Bobby V’s first pre-game session as Red Sox manager

What went into the decision to keep Ellsbury in the leadoff spot?  “Jacoby? Obviously we talk about the lineup as a group. It seems like in this grouping he looks really good being there and I also thought it would be apropos for you guys to write about the number one and number two in the MVP voting facing each other on a first pitch here in Detroit this year. And he liked it too. Talking to him, he kind of relished the idea.”

How can Ellsbury have another year like last year? “By taking it one pitch at a time. Obviously today, at the end of today, he’s not going to have the stats that he had at the end of last year. And, you know, the trap everyone always falls into is answering all those questions. How are you going to do better this year than you did last year? You start thinking that you have to hit a home run every time and a triple the next time and two doubles and steal bases, drive in the runs, all at once, and that’s not how it happens.”

Morning butterflies for the new manager? “Got up so long ago I can’t remember. To tell you the truth, I had the same feeling that I think most of the guys have. I talked to a lot of them at the hotel early and saw some of them here now. It’s opening day. There’s only one opening day. It’s a very special day. Start of something new.”

Nerves? “I hope so. You know, I knew it was time to stop playing when I got into the batters box and I couldn’t create a little adrenaline, you know? A little feel. I hope I have that today.”

Why lefties Gonzalez and Ortiz back to back with Youk hitting fifth? “That grouping today I think is just based on the starting pitcher that we’re facing today. And Youk has two home runs against him, so its not like I don’t like what Youk does against him.”

Finally a real game.“I’m very anxious to see guys in the real setting. In the practice setting is one thing, and in the real setting, things change. I’m anxious to see how the whole group works together. And obviously it’s kind of a short group on the bench now. The guys who are lined up on that card are going to be responsible for a lot of the action.”

The 13-man pitching staff? “You know I, when I sat in the chair next to Dan [Shulman] at the beginning of the season, I would always see who was the first and last to get everyone in a game. I think it’s important to try to get full participation early in the season to start building a team. I hope I don’t have to use all 13 today.”

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Tough loss for the Sox today, but there were a couple bright spots: Lester looked sharp. The Sox came back in the 9th.
Detroit has a pretty good team, and if the Sox can run with the big dogs, that’s not bad.

I’m wondering when Boston will bring back Chad Fox back?

Lester was excellent and I’m expecting him to have a complete year for the first time in his career. He usually gets off to a rough start, but I don’t see that happening this year. I see him taking on more of a leadership role on this team this season. He’ll be in Cy Young contention at seasons end.

The bullpen is a concern, especially without Andrew Bailey. I’m guessing Aaron Cook will join the rotation sometime in the month of April and Daniel Bard will go back to the bullpen where he belongs. I’m guessing Bard will get four starts.

How many arms in the bullpen does Bobby Valentine trust at the moment? It was very clear today he has little if any confidence in Mark Melancon. Melancon had a solid year pitching in front of family and friends with the Astros last year but this isn’t Houston anymore. I know it’s only one game, but that quick hook by Valentine today spoke volumes.

Oh by the way today in Philly Papelbon pitched a perfect ninth. To quote the great Bob Lobel how come we don’t get guys like this?

Scoring two runs won’t win a lot of games. It’s early. I am little concerned about Youk.

I expect that the BP will be streaky like every other year. They will find something that works for a while and then it won’t work for a while. It’s the same thing every year. I just have less patience every year. Go Sox!

Tough series against the Tiggers. That’s a solid team. We need a bullpen. But it’s early yet…

Just wondering, what’s the Red Sox magic number for clinching a playoff spot?

This is a walk down memory lane. Sox baseball just like when I was a kid…..no lead is safe. Ever. It took seven pitches to give up a three run lead. Classic stuff!
Brian, magic number is 155. Almost there!

Put your hands in the air and scream…this is going to be one heck of a roller coaster ride this year!!!!!!! No de-railing authorized!!!!! Go Sox!

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