As I mentioned earlier today while discussing the Cubs’ struggles on Sunday Night Baseball, Opening Day can be a day to overreact to any and everything. So let’s do it again with these Red Sox.
The Sox were very active this offseason, almost too active when it came to picking up position players. A team sporting a rotation of “five aces,” according to manager John Farrell, took criticism for needing to focus on finding starting pitching while carelessly adding bat after bat to their lineup. Through one game — against a team viewed widely as the worst in the bigs — the Sox looked like they were capable of anything, and that was because of the strength of their lineup.
The Bo-Sox decided that it was time to revamp their offense, headlined by the additions of Pablo Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez, as well as returning players like Dustin Pedroia and Shane Victorino to full health. Through one game, things seem like they couldn’t have gone any better.
Young prospect, Mookie Betts — who Boston didn’t want to move for an ace like Cole Hamels — took Hamels deep for a solo home run, as did Ramirez. Then there’s Pedroia, who took Hamels yard for two of them after only hitting seven homers during his injury riddled 2014 campaign. It would appear that returning to full health had an immediate impact for Pedroia in 2015.
The Sox wound up dominating, 8-0, thanks to another late home run from Hanley, this time a dagger grand slam to end the day. If Ramirez and Pedroia’s multi-homer games weren’t good enough news for Boston, Betts was the icing on the cake. The Sox failed to hit five long balls in a single game during the entire 2014 season, in which they finished last place in the AL East. So far they are one-for-one in 2015.
The accomplishment comes without any contribution from David Ortiz or Sandoval, who went 0-for-4 and 0-for-5 respectively. Something Red Sox fans can likely expect to change as the young season progresses.
Aside from the bats, Clay Buchholz put forward the performance Boston was hoping for — tossing seven shutout innings. Buchholz allowed three hits and a walk over 94 pitches, striking out nine batters in the process.
The bats were for real, getting to Hamels like they did on Monday was no fluke. Buchholz, on the other hand, did not convince me that 2015 is going to mean turning over a new leaf. Not to blame him for something that hasn’t happened yet, but Buchholz has always struggled to stay on the field, and has problems returning from non-season ending injuries. On top of that, this was almost another Spring Training start for him, as this Phillies roster is may be the worst in the league. However, this is not to knock Clay. So far so good, but I need to see much more from him to be convinced given his history.
The Red Sox will now try to be the first team to go from worst to first, to worst … to first again in 2015. Today was about the Sox offense at Citizens Bank Park, though. It lived up to the hype — something tough to do on Opening Day, so give them props for that. Only 161 more to go, guys.
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