Box Score Bank: Opening Goose Eggs


Box Score Bank: Opening Goose Eggs

The Red Sox came within three outs and one bonehead Jim Leyland decision of being shutout yesterday in Detroit. And it got me thinking: When was the last time the Sox were shutout on Opening Day?

Initially, I didn't think it would be that long ago, what with early spring weather usually in the pitcher's favor, and the fact that the Sox annually go up against the other team's No. 1 arm.

I don't know, maybe it was sometime in the last 10 years? 20 years at most? Back in the days of Bob Zupcic, Jack Clark and Butch Hobson, I figured.

I figured wrong.

Today's Box Score Bank takes us back to April 9, 1976.

Disco Lady by Johnny Taylor was the No. 1 song in the U.S. The original Rocky had just brought home Best Picture at the Oscars. Gerald Ford was president. David Ortiz was barely five months old (or was it five years old?).

And down at Memorial Stadium in Baltimore, Jim Palmer was having his way with the Sox.

April 9, 1976: Orioles 1, Red Sox 0

Like Justin Verlander, Palmer went eight strong innings for the Birds. But unlike Verlander, Palmer's closer the legendary Dyar Miller got the job done in the ninth.

Two note on this game:

1. There was some serious star power, as both starting pitchers Palmer and Fergie Jenkins (who pitched a complete game in defeat) were future Hall of Famers. The Sox also had three Hall of Famers their line-up with Jim Rice, Carlton Fisk and Carl Yastresmki. The Orioles had only one other future HOFer on the field that day 39-year-old Brooks Robinson but hey, six Hall of Famers aren't bad.

Out of curiosity: How many do you think were on the field yesterday?

I guess its hard to call anyone automatic at this stage in their career, but I think we had at least nine possibilities on display in Detroit:

1. Ellsbury 2. Pedroia 3. Gonzales 4. Ortiz 5. Fielder 6. Cabrera 7. Verlander 8. Lester 9. Vincente Padilla.

Look about right?

2. After the game, Jim Rice said that while he loved playing at Fenway, it was nothing quite like singing at Fenway!

Just kidding. He didn't say that because the game was actually on the road. And because he probably didn't speak to the media at all.

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Sox hope to bring David Ortiz back to Boston for new role

Sox hope to bring David Ortiz back to Boston for new role

MASHANTUCKET, Conn. -- David Oritz’s time in Boston as a player is over. He continues to say there’s no Brett Favre-type comeback, no matter how many people ask him.

However, that doesn’t mean his time with the Red Sox is over.

Sam Kennedy, Tom Werner and Dave Dombrowski are heading down to the Dominican Republic to tour the team’s academy on the island to see what changes, if any, need to be made.

Ortiz will join them on those tours.

“He’s just a good guy to go to the Dominican with,” Kennedy said. “We thought it’d be great to catch up. Haven’t seen him since before the holidays.”

But the front office members intend to exchange more than just pleasantries and stories from the holiday season. One goal on the trip is to bring Ortiz back to the organization as an employee.

“Yeah that’s something on the agenda,” Kennedy said. “We’re gonna talk about what he may or may not want to do. He did say after the season let’s just talk in January. He was so overwhelmed and tired so it’s a good time to start those conversations.

“I know he has a lot of plans, broadcasting, a lot of businesses he’s involved with and we’ll see what he’s up to. But we hope to cement something so he’s a part of the organization.”

What role that is yet to be determined. Assuming he doesn’t pursue a broadcasting career.

“I truly don’t know what’s on his mind,” Kennedy said. “He’ll obviously be good at whatever he decides to do, but I would hope that we could create a role where he has influence in the baseball operations side, he has influence in marketing, as an ambassador. A lot of our alums we’ve found really enjoy working with young players. Pedro [Martinez] is a perfect example of that.

“So we’ll see what he’s interested in doing, but I have heard him talk about broadcasting in the past and I think he’d be great at it if he decides to do it.”

Swihart, Wright fully recovered for Red Sox' spring training

Swihart, Wright fully recovered for Red Sox' spring training

MASHANTUCKET, Conn. -- Dave Dombrowski told reporters at the Red Sox Winter Weekend at Foxwoods both Steven Wright and Blake Swihart are ready to go for spring training.

Wright suffered a shoulder injury from sliding back into second as a pinch runner against the Dodgers in August, ending his All-Star season far too soon. The knuckleballer went 13-6 with a 3.33 ERA in 24 starts last season.

“His shoulder has been feeling good,” Dombrowski said of Wright, who was not at the event due to a prior engagement. “He’s out there throwing, so he feels good.”

Swihart saw his season end even sooner than Wright, after spraining his left ankle June 4 tracking down a foul ball in left field near the wall at Fenway Park. He played in only 19 games last season. 

“[Swihart] said he feels great,” Dombrowski said. “He’s going right from here down to Florida and he said he’s ready to go.”

Swihart will move back to the catcher position for spring training, with his goal of winning the job over Sandy Leon and Christian Vazquez. The ankle might’ve been a cause for concern had the Red Sox handled the situation differently, but by all accounts he’s OK to catch again.

“They tell me [there’s no reason for concern],” Dombrowski said. “I guess I’m really not knowledgeable to say that, but the doctors and trainers have told me no.

"That’s why they went and had the surgery because they felt the way the tendon kept slipping that [there was a] possibility it would bother him more. But after the surgery now, they feel there will not be any problems in that regard.”