The day off after Opening Day is one of the worst parts of the baseball season. But it goes a long, long way to have it coming after a win. Particularly one as excellent as Monday's 8-0 trouncing of Philadelphia.
But if the Red Sox have been winners for two days now, that's unfortunately only good for one win. And in these early days of the season, each win--and each loss--feel like a huge deal. After all, right now the Red Sox are a perfect winning team. By the end of the day they could be at .500. By the end of the day tomorrow at .333. It's a stupid, silly way to look at things, but there's no denying that a season that starts of with a series loss feels quite a bit different from one that starts off with a series win.
It doesn't hurt that today is the first game of Rick Porcello's Red Sox career--one which has suddenly been transformed from a brief stay to a five-year commitment. Again, just one game, but first impressions go a long way. Both for Porcello on the Red Sox and their fans, and for the Red Sox defense on Porcello.
|BOSTON RED SOX||PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES|
|Mookie Betts - CF||Ben Revere - CF|
|Dustin Pedroia - 2B||Carlos Ruiz - C|
|Pablo Sandoval - 3B||Chase Utley - 2B|
|Hanley Ramirez - LF||Ryan Howard - 1B|
|Mike Napoli - 1B||Darin Ruf - LF|
|Daniel Nava - RF||Cody Asche - 3B|
|Ryan Hanigan - C||Jeff Francoeur - RF|
|Xander Bogaerts - SS||Freddy Galvis - SS|
|Rick Porcello - RHP||Aaron Harang - RHP|
Porcello is no fool. He knows how important it is to have a guy like Pedroia behind him as the Red Sox do. Yesterday, even with David Ortiz in for most of the game at first, the infield gave Clay Buchholz some excellent support, snagging a couple of line drives and not allowing themselves to be beaten by bad bounces. Developing some trust that, yes, ground balls do go for outs around these parts in April and beyond could go a long way towards letting Porcello pitch the way he wants to.
Every game isn't going to be as easy as the first. Dustin Pedroia and Hanley Ramirez can't have multi-homer games every day. But for now a second win doesn't seem too crazy a request.