It was another cold day and the game was postponed until Tuesday, but it was worth the wait for the Boston Red Sox.
The Red Sox began their season with a 6-2 win over the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field on Tuesday. It was a very cold day in Cleveland, with the game time temperature at just 34° Fahrenheit. The game was originally scheduled for Monday afternoon, but the game got pushed back to the scheduled off day on Tuesday due to the cold temperatures and expected precipitation.
David Price picked up his first win in a Red Sox uniform, while Corey Kluber took the loss.
David Price Dazzles in Debut
Price was the signing of the winter in all of baseball. Price chose to sign with the Red Sox for a massive seven years, $217 million deal. Boston desperately needed an ace after a struggling starting rotation led them to a last place finish, and Dave Dombrowski felt as if Price was the necessary move. Red Sox fans surely have very high expectations for Price after signing a deal for that much money.
Price lived up to those expectations in his debut. Price tossed a strong six innings, allowing just five hits and two runs, and tallied ten strikeouts. Price also had a rare two walks that came in the bottom of the second inning, but escaped from danger. Six of those ten strikeouts came in the first three innings. Although it wasn't the prettiest pitching line that Price expects to have this year, it was definitely solid, and he got his first game out of the way.
Price's only tough inning came in the bottom of the fourth. Price gave up a leadoff single to Francisco Lindor, and later gave up another single to Carlos Santana with one out. That put runners on first and second with one out for Yan Gomes, and he delivered with a soft single that would advance the runners two bases, and plating Lindor. Marlon Byrd, the next hitter, would follow up with a sacrifice fly scoring Santana from third. Despite allowing another single to Juan Uribe, Price got out of the inning with no further damage, leaving the score at 2-2 at the time.
Other than that inning, Price's debut with the Sox was a success. Boston finally has their ace this year, and will be interesting to see how far Price can lead their rotation.
Mookie Betts Gets the Offense Going for Boston
Mookie Betts is another player for the Red Sox with high hopes heading into this season. After a terrific sophomore season with the Red Sox in 2015, Betts is being viewed by many as a potential MVP candidate. Betts is a terrific five-tool player, and is still incredibly young at just 23-years-old.
Betts gave some more MVP signs with his performance today. After a Jackie Bradley, Jr. single in the top of the third, Betts launched his first homer of the year off of Kluber into the left field stands. Betts also hit a home run on Opening Day for the Red Sox last season against the Philadelphia Phillies. Betts also made a terrific leaping catch in deep right field off the bat of Rajai Davis. Betts ended the day 2-5.
Boston would pick their offense back up in the sixth inning. After back-to-back singles from Hanley Ramirez and Travis Shaw, Brock Holt would drive in Ramirez to give the Red Sox the lead once again. Two hitters later, Kluber threw a wild pitch, scoring Shaw from third. That would give the Red Sox a 4-2 lead.
David Ortiz Begins His Final Year with A Bang
Red Sox legend David Ortiz made the announcement that the 2016 season would be his last. Ortiz will go down as one of the best hitters of his era, and led the Red Sox to three World Series victories. Though this will be a tough season for "Big Papi", he showed he still has some pop in his bat.
In the top of the ninth inning, Ortiz hit a two run blast to right field off Trevor Bauer. The blast was his 504th career of all time, tying Eddie Murray for 26th all-time. The blast gave the Red Sox a 6-2 lead. Ortiz ended the day 2-4 with a double, home run, and walk.
Ortiz said after the performance, "When the light goes on, Papi goes on."
Red Sox Bullpen Dominates
The bullpen was another issue with last year's Red Sox team. Dombrowski addressed the issue very well in the offseason. He unloaded some quality prospects in a trade with the San Diego Padres to get one of the best relievers in the game in Craig Kimbrel. He also brought in Carson Smith and Roenis Elias from the Seattle Mariners as part of the Wade Miley trade. Smith is currently on the 15-day disabled list, while Elias is beginning the season in Triple-A Pawtucket.
The bullpen looked dominant today. After Price handed the ball to his bullpen in the seventh, Junichi Tazawa came in and set down the Indians in order with two strikeouts. Onto the eighth the game went, and new setup man Koji Uehara also set down the Indians in order.
In the ninth inning, Kimbrel came on to make his Red Sox debut in a none save situation after the Ortiz blast. Kimbrel's command did not seem to be the best it has been, but he got the job done. It took 19 pitches and a walk, but Kimbrel closed the game for the Red Sox.
When Smith comes back, Boston might have one of the most underrated bullpens in baseball. Junichi Tazawa, Carson Smith, Koji Uehara, and Craig Kimbrel are all terrific relievers, and will play a big role this season. After the league observed how the Kansas City Royals' bullpen led them to a championship, most teams are trying to do the same.
Betts, Ortiz, Shaw and Holt each finished with two hits, while Bradley finished with one. Dustin Pedroia, Xander Bogaerts, and Blake Swihart will await at least another day for their first hit of the year. Boston will send Clay Buchholz to the mound against Cleveland Wednesday night.
Kluber finished 5.1 innings with nine hits, four runs, two walks, and five strikeouts. Lindor led the team with two hits, while Uribe, Gomes, and Santana each tallied one. Davis, Byrd, Collin Cowgill, Jason Kipnis, and Mike Napoli were all held hitless. Cowgill was pinch hit for by Tyler Naquin in the seventh. The Indians send Carlos Carrasco to the mound Wednesday in search for their first win.