Notes from Opening Night

With the game tied at 5 in the bottom of the 7th, Red Sox manager went to Hideki Okajima to get out of the jam. Okajima allowe his two inherited runners to score, but with the slate clean and the Red Sox down two, he finished the inning with only one hit allowed. The Red Sox took the lead in the top of the eighth and the bottom of the inning was owned by Daniel Bard, who allowed only one walk but induced a fielder's choice to get the ball to Jonathan Papelbon in the ninth. Papelbon didn't record a signature strikeout in the final frame, but kept the Yankees at bay as the Red Sox held on for the 9-7 win.

That should be a popular pitcher procession at Fenway Park this season: Okajima in the 7th, Bard in the 8th and Papelbon in the 9th. You can almost count on it regardless of the score and situation. Last season ended the same way for the Sox with Okajima and Bard as the setup men for the charismatic Papelbon. If last year's numbers are any indication, Sox fans should be very happy about their late inning bullpen triumvirate.

Okajima, Bard, and Papelbon
2009 Season

Tonight they allowed no earned runs from these situations and allowed just two hits to the top five hitters in the Yankee lineup, a stark comparison from their numbers last season against the Bronx Bombers

Okajima, Bard, and Papelbon
2009 vs. Yankees (5 games)

Other Notes

Yankees 2B Robinson Cano went 2-3 against Josh Beckett, bringing his career mark to 17-47 (.362) against the Texan. The two pitches Cano hit were over the middle of the plate and away. Last season, Cano batted .340 against pitches in the middle of the plate and .316 on pitches away.

On the flip side, Yankees 1B Mark Teixeira went 0-3 vs. Beckett. He is now 3-23 for his career against the righty with eight strikeouts. Two of Tex's three outs were against the changeup. Last season, Teixeira batted .289 against the change, and surprisingly Beckett threw only one changeup to the Yankee slugger. In 2009, Beckett used the curveball 35 times in five games against Teixeira, a pitch he threw 14 times tonight (just once to Teixeira). Either way, Mark Teixeira can't handle the off-speed stuff of Josh Beckett.

Red Sox 1B Kevin Youkilis was the key hitter for the home team, and his 2-run triple in the fifth helped put Yankee starter CC Sabathia on the bench. Youkilis is now a .350 career hitter against Sabathia (7-20), the third-highest batting average for Youk against pitchers he's faced a least 20 times.