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Monday, April 5, 2010

Welcome back baseball

Like always, the baseball offseason flew by and before we knew it, Opening Day (or Night) was here.

Last night, the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees opened the 2010 MLB season with a thrilling 9-7 comeback win by the Sox at Fenway Park.

Since the Sox only made one great move, signing Jon Lackey, and didn't resign Jason Bay, I came into this season with too many questions surrounding their shaky lineup.

For one night at least, the new trio of shortstop Marco Scutaro (2 hits, run, RBI, walk), center fielder Mike Cameron (2 hits, run, walk) and third baseman Adrian Beltre (1 hit, 2 RBIs) proved that they know how to do more than just play defense. However, if I hear the words run prevention one more time, I might puke up a couple Fenway franks.

With Josh Beckett and C.C. Sabathia on the mound, a pitcher's duel appeared likely but in reality, how many times does that happen with these two teams?

Beckett signed a four-year extension today but he didn't look anything like a guy that deserved that last night as he lasted only 4.2 innings, giving up five earned runs on eight hits with three walks and a strikeout. He had no feel for his off-speed pitches, so the World Series champs just sat on his fastball and teed off.

Sabathia looked much better, cruising into the fifth inning with a 5-1 lead and sixth up 5-2 but he couldn't hold it. He went 5.1 innings, allowing five earned runs on six hits with two walks and four strikeouts. Neither ace earned a decision.

In the second inning, Jorge Posada and Curtis Granderson opened the scoring with back-to-back homers in the second off Beckett. Posada's was a rocket off Pesky's Pole in right and Granderson crushed one to deep right center.

In the bottom of the second, after a double by Kevin Youkilis (3 hits, 3 runs, 2 RBIs), who moved to third on a groundout by David Ortiz (get used to that), Beltre drove in Youk with a deep sacrifice fly to center (that Granderson made a nice leaping catch on). It was 2-1 Yankees (0-1).

New York scored three more in the fourth as Brett Gardner (2 hits) knocked in Robinson Cano with an RBI single. Derek Jeter singled in Nick Swisher then the Bombers successfully pulled off a double steal with Gardner stealing home and Jeter stealing second, 5-1 Yanks.

Scutaro's RBI single in the fifth cut it to 5-2 Yankees and Youk's two-run triple in the sixth (helped out by Swisher's terrible route to the ball) made it a one-run game (5-4 New York). Beltre tied it with an RBI single later in the inning that scored Youk.

After Beckett departed, Scott Schoeneweis pitched a scoreless inning but Ramon Ramirez gave up two runs to the Yankees in the seventh. Mark Teixeira scored on a Robinson Cano groundout and Posada's RBI single made it 7-5.

Surprisingly, the Red Sox (1-0) offense kept rallying and Dustin Pedroia tied it with a two-run bomb over the Monster in the seventh off Chan Ho Park. Youk scored later in the seventh on a passed ball and Boston added an insurance run in the eighth with a Pedroia single scoring Cameron.

Boston's top three relievers all did their jobs as Hideki Okajima pitched a scoreless seventh (with a hit and a walk), Daniel Bard, the closer in waiting, pitched a scoreless eighth (with a walk) and Jonathan Papelbon looked nothing like the closer that imploded against the Angels in game 3 of the playoffs last October, getting three outs for his first save of the 2010 season.

With the usual pomp and circumstance of Opening Day (for the first time ever starting at night) and then multiplied times ten since it was the Yankees and a nationally-televised ESPN Sunday Night game, it was nice to see the Sox remember there was baseball to be played.

The teams have today off before getting back at it tomorrow night with A.J. Burnett vs. Jon Lester. The summer temperatures will stick around for a few more days but hopefully the D-list celebs and frauds will be less of a presence tomorrow night at Fenway.

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