Monday, April 22, 2013

Red Sox Go 1-2 Against Royals, But Bring Much Needed Normalcy Back to Boston

On Friday night, the Red Sox were set to return home to Fenway Park for the first time since the Boston Marathon bombings. A tribute to the victims and first responders was set for the pre-game ceremonies, but a suspect on the loose and almost all of the Boston-area's law enforcement in Watertown for the manhunt to bring him to justice, the game had to be postponed.

The 19-year-old suspect was captured alive that night, bringing a sense of joy to Boston that had been stolen from the city on Monday.  The Red Sox held their first home game on Saturday afternoon, and with it came the emotional pre-game ceremony.  There were images on the scoreboard showing the marathon when it was like any other Marathon Monday that slowly transitioned to chaos and sadness.  There were images of the first responders and police officers, as well as the victims of this senseless attack.

But what changed between Friday's tribute to Saturday's were the images of the manhunt in Watertown, which brought loud cheers and a sense of pride, knowing that our men and women in uniform had once again, made us safe.  What changed was David Ortiz's return to the lineup, bringing with him a speech to not only the crowd but all of Boston, that got the city back on its feet.

In Saturday's game, Clay Buchholz dazzled again, going eight innings and giving up two runs, finishing with an ERA of 0.90 on the season.  It was a Daniel Nava three-run blast into the Sox bullpen (caught by Koji Uehara) that lifted the Sox to victory over the Kansas City Royals, setting up the perfect ending to an amazing and emotional day at the ballpark.

Sunday was a day-night doubleheader, but did not go the way the hometown crowd wanted.  There was still that different feeling in the air, a sense that this crowd was coming together not only for their team, but for themselves and their city.  Game one ended 4-2 in favor of the Royals, while bonus baseball was played in game two only to see Andrew Miller walk in the game-winning run in the 10th inning.

The highlight of game two was Allen Webster's first start of his major league career.  He gave up three runs, two of them earned, off five hits with five strikeouts in six innings.  Two of those hits were home runs, but he showed, at age 23, he's ready for The Show.  He was not afraid of hitters, as just a couple innings into his night, he was getting hitters down 0-2 with ease.

With the return of baseball, Boston has been restored.  Next, Fenway Park will welcome the Oakland A's, who have lost three in a row to the Tampa Bay Rays.

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