COMMENTARY| The Boston Red Sox completed their first series of the season, successfully taking two of three games from the New York Yankees. While there is obviously a long way to go, Boston fans must feel good about what they saw on the field. Here are some of the things to take away from opening series.
The Good, The Bad and The So-So- It was a mixed bag for the starting pitchers in the firsts series of the season. Jon Lester was respectable in his first start. Clay Buchholz was impressive. Ryan Dempster had his ups and downs.
Lester did log a quality start on opening day, going five innings and allowing two runs on five hits. He also struck out seven, while throwing 96 pitches. Lester wasn't as efficient as he was in the spring, and is obviously expected to go much deeper into games. However, it was a perfectly fine start to the season for Boston's ace. Plus, he bested C.C. Sabathia. That's never a bad thing.
Buchholz had his stuff rolling on Wednesday night. The 28-year old went seven innings in his first start, only allowing one run on six hits. Buchholz was very efficient as well, throwing just 94 pitches.
Dempster didn't fare as well in his debut for the Red Sox. The veteran struggled to paint the corners and ended up paying for it. Dempster finished with four walks over five innings of work. He did manage to strike out eight Yankees and did well to pitch out of some jams. However, it wasn't a debut to write home about.
The Kids are All Right- Jose Iglesias hit all over the place and Jackie Bradley Jr. hung tough.
Iglesias made the best of his starting opportunity, finishing the series with an average of .583. The young shortstop also had three multi-hit games, the first three of his career. It also came with no surprise that Iglesias was outstanding in the field.
Bradley did a little bit of everything in his first career major league series. He finished with two hits, three RBIs, four runs scored, three walks, and one overmatched at-bat against Mariano Rivera. All in all an impressive start for Bradley, who seems to have a bright future ahead.
Welcome back, Will- It had been a long road back from injury, but Will Middlebrooks was back in the lineup. The third baseman didn't have a hit until the third game, but swung the bat well throughout the series. Middlebrooks also made numerous plays in the field to help the Red Sox take two of three from the Yankees. , As he works on getting back to game shape, it may take a little while for Middlebrooks to get back up to speed.
The Bullpen Earned That Java- If coffee is for closers, than the Red Sox pen is tipping back the Starbucks. The pen was asked to do quite a bit of work and helped Boston win the first two games of the season. Koji Uehara, Junichi Tazawa and Andrew Bailey all did what was advertised. And Joel Hanrahan picked up his first save as a member of the Red Sox. The unit did give up a few runs, but overall got the job done. They are going to be extremely valuable this season, especially with a lack of depth in the starting rotation.
New Season, New Attitude- There was something about watching this team that brought back positive vibes regarding the Red Sox. Maybe it was simply a few wins to start the season. Maybe it is a manager whom the players, media and fans all respect. Maybe it's the fact that expectations have been tempered. Whatever the reason, the fun seems to be back in baseball.
Red Sox Nation may not be selling out Fenway Park all year, but there should be a different attitude in New England. Unlike last season, there may be fewer people checking out in May. However, this certainly all could change or unravel if the team doesn't win.
Chris Sedenka is a Yahoo! Contributor in Sports covering the Boston Red Sox.You can listen to his daily radio show on 96.3FM in Portland, ME or at thebigjab.com. He is also the voice of the Maine Red Claws of the NBA D-League.
You can follow Chris on Twitter @ChrisSedenka.
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- Ryan Dempster
- Clay Buchholz