After a long, hard winter—harder for some than for others—the day we’ve longed for is just about upon us.
Monday’s Opening Day kicks off the Red Sox 2015 campaign with a bunch of new faces in a revamped lineup that’s sure to provide plenty of offense and plenty to talk about on the mound.
April 6th is the latest Red Sox Opening Day since the April 7th start in 2009, a 5-3 win over the Rays. It’s just the 3rd time that the Red Sox have started a season on or after April 6 since the strike shortened season of 1995, which opened on April 26.
The Red Sox are 55-58-1 in Opening Day games for all-time, going 5-5 in their last 10, and 2-3 for their last five starting sets.
The Red Sox face the Phillies Monday, Wednesday and Thursday before heading to New York for a weekend series of 3 games against the Yankees Friday to Sunday. Sunday’s game will be broadcast on ESPN Sunday Night Baseball. The Phillies will face Boston again this season September 4-6 at Fenway.
It’s the fifth straight Opening Day on the road for Boston, the 75th time overall. The last time the Red Sox opened the season at Fenway was on an unseasonably warm April 4, 2010 vs the Yankees, when game time temperature was 67º F. Since 2000 the Red Sox have opened the season at home just three times: 2002, 2009, and 2010. Boston is 32-41-1 in road openers for all time.
A little history
Monday’s game marks the first time the Red Sox have opened a season against a National League team, but not the first time they’ve opened the season in Philly. The last time came in 1954, a 6-4 loss to the Philadelphia Athletics. That was the last year the City of Brotherly Love had an American League team, which switched to become the Kansas City Athletics the following season.
In a sense, it’s particularly fitting for the Red Sox to open the season in Philadelphia this year. 2015 marks the 100th anniversary of Boston’s World Championship over the 1915 Phillies. In that year the Red Sox Opening Day game was a 2-0 loss to the Philadelphia Athletics and their last game of the season was the World Series clincher on October 13, 1915 vs the Phillies at Philadelphia’s Baker Bowl. This Thursday, in the last game of this opening series, the two clubs will wear throwback caps similar to their 1915 designs.
Clay Buchholz, last year’s No. 5 starter, will be the Opening Day starter for the first time in his career. The last time that happened for the Red Sox was with Roger Clemens, who started Game 5 of the 1987 season just before opening the next 7 straight seasons. In all, Clemens holds the club record for the most Opening Day starts by a Red Sox pitcher (8).
David Ortiz will be making his 11th Opening Day start with the Red Sox, tying him with Harry Hooper 7th-most in club history. Carl Yastrzemski holds the club record with 22 such starts followed by Dwight Evans (17), Jim Rice (14), Bobby Doerr and Ted Williams (13 each), and Rico Petrocelli (12).
Red Sox with the most Opening Day starts by position are Jason Varitek at catcher (10), George Scott and Mo Vaughn at first (7 each), Doerr at second (13), Wade Boggs at third (10), Everett Scott at shortstop (8), Yastrzemski in left (15), Dom DiMaggio in center (9), and Evans in right (14). Ortiz has the most Opening Day starts as Red Sox DH (10).
Opening Day records
Yastrzemski hit a club-best 6 home runs on Opening Days of his career. Dwight Evans had 5, Jim Rice and Ted Williams each have hit 3. David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia and nine other Red Sox batters have hit 2. In all, Big Papi has 4 Opening Day home runs in his career, the most among active players.
The most Red Sox team home runs in an Opening Day game is 4. It happened three times: April 12, 1965 against the Senators, April 7, 1986 against the Tigers, and April 1, 2002 against the Blue Jays.
Remarkably consistent, Pedroia has hit safely in all 8 career openers, going 13-for-33 (.394) in such games. His 1-for-3 record in each of his 8 opening games is the longest Opening Day hitting streak by a Red Sox player since Yastrzemski had 13 such hits from 1968-1980.
Eleven Red Sox players have a club-best 4 hits in an Opening Day game, most recently Jose Offerman in a 5-3 win over the Royals on April 5, 1999.
The Red Sox hold the record, since at least 1914, for the most walks drawn in an Opening Day game. It came on April 1, 2002 against the Blue Jays. Despite drawing an MLB-record 13 free passes, Boston lost that game 11-12. The Sox also hold baseball’s 3rd-best mark for most hits in an Opening Day game during that same span, amassing 20 in a 15-5 win over the Yankees on April 6, 1973. Since 1914 the most hits in an opener was 23 by the Cubs over the Diamondbacks in 2005.
The road ahead
The Red Sox will come home for the Fenway opener versus Nationals on Monday, April 13—15. The home opener will mark just the 10th time these two club have played each other and the 1st time since June 10, 2012.
Boston will complete their first homestand with 4 games against the Orioles April 17—20.