The Red Sox opened their 2016 home campaign against the 5-0 Baltimore Orioles with David Price on the hill, but, much like this year’s Celtics before them, failed to end a record season-opening winning streak (in this case, the Orioles’ now 6-0 start is best in team history) — but they sure did make it interesting.
Top play (WPA): One plate appearance after failing to successfully bunt on a 3-1 count, inflaming the potentially overcaffeinated parts of Red Sox Twitter, Jackie Bradley Jr. poked a strange soft liner down the left-field line that Mark Trumbo was unable to reach in time — Trumbo being unable to track down fly balls being a theme of the game — and the ball plunked the ground and bounded over a relatively high part of the left field fence for a ground-rule double. The ‘oopsie’ hit sent Brock Holt across the plate and Blake Swihart to third base, from where he would score on a Betts fielder’s choice (a play on which JBJ would be thrown out at third, earning him a rebuke from a visibly exasperated Torey Lovullo in the dugout, but let’s focus on the good parts — the bad parts are coming in the next sentence.)
Bottom play (WPA): Unsurprisingly, Chris Davis’ three-run homer off of Craig Kimbrel in a tied top of the ninth swayed the game pretty decisively in the Orioles’ favor. Davis murdered the ball, sending it out of center field with an exit velocity of 111 miles per hour, which is pretty good.
Chris Davis just crushed that ball, projected distance 426. Exit velocity of 111 MPH. Only 2 of his HRs were hit that hard last year.
— Daren Willman (@darenw) April 11, 2016
Key moment: With no outs, two men aboard and the team down two in the bottom of the ninth, David Ortiz grounded into a double play that was close enough at first for John Farrell to challenge the ruling, but it was upheld. In this writer’s opinion, it would have been better if Ortiz hit a walk-off home run in his final home opening day, but it was not to be. Maybe next year.
Trend to watch: Hanley Ramirez might be a good first baseman? A week into the grand experiment, he’s been scooping balls that are by no means gimmes and snapping throws like he’s been living at the cool corner his whole career. It would be an understatement to call it a resounding success so far, and at this point he has acquitted himself more or less perfectly, save for a couple of slow rotations on cutoff throws. It’ll play.
Eye on Papi: Big Papi’s daughter sang the national anthem, and he clearly didn’t know it was going to happen. It was as sweet as Ortiz is awesome, so it was pretty damn sweet.
Coming next: Red Sox No. 2 starter and chaos incarnate Clay Buchholz faces Orioles righty Mike Wright, of whom I had never heard before researching this sentence but according to the internet is 6’6”, which is pretty tall. For the almost painfully decrepit Baltimore rotation, I suppose they’ll take their jollies where they can get them. Outside of, you know, winning every game.
Photo by David Butler II/USA Today Sports Images