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Home » April 2006 Game CommentsApril 2006 » Launching


Game 1: April 3, 2006
Red Sox (1-0), 7
Rangers (0-1), 3
W: Curt Schilling (1-0)
L: Kevin Millwood (0-1)

It wouldn’t be the Red Sox if there wasn’t drama off the field as well as on. Even before the first pitch rumors of Roger Clemens and his agent meeting with Theo Epstein and other members of Red Sox management at Ameriquest Field, formerly known as the Ballpark at Arlington. Clemens was a guest of Tom Hicks, owner of the Rangers, another team vying for the services of the seven-time Cy Young award winner. Noncommital, Clemens expressed no other preference than to, should he decide to return, pitch for a contending team only. He did say his children were excited by the prospect of moving back to Boston and his wife was also agreeable to the notion. Only the fullness of time and wallets will tell if Clemens pitches for the Olde Towne Team once again.

This year the average age of the team is 31.3; last year the average age of players appearing in more than 20 games was 31.97. I was expecting a greater reduction in age, but it seems like the Red Sox organizational strategy is to temper youth with experience, raw talent with honed skills.

The five Red Sox debuts demonstrated the spectrum of roster additions. The youth movement was represented by Coco Crisp, as well as sophomores Jonathan Papelbon and Adam Stern. Alex Gonzalez, Mark Loretta, Mike Lowell, and J.T. Snow. I’m hesitant to apply the new moniker Jerry Remy devised for the infield, however; LoGoYo (an amalgam of Lowell, Gonzalez, and Kevin Youkilis) doesn’t fly with me.

Crisp, despite striking out looking in his first at bat as leadoff, had one hit in five at bats, scored two runs, and made two outstanding defensive plays. In the second inning the center fielder charged hard to rob Phil Nevin of a hit, but the best was yet to come. Laynce Nix launched what looked to be an extra base hit off of Keith Foulke in the ninth, but Crisp managed to intercept the ball in stride, looking more like Troy Brown than a baseball player. Without that catch, Foulke would have found himself in a spot. The closer gave up tremendously hit fly balls and had little confidence in his change-up, which demonstrated that he is perhaps not completely prepared to return to his 2004 brilliance.

The first runs of the season were driven in by Jason Varitek in the fourth. The Red Sox would not relinquish the lead. Both newcomers and oldtimers of the club dove into the scoring assault in the fifth; Loretta drove in Crisp with a double to center and who else but David Ortiz hit the first Red Sox home run of the season.

With a five-run lead, Curt Schilling seemed to let up a bit, resulting in a two out, two-run roundtripper in the sixth inning on a 1-1 pitch. Perhaps surprisingly, Terry Francona left Schilling in the game to pitch to the bottom third of a stacked lineup the seventh inning. But it wasn’t a repeat of sticking with Schilling because of the pitcher’s obstinance as we have seen, and the right-hander pitched a perfect inning.

The most inauspicious debut was that of Alex Gonzalez, who was picked off of second base in the seventh inning on Loretta’s fly ball to center and also did not contribute any runs despite his two hits. If we wanted guys to do such things, we would have kept Kevin Millar. He’s just one inside-the-park homer from winning the hearts and minds of fans, I suppose, but he doesn’t have the charismatic, chantable name. It will be a difficult haul for Gonzalez with Boston and he’ll probably be replaced by Dustin Pedroia within a few months.

The eighth inning second Red Sox homer came from an unlikely source in Mike Lowell. The over-priced third baseman was a throw-in with the Josh Beckett deal, so a return to his 2004 production almost makes him worth his $7.5M pricetag.

So it begins.


Great to be back watching some real baseball. Foulke was scary. It looked like he was lucky more than anything else. Those balls were getting smacked around, and they looked more like the batters missing meatball pitches than Foulke was fooling them.

meetiing, that's Hawaiian right?

Also, a nitpick mentioned only because I heard Dale making a point of it during the midday show on WEEI on my drive home. Clemens didn't say that his kids were excited about coming to Boston, he said they were warming to the idea.

I think Remy's infield knickname might work better if you say it more 'hood' - It's Logo Yo!

I'd like to see Coco get on base a bit more, but man is he fast. Watching him fly around the bases and centerfield was fantastic. I think I'm gonna like the Coco Crisp era.

J.P. Ricciardi and Theo Epstein have to embrace Billy Beane's "closer as one-night stand" philosophy. Investing long term in any closer not named Mariano Rivera seems to spell certain doom.

Speaking of spelling, thanks to BlackJack for picking up the extra vowel. Also, either I transliterated Remy's infield name compound incorrectly or he forgot one of the players; it should be LoGoYoLo or some such permutation.

"Clemens was a guest of Tom Hicks, owner of the Rangers..."

Any relation?

Oddly enough, my stepfather, whose surname I have, was born in Texas and raised in Oklahoma. Even more interestingly, his father worked in the oil industry. But, as far as I know, he is not a relative of mine.

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