Editor’s note: NESN.com is going to tell the story of the 2012 Red Sox in Bobby Valentine’s words. Each game day, we will select a Valentine quote that sums up the day for the Red Sox.
Bobby Valentine may be calling the shots for the Red Sox this season, but on Opening Day Valentine felt like just another one of the guys.
After spending 10 seasons in the broadcast booth, Valentine returned to the field on Thursday to kick off the 2012 regular season with the Red Sox. Before the game, the 62-year-old manager said he could definitely feel the jitters of Opening Day.
“To tell you the truth, I have the same feeling some of our guys have.” Valentine said of his pregame excitement. “It’s Opening Day and there’s only one Opening Day. It’s the start of something new.”
The excitement of the day wore off pretty quickly for both Valentine and the Red Sox, as Boston hitters spent much of the afternoon trying to solve the puzzle that is reigning MVP Justin Verlander. The Red Sox managed just two hits in eight innings against the Tigers’ ace, but found things to be much easier in his absence scoring two runs in the ninth.
Jon Lester didn’t appear to show any jitters during his second consecutive Opening Day start, fending off any doubts that arose from his horrific five-run outing in Texas to kick off the 2011 season. Lester threw seven innings on Thursday, striking out four and allowing just one run en route to a no-decision.
One guy who may have suffered from the uneasiness of the new season was Boston setup man Mark Melancon. The former Houston Astros reliever came on in the ninth but was unable to extend the game, allowing two hits and being charged with the game-winning run in just one-third of an inning of work.
The Red Sox did show some great promise during the outing, though. Valentine expressed his displeasure with the loss but seemed pleased with Boston’s performance on the whole.
“Jon Lester impressed his entire time out there,” Valentine applauded. “After that, we were throwing strikes, but it [the game] just eluded us a little.”
Valentine and the Red Sox will have another crack at the Tigers on Saturday, as Josh Beckett takes the mound in search of some redemption and Boston’s first win of the season.