Both the Celtics and Red Sox were in action at home yesterday, making for quite the sports doubleheader for the Boston sports fan.
Both local teams had their struggles, but managed to pull it out in the end, giving them wins over two teams they’ll each likely have to go through this season if they want to win a championship.
At Fenway Park, Josh Beckett and the Red Sox spotted the World Champion New York Yankees a 5-1 lead, and appeared dead in the water. The offense then kicked into gear, outscoring the Yankees 8-2 over the final five innings for a 9-7 opening night win.
We’ll go with full links today, for a complete taste of yesterday:
Amalie Benjamin has a new season and a new team bringing hope for Red Sox fans with the performance last night. After detailing how the championship run in Boston is over, Steve Buckley says that if last night is any indication, the 2010 Red Sox may prove to be a scrappy bunch. Daniel Barbarisi has the Red Sox setting a stellar tone for the season…once they actually started playing. Dom Amore says that there wasn’t a whole lot of run prevention on display last night. Mike Fine has a combination of new faces and old reliables coming through for the Red Sox last night. Christopher Smith has the Red Sox outlasting the Yankees in a typical game between the two clubs. Ron Chimelis has the two teams playing like a playoff berth was at stake. Bill Ballou has familiar faces Kevin Youkilis and Dustin Pedroia right in the thick of the action, as usual. Steve Krause has the Sox slow to get going last night.
Dan Shaughnessy gets the Boston Globe front page story on last night, and his column, aimed at the casual reader, is about almost everything but the game last night, focusing on all the trappings and ceremony of opening day. He’s not all that far off from Joe Fitzgerald, really. Lenny Megliola looks at an unusual opening night of baseball. Bill Burt is glad to have baseball back. Chaz Scoggins has the Red Sox off and running for another season. Krause says that the night brought plenty of subplots around the park.
Gordon Edes says that while pitching and defense were the primary focus of the offseason, the Red Sox needed their bats to pull out the opening night win. Peter Abraham has Kevin Youkilis opening the season strong at the plate and happy he doesn’t have to defend the Red Sox offense this morning. Chimelis has the Red Sox showing that the death of their offense has been greatly exaggerated. Maureen Mullen has old fashioned bashing taking the place of pitching and defense on opening night. Sean McAdam has the Red Sox showing that they will be able to score some runs this season.
Chimelis has Josh Beckett just happy not to get saddled with a loss last night. McAdam says that Beckett was just not sharp last night. Barbarisi has Opening Night one to forget for Beckett. Brian MacPherson has the Red Sox bullpen coming through after Josh Beckett struggled in his start. Scott Lauber has Jonathan Papelbon delivering in his first save opportunity since ending the Red Sox season last fall with the blown save in the playoff game against the Angels.
Jeff Powalisz has a trio of Red Sox newcomers – Adrian Beltre, Marco Scutaro, and Mike Cameron – all making a positive first impression with the Fenway faithful. MacPherson has the Red Sox newcomers enjoying their first opener at Fenway. Alex Speier says that among other things, we learned that the new guys can hit, too. Joe McDonald has more on the newcomers making an immediate impact with the Red Sox. Joe Haggerty has the new guys doing themselves proud in the opener.
John Tomase has Theo Epstein going back eight years to recall his first opening day as Red Sox GM, which turned out to be a disaster. (Hint – Closer by committee) Chimelis has the Red Sox pen proving mightier than the Yankees last night. Tomase is ready to dub this season the Heart Attack Summer of 2010. Barbarisi says that the hatred is gone between the two clubs. It’s a big game, but not much more. Kevin Thomas says that the game was a fitting start to a 162 game grind. Michael Silverman has Mike Lowell and Jason Varitek adjusting to their new roles as backups. Tony Lee has stalwarts Youkilis and Pedroia right in the middle of things.
Nick Cafardo has Pedro Martinez making a surprise appearance in a Red Sox uniform last night, to the delight of the fans. Joe Dwinell has the opening day fireworks starting early and often at Fenway. Grumpy old Bill Reynolds grumbles about all the opening night “extras” and ceremonies. Showing the generation gap, Jon Couture enjoys all that goes into an opener. Mark Farinella says that it is way too early for baseball at Fenway, and offers his analysis of the 850-98.5 sports radio battle. McAdam has the Red Sox getting a surprise pregame visit from recovering prospect Ryan Westmoreland.
Of all things from last night, Nick Cafardo chooses to open by reminding us that the Yankees lost their first eight games to the Red Sox last season and then went on to win the World Series. In a similar vein, Howard Bryant wonders how the Red Sox will do once they get out on the road this season. Dan Duggan has the Yankees lamenting missed location as a reason for their loss.
The Globe notebook has Josh Beckett struggling through his opening night outing. Lauber’s notebook has Mike Cameron citing former Sox third base coach Dale Sveum as a big reason why he decided to sign with the Red Sox. The Projo Red Sox Journal has Pedro stealing the show in the pregame. Amore’s Red Sox-Yankees Notebook has both managers able to trot out their expected lineups. Thomas’ notebook has the opening day streaks of Mike Lowell and Jason Varitek coming to an end. Fine’s notebook has Beckett insisting that his contract status had nothing to do with his struggles last night. Smith’s notebook has more on the newest members of the Red Sox coming through in their debuts. Ballou’s notebook leads off with Pedro, and emphasizes the roster transition from one season to the next. Edes’ notebook says that the Beckett contract negotiations are in their final stages. Haggerty’s notebook has Scott Atchison living a dream last night.
Earlier in the afternoon, the Celtics blew a 20-point second half lead, but still managed to pull out a victory over the league-leading Cleveland Cavaliers, after superstar LeBron James missed a potential game winning three pointer (and several late free throws) allowing the Celtics to escape with a 117-113 victory.
Julian Benbow notes that yesterday’s Eastern conference showdown was a heated affair. Mark Murphy has the Celtics managing to absorb LeBron’s best, angry shot in the last 12 minutes, but still leaving plenty of questions about themselves. Robert Lee says that this was the game that Celtics fans have been waiting since Christmas for. Scott Souza has the Celtics managing to come up with the right response in the end. Bill Doyle has Ray Allen leading the way, and says that we shouldn’t be surprised that someone who once played a character named Jesus would have a big rivival on Easter. A. Sherrod Blakely has the Celtics managing to avoid another monumental collapse.
Steve Bulpett has Ray Allen coming up with 33 points yesterday, and leading by example after a dinner with Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett following Friday’s ugly OT loss to Houston. Jim Fenton has Paul Pierce calling the Houston game pretty much the last straw for them in terms of disgust about themselves and their play. Chris Forsberg has the Big Three talking things out Friday night. Paul Flannery has the Celtics picking up a must-win yesterday. Rich Levine has the Celtics managing to come through in the clutch this time.
Gary Washburn has LeBron and the Cavs still all smiles and confidence following the loss. Steve Bulpett has James talking about the dislike the two teams have for each other. Jessica Camerato has more on the same topic. Peter May says that the bitterness between the teams reminds him on the good old days of the 1980’s.
Benbow’s notebook has the Celtics Big Three bouncing back from a poor performance Friday night against Houston. Murphy’s notebook has Tony Allen causing Doc Rivers to shorten his rotation with his strong play of late. Lee’s Celtics Journal has James dominating the boxscore, but Paul Pierce getting the last laugh in the game. Fenton’s notebook has Rasheed Wallace finding himself on the bench after a technical foul and yelling at coach Doc Rivers. Doyle’s notebook has Cedric Maxwell praising DJ. Forsberg’s notebook says that we got a glimpse of Rivers’ playoff rotation yesterday. Blakely’s notebook has more on the dinner of Allen, Pierce and Garnett.