Takeaways From Game 1 Of 162

 

Boy, it was a good one, eh? The Sox traveled to Cleveland to play the Inidans and smacked the Tribe by a score of 6-2 to move to 1-0 on the year. The hope for a perfect season is still alive and well!

They midas whale take all the games at the Jake (I know now it’s called Progressive Field technically, but it’s always gonna be Jacobs Field in my mind). I mean, if you’re gonna go to a third world city in some purty cold weather you’d be better off going HAM. Having Opening Day in Texas? Maybe you can afford to kick back a bit. It helps the transition from spring training to the regular season. There’s never been any team to start off slow against the Rangers and have their early struggles come back to bite them in the ass in September, right?

But Cleveland is depressing af. Go in, snap some necks, cash some checks, get out. No one wants to be there in the first place, so just take out all your anger on Chief Wahoo’s club.

Some thoughts:

-David Price was wearing a Boston Red Sox uniform today. Doesn’t that still sound weird to you? Does to me. The newest ace for the Sox had a tremendous debut: he got the W while only allowing 2 runs–both earned–on 5 hits over 6 innings. Most notably, Price K’d 10 Indians, the most in any Red Sox debut since Daisuke Matsuzaka in 2007 against a (then) crappy KC Royals. He looked unreal, and it was an awesome glimpse into what’s to come from #24.

Now granted, if Price ends up like post-2008 Dice-K, then we’re in for a long contract. But Price isn’t the kind of pitcher to fall off. We know that. Dude has pitched in two markets in the AL East before and has dominated, especially at Fenway. He won the 2012 AL Cy Young Award in Tampa Bay (and certainly can do it again in Boston; he’s my unbiased pick this year) and almost single handedly took a sub-.500 Blue Jays team to the ALCS last year in The 6. People who think we overpayed for him need to shove it where it don’t shine. That’s the price (ha, get it?! Price like the name but also price like the amount of money?! I MEAN AMIRITE?!?!?!?! #creative #blog) you have to pay for an elite pitcher in the modern MLB, and that contract looks even better when you compare it to the other huge FA pitcher this offseason, Zack Greinke. He was fanning squids lehft and right, and will continue to do just that this season. It’ll be worth every penny.

And yeah, maybe his postseason numbers aren’t great. But first, the Sox wouldn’t have a shot at even getting to October without a certified stud. Price is the guy who can do that (because, again, he got Toronto 2 wins away from a World Series birth against the eventual champions). And second, his postseason numbers have been getting muuuuuch better. In Game 2 of last year’s ALCS, he was charged with maybe the biggest BS loss in recent memory. He had s6 shutout innings. While he was cruising, Price probably should’ve been taken out, especially after Joey Bats and Ryan Goins had a brain fart and let an easy Ben Zobrist pop fly fall for a base hit. Instead, the Jays were idiots and left and him and he ended up the lead and was handed the L, word to Meek Mill and Katt Williams. That should not be an issue this year due to the other half of the pitching situation…

-…our bitchin’ bullpen. Tazawa, as much as he scares me, pitched very well. At his worst he’s a mess, but at his best–like yesterday–he’s a solid bridge guy and someone who can step up if there’s ever any injuries. Hell, Carson Smith, one of the newest members of the Sox, isn’t 100% yet, so Tazawa stepping up in his spot was yuuuuge. Smith will be a stud once he’s ready. Koji was Koji, thank Mo Peña. With less pressure on him now that he’s no longer the closer, I expect even more great results from him. He seems to be like TB12; he doesn’t age. And of course, Craig Kimbrel was a SAVAGE. Such is life for the best closer in baseball.

The bullpen combined for 1 BB, 5 K’s, and zero hits. Nada. None. It seems as Dave Dombrowski and the front office just got their degree from the Kansas City Royals School of Shortening The Game So You Don’t Have To Have Your Starter Go 7+ Every Outing. With Tazawa, (eventually) Smith, Koji, and Kimbrel, the Red Sox make up for the lack of a stacked pitching rotation. After Price, there’s not a whole lot to get excited about. The whippersnapers like ERod will improve but certainly won’t be aces. Maybe Buchholz gets back on the right track? If he’s healthy enough? He’s maddening and very Jeckyll and Hyde like, but honestly all he has to do this season is eat innings and not implode consistenlty. He can do that at least. Hey, maybe we get 2013 Clay! Maybe we get 2012 Clay as well, but who knows?! On most nights, especially with the lead, the mediocre starters just need to get past the 5th or 6th, then hand it over to the ‘pen. Make no mistake: this is a top 3 at worst bullpen in baseball, one that rivals Kansas City. The Royals have won two straight AL pennant and a World Series win by shortening the game. WMUA’s own Alex Levitt hates this strategy, but it’s how a lot of clubs win games nowadays. The Sox will be no exception. Once the bullpen gets going, it’ll be tough for other teams to get back into the game, no matter who’s at the dish. It’s a deep pen and the moves made to improve it this year–because last year it was ATROCIOUS–will pay off in dividents.

-M is for Mookie, that’s good enough for me. Mookie got things going with a 2-run ding dong in the 3rd and kickstarted his campaign for an MVP.

He very well could do that, folks. I can see him hovering around .300-.305, hitting 20 ding-a-ling’s, and driving in 70 ribbies, which is pretty damn good for the lead off guy.

I don’t think Mookie will win it, though. That’s all Trout, aka the best player on the planet. But Mookie will certainly be in the conversation all season long. I can easily see a top 5 finish for him in the voting. Maybe he’ll be like the Jeb Bush of the AL.

-Speaking of Ding Dongs, the Mayor of Ding Dong City Travis Shaw is trying to prove yet again why he is the undoubted best candidate for the Office of Third Baseman. Two hits for him and a run off of Kluber’s wild pitch? I’ll take that! One disappointment from him though was striking out looking with the bases juiced. If you’re gonna protect the citizens of Ding Dong City, you gotta protect the plate.

screen-shot-2016-04-01-at-12-16-34-pm

-My dude Brock Holt had himself a day as well! 2/5 with an RBI single to drive in HanRam, who, like him or not, has at least been trying to improve, unlike the Ferrari.

The ongoing battle with him and Rusney is gonna be interesting. I love Holt, but I know that at some point Rusney’s gonna get his shot. I have faith in both of them, but Brock Star is showing his worth for the team yet again.

Shaw/Holt 2016, #MakeAmericaScrappyAgain.

-Bogaerts…not great. 0/5 with a (bullshit) strikeout. Left 2 guys on. I’ve seen better.

But if you’re gonna get in a fuss over one bad game from the X-Man, he gon’ give it to ya on another day. Never doubt the guy who is a cash money hero with RISP and the man who might win the batting title this year.

-Swihart drew two walks. That’s kinda lit. His offense is great since it adds to the depth of the lineup. He should be the starter, as opposed to Vazquez. Vazquez can call an amazing game behind the plate, but Swihart isn’t too shabby either, and we saw that yesterday. Granted, it’s pretty easy to call a fantastic game when your pitcher is David fuckin’ Price, but he still did a nice job framing some pitches and calling an overall good game. Also Vazquez is a liability offensively, and Swihart can potentially hit 20 bombs. Regardless, one of them has to go by the trade deadline before they start to lose value.

-And, of course, Big Papi.

Now will he hit 37 homers this year like he did in 2015? Realistically, probably not. But in his final campaign, 30 home runs is almost a lock. He’s gonna have another solid year and it’ll be a great send off to a true Boston legend. Good to see he’s already got his golf swing ready for retirement, though. Absolutely baller quote from his as well: “When the lights go on, Papi goes on.” OHHHH SHIT YO! I need that tattoo’d somewhere! I hope after every win, we get a Papi-ism like that. Some deep philosophical stuff.

So there we have it! Not too much to complain about after one day. Granted, and this is a Kurkjian-esque fact, the last time we had a huge win on the road on Opening Day in a city north of the Mason-Dixon line was last season, and look how that turned out. Really though, imagine that in his voice.

But hey! Hopes are still high! I tend to look at hope like Andy Dufresne did as opposed to Red’s outlook, but I also don’t want my heart curb stomped yet again this year.

No matter your opinion on hope surrounding the 2016 Red Sox, it’s clear that the squad better get busy livin’ or get busy dyin’.

Let’s go 2-0, boys.

Featured image courtest of the Boston Globe. Picture of Ding Dong City courtesy of Barstool Sports.