The good thing about the Red Sox week was that they were finally back on the field. Unfortunately, their performance in Texas was horrendous in every sense of the word as they were swept by the Rangers.
The Sox got off to a quick start Friday scoring two runs in the top of the first off a fielding error and Kevin Youkilis double. Jon Lester stepped on the mound with a 2-0 lead in his first Opening Day start and his 2nd pitch was rocked into left-field by Ian Kinsler for a solo-homer. Oh, don’t worry that would be just the first of many to come. In the bottom of the 2nd inning, Nelson Cruz decided to follow Kinsler and send another ball into left-field to tie the game at two. Boston would eventually regain the lead in the 3rd inning, just to give it right back.
Yup you guessed it, another home run to left-field; this time it was Mike Napoli with the 3-run bomb. Down by one in the eighth inning, David Ortiz decided to join the home run derby sending one deep to center to tie it at five. At that moment Terry Francona decided to pull Lester for Daniel Bard. Sounds like a good idea right? Not quite. Bard was lit up in his first appearance of the season allowing four runs in the bottom of the inning to give the Rangers a 9-5 victory.
Rough start for Boston, but the focus was now on John Lackey and game two of the series.
A bit of déjà vu occurred as Kinsler sent Lackey’s 5th pitch of the night into the stands for a solo-homer. Ortiz and Jacoby Ellsbury would later add two of their own, but it was no comparison to the Rangers four home runs, including an Adrian Beltre grand slam in the bottom of the 4th. Needless to say Lackey started this year how he ended the last, earning his first loss of the season. But there was no way the Red Sox would allow another beating during the last game of the series right? … Think again.
In 6.1 innings of work in game three, Clay Buchholz only gave up five hits. Sadly four of those hits were home runs. For anybody keeping count of the Rangers HR total that is 11 in three games. I guess that’s why they’re the reigning AL Champs. But what happen to Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez?
Crawford’s hideous 0 for 7 at the plate forced Francona to move him to 7th in the lineup hoping that would help. And it did, as he recorded his first two hits as a Red Sox, one being an RBI single. His overall stats for the series were 2 for 11 with a .182 AVG, but Tito is very optimistic about his slugger saying, “As soon as he gets on base, causing some havoc, he’ll loosen up and the real Carl will come out.” Crawford wasn’t the only Sox player who struggled against Texas. Jarrod Saltalamacchia went a disgusting 0 for 10 at the plate with five strikeouts, so expect to see Jason Varitek against Cleveland.
It wasn’t all bad for Boston though. Gonzalez, Ellsbury, and Ortiz combined for 12 hits and nine RBIs. Big Papi’s second HR was a record-breaker making him the all-time leader in RBIs for designated hitters. But overall the team’s performance was awful.
“I think we’re all frustrated, we got outplayed. It’s not for lack of talent on our team. We got outpitched, we got outhit, they played better defense than us, they kicked our [butts], that’s it”, said Dustin Pedroia about the series.
The Red Sox hadn’t lost the first three games since 1996, when they opened their season 0-5 which ironically started in Texas. Boston is looking to have a better week starting Tuesday when Josh Beckett takes the mound against the Indians.