Okay, so it's early, but as they say, "a win in April counts as much as a win in September." What's on tap for today's Soxaholics?
1. Win prevention. The opening series didn't exactly showcase the "run prevention" theme from the off-season. In the second game, the front and back end of an eighth inning grounder set up the winning run, walked in. Last night, the bullpen poured gasoline on the fire, turning a six-inning John Lackey shutout into a 3-1 defeat over the final four innings. Jonathan Papelbon took the loss with a hanging fastball to Curtis Granderson.
2. Ortizzle stick. Tough crowd. David Ortiz had the only Sox RBI last night, although generally the offense left a lot to be desired. Last April, Ortiz hit .230 with OPS .623, no homers and 12 RBI. That was then and this is now. Give a guy a break.
3. Reign delay. Once upon a time, a game could be played in less than two hours. The Red Sox and Yankees would be hard pressed to play a six-inning game in two hours. Even the umpires comment about it, with Joe West calling the state of affairs 'embarrassing'. Maybe if West called some strikes on the corners strikes, the game would go faster, too.
4. Watery Grave. Fear the Rays.
5. Road Worriers. As the Sox leave 'Friendly Fenway', they face the uncertainty of hitting the road. Last season the Sox went 39-42 away, and all too often limited range and WTP (warning track power) conspired to limit the locals. The Yankees also held and eight game advantage over the Sox against the AL West. The Sox acquiring John Lackey weakened the Angels and strengthened themselves. We'll see how that translates.