Middle of the 8th (not that it matters) – 10-0 Motown. Fluttering between overreaction and disappointment. Grabbing this middle game would’ve been nice for Beckett, the Red Sox, and fans. Clay Buchholz would have had the chance to win the series tomorrow and leave Detroit on a high note. Nevertheless, Buchholz’ start tomorrow holds more weight as the Sox will try to get out of the opening series with one win. Cue the hysteria.
Middle of the 6th – It’s 8-0 Tigers. Beckett looked sharp, giving up seven earned over 4 2/3 innings. Only 5 of his pitches were hit for home runs. A pair for Cabrera, a deuce for Fielder. Chalk one up for Avila. Solid stuff. There are two distinct smells in the air–Easter ham and DL stints.
Bottom 4 – Fielder takes Beckett yard. It was an op-job to left field. 3-0 Detroit. Alex Avilia follows suit with a two run shot to left. 5-0 Detroit.
Top 4 – Doug Fister‘s day is done after 3 2/3 innings. Hearing via Twitter that it is some middle finger soreness. It seemed as though Fister grabbed at his side, however. Duane Below relieved the righty. He inherited a 2-0 count on Ryan Sweeney who popped out to shallow left, ending the inning. As a silver lining, the Red Sox, due to no effort of their own, have gotten into the Tigers bullpen.
Top 3 – Saltalamacchia lead off the inning with a double. Aviles failed to move runner to third with less than two outs. Ellsbury bounced a ball to the first base, moving Salty to third. Pedroia peppered one to third that Cabrera fielded for the final out. Frustrating.
Bottom 2 – Tigers up 2-0 after one and a half. Beckett and Jarrod Saltalamacchia (I can finally spell that without looking) will be a subplot to keep an eye on throughout the season. Beckett’s security blanket, Jason Varitek, is getting ready to catch Tim Wakefield‘s ceremonial first pitch. Two soft outs to Gonzalez at first to open the inning. It was courteous of Beckett to cover the bag each time. Cody Ross pockets the third out in left.
Bottom 1 - Miguel Cabrera went very deep and Beckett is currently pitching to Prince Fielder. The pair remind me a lot of Manny Ramirez/David Ortiz circa 2007. Very impressive middle part of the order. And that’s without Victor Martinez.
Top 1 - Doug Fister comes as advertised. He’s not overpowering, but he can certainly turn the ball over. As a result, hitters will often saw balls off. He can make it tough for guys to get the fat part of the bat on the ball. Ellsbury, Pedroia, and Gonzalez went down in order.
Alright, so I’m getting ready to watch my first live pitch on the 2012 Red Sox sesason. Jacoby Ellsbury will step to the dish at 4:05 p.m. For most of us, it will be on FOX. As always, you can go old school and tune into WEEI for the broadcast–which is never, ever a bad idea. I won’t be running a strict inning-by-inning thread for today’s game, but there will be commentary throughout today’s contest.
The Key to the Game: Josh Beckett‘s ability to pitch effectively beyond the sixth inning. He is dealing with some sort of thumb issue. The severity of which no one can truly determine. I’m going to assume he is as close to 100 percent as possible. Beyond that, Beckett is going against an offensively stout lineup. Beckett, even though he did not get the ball on Opening Day for the second consecutive year, is the leader of this staff. Seven strong innings and a check in the win column will go a long way to quelling the largely unnecessary negative reaction by fans and media to Thursday’s loss.
Hats off to Peter Abraham of the Globe for today’s lineups:
RED SOX (0-1)
Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Adrian Gonzalez 1B
David Ortiz DH
Kevin Youkilis 3B
Ryan Sweeney RF
Cody Ross LF
Jarrod Saltalamacchia C
Mike Aviles SS
Pitching: RHP Josh Beckett (13-7, 2.89 in 2011)
Austin Jackson CF
Brennan Boesch RF
Miguel Cabrera 3B
Prince Fielder 1B
Delmon Young LF
Alex Avila C
Jhonny Peralta SS
Andy Dirks DH
Ryan Raburn 2B
Pitching: RHP Doug Fister (11-13, 2.83 in 2011)