Ah, what a difference a new manager and a new bunch of players make. Yesterday’s game against the Yankees couldn’t have been nicer. A sweet 8-2 victory against the Yankees was even sweeter to watch in the final inning as Yankee Stadium became a ghost town. The stands were empty, paper and plastic trash blew around the outfield like tumbleweed, and ominous storm clouds brought a cold rain. What more could a Sox fan ask for?
JBJ is going to quickly become my favorite player. He looks so calm and together at the plate. He did not seem overmatched and displayed some remarkable patience at the plate, walking three times. A little research at baseball-reference.com brought up these tidbits:
1. JBJ is only the third player in Major League Baseball history to record 3 walks and 2 runs scored in his first major league start. The other two were Larry Walker in 1989 and Jack Saltzgaver in 1932.
2. JBJ is the only player in baseball history to record 3 walks, 2 runs scored and an RBI.
If you watched the game, you saw history!
Lester pitched pretty well but I was most pleased by the bullpen’s performance. Despite a few moments of angst from Andrew Miller, the bullpen looked sharp and the Yankees were overmatched. How unlike last year. And, we did not have to put up with Alfredo Aceves pouting on the mound or blowing the save.
Another bright spot for me was Salty. I thought he looked like a more confident player at the plate. He seemed more in control of the strike zone. In five at bats he saw the most pitches of any Red Sox player (29). His final three at bats were most impressive. He fell behind 1-2, 0-2, and 1-2 in each of those at bats but managed to rip a double and draw two walks. He looked like a new player. Perhaps he drank the year 27 breakout cool aid.
Wednesday’s game will let us know if the John Farrell effect had an impact on Clay Buchholz. He, like Lester, had a nice spring, tossing 22 2/3 innings with 12 hits, 22 strikeouts, and 2 earned runs. If he can carry that over the memories of Beckett and Valentine will fade in my memory.
In other baseball action:
Clayton Kershaw became only the 16th pitcher in the history of the game to throw a complete game shutout on opening day allowing 4 or fewer hits and no walks. And on top of that he cranked out an eighth inning homer to break a 0-0 tie.
I note that Carl Crawford killed a Dodger rally in the first by getting himself gunned down trying to steal third. I guess the Dodgers were at least happy to have him on the field.