Panic has arrived.
 
Maybe not, but there is something about falling flat in early April that is significantly different than duplicating the failure in June. Even running into trouble later in the first month becomes much more palatable.
 



Facing elimination in a playoff series? That’s a must-win situation. A three-game losing streak in April? Clearly, the same dire consequences are not in play.



One thing that people underestimated when looking at the Red Sox schedule was not so much the teams they were kicking their 2009 season off, but the type of teams Terry Francona's bunch were starting with. 
 



As last season ended, so it began. The Red Sox and Rays, competitors in last year’s American League Championship Series, became reacquainted in a three-game series to commence the 2009 season.



Last year, the Red Sox and Rays exchanged volleys throughout the year but spent much of the year incapable of breaking serve. The home team swept the first four series of the year between the two teams until finally, in September, the Rays broke the spell by taking two of three at Fenway.



The results were eerily similar, but the images differed dramatically.
 
A year ago Jon Lester was hoping, now he is knowing.
 



Jason Varitek got off to a strong start in his quest to achieve the near-impossible.



So the Red Sox are 1-0 on their way to 161 more regular season wins. Maybe not, but they have gotten off to the start they had hoped for with a 5-3 win over the Tampa Bay Rays, Tuesday at Fenway Park.



Dustin Pedroia has become perhaps the most interesting athlete in town. Perhaps not the best, and perhaps not the most accomplished (although he’s not far off in both regards), but just flat-out interesting.

Tuesday, Pedroia got even more interesting.



Surely novelty has to count for something.