The Red Sox and their depleted pitching staff (by way of Friday’s 19-inning game in New York) will make their way to Fenway Park for Monday’s home opener against the Washington Nationals (3 p.m., NESN), a team predicted to be one of the best in the majors this season with their stacked starting rotation.
“Hopefully Opening Day has marked the end of the brutal winter,” manager John Farrell wrote in a letter to Red Sox fans via the team website. “I hear the field is finally showing green grass. We're eager to get back to Boston to see our fans during this first homestand and throughout the 2015 season.”
It will also mark the first appearances at Fenway for Rick Porcello (Monday’s starter), Pablo Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez (since in 2005) a Red Sox uniform.
As a team, the Sox are hoping things go much better at Fenway than they did last year. Usually dominant at home, the Red Sox went just 34-47 on Yawkey Way in 2014 – part of their last place finish in the AL East. As a comparison, in 2013 the team went 53-28.
A number of Red Sox players will welcome playing at Fenway Park, in particular because of the Green Monster in left field. Ramirez, Mookie Betts and Sandoval all hit balls that surely would have gone for doubles, or even homers, on the road trip, but went for long fly ball outs. Ramirez, in particular, will benefit from the wall just 307 feet away from home plate in left. He has the perfect swing for Fenway, and if he can stay healthy his career-high of 33 home runs all the way back in 2008 could certainly be attainable in matching.
The Fenway confines benefit another player in the Red Sox order, in Mike Napoli. In 149 games, he’s a career .266 hitter with a .379 on-base percentage along with 24 homers and 84 RBIs at Fenway. Also, David Ortiz and Sandoval (from the left side) will be able to use the wall to their benefit when going the other way, slapping some wall-ball doubles.
As some have pegged the team to potentially score 900 runs this season, playing their home games at Fenway Park is a major reason why.
Last year’s home opener didn’t go so well for the home team -- falling 6-2 to the Brewers. They also lost the next two games of the series, being swept in their first home series of the season. With how poor of a season the team had last year, especially after a poor start, it’s imperative for the 2015 edition of the Red Sox to get off to a good start and take some pressure of the team, especially the new-comers.
In what should be an entertaining season with a powerful offense, Boston will get its first glimpse of the team on Monday, in what has the potential to be a memorable season.