Red Sox Opening Week Notes

This post first appeared on BaseballDigest.com

After Game 1 of the 2010 season, Red Sox fans were rejoicing with a come-from-behind victory over the rival New York Yankees. Even this writer noted the contributions from the off-season acquisitions. However, a mere 24 hours later there is trouble in paradise following a 6-4 loss to the Yankees.

Despite a small sample size of 7 at bats, there is a low rumbling that Red Sox manager Terry Francona should consider pinch hitting Mike Lowell in place of David Ortiz or replacing him in the lineup to spark the offense. The Boston Globe reports there is no plan to bench Ortiz, and in that piece had a colorful response from Ortiz himself. This didn’t stop some writers from posing the question of “How Long?” before going with other options like backup Mike Lowell. This key quote by Ortiz sums up the levity of the situation: “There’s 160 [expletive] games left”.

The game featured a return to the major leagues by Scott Atchison, a player last seen at this level in 2007. With his debut in a Red Sox uniform last night, Twitter was aflutter with a very basic question: Who is this guy? Scott Atchison has played in the minor leagues and Japan since the 1999 season, with a few appearances at the major league level with the 2004-2005 Mariners and later with the 2007 Giants. Sox Vs. Stripes, a baseball blog written by two fans of the rival teams, linked to an article that tells the story behind Scott Achinson’s return to the United States and ultimately his return to a major league mound. Despite giving up a home run to Robinson Cano, it’s hard not to root for this guy!

During the off-day between games 1 and 2, the Red Sox and Josh Beckett announced a 4 year extension that will keep the veteran in Boston until at least 2014. A Red Sox blog, Over The Monster, proposed a few reasons why Beckett has slid slightly below the level of Jon Lester. The bottom line that is reached at Over The Monster is fans will have plenty of time to evaluate the worth of Beckett before his contract is up. With Beckett’s deal done, the Red Sox will likely have a rotation that includes Jon Lester, John Lackey, Josh Beckett and Clay Buchholz through the 2014 season.

The Red Sox and Yankee complete the three game series tonight with Andy Pettitte toeing the rubber against Boston’s newest addition to the starting rotation, John Lackey. The last time Lackey faced the Yankees was game 5 of the 2009 American League Championship series when he pitched into the 7th inning of an eventual 7-6 Angels win. In one regular season start against the Yankees last season, Lackey threw 7 innings of 2 run ball. With Beckett and Lester struggling in the first two games of the season, it might help the pitching staff if John Lackey can go deeper into the game.

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