NEW YORK — They may never lose.
They may never trail.
Worst to first. Two games into the season, this is the theme of the 2013 Red Sox.
And is it possible for Jackie Bradley Jr. to be the Face of the Franchise after only two games in the big leagues?
Pump some air into the Duck Boat tires. Get going with the 2013 commemorative bricks. Maybe the phony sellout streak will live longer than we thought.
The Red Sox trashed the Yankees again Wednesday night, rattling 13 hits around the yard in a 7-4 victory over the erstwhile Bronx Bombers. For the second straight game, JBJ was right in the middle of things. Bradley reached base twice in the first three innings, scored two more runs, and drove home a run with his first major league hit.
“It feels good to be able to help out,’’ said the sweet-faced Virginian. “When you win, it’s easy to have fun.’’
He is just what the Dr. (Charles Steinberg) ordered for the image-tarnished Red Sox. They want you to forget about the past. They want you to think about the present. And the future.
“We’re starting a new season,’’ Bradley had said after Monday’s electric debut. “You can’t control the past. You have to look forward. I hope it’s going to be a good year. I guess I really wasn’t part of what happened in the past, but we’re leaving it in the past.’’
Bingo. Leave it behind. This is 2013 and there will be no more goofball comments by Bobby Valentine. No more coaches who don’t talk to the manager. No more games started by Daisuke Matsuzaka and Aaron Cook. No more James Loney batting cleanup. No more lineups with Scott Podsednik, Mauro Gomez, and Danny Valencia.
Poor Pedro Ciriaco. He arrived from oblivion last year and did a nice job for the 2012 Red Sox, but his name became synonymous with Boston’s worst baseball team in 47 years. The September Sox of 2012 were the Pedro Ciriaco All-Stars. Ciriaco is back this season as a utility infielder, but he might have trouble seeing the field just because his mere presence reminds us of the Season That Must Not Be Named.
Now it is 2013 and it’s all about JBJ.
Bradley was the big story in New York in Game 1, an 8-2 Sox victory. He changed the game when he drew an 0-and-2 walk against CC Sabathia in his first big league at-bat. Then he beat a throw to second. He knocked in a run. He reached base three times. He made a spectacular catch in left. When Joe Castiglione interviewed him after the game, and presented the kid with a gift certificate to a North End eatery, Bradley said, “Thank you. I like restaurants.’’
He went to Applebee’s with his family during the offday.
JBJ unleashed the cornrows before Wednesday night’s game. He was rockin’ the ’fro as the Sox prepared to face Hiroki Kuroda with the temperature 43 degrees.
While he was on deck in the second inning, Van Morrison’s “Jackie Wilson Said” blared from the Yankees sound system. Pretty good. Jackie Bradley Jr. is named after Jackie Bradley Sr., a bus driver/policeman, who was named after soul man Jackie Wilson.
Bradley was hit by a pitch in the second and came around to score.
Facing Cody Eppley in Boston’s four-run third, Bradley drilled a 2-2 pitch into center field for his first major league hit. Brett Gardner tossed the ball into Robinson Cano, who had the presence of mind to relay the ball into the Sox dugout. At that point, Bradley had reached base five times in seven big league plate appearances.
After an 0-6 (and 2-10) start in 2011, and a 1-5 stink bomb last year, the Sox’ 2-0 start has gotten our attention. They have not started 2-0 since 1999 and they have not scored seven or more runs in their first two games on the road since 1919, the final year of Babe Ruth with the Sox. In today’s culture of nonstop information and zero attention span, the Sox thus far have reinvented themselves as gritty underdogs with a chance to get back to the playoffs. The perception has changed overnight, it seems.
Maybe they won’t be that bad. Maybe they have a shot. The bullpen is loaded with power arms. Lester is back. Too many good players. Will there be room for David Ortiz when he is healthy?
The one-day trend is a relatively new phenomenon for a baseball team. Back in the day, when the season truly was a marathon, not a sprint, it took a couple of months to inspire worthy evaluation. Now we do it after one game. Or two. Maybe it’s necessary after the abysmal Sox starts of the last couple of years.
“The last two years are still in the front of everybody’s mind,’’ said Sox starter/winner Clay Buchholz. “It’s definitely a big confidence-builder to win the first two games here.’’
New manager John Farrell — who watched the Sox’ implosion from the visitors dugout last summer (and his Jays barely fnished ahead of the 69-win Sox), said, “I don’t know how much guys pay attention to what’s talked about on the outside. Hopefully change the expectations. Our guys, starting with the last day of last year, are looking forward to re-writing what happened last year.’’
Pretty good so far.