Red Sox Opening Day: Boston Beats New York 8-2

Successful Start: The Boston Red Sox put their best foot forward yesterday (April 1st), by beating the New York Yankees 8-2 at Yankee Stadium. The victory marks the first Opening Day win for Boston since the 2010 season when the Sox (coincidentally enough) beat New York 9-7 on April 4th.

Red Sox OF Shane Victorino
Picture Courtesy of blogs.eagletribune.com

Jon Lester looked impressive on the mound tossing five solid innings with a 3.60 ERA, five hits, two earned runs, two walks, and seven strikeouts to start the season at 1-0. Newcomer and Sox outfielder Shane Victorino had a big day in the big apple with 3 RBI going 2 for 6 at the dish. Meanwhile, outfielders Jacoby Ellsbury (2 RBI 2 for 6) and Jackie Bradley Jr. (1 RBI 0 for 2 with a fielders choice to score Will Middlebrooks in the 7th.) produced as well en route to a win against the Evil Empire.

Rookie OF Jackie Bradley Jr.
Picture Courtesy of cbsboston.files.wordpress.com

Side Note: Historical Highlight: According to ESPNBoston’s Gordon Edes Spring sensation and rookie outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr.’ major league debut in left field for the Sox, is the first time a rookie has made the Opening Day roster for Boston since Shea Hillenbrand in 2001, and Bradley Jr. is the youngest left fielder to start on Opening Day since Carl “Yaz” Yastrzemski in 1961 and 1962.

Final Thoughts: There’s no better way to wash off some of the stench that was the 2012 season, than to come out and beat your most hated division rival by a few runs. Managed by new skipper John Farrell, the Red Sox look ready to turn the page and write a new chapter in the teams history book. How do you feel about the Sox after their Opening Day win? Leave a comment below.

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Tribute to KG Kick’s Off Chase for Banner 18

With the C’s preseason coming to an end last night, the countdown to Miami is officially on. The intensity of this game will only be that much higher with Benedict Allen on the opposite side of the court. But who defines intensity more than KG, who has expressed his clear anger with the move by breaking off ties with Ray. So here’s to Kevin Garnett and the chase for Banner 18 one week from tomorrow.

AL East Position Matchup: Left field

On the agenda today is Left field. Left field looked like it was going to be a very weak spot last month when it was announced that Carl Crawford underwent offseason surgery on his wrist. It was recently announced that Crawford has high hopes to be back for Opening Day, which is great news for the Red Sox. Hopefully he can start living up to his contract.

Anyways, back to the rankings:

(Once again for other positional rankings click here: C1B2B3BSS)

1. Brett Gardner, Yankees
2. Carl Crawford, Red Sox
3. Desmond Jennings, Rays
4. Nolan Reimold, Orioles
5. Eric Thames, Blue Jays

Brett Gardner was a no brainer in the top spot. If this was said before the season last year, it is almost guaranteed that most of Red Sox Nation would have been up in arms. Gardner has been one of the top defensive outfielders in the past two years (3.2 defensive WAR last year) and he’s a force on the basepaths (at least 47 SB’s in each of the last two years). Gardner came back down to Earth in batting last year from his ridiculous 2010 numbers and saw a drop in his BA (.277 to .259), but he still drew a lot of walks.

Carl Crawford is the true question of this division, and the Red Sox team. After a monster year in 2010, where he had a .307/19/90 line with 47 steals, the Red Sox signed him to a massive contract. Hoping for production close to his 6.1 WAR (wins above replacement) in 2010, they were rewarded with a whopping 0.0 WAR in 2011. Despite this, I can’t stand hearing Sox fans bitch about how bad the guy is. Yes, we overpaid for him, but what big signing haven’t we overpaid for?!? He had a horrible April, along with the rest of the squad, and then as he was starting to get into a groove, he got injured. His wrist was nagging him for a while and his hamstring’s were bothering him all summer. Speed is his forte, and he lost his speed last season, I don’t know what fans expected. I’ve heard how hard of a worker he is and I’m confident he will come back strong this year. It’s great news that he is on pace to come back earlier than initially planned, but I’d rather we make sure we don’t rush this one. Crawford was very consistent for the Rays with the exception of 2008 (marred by injuries) and I am confident he will get his mojo back this year and start to live up to (some) of his money.

Next up is the Tampa Bay Rays leftfielder, Desmond Jennings. Jennings was the main reason that the Rays were able to so willingly part with Crawford (that and the fact that the Sox put way too much money on the table). Jennings came into the big leagues on fire last year hitting .333 throughout July and August, until he finally cooled off in September with a .160 BA. Jennings has been touted as one of the top prospects for the last couple years. He is a great athlete and was voted the most exciting player to watch in the International League in the minors.He is regarded as a top baserunner and defensive player in the minors and I’m really interested in seeing how Jennings does as an everyday guy for the Rays this year.

The fourth spot was the hardest decision to make. Eric Thames was never a big prospect for the Blue Jays organization, but had a good run in his first year in the Majors last year. Nolan Reimold was a highly touted prospect, but is now 28 years old and has yet to make an impact for the Orioles. I’m not sold on Thames considering his struggles against lefties and weak fielding skills. Reimold has yet to pan out in the majors due to injuries and personal problems, but he has been effective in his small samples (13 HR in 267 AB’s last year). He has good speed, which pays off on the basepaths and makes up for his bad instincts in the field. Reimold gets the edge in this matchup due to his greater potential for a full year.

For other positional rankings click here: C1B2B3BSS