As far as home openings go, this one left a lot to be desired.


Red Sox

The Friday afternoon festivities were wonderful except for the main event, the ball game.

Seeing Mo Vaughn, with his son Lee throwing the first pitch, was one of the few highlights for Fenway fans for the home opener.

Fortunately, the home opener result doesn’t always prove to be a barometer of how the Red Sox’s season will go.

If that were the case, the only conclusion to draw from the Red Sox’s 8-4 loss to the Twins in the 2022 Fenway Park premiere is that we’re in for a one-season run.

The Friday afternoon festivities were wonderful except for the main event, the ball game. The skies were sunny, the air cool and comfortable, and Fenway’s renovations — including a bar and terrace above the bleachers in right field — kept up with the familiar aesthetic. The old place looked beautiful.

The pomp and circumstance of the pre-game ceremony hit a respectfully somber note when former second baseman and popular broadcaster Jerry Remy, who died of cancer at 68 in late October, was honored as part of a tribute to former Red Sox who have passed away since our last. here. Remy is honored with a uniform patch this season, and he will never be far from the hearts and minds of fans.

Jackie Robinson, who broke Major League Baseball’s color barrier 75 years ago on Friday, was honored league-wide with a day to his name. Mo Vaughn, the last Red Sox player to wear Robinson’s universally retired No. 42, was on hand, along with his 9-year-old son, Lee, throwing the first pitch.

Vaughn, who still boasts charisma aplenty, recalled how a thrilling opening day victory can make a fan feel awfully good about what’s to come. His grand slam against the Mariners on Opening Day at Fenway in 1998 rallied the Red Sox from a 7-2 ninth-inning deficit. Twenty-four years later, Vaughn’s slam remains the ultimate reminder that surrender is never allowed on opening day.

This is where it should be noted that the 2004 Red Sox lost their Fenway debut to the Blue Jays, 10-5, with the bullpen allowing six runs over the last two innings. Ellis Burks hit the cleanup, while David Ortiz was sixth. They fell to 2-3. There was a long way to go. Late October, as you may recall, went better than early April.

The home opener is one game out of 162, not an indicator of certainty either way. But that would have been satisfying, and perhaps a bit reassuring considering the Red Sox went 3-3 on their season-opening road trip and looked very much like a .500 team, d have one or two yeah-i-would-like-to-see-that checked wishlist.

How about a big Fenway debut for star free agent Trevor Story’s pickup? He had his first hit in his new baseball home, a single to the center of the fifth. And he flashed onto the shortstop range at his new position, second base, whirling a Max Kepler understudy into first.

But Story also struck three times while at bat from sixth, including the second-to-last out of the game. He’ll put plenty of bumps in — and baseballs on — the Green Monster before the season is over, but the Wall had no reason to fear him on Friday.

How about a huge game for Xander Bogaerts? Based on the enthusiastic cheers during player introductions, fans appeared to be fully in the swanky shortstop’s corner following the news that the Red Sox had essentially offered him a one-year, $30 million extension. dollars on his current contract below the market, the shortstop. version of the insulting lowball offer made to Jon Lester eight years ago. But it wasn’t Bogaerts’ day either. He went 0 for 4 with three strikeouts. “He’s off balance, chasing throws,” manager Alex Cora said.

If part of the front office’s reasoning for not offering Bogaerts a commensurate extension in years and salary with his fellow high-end shortstops is the belief that he’s going to have to change positions in the near future, they have at least least one example for their pile of evidence. With the infield, runners at second and third and one out at fifth, Gary Sanchez hit a two-run single to the left of a diving Bogaerts, giving the Twins a 6-1 lead. It wasn’t an easy game, but a shortstop hoping to have impressive stats on defensive runs saved has to do.

Red Sox fans got to witness some impressive pitching performances, but they came from Twins starter Joe Ryan (6 innings, 5 hits, 0 walks, 7 strikeouts and a solo home run against Alex Verdugo) , and the Red Sox bullpen midfielders after starter Nick Pivetta needed 54 pitches to get through two innings, spotting the Twins a 4-0 lead before he was ripped off.

The Red Sox received four combined innings without a hit from Phillips Valdez, Ryan Brasier and Austin Davis, but Hirokazu Sawamura gave up two runs on Sanchez’s single in the fifth, and Matt Barnes, still fighting, coughed it up two more on the ninth. . We may be used to the parade of relievers and the way staffs are handled these days, but it turns the game into a chore (this one took 3 hours 33 minutes). It would help if Pivetta, the alleged No. 2 starter right now, could be something more than a bolder Matt Clement.

The Red Sox bats showed some life in the eighth. Jackie Bradley Jr and Kike Hernandez roped in to cut the deficit to 6-2, and a two-run homer from Rafael Devers – now There are something the fans came to see – went 6-4. But the rally spat out, and after the Twins fired two off Barnes, the Sox went quietly into the ninth.

Every home opener is special, but it was a reminder that not everything will be remembered for long.


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