Red Sox: Takeaways from Opening Day 2017 victory
By Mike El-Far
After a long winter, Red Sox baseball is back at Fenway Park. Here are some takeaways from 2017’s first game, and the first post-Papi game.
Finally, the regular season is upon us. No more obsessing about games that don’t matter. Now we can obsess about games that do matter for the Boston Red Sox.
Today was the first day in a while that I truly thought about what David Ortiz meant to the fans. The sight of the players being announced, and not seeing Ortiz is something that didn’t feel right. Even after Tom Brady threw out the first pitch, I expected Ortiz to come out of the Green Monster.
But, he did not. And like many players before him, the franchise continued to operate. Unlike Ortiz, this lineup is filled with youth. The runner-up to the AL MVP, Mookie Betts, is only 24 years old.
Another young gun plays on the other side of the outfield. That would be Andrew Benintendi, the 22-year old who is favored to win the AL Rookie of the Year. He broke the game open, with a 3-run home run to put Boston up 5-0.
While I wouldn’t consider 28 to be young, it’s not old either. 28 is the age of the reigning AL Cy Young Winner, Rick Porcello. His 2017 performance has started right where he left off last year. Porcello went 6.1 innings, and only gave up one run before being lifted for Matt Barnes.
Unfortunately for Porcello, he gave up two more runs while sitting on the bench. Barnes couldn’t get his control down, and gave up a single and a sac fly. Even with the 3 ERs, Porcello had 5 strikeouts on the day. And he kept his control, with only issuing one free pass.
The final young player who had an impact today was Jackie Bradley Jr. The 26 year-old was able to impact both sides of the ball today. He was able to leg out a triple that was placed in between Andrew McCutchen and Starling Marte. Also, it is not surprising that JBJ made another great defensive play.
While Craig Kimbrel gave up a long double to Josh Bell to start the 9th, he was able to settle down. He struck the first two batters to get two outs in the 9th. After losing control of a breaking ball and hitting Adam Frazier, Kimbrel got Marte to fly out to end the game.
Next: Three final thoughts from Opening Day
It’s always great to start your season off with a win. Boston looked like a team that is going to win a lot more games than they lose today, so hopefully the momentum continues. I wouldn’t bet against Boston on Wednesday for their next game either. Because they got a man named Chris Sale primed to write his name in the history of Fenway Park in only two days.