“Friendly” Fenway Park wasn’t so friendly for the Red Sox last season as their 34-47 home record was their first losing record on Yawkey Way since 1997. Red Sox teams had been dominant at home in the years prior to 2012, finishing at least 10 games over .500 in eight of the previous nine seasons.
This year’s team will look to get back on the winning track at home beginning Monday afternoon in the home opener against the Baltimore Orioles (2:05 p.m., NESN).
The Red Sox have fared quite well in recent home openers as they have won their last eight, dating back to 2005. Their last loss in a home opener was 2004 when they allowed six runs in the eighth and ninth innings to fall to the Blue Jays, 10-5.
Clay Buchholz will take to the mound Monday, fresh off of a strong performance against the Yankees last Wednesday. The right-hander went seven innings allowing just one run on six hits, picking up his first win of the year. He’s lost two of his last three first starts at Fenway.
Baltimore will counter with left-hander Wei-Yin Chen. He took a no-decision in his first outing of the year, an 8-7 O’s loss to Tampa. Chen is in his second big league season and went 12-11 with a 4.02 ERA in 32 starts last year.
Monday’s game will be another sellout, adding to the longest sellout streak in major league history, dating back to May 15, 2003. But the streak may be coming to an end.
“Opening Day should be 794,” said Red Sox president/chief executive officer Larry Lucchino on Friday. “What happens after that is uncertain. What I am certain of is that the streak will probably end in April, in the first or second series.”
Lucchino acknowledged the accomplishment of such a streak, but did say there are other things the team is more proud of.
“We’re proud of it, but we’re ready to move on,” Lucchino said. “I think the preservation of Fenway Park is a big success. I think the championship in 2004 and the repeat in 2007 have to go to the top of the list in terms of successes.”
With 17 home games in the month of April, a month with less-than-ideal weather and school still in session, the streak will likely come to an end.