Our F’n City indeed!
Big Papi captured the feelings of Boston with his perfect pre-game speech. Even the FCC couldn’t hate on it:
David Ortiz spoke from the heart at today's Red Sox game. I stand with Big Papi and the people of Boston – Julius
— The FCC (@FCC) April 20, 2013
Ortiz expressed his feelings in the biggest of settings at Fenway and the crowd erupted in agreement. He was not only returning to Boston, he was making his 2013 debut. Papi looked comfortable at the plate with a sharp single to right field in the fourth then an RBI single up the middle to tie the game in the sixth.
Players rarely out-clutch Papi, but Daniel Nava did just that with a three run blast in “a fantastic finish to a great day” as Farrell put it in his post-game conference.
The Royals were close to spoiling the emotional return, leading 2-1 in the eighth. Until Nava’s dinger found Koji Uehara’s glove in the bullpen that jumped for joy after catching it. The Sox have walked off twice this year, but this Nava round-tripper was easily the most important hit of the young season. And this won’t be the last clutch hit of the season, but no hit will approach the epic of this majestic moonshot; as if the Sox could use any more momentum after back-to-back series sweeps against the Rays and Indians, respectively.
The Sox got off to this torrid start without the heart of their lineup in Ortiz. Now that Papi is back I would not want to face the Sox. There are other hot teams in the MLB right now like the Braves and Rockies, but they melt in comparison to the Sox right now.
However, the Sox are not without their flaws. Andrew Bailey didn’t make things easy in a nail-biter ninth, giving up a solo shot to Lorenzo Cain who was hitting everything in sight today. Bailey then gave up a single and a walk before inducing a grounder to Stephen Drew to end it. You got the feeling that Bailey wasn’t too sure where the ball was heading after he let it fly, but he hit his spots when he truly needed to eking out the save. It was shaky, but after Nava’s heroics Bailey had no choice but come through.
That being said it will be interesting to see what happens once Hanrahan returns. Farrell hasn’t guaranteed Hanrahan’s role will be waiting for him once he returns, “I don’t think we’re sitting here today ready to make that claim”. The Goateed Gasser signed a one year deal for $7.04 mil and signed with the intention of closing. But early year struggles, most notably a blown save against the O’s then a hamstring injury, may have Farrell looking elsewhere in the bullpen. The pen was considered a strength for the Sox entering the season and was shut down early on. But after these recent ninth inning inconsistencies questions are lingering. Hanrahan should get a chance to regain his role, but expect a short leash from Farrell. This team is about winning and is not worried about roles (excluding the 9.5 mil for Drew).
If Bailey and Hanrahan can’t lock things down (this is highly hypothetical) I love Koji Uehara. He gets pumped up and is capable of slamming the door. His split is straight nasty, just ask Nick Swisher
Enough of this speculation, it’s tiring me out. I’m just going to bathe in the glory of this win.