65 years old, Ichiro is just too fast, and Dustin Pedroia’s relay to first wasn’t in time.
Lester capped off his inning by striking out Jayson Nix. Nix worked the count full, but Lester froze him with a nasty cutter on the outside corner to pick up the K. Nix knew as soon as it hit Jarrod Saltalamacchia’s mitt that he should have offered at it.
Mid 2nd, Red Sox 4-0: CC Sabathia got himself into some trouble in the second inning, and the Red Sox have struck first.
Will Middlebrooks led off the inning with a sharp bouncer down the third-base line. Jayson Nix made a very nice, backhanded snag, and then delivered a strong throw to first for the inning’s first out.
From there, the inning got a little bit more difficult for Sabathia.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia worked the count full before drawing a walk to get the offense going. Jonny Gomes then hit an absolute bullet down to third base. Nix lunged and got a glove on it, but the ball was hit too hard. It ricocheted off the end of Nix’s leather, putting runners at first and second for the Sox.
Jackie Bradley Jr. then came up for his first major league at-bat, and he showed the plate presence of a grizzled vet. Sabathia quickly got ahead of Bradley 0-2, but the rookie managed to battle back in the count, and he earned a walk to load the bases. Bradley saw seven pitches in the AB.
The Red Sox put up their first run of the game when Jose Iglesias hit a ball into the hole between shortstop and third base. Shortstop Eduardo Nunez made the play on the backhand, but his throw to second wasn’t in time to get the hustling Bradley. Everyone was safe, and Saltalamacchia scored the game’s first run.
After that, the wheels really came off for Sabathia.
Jacoby Ellsbury grounded into a 3-2 force out, but Shane Victorino followed up by ripping a base hit into left field. Both Bradley and Iglesias came around to score to give Boston a 3-0 edge.
Dustin Pedroia extended the lead to 4-0 by shooting a base hit into right field. Pedroia is now 2-for-2 to start his season.
Sabathia would get Mike Napoli to fly out to end the inning, but the damage was done. Sabathia has already thrown 49 pitches after tossing 34 in the second inning. His velocity also seems a bit low, as his fastball has consistently been around 90-92 mph.
All in all, the Red Sox couldn’t have asked for a better start to this season.
End 1st, 0-0: Jon Lester got his day off to a nice start.
Lester began his outing by striking out Brett Gardner. The Red Sox pulled the infield in a little bit, thinking Gardner might try to use his speed and bunt his way on. Gardner did attempt to drop down a bunt on the second pitch of the at-bat, but he popped it up behind the plate. Two pitches later, Lester struck out Garnder on a cutter low and away.
After Eduardo Nunez grounded out to Jose Iglesias at short for the second out, Lester struck out Robinson Cano on a nasty cutter down and out of the zone. Unfortunately for the Red Sox, the ball traveled to the backstop, which allowed Cano to reach base.
Lester ensured it didn’t matter, though. He retired Kevin Youkilis on a fly out to right field to end the inning.
Mid 1st, 0-0: The Laser Show is under way.
After CC Sabathia got two quick outs, Dustin Pedroia lined a fastball into center field for the Red Sox’ first hit of 2013. The hit wouldn’t contribute to any damage, though, as Sabathia bounced back to strike out Mike Napoli in the slugger’s first at-bat as a member of the Sox.
Prior to Pedroia’s hit, Sabathia got Jacoby Ellsbury to hit a harmless popup to short for the game’s first out.
Sabathia then struck out Shane Victorino. Victorino saw six pitches in the at-bat before Sabathia pulled the string on a changeup for the inning’s second out.
Napoli struck out to end the inning on a changeup down outside of the strike zone. It was a nice first inning for Sabathia, who mixed speeds well throughout the frame.
1:10 p.m.: Jacoby Ellsbury takes a first-pitch strike, and the 2013 season is under way.
1:09 p.m.: Who’s got the Opening Day butterflies? Anyone?
Lou Piniella just tossed out the first pitch. Sweet Lou’s offering was in the dirt. Oh, Sweet Lou.
12:57 p.m.: The Yankees just held a moment of silence for the victims of the Newtown, Conn., tragedy while the names of the victims were scrolled on the scoreboard. Powerful stuff.
12:55 p.m.: Kevin Youkilis was just introduced, which drew some “Yooouk” chants from the Yankee Stadium crowd. That’ll take some getting used to.
Jon Lester even admitted that it’ll be weird playing against Youkilis as a member of the Yankees. The left-hander made it clear that Youk is now “one of the bad guys,” though, so there will be no taking it easy going forward.
12:27 p.m.: What makes this Opening Day even more exciting is that the American League East is wide open.
On paper, the Blue Jays look like the most talented team in the division. They’re hardly a lock, though, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see all five teams in contention come September and October.
Each AL East team has question marks, yet each has immense potential if everything comes together. That includes the Red Sox, who — as you know — only won 69 games last season.
Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz will really need to be the two-headed monster that they’re capable of being at the top of Boston’s rotation. Both pitchers enjoyed a great spring, and if that can carry over into the regular season, the Red Sox might exceed expectations in 2013.
Speaking of spring training, I took a look at the 10 things Red Sox fans should take away from this year’s Grapefruit League action. Before we kick off the regular season schedule, free free to scope those out at the link below.
And, if you’re a fan of predictions, you can also check out my MLB awards predictions — if you haven’t already — at the link below. Feel free to rip into me. I’ve got thick skin.
12:16 p.m.: We’re getting closer.
One cool aspect of Monday’s games is the patch that all MLB teams will be wearing to honor the victims of the Sandy Hook tragedy. The logo will also be displayed on the field. Very nice gesture by MLB.
11:45 a.m.: So how many people called in sick today? Show of hands.
Don’t worry, I won’t blow your cover. What I will do, however, is pass along some more neat Opening Day notes. (That’s right, neat notes.)
This year marks the 73rd time the Red Sox have opened up their season on the road. They are 31-40-1 in their first 72 road season openers.
Opening up on the road has been a familiar sight in recent years. The Red Sox have opened on the road 15 of the last 18 years.
Among those on Boston’s active roster, Dustin Pedroia has the most Opening Day starts with the Red Sox (6). And not only that, but Pedey typically hosts a laser show on Opening Day. He’s hit safely in all six Red Sox season openers since 2007, batting .409 (9-for-22) in that span.
9:25 a.m.: Here are your starting lineups.
Brett Gardner, CF
Eduardo Nunez, SS
Robinson Cano, 2B
Kevin Youkilis, 1B
Vernon Wells, LF
Ben Francisco, DH
Ichiro Suzuki, RF
Jayson Nix, 3B
Francisco Cervelli, C
CC Sabathia, P
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Shane Victorino, RF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Mike Napoli, 1B
Will Middlebrooks, 3B
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C
Jonny Gomes, DH
Jackie Bradley, Jr., LF
Jose Iglesias, SS
Jon Lester, P
8 a.m. ET: Opening Day is finally upon us, and what better way to kick off the season than with a Red Sox-Yankees showdown?
Jon Lester will take the ball for Boston after a magnificent spring. He led the Grapefruit League in ERA (0.75), and he looks poised to bounce back in 2013 after a horrendous 2012 season.
Getting off to a strong start will be a difficult task, though. The last 11 teams to visit the Bronx on Opening Day have lost. The Red Sox will try to become the first team to open the season with a win over the Yankees in New York since 1982.
Working in Boston’s favor is Lester’s impressive resume in New York. The left-hander is 7-2 in 12 career road starts against the Yankees. That includes six wins at the new Yankee Stadium, which opened in 2009, whereas no other visiting pitcher has more than four wins at the ballpark.
The biggest news to come from the Red Sox over the weekend surrounded Jackie Bradley Jr., who completely tore apart opposing pitchers during spring training. As a result, Bradley earned a spot on Boston’s Opening Day roster, and he’ll play left field going forward.
The Red Sox enter Monday’s game with a 54-57-1 record on Opening Day and on the heels of two straight Opening Day losses. We’ll soon find out if they can inch closer to the .500 mark.
NESN’s coverage of Monday’s contest will kick off at 11 a.m. ET, and the game’s first pitch is scheduled for 1:05 p.m. ET. Be sure to tune in, and keep it right here for additional commentary and analysis.