Thanks to mother nature and her cooperation on Tuesday the Boston Red Sox were FINALLY able to get their season started, and on the right foot. The Sox started their 2009 campaign with a brilliantly pitched performance by ace Josh Beckett as they grabbed a 5-3 victory over their AL East counterparts the Tampa Bay Rays. On a day that featured Senator Ted Kennedy throwing out the“ceremonial” first pitch too Jim Rice, the newest electee into baseball’s Hall of Fame. To another great Johnny Pesky announcing “Play Ball” the Sox and their players didn’t disappoint their fans.
Beckett who’s coming off a disappointing 2008 season came out firing and throwing strikes that kept the Rays hitters baffled and looking just silly at the plate as he struck out ten. After only allowing two hits and one run over seven strong innings it was time to call it a day for the Sox ace. Yesterday’s performance from Beckett reminded “Red Sox Nation” the reason why we dealt for him a few years back, and only renews our hopes that he’s back to being the Josh of old.
Another great sign for this year’s club was the production they got from various players on the offensive side of the game. Last year’s American League MVP Dustin Pedroia, didn’t wait long to hit his first dinger of the season, in his first at bat of the season on the second “offering” from Rays starter Jamie Shields, he lined deep over the left field fence. Kevin Youkilis had two of the team’s nine hits and Jason Varitek recorded his first home-run of the season in the sixth inning. The only Sox player not to record a hit on opening day was lead off man Jacoby Ellsbury who went 0-4 with a strikeout at the plate.
Once the Sox entered the ninth inning with the 5-3 lead it time to bring in their ace in the bullpen Jonathan Papelbon. And Papelbon didn’t disappoint the sold-out crowd on a very cold opening day as he only needed fifteen pitches to close out the game and record his first save of the season. Up next on the mound for the Sox will be the youngster Jon Lester making his first start of the season as they look to make it two in a row when the Sox battle the Rays tonight at 7:10.
Topics: 2008 AL MVP, AL East, American League MVP, Boston Red Sox, Dustin Pedroia, Fenway Park, Jacoby Ellsbury, Jamie Shields, Jason Varitek, Jim Rice, Johnny Pesky, Jon Lester, Jonathan Papelbon, Josh Beckett, Kevin Youkilis, Red Sox Nation, Tampa Bay Rays, Ted Kennedy