Monday, April 03, 2006

Game 1: Starting With a Smile

Final Score:

Boston Red Sox 7, Texas Rangers 3

A Big Papi is a happy Papi

Ahhh, the fist game of the season. The first hit, first run, first big strikeout, the first time Remy calls one of the new guys the wrong name, the first time you watch Manny doze off only to make an amazing catch and then go back to sleep standing up, the first time you swear at a TV/radio/newspaper box score, the first win. It’s always worth savoring that FIRST one and unlike the last 6 seasons, the Red Sox started out on a good note.

It was a beautiful day in Texas (the state not to be messed with) and the Rangers started the season with the former Indian Kevin Millwood at the mound. He faced a thinner, happier healthier Curt Schilling in what LOOKED like a pitchers duel until the Sox broke it wide open. 0-0 in the 4th, Tek steps to the plate with Ortiz at second and Nixon on first and he takes Millwood’s first pitch off the wall. A 2 run double for the captain.

In the 5th, Crisp gets waived around from first on a Loretta double and Papi takes care of the rest. I have this theory that Theo and friends are passing around this fake scouting report on Ortiz that reads: “Yeah pitch him a little inside or right over the plate, he NEVER hits those. Oh and there’s no such thing as a clutch player”. Well it looks like Millwood found a copy of that and gives Papi a slightly inside meat ball that ends up bouncing off the top of the right field foul pole. Just keep throwing him that one folks. You can tell by all the runs how fooled he is. He also doubled in a run in the 7th making him 5-3 with 2 R, 3 RBI and a triple away from the cycle. He makes it look easy.

Mike Lowell (not dead after all) added an 8th inning tater to round out the Sox 7 runs. Anyone else remember all that nonsense about this team not being able to hit? Me neither.

For the most part, the pitching was superb. Schilling (7 inn, 5 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 5 K) had good command on his fastball. It started a little slow but topped out at 96mph. He started to tire in the 6th and gave up a Hank Blalock 2 run jack but came out for the 7th and looked good. Paplebon threw a no hit 8th and then Foulke came in and gave up a run on 2 hits in the 9th. I must say I am a little worried about him. He’s like a boogeyman hiding in the closet waiting to jump out and spoil your good dream. If he is real bad and Francona hangs his hat on him too long, he could single handedly ruin the whole season. Thoughts like that after a blowout win make you a TRUE Red Sox fan.

Oh well, one win down, 161 to go. GO SOX!