Fenway Park opened for its 105th season Monday. As always, the ballpark was decked out for the opener as Boston’s new ace, David Price, took the mound.

It was the last home opener for David Ortiz, who will retire at the end of this season. Big Papi hit home runs in each of the first two games this season, and he had two hits, including a double, on Monday.

The Red Sox came home with a 3-2 record after a trip to Cleveland and Toronto. Their start was fueled by an offense that pounded out six or more runs and 10 or more hits in each of the first four games. That hadn’t been done by a major league team since 2003.

On Monday, Boston scored seven more runs – and banged out 11 hits – in a 9-7 loss to the Baltimore Orioles.

You may have forgotten that the Sox averaged 4.62 runs a game in 2015, fourth-best in the majors. That was an increase of 114 runs from 2014. They were even better over the final seven weeks of the season, averaging 5.45 runs a game – second-best in all of baseball.

That late-season offense was sparked by the emergence of young players like Jackie Bradley Jr., Travis Shaw and Blake Swihart.


That trio joined Xander Bogaerts and Mookie Betts in the Opening Day lineup, marking the first time since 1969 the Sox have five Opening Day starters under the age of 25.

Betts hit a home run in the ninth inning Monday to cap a 3-for-5 performance with two RBI. Bradley drove in two runs and had a ground-rule double, and Bogaerts added an RBI. Swihart had two singles in four at-bats.

That young lineup has given New England plenty to cheer about at the start of this season – despite questions surrounding Boston’s starting rotation.

Clay Buchholz (four innings, five earned runs) and Joe Kelly (three innings, seven earned runs) were brutal in their first starts. Rick Porcello bounced back from a pair of Jose Bautista two-run homers Saturday to go six innings with just those four runs allowed.

Steven Wright, filling in for the injured Eduardo Rodriguez, allowed the first two batters he faced Sunday to score before settling in for 62/3 strong innings.

There was a minor brouhaha in Boston last week when Sox Manager John Farrell decided to push Price back a day so he could start the Fenway opener. Price, the $217 million offseason acquisition, struggled on Monday. He struck out eight, but allowed five earned runs in five innings.

Boston’s bullpen was impressive on the season-opening trip (one run in the final 12 innings), but new closer Craig Kimbrel gave up a three-run homer to Chris Davis in the ninth inning Monday and took the loss.

With an offense like this, however, there is an opportunity for this to be an exciting season. The Sox told us there is a sense of urgency surrounding this team as it tries to get to the playoffs for just the second time in seven years. Undoubtedly, the starting rotation will get the most attention as the 2016 season unfolds.

Tom Caron is a studio host for the Red Sox broadcast on NESN. His column appears in the Portland Press Herald on Tuesdays.

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