Red Sox

First impressions of Red Sox 7-6 loss to Indians

First impressions of Red Sox 7-6 loss to Indians

CLEVELAND -- Some First Impressions from the Red Sox' 7-6 loss to the Cleveland Indians.

1) Clay Buchholz's first start was a disaster. The Indians were 6-for-12 with two walks against him at one point. He settled in a bit after digging a 4-0 hole in the first inning, retiring six straight in the third and fourth. But with his pitch count quickly escalating, he punched his ticket out of the game with a leadoff walk to open the fifth.

It took Buchholz 94 pitches to get just 12 outs.

Buchholz couldn't seem to command his changeup in the first couple of innings and the Indians were sitting on -- and creaming - his fastball.

Again, a bad outing is one thing. But when a team has to activate its bullpen in the fifth inning, there are consequences. By getting shelled early, Buchholz forced John Farrell to use four relievers.

2) Before Wednesday's game, John Farrell talked about how important it will be "to pull the trigger quick with Chris (Young)'' as a pinch-hitter with the bottom of the lineup stacked with lefties.

Farrell did so in the sixth inning Wednesday, hitting Young for Travis Shaw when the Indians went to lefty Ross Detwiler.

Then, the next time through the order, he hit Pablo Sandoval lefthanded for Young, matched up against a righty.

In that scenario, Brock Holt went from left field to third base and back to left field.

Given that Sandoval is pretty limited off the bench and Young can hit righties well, expect to see more of that strategy from Farrell.

3) Once again, Hanley Ramirez showed some hustle on the bases. In the seventh inning, he swiped second, though it helped that the throw -- which may have just beaten him to the bag -- was dropped.

But then, an alert Ramirez moved up to third on a wild pitch.

Ramirez seems determined to take advantage of his athleticism and run -- though, surely, not as much as he did when he was younger and routinely had 20 or more steals.

4) David Ortiz's hot start lasted past Opening Day.

Ortiz belted his second homer in as many games. It came in the sixth inning and was positively crushed, measured at about 425 feet, landing in the visitor's bullpen and hopping over the wall.

He has three extra-base hits in his first two games, and is the first Red Sox hitter to homer in each of his first two games since he himself did it in 2011.

Also, he's just the second player 40 years or older to homer in his team's first two games. The other? Ted Williams.

5) The bullpen allowed two runs in four innings of work. Noe Ramirez, who did a nice job getting out a jam in the fifth in relief of Buchholz, later gave up a walk, single and sacrifice fly for the tying run.

Junichi Tazawa, pitching for the second straight day, hung a flat splitter to former teammate Mike Napoli in the seventh, accounting for the winning run.

6) In the bottom of the eighth, Rajai Davis, having already stolen second, tried to steal third, too, and appeared to slide in ahead of the tag applied by Pablo Sandoval.

Davis looked into the dugout, expecting a challenge from his side, but strangely. Terry Francona didn't ask for a video replay.

That's especially strange, given that it was the 8th inning of a one-run game.

Strong Grapefruit League debut for Price

Strong Grapefruit League debut for Price

David Price's Grapefruit League debut was nearly perfect.

The Red Sox left-hander pitched four scoreless innings, allowing a hit and a walk and striking out five in a 7-5 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays in Fort Myers, Fla.

Price threw 55 pitches, 34 for strikes. He cruised through the first on nine pitches. He allowed the single and walk in the second.  

"It feels good. This is March 15 and I've never been able to have a four-pitch mix on March 15," Price told reporters after his start. "I've never been this far along in spring training even though I've only thrown in one game. I'm excited about that."

The Red Sox open March 29 at Tampa Bay, with Chris Sale likely to start. Price will likely pitch the second game of the season, March 30 at Tropicana Field.