|04.06.16 at 8:22 am ET|
The Red Sox and Indians will throw a pair of righties on Wednesday night in the second game of their seasons. The Red Sox hope Clay Buchholz can start off on the right foot this year after an up-and-down 2015 campaign. He will battle Carlos Carrasco of the Indians, who is coming off his first full season as a starter.
After the signing of team ace David Price, the focus shifted to the second spot in the rotation. Manager John Farrell was satisfied enough by what he saw in spring training to slide Buchholz into that spot.
“I think he’s throwing the ball well,” Farrell said March 29 of Buchholz. “He’s gained command of his secondary stuff the last three times out. You look at pitchers and you’re hopeful that their command and their execution of secondary stuff improves as you get deeper into camp. I think that’s happening for the most part with guys. We still have work to do in some areas, but in Clay’s case, he’s showing that.”
While battling injuries last season, Buchholz only was able to pitch 113 1/3 innings, going 7-7 with a 3.26 ERA and 107 strikeouts. While he improved as spring training went along, one thing that may be a cause for concern is his command. In his March 26 start it took him 107 pitched to get 14 outs. In five career starts against the Indians, he is 2-1 with a 4.13 ERA.
Carrasco had his best year as a pro last season, finishing with a career high 183 2/3 innings as he took on a full starter’s workload for the first time. The 29 year-old righty from Venezuela went 14-12 with a 3.63 ERA and 216 strikeouts. He is 1-1 in four career starts against the Red Sox.
|04.06.16 at 6:40 am ET|
CLEVELAND — On Tuesday afternoon, Dave Dombrowski did what he almost always does after wins. He filtered throughout the clubhouse, shaking hands and congratulating every player with whom the Red Sox president of baseball operations came in contact.
But the Red Sox’ 6-2 win over the Indians was a bit different for Dombrowski. It was the first chance he got to witness his handiwork as the man making this team.
“Your first win, the first game of the season is always exciting, Opening Day as it is,” Dombrowski said. “The first one can always be tough. A lot of good things today. Price pitched well. Our bullpen pitched very well. We swung the bats good. We played good defense. So it was just an overall good game and it feels great to win the first game.
“It’s one game. But we really like the overall makeup of how our team is. We like the bullpen situation. David gave us six innings, and a lot of times he will give us more than that. We scored some runs, which was big. We played good defense. And early up and down the order we ended up being in position where we swung the bat. It was good.”
And then there was the other chief contributor to building this Red Sox club, general manager Mike Hazen.
For Hazen, the win at Progressive Field marked his foray into life as an Opening Day GM. It was a long way from the Red Sox’ last team-defining opener, in 2013, when he was serving as an assistant to then-GM Ben Cherington.
“Look, I think the way guys prepared for spring training, the energy that guys came out with today looks somewhat like that,” Hazen said. “But we have a long way to go before we can match that team, and what that team looked like.
“This team has to create its own identify. There are players here that were younger at that point and time that are now more mature that are hopefully ready to take that next step into leading the next team. Today was a good indication of that. … Hopefully it sets a tone for a long season.”
|04.05.16 at 9:47 pm ET|
Spring training? David Ortiz does not care about spring training.
The ageless Red Sox slugger started his final season with a bang on Tuesday, blasting a two-run homer in the ninth inning to salt away a 6-2 victory over the Indians.
The homer, the 504th of Ortiz’s career, came on the heels of a spring training that saw him hit just .178 with one home run. But once the games started counting for real, Ortiz delivered, going 2-for-4 with a double, a walk, and a long fly-out to the warning track in right on a ball Ortiz just missed.
“It’s the beginning of the season,” Ortiz told reporters in Cleveland. “When the light goes on, Papi goes on.”
The 40-year-old announced in November that 2016 will be his final season and he got out of the gates with his fifth Opening Day homer, the most of any active player. The blast came off a low fastball from Indians reliever Trevor Bauer.
“Got it out of the way early,” Ortiz said.
|04.05.16 at 6:18 pm ET|
CLEVELAND — A lot of eyes were on a lot of key players wearing Red Sox uniforms Tuesday. And one who was particularly in the cross-hairs was Travis Shaw.
Fortunately for the new Red Sox third basemen, what everybody saw when glancing his way during the visitors’ 6-2 Opening Day win was impressive enough to ease any lingering uncertainty.
Shaw came away from his Opening Day start with a pair of hits, including a single in his first at-bat against Cleveland starter Corey Kluber. He also scored a run, while cleanly fielding his only chance, a Carlos Santana sixth-inning grounder.
“All the firsts you want to get out of the way as quick as possible,” Shaw said. “First hit. First ground ball. Everything felt pretty good today on my end.”
Shaw, who grew up about three hours away from Progressive Field, somewhat surprisingly didn’t feel the kind of anxiety many would expect.
Having wrestled the starting job away from Pablo Sandoval with a standout spring training, Shaw fed off the confidence he began building in the final two months of 2015.
“At times I do before games. But today, honestly, was pretty calm,” the 25-year-old said when asked if he still got nervous. “Then, obviously, with the first hit it calms down a little more. Today was a lot less anxious than I thought I was going to be, so it felt good.”
|04.05.16 at 4:24 pm ET|
Bradfo Show podcast: Talking opener, bizarre hot dogs
CLEVELAND — This went about as well as the Red Sox could have hoped for.
Not only did John Farrell’s club get its expected stellar outing from the $217 million man, David Price, but the Red Sox also came away from their season-opener playing solid all-around baseball in beating the Indians, 6-2, Tuesday at Progressive Field.
Price highlighted the win, striking out 10 while allowing two runs over his six innings. It gave Red Sox starters a combined 1.97 ERA over the last five Opening Days.
Offensively, it was David Ortiz and Mookie Betts who led the way, each blasting two-run homers. Ortiz’s ninth-inning blast was his fifth Opening Day homer.
“Yeah, it’s the beginning of the season,” Ortiz said. “When the light goes on, Papi goes on.”
Overall, the Red Sox offense did its part against the 2014 American League Cy Young award winner, Cleveland starter Corey Kluber. The Indians ace lasted just 5 1/3 innings, allowing four runs. Last season, Kluber went 0-6 in games when he didn’t get out of the sixth inning.
|04.05.16 at 4:11 pm ET|
With the big league club officially getting underway Tuesday, the Red Sox’ minor league clubs will follow suit later in the week. With that being said, Triple-A Pawtucket, Double-A Portland, High-A Salem and Low-A Greenville all announced its rosters on Tuesday.
High-A Salem is the most notable roster as they have three prospects ranked in the top 20 of all of baseball on its roster by Baseball America in second baseman Yoan Moncada, third baseman Rafael Devers and outfielder Andrew Benintendi. Also, on the Salem roster are other top prospects in shortstop Mauricio Dubon, first baseman/outfielder Nick Longhi and pitcher Travis Lakins.
Most of these players played for Greenville last season, which now has a roster headlined by 18-year-old right-hander Anderson Espinoza. In addition, the Red Sox’ 2014 first-round pick Michael Chavis will repeat a year in Greenville, but could move up to Salem quickly. Also, the Basabe twins — Luis Alexander and Luis Alejandro — make the jump from Lowell and will play for Greenville.
Portland doesn’t have many intriguing prospects, but that could change once players from Salem get promoted. To open the year, the Sea Dogs will be led by second baseman Wendell Rijo, right-hander Ty Buttrey, left-hander Williams Jerez, right-hander Teddy Stankiewicz, right-hander Kevin McAvoy and right-hander Aaron Wilkerson.
Pawtucket once again will be led by its starting rotation, which will see Henry Owens and Brian Johnson start the year in Triple-A like they did last season. The two of them, along with fellow left-hander Roenis Elias will likely battle for the first player to be called up if the Sox need a starter. Edwin Escobar, Pat Light and Heath Hembree are other pitchers to keep an eye on. In terms of hitters, first baseman Sam Travis headlines the offense, as he had a great 2015 season and his play carried over into the spring. Allen Craig, Deven Marrero and Marco Hernandez are other players to watch.
For more Red Sox news, visit weei.com/redsox.
|04.05.16 at 3:38 pm ET|
CLEVELAND — In terms of first impressions, this was certainly acceptable.
Making his Red Sox debut, David Price went six innings against the Indians, striking out 10, while allowing two runs on five hits. He also walked a pair in throwing 102 pitches. He left with a 4-2 lead before giving way to Junichi Tazawa.
Price’s 10 punchouts was one shy of Pedro Martinez’s Red Sox debut in 1998, while matching Daisuke Matsuzaka’s first game with the Sox in 2007. It was the most strikeouts by a left-hander making his Red Sox debut.
The only subpar inning for Price, who struck out six over his first three innings, came in the fourth when the Indians strung together four singles for a pair of runs.
It was Price’s third straight Opening Day win. He pitched 8 2/3 innings of shutout ball against the Twins last season. In 2014 he allowed two runs over 7 1/3 innings vs. Toronto.
In last five Opening Days, Red Sox starters have combined for a 1.97 ERA (32 innings, 7 earned runs).
|04.05.16 at 1:14 pm ET|
CLEVELAND — Not much changed for the Red Sox since their first go-round at opening up the season. The weather remained cold — in the 30s — although sun has replaced the flurries and clouds. The lineups are the same. And the players wore their pregame pom-pom winter hats. (Update: First pitch wind chill was 26 degrees.)
This time around, however, the teams were able to take batting practice outside.
Breaking: It’s cold in Cleveland pic.twitter.com/cqFfyqlC81
— Rob Bradford (@bradfo) April 5, 2016
And the Progressive Field vendors managed to actually sell some food …
Because … why not? (Bacon, mac n cheese, Fruit Loops, hot dog) pic.twitter.com/C1SjKVSmGQ
— Rob Bradford (@bradfo) April 5, 2016
In injury news, Eduardo Rodriguez is throwing another batting practice session Wednesday, with a simulated game scheduled for Sunday. If all goes as planned, it appears as though the lefty would be returning to the Red Sox rotation around mid-May.
|04.05.16 at 11:38 am ET|
Hanley Ramirez’s first season back with the Red Sox in 2015 did not go well. After playing shortstop and third base throughout his decade-long career, he agreed to move to left field, and it was an adventure.
Now Ramirez finds himself at another unfamiliar position: first base. However, he says there’s a big difference this year, in that he’s more comfortable playing closer to the batter.
“The difference is like when you go to somebody else’s house compared to your own house. How do you feel? Uncomfortable,” he told WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford. “Going to the infield to the outfield is like going to another house. I’m back home. I never lost that feeling, of the infield. Ever. Never did. I’m always going to be an infielder.”
Added Ramirez of his 2015 frustrations: “That’s in the past. I’ve been a shortstop all my life. I decided to play left field because I wanted to come to Boston, and I want to play left field because I want to win. I think you guys didn’t see that. I know how it is. You guys have to make news any way you guys can. Sometimes we have to find the way to do it the right way, and it didn’t happen. But I feel good now. I feel comfortable. This year is going to be a different level. We have a way better team, and I think we can do a lot of damage.”
There were doubters when Ramirez made this latest shift, but he has shown in spring training that he can at least be a competent first baseman. He is setting his sights even higher, looking to combine with second baseman Dustin Pedroia to form one of baseball’s top right sides of the infield.
“The right side of the Boston Red Sox — we want to be one of the best right sides,” Ramirez said. “Pedey is going to make me better. That’s a good thing, and I’m going to do the same thing. I think we’ve been doing a pretty good job with that.”
|04.05.16 at 9:52 am ET|
CLEVELAND — One day later, they are going to try and do it all over again.
After Monday’s Opening Day was postponed to Tuesday at 1:10 p.m. due to cold, the Red Sox and Indians will attempt to start the season without any snow but plenty of frigid temperatures.
As the Red Sox arrived at Progressive Field on Tuesday with temps hovering around 30 degrees, there was no precipitation in the forecast.
So with the teams ready to play, to nobody’s surprise Red Sox manager John Farrell will send out the same lineup he had drawn up for Monday:
Mookie Betts RF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Xander Bogaerts SS
David Ortiz DH
Hanley Ramirez 1B
Travis Shaw 3B
Brock Holt LF
Blake Swihart C
Jackie Bradley Jr. CF
David Price gets the start for the Sox, going up against the Indians’ Corey Kluber.
To view the live blog as things unfold at Progressive Field, click here.
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