If you looked at the box score of today’s Red Sox and Rays game you’d assume Boston is thrilled. They won 12-2 against a division rival in their home opener. They had 16 hits and eight 8th-inning runs. Josh Beckett pitched eight innings and gave up five hits. The Sox silenced Ray’s designated hitter Luke Scott, who said that Fenway was a “dump.” It was their best game to date.
Despite all that, what the Red Sox lost was far more important than the morale from a big win. Centerfielder Jacoby Ellsbury went down in agony with a right shoulder injury after Rays shortstop Reid Brignac fell on him after Ellsbury slid into second. The Sox issued a statement that Ellsbury suffered a right shoulder injury but couldn’t elaborate more, the implications are scary. Manager Bobby Valentine said that Ellsbury was in a lot of pain when he went to see him at second base, which isn’t a surprise to all the Sox fans that watched Jacoby squirm uncontrollably.
If the injury is as serious as it looks, it couldn’t be more problematic for Boston. Their slow start isn’t much cause for concern, but an injury that could sideline Ellsbury has reaches farther than even this season. Almost two years ago to date, Ellsbury collided with Adrian Beltre and was on and off the 15-day disabled list for the remainder of the season. The Red Sox can ill afford the same type of inconsistent playing time that plagued Ellsbury in 2010 with this season’s pitching staff. The Red Sox rank last in ERA, which wouldn’t be so condemning this early in the season if their bullpen wasn’t so awful. It’s a makeshift group without a true closer until Andrew Bailey returns from injury. So here are the Sox again, scrambling to assemble a worth relief unit, dealing with potential injuries and lineup changes. Bobby V will need every ounce of his enigmatic creativity to make Boston a true championship contender.