The most up-to-date content on the planet
this just in
 RSS
WEEI » This Just In » Lester, bullpen help Sox blow out Yankees
Mon, 04/01/2013 - 4:50pm  

Lester, bullpen help Sox blow out Yankees

NEW YORK –A case can be made that no member of the Red Sox roster will have more to say about whether the team is an AL East contender or also-ran than Jon Lester. The gap between what he was from 2008-11 — one of the top starters in the majors — and his performance in 2012 — when he was a durable starter who performed at a below league-average level, more along the lines of a No. 4 or No. 5 starter, is colossal.

And so it was that the first note of the Red Sox’ 2013 season was a considerably impressive one. Lester proved mostly sharp against a depleted Yankees lineup, leaning mostly on a 92-94 mph fastball and a nasty cutter that stayed on the hands of hitters while working five innings in which he permitted two runs on five hits and two walks. Lester struck out seven, more than he punched out in 25 of his 33 starts a year ago.

His pitch count (96, 63 strikes) represented something of an issue, as he proved unable to work deep into the game. Still, Lester avoided the sort of potholes that sometimes ruined otherwise-promising outings last year. For the Sox, who hadn’t won on Opening Day since 2010, the left-hander’s performance — and the team’s 8-2 win — represented a positive first step for a team sorely in need of just that.

Some other takeaways from Opening Day:

WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE RED SOX

– In their decision to stash Jackie Bradley Jr. in the eighth spot in the lineup for his major league debut, there was a message from the Red Sox. As promising as his spring was, and as good a hitter as the Sox think that the 22-year-old can become, the team’s decision to insert him in left field for Opening Day was driven chiefly because of the fact that he combines an advanced, disciplined plate approach with tremendous outfield defense and strong base running.

Bradley displayed both against the Yankees. In his first career plate appearance, with runners on first and second and one out in the top of the second inning, he quickly fell behind CC Sabathia, 0-2, but then took a pair of sliders (one just off the plate), fouled off a fastball, then took a slider and fastball for a walk. Then, when Jose Iglesias bounced a chopper to shortstop, Bradley’s good break from first permitted him to slide safely into second on a fielder’s choice attempt — a play that proved huge given that the Sox scored three two-out runs in the inning.

Then, with two outs and a runner on second in the bottom of the third inning, Bradley got a great jump on a Robinson Cano fly ball to deep left field, ran a clean route to the ball and turned around in time to make the catch while backpedaling just shy of the warning tracka play that ended the inning and saved at least one run.

Bradley would later strike out and walk against Sabathia, seeing 15 pitches in three plate appearances despite not putting a ball in play. When he finally did make contact, it was with runners on the corners and one out in the top of the seventh. Against left-handed reliever Boone Logan, he worked the count to 3-1 then hit a hard grounder back up the middle that Logan couldn’t field cleanly; the ball glanced off his glove for an RBI groundout. Finally, in his fifth plate appearance of the game, Bradley accepted a walk from Joba Chamberlain, thus becoming the first big leaguer to walk three times in his major league debut since Danny Ardoin of the Twins did it in 2000.

So, Bradley went 0-for-2 with three walks, an RBI and 26 pitches seen. The ability to impact multiple dimensions of the game without collecting a hit underscored what the Sox hoped Bradley might be able to do if he remained on the roster.

– The Red Sox bullpen was dominant. Even though Lester was knocked out after just five innings, the team had waves of arms to send at the Yankees, with Koji Uehara (1IP), Andrew Bailey (2/3 IP), Andrew Bailey (1/3 IP), Junichi Tazawa (1 IP) and Joel Hanrahan delivering four shutout innings in which they permitted just one hit and two walks while striking out three. Miller hit 98 mph with a pair of punchouts, Bailey struck out Kevin Youkilis with a 95 mph heater up in the zone and Hanrahan showed 97 mph with life to close out the contest.

Jarrod Saltalamacchia had a strong day at the plate, notable because he starter against the left-handed Sabathia. He went 1-for-2 with a double and a pair of walks (including 1-for-2 with one of those walks against Sabathia). That performance continued a spring in which the catcher performed well against southpaws (.333 average, .375 OBP), something that he rarely had the opportunity to do in 2012.

Jose Iglesias didn’t exactly destroy the baseball, but he chopped an infield single with the bases loaded, pushed a bunt to the right side for a single and later had a swinging bunt to third for another hit. (He’d worked quite a bit on bunting during spring training.) The three-hit game was the second of the young shortstop’s career, with the previous one coming against the Rays last Sept. 20 representing his only prior contest with multiple base hits in 35 big league appearances.

– Overall, the lineup did an excellent job of making Yankees pitchers — particularly Sabathia — work. The Sox knocked the big left-hander out after just five innings in which he required 102 pitches.

WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE RED SOX

Mike Napoli had a tough Red Sox debut, going 0-for-5 with a pair of strikeouts.

Will Middlebrooks went 0-for-4 with a walk, but deserves some bonus points for being on the field despite a 102-degree fever while fighting the flu.

– The Sox missed out on several chances to blow the game open early, leaving 13 runners on base. Most heinously, they failed to score a run in the sixth inning after Jacoby Ellsbury led off the frame with a triple. Still, they finally put the game out of reach by plating three runs in the ninth against reliever Joba Chamberlain.




Audio On Demand

Patriots Hall of Famer Wi…

Patriots Hall of Famer Willie McGinest with Dale and Holley

We talk to the newest inductee to the Patriots Hall of Fame, linebacker Willie McGinest.

NFL SUNDAY with Dickerson and Price - Football after Deflategate ... it does exist 5-24-15

Price tells Greg about what is in store for football fans and Patriots fans beyond Deflategate. We will, after all, move on at some point.

NFL SUNDAY with Dickerson and Price - The latest on the Brady suspension and appeal 5-24-15

Greg and Chris discuss where we are with Tom Brady's fight against the NFL in the Deflategate suspension.

Dickerson and Tomase disc…

Dickerson and Tomase discuss the Celtics and their upcoming playoff series against the Cavs 4-19-15

Greg Dickerson and John Tomase discuss the amazing season for the Celts and if they have any chance against Lebron and the Cleveland Cavs in a seven game series. If they do, HOW ... how do they get it done?

Brian Scalabrine: I am the biggest Marcus Smart fan. 4-2-15

Brian "White Mamba" Scalabrine joins the guys to talk about the Celtics playoff push, the development of Marcus Smart and James Young, and the prospect of Brad Stevens leaving the Celtics for a college job.

We Love Anthony Davis - Celtics Playoff Push, 3-25-15

Brow Buff's Sam Packard and Ben Kichen break down Marcus Smart's unfortunate ball tap, debate leadership in the Celtics locker room, and rehash the great Kevin Love to Boston rumors.

Wade Miley Player of the …

Wade Miley Player of the Game Interview 5-24-15

Joe Castiglione talked to the Sox lefty, who allowed one run in eight innings as the Sox beat the Angels at Fenway.

Mike Napoli Player of the Game Interview 5-23-15

Joe & Dave talked to the Sox first baseman, who hit two homers at Fenway tonight in the win against the Angels.

Sox Manager John Farrell with Dale and Holley

Dale, Michael and Jerry Thornton speak to Red Sox Manager John Farrell live from Fenway Park for our weekly visit.

Bruins GM Don Sweeney wit…

Bruins GM Don Sweeney with Dale and Holley

Don Sweeney, who was hired as the Bruins general manager yesterday speaks with Dale and Holley about his new position and where the Bruins go from here.

Fluto Shinzawa, NHL reporter for the Boston Globe, joins the Sunday Skate crew to discuss the future of the Bruins franchise 4-19-15

The awesomely knowledgeable Fluto Shinzawa calls DJ, Naoko and Pete to talk about his thoughts on the future of the B's. He discusses his column from earlier this week on Cam Neely wanting to give Claude the ax earlier in the season but not getting the ok. Fluto shares his thoughts on Chiarelli's firing, the future for Claude and where the Bruins should go from here. He also gives his opinion on potential moves the team can make, who would fit in here, his thoughts on the NHL playoffs so far and more.

Sunday Skate with DJ Bean, Naoko Funayama and Pete Blackburn - HOUR #2 - 4-19-15

In the final hour of the "midseason finale" as DJ likes to call it, the crew discuss more about the future of the Bruins franchise, the possible power struggle in the front office and who should be the head coach going forward. They talk to intelligent and talented Fluto Shinzawa about all of these thing and more in an excellent interview, and finally, DJ says THANK YOU!

Rob Parker says Tom Brady…

Rob Parker says Tom Brady should be suspended 8 games 5-27-15

Rob Parker joined the show to rip Tom Brady.

Curt Schilling on the Sox struggles 5-27-15

Schill discussed the Sox latest struggles.

Jeremy Schaap on the corruption in FIFA 5-27-15

The guys spoke with Jeremy Schaap on FIFA's latest scandal.

Christian wants a mulliga…

Christian wants a mulligan, for his Joe Kelly pick (and others) 5-26-15

Christian predicted Joe Kelly, Brock Holt, and Shane Victorino would have good/great seasons. They have not, so Tim and Lou let him have it.

Teams are starting to run on Hanley Ramirez, 5-26-15

Last night during the 2nd inning, Jerry Remy pointed out that the word is OUT on Hanley Ramirez' struggles in left field, and that Sox fans should expect to see more and more teams taking extra bases when the ball is hit to left.

Patriots fans hold a rally to "Free Tom Brady" 5-26-15

Some 150 Patriots fans rolled into Gillette Stadium on Sunday to voice their support for Tom Brady.

Willie McGinest: Outside …

Willie McGinest: Outside noise doesn't take away my pride in our accomplishments

We talk to the newest inductee to the Patriots Hall of Fame, linebacker Willie McGinest.

Lebron James set to silence even more critics with 5th straight trip to NBA Finals

Dale, Michael and Jerry talk basketball legacy as Lebron James looks poised to make his 5th straight trip to the NBA finals.

Dale and Holley's Final Drive - 05-26-15

We wrap up the day with the best in sound that you may have missed from this past weekend.

Pump It Up- Mikey Adams S…

Pump It Up- Mikey Adams Song

The definitive deflate gate song

Planet Mikey Show - Where's Your Proof, Morons?

Mikey Adams is joined by Chris Villani as they take calls on the Friday night Two Minute Drill and discuss the ongoing DeflateGate saga with the New England Patriots and Roger Goodell's role in hearing the Tom Brady appeal.

05-12-15 Planet Mikey Seg. 2

Continued conversation on deflate-gate and the aftermath of the Brady suspension and sanctions passed down to the Patriots organization

We Love Anthony Davis - C…

We Love Anthony Davis - Conference Finals Edition

Julian Edlow of the Green Street Blog and Draftkings.com joins the program to break down the the two conference finals series, the NBA Draft, and whether or not Corey Brewer is the ugliest player in the game?

SoccerCast - Jermaine Jones Cant Play CB; Transfer Rumors

Ben, Russ, and Alex recap the Revs loss to Sporting KC and discuss what the Revs need moving forward. Also discussed is the FFP and how it will affect the transfer window.

D&C's Breaking Balls: Dino is back from rehab 5-18-15

Dino, Gerry and Kirk discuss Dino's rehab experience.

Dave Portnoy of Barstool …

Ray McDonald released by …

Tom Brady's appeal is del…

Tom Brady's appeal is delayed 5-26-15

The guys discussed the latest news regarding Tom Brady's appeal.

More from this show

Is David Ortiz done? 5-26…

Is David Ortiz done? 5-26-15

The guys opened the show by discussing David Ortiz's struggles.

More from this show

Pump It Up- Mikey Adams S…

Pump It Up- Mikey Adams Song

The definitive deflate gate song

More from this show

Weei Writers