Ah, yes, opening day.
It’s the best day on the baseball calendar unless your team is the World Series winner and celebrating after the final game of the postseason.
It is the only time during the season in which every team is on equal footing and every fan base feels that this is their year.
For the Baltimore Orioles and Boston Red Sox it was no different today, even though Boston celebrated after the last 2013 game as World Series champs.
But there was little for Red Sox fans to celebrate today as the team went 0-10 with runners in scoring position contributing to 12 men left on base in a frustrating 2-1 season opening loss to the Orioles.
The Red Sox managed to get two on in the ninth inning with one out against new Orioles closer Tommy Hunter but David Ortiz flied out and Jackie Bradley, Jr. struck out looking to end the game. Bradley had come in to pinch run for Mike Napoli the previous inning which is why he was batting behind Ortiz in that situation.
Squanders were the name of the game today for Boston. They had all kinds of opportunities against Orioles starter Chris Tillman by putting eight runners on in his five innings of work but could not break through. However, there were a couple of promising moments.
Xander Bogaerts (1-3) almost got his career as the full time shortstop off to a literal bang in the second inning.
After Mike Carp and Grady Sizemore led off the inning with singles, Bogaerts got all of a Chris Tillman pitch and it looked headed into the left field stands for a 3-run homer and 3-0 Sox lead but the wind knocked it down and it settled harmlessly into the glove of left fielder Nelson Cruz. Bogaerts later doubled to right in the sixth but was left stranded.
Sizemore was also a bright spot as he had a 2-4 day and provided the lone run of the game for Boston by leading off the fourth inning with a home run. If the Red Sox get that kind of play out of Sizemore they will have struck gold in their decision to sign him after two years out of baseball.
Jon Lester (0-1) was the hard luck loser on the mound for Boston. He was extremely sharp in seven innings of work, scattering six hits and two runs with only one walk and eight strikeouts. Basically, Lester did what he does except for a mistake to Cruz, who homered off him in the seventh inning for the deciding run.
Still, Lester’s performance was good enough to win the game. The offense just didn’t click.
Most times on opening day a loss doesn’t bother you because of the sheer joy of the teams being back on the field after a long winter. But the way this loss unfolded makes it sting a bit.