Boston Red Sox (Josh Beckett) vs Tampa Bay Rays (David Price) at Fenway Park on April 11: Good Pitching and Good Hitting in the Same Game, for a Change.
Red Sox Nation had reason to smile as Josh Beckett looked like the champion Josh Beckett, not the chicken-and-beer Josh Beckett. He went 8 innings, giving up just 1 run on 5 hits, in total control of the game. His teammates got him all the runs he needed in the 3rd (3) with an insurance run in the 4th, and then just decided to celebrate their first game of the season a home by going totally bonkers on Rays pitching in the 8th, scoring 8 runs on doubles by Darnell McDonald, Kelly Shoppack, and David Ortiz (his 3rd of the game). All in all, they had 8 hits, 4 walks, and batted around in the inning. Kind of makes you with they could bottle some of that run production for future games, doesn’t it? On a distinctly negative note, Jacoby Ellsbury had to leave the game after injuring his shoulder attempting to break up a double play in the 4th inning. We have to hope it’s not too serious.
April 13, 2012 at Fenway Park: Red Sox 12, Tampa Bay Rays 2; WP: Beckett (1-1), LP Price (1-1). Red Sox record: 2-5; Game 7/155. Box Score
Boston Red Sox (Jon Lester) at Toronto Blue Jays (Ricky Romero) on April 11: Life is Unfair, Exhibit A
Jon Lester had his second really strong start, going 8 innings and giving up just 3 runs on 3 hits, but got almost no run support. In the season opener, after a similar start, he walked away with a no decision, but this time he took the loss. Ricky Romero’s only moment of weakness came in the 3rd, when Cody Ross and Mike Aviles got back-to-back singles and advanced on a Kelly Shoppach sacrifice bunt. Aviles scored on a single by Jacoby Ellsbury. Apart from that, Boston bats were fairly silent all day.
April 11, 2012 at Toronto: Blue Jays 3, Boston Red Sox 1; WP: Romero (1-0), LP Lester (0-1). Red Sox record: 1-5; Game 6/156. Box Score
Boston Red Sox (Daniel Bard) at Toronto Blue Jays (Kyle Drabek) on April 10: Daniel Bard’s Debut Bombs
Daniel Bard is known as a power guy with 2 pitches, a slider and a wicked fastball. As one reporter put it, “he has two ways of throwing: hard and harder.” That’s great for a setup man or for a closer, but a starter needs to go 6 innings, which means the other side gets a chance to know you. With no effective curve ball or changeup, even a 100 mile per hour fastball can be hit eventually. Many fans think Bard should be the closer, and I tend to agree. This game did nothing to change our minds. Bard was pretty solid at first, but as the Blue Jays trundled through their lineup a second and third time, the hits started coming. He ended up surrendering 5 runs on 7 hits over 5+ innings en route to a 7-3 loss. On the plus side, Kevin Youkalis, Cody Ross, Dustin Pedroia, Ryan Sweeney, and Adrian Gonzalez all doubled in the losing cause.
April 10, 2012 at Toronto: Blue Jays 7, Boston Red Sox 3; WP: Drabek (1-0), LP Bard (0-1). Red Sox record: 1-4; Game 5/157. Box Score
Boston Red Sox (Felix Doubront) at Toronto Blue Jays (Henderson Alvarez) on April 9: A New Hope
After some pretty nasty outings last year, Red Sox fans did not hold out much hope that Felix Doubront could hold his spot in the starting rotation this year. We have reason to believe, however, after a solid performance in this game. Felix gave up 2 runs on 4 hits over 5 innings. May it’s not a Hall of Fame day, but good enough to give his team a solid chance to win, and they took it. Going into the 9th, the Sox trailed 2-1 (the sole Boston run came on a solo blast by Dustin Pedroia in the 6th). Pedey then came through again, doubling, and reaching 3rd on a passed ball by reliever JP Arencibia. He scored on an Adrian Gonzalez sac fly. After back-to-back walks by David Ortiz and Cody Ross, Ryan Sweeney hit a seeing-eye single to right, enabling Darnell McDonald (pinch running for Big Papi) to score and Ross to reach 3rd. Ross subsequently scored on a wild pitch. Finally, a “W”.
April 9, 2012 at Toronto: Boston Red Sox 4, Blue Jays 3; WP: Atchison (1-0), LP: Santos (0-1), S: Aceves (1). Red Sox record: 1-3; Game 4/158. Box Score
Boston Red Sox (Clay Buchholz) at Detroit Tigers (Max Scherzer) on April 8: Tigers Blast Buchholz as Sox Lose Ugly
The good news for Sox fans is that the Boston club showed that they really can score runs in bunches. The Red Sox went 18-for-49 including 5 doubles (2 by David Ortiz) and Adrian Gonzalez’s first homer of the year. The bad news is that our worst fears may have been realized regarding Clay Buchholz, as he went just 4 innings, giving up 7 runs on 8 hits for one his worst starts ever. Sox bats did enable Boston to force extra innings, until Alex Avila ended this mess with a walk-off blast.
Boston Red Sox (Josh Beckett) at Detroit Tigers (Doug Fister) on April 7: Tigers Maul Beckett
Josh Beckett started out shaky, and by the 4th became completely unhinged as the Tigers blasted him up and down the lineup on route to a 10-0 laugher at Comerica Park. Bobby Valentine gave him a chance to recover in the 5th, but he fared no better, and had to yield to Scott Atchison, but the Tigers showed the Sox bullpen no more respect than they had Beckett. With the momentum all their way, they were popping hits all day. Beckett dismissed rumors that his thumb was giving him trouble, indicating that it was just a bad day. Meanwhile, Tigers ace Doug Fister had to leave in the 4th due to an abdominal strain; he has since been placed on the 15 day DL. Rookie reliever Duane Below picked up the win.
April 7, 2012 at Detroit: Detroit Tigers 10, Boston Red Sox 0; WP: Below (1-0), LP: Beckett (0-1). Red Sox record: 0-2; Game 2/160. Box Score