Well, the Red Sox did not play like they were hoping they would in the opening series of 2011. In the first two games, the Red Sox starters couldn't keep the ball out of the seats, and that trend continued on Sunday. The most frustrating part of this loss was that starter Clay Buchholz looked good, but the Rangers didn't miss any mistakes. Buchholz pitched 6.1 innings and gave up only five hits. The problem, of course, was that four of those hits were solo home runs. To Texas's credit they proved this weekend that their offense is nothing to be sneezed at, and all of the blame can not be placed on the shoulders of the Red Sox starters.
The Rangers started left hander Matt Harrison, and he wowed me with his stuff. He struck out two in the first inning, and that set the tone for the rest of the game. Harrison ended up lasting 7.0 innings, giving up one run in the 7th and striking out 8. The Red Sox hitters just couldn't figure him out all day, and managed only five hits on the day.
One positive thing to take out of this game is that Carl Crawford finally started to look comfortable at the plate. Terry Francona shuffled the lineup a bit and put Crawford in at the 7-hole, and he responded. He was 2-4 and knocked in the Red Sox only run. The Red Sox also got their first look at Jonathan Papelbon in probably the most important year of his career. He got off to a bit of a rocky start, giving up two doubles, a run, hitting a batter and intentionally walking another. After this, with the bases loaded, Pap locked down and struck out the side. As we are used to seeing, Papelbon managed to be inconsistent in just one inning of work.
The Red Sox are off tomorrow and will be back in the search of win #1 Tuesday at 7:05 ET in Cleveland.