What's worse? Returning home from an 0-6 road trip to start a season that was expected to be the greatest in team history, or returning home from a 1-5 road trip to start a season that many hoped would soothe the sting from what became one of the most painful seasons in team history?

 

Hard to tell, but the Red Sox are getting used to these somewhat awkward home openers. A year after coming back to Fenway winless, they will doff their caps along the first base line with the worst record in the American League. It's like deja vu, but not necessarily in the eyes of the players.

 

For example, here is what Kevin Youkilis told reporters prior to the 2011 home opener when asked about the reception he expects to receive: "We thrive on [the fans] and I know they thrive on us, so it's time for us to go out there and play for them and play for each other in here."

 

Youkilis after six games this year: "You'll have to ask the fans that question."

 

Dustin Pedroia after six games last year: "You're either two feet in or two feet out. Let us know now because we're coming."

 

Pedroia after six games this year: "I haven't really thought about it."

Adrian Gonzalez in 2011: "It's going to be great that we're going to be able to get our first win here at Fenway, in front of [the fans]."

Gonzalez after Wednesday's loss in Toronto: "We'll get out of it. But it is frustrating now. It's a whole different season. It's a different team. It does feel different."

To be sure, last season's home opener had a real "rah-rah" feel to it, a collective mass urging their beloved boys to get it going. This one will be laced with a great deal of uncertainty and possibly a little bit of leftover anger on the part of some fans.

Not exactly the way the organization wanted to begin its celebration of 100 years at Fenway Park.

Of course, the 2011 version struggled for a few more games before beginning a long and impressive march back to the top of the standings -- after starting 2-10 it went 80-41 over its next 121 games.

Does this edition, with a shallow pitching staff, an uneven lineup, an unproven bullpen and a volatile new manager still finding his way, have enough to do the same? Will the fans be behind them 100 percent? We will find out the answer to the former question in time. We may learn the answer to the latter Friday afternoon at Fenway.

Beckett set for Fenway




Josh Beckett is hoping Fenway Park cures all.

While the jury is still out on what kind of reception he will receive prior to the game, it's nearly certain that Beckett won't be as bad in game one of his season as he was in game two last Saturday against Detroit.

The Red Sox ace 1A was bashed in the Motor City as he allowed seven runs in a little over four innings of work.

Beckett, however, worked with Sox pitching coach Bob McClure in a side session on Tuesday in an effort to correct all that went wrong last weekend.

"That first start is always kind of a crapshoot," Beckett told CSNNE.com. "You have a lot of anxiety leading up to that."

First place Rays in town




The schedule for the limping Red Sox doesn't ease up for quite a while as the 4-2 Tampa Bay Rays are at Fenway today for the home opener and next week Boston hosts Texas and New York.

Tampa swept the Yankees last weekend and took one of three at Detroit. They fell 7-2 yesterday to the Tigers. David Price, who was sharp last Saturday for Tampa, allowing just two runs, (1-0) takes the hill today for the Rays.

Haverhill, Mass. native Carlos Pena has gotten off to a sterling start for the Rays as he has already cleared the fences three times and is batting .429 in 21 at-bats.