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

NFL Sunday with Dickerson…

NFL Sunday with Dickerson and Price -- Reaction to Don Banks and more on Deflategate - 6-28-15

The guys react to what Don Banks had to say and get into some more thoughts on Deflategate. Are McNally and Jastremski ever going to break their silence and give their side of the story? Price says yes ... eventually.

Don Banks, SI.com, joins Dickerson and Price on NFL Sunday - 6-28-15

Don Banks talks with the NFL Sunday boys about his reaction to Brady's appeal, where we go from here and the NFL's motives and decisions throughout the process. He also gets into the Pats offseason so far and their weakness at CB. Don gives his take on the AFC East this year and how some of the Pats' rivals have improved.

NFL Sunday with Greg Dickerson and Chris Price -- Reaction to news from Tom Brady's appeal on Tuesday - 6-28-15

Greg and Price discuss their thoughts on some of the reports that have leaked after Tuesday from Brady's appeal hearing. The boys talk about what the reaction will be if Brady decides to accept a 1-game suspension. Fans want a complete exoneration, but there's a good chance that they won't get that - how will they react? They also talk with Mike Petraglia and get his thought on the appeal and more.

We Love Anthony Davis - A…

We Love Anthony Davis - Are the Celtics doomed? 7-1-15

How long will this rebuild take? How much money will it take to keep Bae Crowder? Are Draft Picks even worth anything? With the Danny Ainge not landing any big names in the draft, and unable to lure any big names in free agency, Sam and Ben discussed if the Celtics are doomed moving forward.

We Love Anthony Davis - NBA Finals Breakdown 6-13-15

Sam is joined by Jared Weiss from The Garden Report and CLNS Radio to breakdown game 4 of Cavs-Warriors, preview game 5 on Sunday, and analyze the Celtics needs this off-season.

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?

Alejandro De Aza Player o…

Alejandro De Aza Player of the Game Interview07-02-15

Joe and Rob Bradford talk with Red Sox outfielder Alejandro De Aza about the Red Sox solid road trip and offensive outpouring in a win against Toronto.

Red Sox Manager John Farrell with Dale and Holley

We discuss the state of the Sox, specifically Rick Porcello, with Red Sox Manager John Farrell.

David Ortiz Player of the Game Interview 06-30-15

Joe Castiglione and Rob Bradford talk with David Ortiz after the Red Sox take game 2 of their four game series with Toronto. David talks about the good pitching they've gotten and the offense finding their way.

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!

Tanguay and Volin on the …

Tanguay and Volin on the Patriots off-season 7-3-15

Gary and Ben on the Pats.

Larry Lucchino on Rick Porcello. 7-2-15

The guys discussed the latest Red Sox news with Larry.

Headlines, Headlines, Headlines: Dukes of Hazard pulled by TV Land 7-2-15

The top stories of the day as recounted by Gary Tanguay.

Three For All: Vernon Dav…

Three For All: Vernon Davis on Family Feud and airline pilots getting fired 7-2-15

Lou, Christian and Tim talk about Vernon Davis' bad answers on Family Feud and airline pilots fired for taking pictures with a woman during a flight.

The Fauria Five 7-2-15

Christian poses five subjects to Lou and Tim, including what movie could have a good spin off, Jim Harbaugh's awkward interview and the own-goal that eliminated England from the World Cup.

Don Cherry joins MFB 7-2-15

Former Bruins head coach Don Cherry joins MFB to talk about the recent Bruins trades and free agency signings.

John Farrell: Porcello re…

John Farrell: Porcello reverting to old habits when he gets into trouble

We discuss the state of the Sox, specifically Rick Porcello, with Red Sox Manager John Farrell.

Dale and Holley's Final Drive - 07-02-15

We close out the program with some of the best in sound that you may have missed.

Dale and Holley's Four at Four - Sports Brain Farts - 07-02-15

Inspired by England scoring on itself in the Women's World Cup, we present four of the worst gaffes in recent sports memory.

Planet Mikey: DJ Bean tal…

Planet Mikey: DJ Bean talks #Bruins and Matt Beleskey

WEEI Bruins Reporter D.J. Bean joins Mikey Adams and Lenny Megliola to talk about the signing of winger Matt Beleskey on the opening day of NHL free agency.

Planet Mikey: Rick Porcello Limericks and Red Sox Midterm Grades

With 80 games played for the Red Sox, Mikey Adams wants midterm grades for several players. Also, after another Rick Porcello clunker in Toronto, callers and texters give unflattering Porcello Limericks. Lenny Megliola and Textress Lucy are along.

Danny Picard reacts to NBA Draft, 6-25-15

Danny's early thoughts on Celtics drafting Terry Rozier at the 16th pick

Red Sox Farm Report Podca…

Red Sox Farm Report Podcast July 1st Edition

Ken Laird and Ryan Hannable are joined by special guests Mike Mutnansky of the Red Sox Radio Network and Red Sox minor league hitting coordinator Tim Hyers to talk Sox prospects. What do the struggles of Rusney Castillo and Rick Porcello in the majors mean? Also, the international signing period begins July 2, looking back at past Latin American signings. And June selections for affiliate players of the month

We Love Anthony Davis - Are the Celtics doomed? 7-1-15

How long will this rebuild take? How much money will it take to keep Bae Crowder? Are Draft Picks even worth anything? With the Danny Ainge not landing any big names in the draft, and unable to lure any big names in free agency, Sam and Ben discussed if the Celtics are doomed moving forward.

D&C's Breaking Balls: Who makes what? 6-30-15

Dino, Gerry and Gary discuss which celebrities make the most money.

Curt Schilling on the Sox…

Curt Schilling on the Sox 3 game win streak 7-1-15

Curt Schilling joined us to discuss the state of the Red Sox.

More from this show

Larry Lucchino on Rick Po…

Larry Lucchino on Rick Porcello. 7-2-15

The guys discussed the latest Red Sox news with Larry.

More from this show

Dougie Hamilton takes les…

Dougie Hamilton takes less to play elsewhere: Why do guys want out of the Bruins organization?

Dale, Michael and Jerry discuss the new contract signed by Dougie Hamilton with the Calgary Flames, and why there's a pattern of guys in their prime wanting out (or being forced out) of the Bruins organization.

More from this show

Buster Olney, ESPN, weigh…

Buster Olney, ESPN, weighs in on the "tipping pitches" conversation, 7-1-15

ESPN Insider, Buster Olney, related some stories from the 2001 World Series where Andy Pettite was tipping his pitches to the eventual World Champion Arizona Diamonbacks.

More from this show

Red Sox Farm Report Podca…

Red Sox Farm Report Podcast July 1st Edition

Ken Laird and Ryan Hannable are joined by special guests Mike Mutnansky of the Red Sox Radio Network and Red Sox minor league hitting coordinator Tim Hyers to talk Sox prospects. What do the struggles of Rusney Castillo and Rick Porcello in the majors mean? Also, the international signing period begins July 2, looking back at past Latin American signings. And June selections for affiliate players of the month

More from this show

Weei Writers