April 8, 2013
It’s amazing how time changes, isn’t it?
There I was at the home opener last year. I was excited to be there, as you can see from the exclamation point in the “game notes” box. But really, why would I have been that excited? The Sox were coming off an absolutely terrible season. Sure, they made some changes in the off-season. But, I probably had no business stating that I was at the “Home opener!” Of course, since then the Sox finished with the best record in the league, won the World Series, and have had another sub-.500 season where they’ll miss the playoffs.
Even the results of the game seem so foreign. Check out Clay Buchholz. 7 IP of shutout ball. Only 7 base runners in those seven innings, with eight strikeouts. Remember when Buchholz could do that? How about the two guys that followed him? Andrew Bailey threw a dominant inning. Andrew Bailey? Joel Hanrahan came in to close out the game. Hanrahan the closer? Just last year? He struggled a bit…showing that the closer job wasn’t exactly a secure thing.
David Ortiz was still out of the line-up. He wouldn’t return for another week. Jose Iglesias was manning shortstop. So strange to see.
Just last year.
How about the game? The Red Sox bats didn’t exactly show up. But, it looks like they did exactly what they needed to do. They scored all the runs a dominant Buchholz would need. (Yeah, go back and read that sentence again.) In fact, they only had hits in three innings. Thankfully they bunched them together in the seventh.
The hero of the game? That one’s easy. Daniel Nava had a perfect day at the plate, and his homer drove in all the runs the Sox would score.
The goat? That one’s a little tougher. Six guys went hitless, including Will Middlebrooks who struck out twice. But, nobody went hitless with as many chances as Jacoby Ellsbury at the top of the order. (Just last year!) He has to wear the horns on this day.
In the end, it didn’t matter. The hitters did all they needed to do with the great effort from the pitching staff. Great pitching and timely hitting were all it took to win the game.
And the scorecard shows how it happened.