The Boston Red Sox broke out their big bats this afternoon on Opening Day at Citizens Bank Park, drubbing the host Phillies by an 8-0 final score.
The Bosox blasted five home runs off Phils pitching, including 2 each from Hanley Ramirez and Dustin Pedroia, and one from Mookie Betts. Ramirez’ 2nd was a 9th inning grand slam that put a capper on a game that was already fairly out of reach.
It was out of reach by the top of the 9th, not so much because Phillies pitching had allowed 4 runs to that point, but because the offense was non-existent. In what is likely to be a season-long problem, the Phillies produced just 3 hits, just one for extra-bases.
Apr 6, 2015; Philadelphia, PA, USA;Boston Red Sox second baseman
(Photo Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports)
Boston jumped on Phils starter Cole Hamels for 4 earned runs and 5 hits over the game’s first 5 innings. Hamels struck out 6 and walked 3.
The lefty ace threw a full 100 pitches on the day, with just 64 going for strikes. He never looked totally comfortable on the hill in suffering his 5th straight loss in season debut starts.
The Red Sox built the lead on Hamels with 4 solo homeruns: the 2 from Pedroia, and one each for Ramirez and Betts. The bullpen then slowed things down a bit, giving the Phillies bats a chance to get the team back into the game. They never produced.
Then in the 9th, lefty Jake Diekman allowed 2 walks and 2 hits, the last one being the Ramirez granny that provided a punctuation mark on the game for Boston.
Former Phillies fan favorite Shane Victorino returned to Citizens Bank Park to a standing ovation his first at-bat, in which he drew a walk from Hamels. It was the first appearance in front of these fans for ‘The Flyin Hawaiian’, a hero of the 2008 World Series champions. Victorino went 0-3 with two walks and a strikeout on the afternoon.
This game was exactly what Phillies fans fear, and what fuels Red Sox fans hopes. For Phils fans, no offense. For Boston fans, tons of it. But making things all the worse on this day was the poor performance from Hamels, who has been heavily rumored as a Boston trade target.
Apr 6, 2015; Philadelphia, PA, USA;
Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Buchholz (11) pitches against the Philadelphia Phillies during the fourth inning at Citizens Bank Park
. (Photo Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports)
The big bats weren’t the only story on the day for the visitors. Starting pitcher Clay Buchholz, extremely inconsistent to this point in his career, has always pitched better on the road than at home.
Buchholz kept that ‘Road Warrior’ record intact today, going a strong 7 shutout innings, allowing just 3 hits and 1 walk, while striking out 9 batters.
The Phillies laid this stinker of a goose egg in front of a packed crowd of 45,549 fans on a gorgeous spring afternoon in South Philly. The performance was certainly enough to inspire them not to return very often, or very soon.
The two teams will now have a scheduled day off tomorrow. This is a feature frequently built-in to the MLB schedule for teams hosting Opening Day games, in case of cancellations due to incement weather. The series resumes at 7:05pm on Wednesday evening, with Aaron Harang scheduled to take the mound for the Fightins.
We all know this is going to be a very long, losing season for this franchise. But if what happened today is any indication, it could be worse than anyone even imagined.
NOTES: This was the first time that the Phillies have allowed 5 homeruns on Opening Day in a half-century, on 4/12/1965 at the Washington Senators. It is also the first time that the team has been shutout on Opening Day since 3/31/1998, a 1-0 loss in 14 innings to the Mets.
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