Red Sox vs. Yankees Recap: 3 Up, 3 Down for April 1
The game provided some insight into how the Red Sox could contend in 2013.
Through a combination of good pitching, a patient approach at the plate and aggressive base-running the Red Sox got off on the right foot in John Farrell’s first game as the manager of the Red Sox.
Here is my inaugural three up, three down game recap for the Red Sox which will be posted after every regular season game.
Three Up: The Bullpen
No matter how you slice it, the Red Sox' bullpen was the highlight of the game.
While Jon Lester had a decent outing, the game was turned over to the bullpen in the sixth inning.
Between Koji Uehara, Andrew Miller, Andrew Bailey, Junichi Tazawa and Joel Hanrahan, Red Sox relievers shut down the diminished Yankee lineup.
Most notably the relievers required just 52 pitches to throw four shutout innings and allowed just one hit. Aside from a brief wild streak from Miller they all pounded the strike zone.
The bullpen could be the main reason why the Red Sox contend in 2013.
Three Up: Jackie Bradley Jr.
The Red Sox know that Jackie Bradley Jr. has the potential to be a star, but not many expected him to have a great game Monday.
In Bradley’s major league debut he was supposed to struggle against C.C. Sabathia, but instead he was poised at the plate and drew two walks against the hulking lefty and a third against Joba Chamberlain.
Bradley’s most impressive feat was drawing a walk in his first at-bat after falling behind 0-2 in the count.
In addition to Bradley’s plate discipline, his hustle running on an infield hit with the bases loaded was refreshing and his outfield defense was evident when he made a great twisting catch in deep left field.
If Bradley continues to play like this they will be forced to find ways to keep him in the lineup.
Thee Up: Top of the Lineup
Aside from Jackie Bradley Jr. and the bullpen, the Red Sox 1-through-3 hitters were the most impressive part of the game.
In a contract year, Jacoby Ellsbury started off on the right foot going 3-for-6 with a triple, Shane Victorino had two hits and drove in three runs after struggling in spring training, and Dustin Pedroia extended his opening day hitting streak with two hits and an RBI.
With David Ortiz’s health a major question mark these three players must hit if the Red Sox offense is going to succeed.
Three Down: Napoli and Middlebrooks Struggle
With David Ortiz out, Mike Napoli and Will Middlebrooks need to step up and provide power in the middle of the lineup.
Though the Red Sox won, Napoli and Middlebrooks went a combined 0-for-9 with one walk Monday.
There is a lot of pressure on the corner-infielders to produce especially against left-handed pitchers.
One good sign was even though they went hitless they took 49 pitches in their 10 at-bats, so they weren’t easy outs.
Three Down: Jon Lester
Even though it is opening day and even though Jon Lester got the win, there are concerns with the Red Sox ace.
Facing a depleted Yankee lineup, Lester managed to pitch just five innings in his debut.
The Red Sox bullpen was able to pick up the slack and they seem prepared to do so, but Lester needs to go deeper into games if the Red Sox are going to have sustained success this season.
The seven strikeouts and just two walks were a good sign, but expectations are justifiably higher for the 29-year-old lefty.
Three Down: Start Time
Opening day was a success for the Red Sox so I struggle to find a third legitimate flaw. I could have a slight concern about being too aggressive on the bases, but it is refreshing after years over being overly conservative. However, it is something to monitor going forward.
My one major gripe is the start time.
When the Red Sox and Yankees open their seasons against each other at one o’clock in the afternoon on a non-holiday Monday, it is a mistake.
A game of this magnitude should not be plated while the bulk of the audience is at work.
I am all for having more day games, but when school is still in session it doesn’t make much sense.
Bud Selig, Larry Lucchino and whoever else was responsible for this decision got this one wrong.
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