The Red Sox will be a happy bunch when they receive their 2013 World Series rings Friday at Fenway Park. Boston took two of three from the Baltimore Orioles to begin the 2014 season.
The Red Sox, who lost to the Orioles on Opening Day on Monday, earned wins in the final two games of their season-opening series in Baltimore. Boston’s offense pounded 14 hits in Thursday’s 4-3 win, with Xander Bogaerts and David Ortiz each collecting three apiece.
Friday figures to be a special day at Fenway Park. But before we fully immerse ourselves in the celebratory atmosphere, let’s glance over some notes from Thursday’s action.
– Felix Doubront was so-so in his first start of 2014, giving up three runs on six hits over 5 1/3 innings. He struck out four and walked one while throwing 76 pitches (51 strikes).
– Bogaerts’ three-hit game was the first of his major league career. It certainly won’t be the last. The 21-year-old is hitting .556 (5-for-9) with a .667 on-base percentage through Boston’s first three games.
– Bogaerts also made a nice defensive play in the eighth inning. Nelson Cruz yanked a ball to the left side with one out and Adam Jones on first base in a 4-3 game. Bogaerts ranged into the hole and delivered an off-balance strike to Dustin Pedroia at second base to record a key forceout.
– So much for Ortiz’s spring training struggles spilling into the regular season. The 38-year-old, who had just two hits all spring, went 3-for-5 one day after delivering a two-run homer.
– Will Middlebrooks began the season 0-for-8, but he broke through with two hits. Jackie Bradley Jr. also collected two hits in a solid game for the Red Sox’s younger players.
– Jonny Gomes reached base twice while leading off in a regular-season game for the first time since 2007.
– Mike Napoli (0-for-5) was the only Red Sox hitter without a hit.
– Red Sox manager John Farrell said before Thursday’s game that Edward Mujica and Junichi Tazawa are “interchangeable” when it comes to pitching the seventh and eighth innings. Tazawa was called upon in the eighth inning Thursday, though, and the Japanese right-hander provided another scoreless frame.
Tazawa, who surrendered two singles before escaping trouble Thursday, has pitched the eighth inning in all three of Boston’s games thus far.
– Chris Capuano was sharp in his Red Sox debut. The veteran left-hander pitched a 1-2-3 seventh inning in which he struck out one and induced two ground-ball outs.
– Koji Uehara, who pitched in a non-save situation Wednesday, nailed down his first save of 2014. Uehara was perfect while closing the door. (But you probably already made that assumption.)
Thursday also marked Uehara’s 39th birthday, so the save was just icing on his cake. The Red Sox’s other pitchers actually sang to Uehara before the game.
– The Red Sox’s bullpen was sturdy against the Orioles. The unit didn’t allow a run over 7 2/3 innings in the series.
– It’s been a tough week for Shane Victorino. The Flyin’ Hawaiian, who is on the disabled list with a strained hamstring, also is battling the flu.