Kevin Youkilis, Dustin Pedroia Bring Red Sox Back to Beat Yankees on Opening Night

BOSTON - APRIL 04: Dustin Pedroia #15 of the Boston Red Sox is congratulated after he hit a two run homer in the seventh inning against the New York Yankees on April 4, 2010 during Opening Night at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

That's a helluva way to start the 2010 season.

After falling down 5-1 in the fourth inning, the Red Sox clawed their way back to pull of the 9-7 victory over the Yankees on Opening Night.

The Sox were aided by big clutch hits from Kevin Youkilis and Dustin Pedroia. Josh Beckett, on the other hand, struggled in his start and couldn't make it past the fifth inning.

(Click through the jump to read more)

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Check out that graph.

Players of the Game:

Dustin Pedroia (2 for 4, 2 R, 3 RBI, HR, BB, K, .392 WPA) and Kevin Youkilis (3 for 4, 3 R, 2 RBI, .465 WPA)

You can't really choose one over the other, even if WPA wants to give Youkilis the edge. Both were vital to the victory and really lifted this lineup up after it came out sluggish out of the gate. Youkilis, however, should be minus .100 WPA for still sporting the goatee. That's a fail.

On the starter (Josh Beckett):

Beckett: 4.2 IP, 8 H, 5 ER, 3 BB, 1 SO, 2 HR

Beckett was not the ace the Red Sox expected tonight. The velocity on his fastball was solid at 95 mph consistently, but the Yankees just ate it up all night. His curveball rarely hit the strikezone, too. To add more pain to this equation, Beckett was squeezed quite often when it came to strikezone judgment. Combine all these factors and it wasn't looking good for the Sox.

The most alarming thing about Beckett's start was his inability to get swinging strikes. How many did he have? One. That's it. He had one strikeout as well. What does this say about Beckett? His stuff really wasn't that good, in the end. The Yankees teeing off on his fastball is the other good indication.

Game notes:

  • All the new guys in the lineup produced. Adrian Beltre (2 RBI), Mike Cameron (2 for 3, BB) and Marco Scutaro (2 for 3, BB) each contributed really good first outings in Boston.
  • Speaking of the new guys, their defense shined as well. Cameron had a lot of great reads in center, Scutaro had a few great stabs at short and Beltre just made everything look very, very easy at third base. He didn't have many opportunities at the corner, but when he did, it was like poetry in motion.
  • Scott Schoeneweis may not be horrible after all (1 IP, 1 K). He was the first out of the 'pen to relieve Beckett and his stuff looked good. Maybe he won't be the first to get cut this season. That very well could be...
  • Ramon S. Ramirez. His stuff just looked weak and he got lit up a little bit. If RamRam is going to stick in the bullpen, he's got to act like it's April 2009 -- not August 2009.
  • Pedro Martinez is still the man.
  • Steven Tyler needs to be barred from Fenway Park.
  • Neil Diamond needed to tune up his voice for "Sweet Caroline."
  • Pedro Martinez is still the man.
  • Jacoby Ellsbury looked OK in left field. He didn't get the best reads on the ball and he misplayed a wall off the wall, but that's all right. It's game No. 1 and we'll give him a pass.
  • More on Cameron: watching him in center field has already proven to be bliss. He doesn't get bit by balls off the bat. He just sort of glides to the ball and he's all of a sudden there. You could never tell that this guy is 37.
  • Victor Martinez has a beautiful approach at the plate. He may not get a hit every single time to the plate (1 for 5 tonight), but he makes the pitcher work every at bat. His swing is so smooth and he's a lot of fun to watch.
  • The Dustin Pedroia-to-Marco Scutaro double play combination was in effect tonight and it's going to be a fun one to watch tonight.
  • Daniel Bard makes me nervous because he was a little wild tonight. He got a case of the BBs toward the end of 2009 and we saw his numbers slip. He needs to just rely on his stuff and throw it down the middle and see how he can handle pitchers that way.
  • David Ortiz went 0 for 3 with a walk. He had a few good opportunities to make a difference and didn't come through. It's OK, Papi. There are guys to back you up.
  • Yes, this did actually happen. I am convinced he is the only reason the Red Sox won this game.

Everyone go to bed now (if you're on the East Coast). Don't worry, the game actually happened and you can rest easy. Remember: we have 161 more to go!

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