Byline: Bill Ballou
BOSTON -- Wade Miley will make the first Fenway Park appearance of his baseball life this afternoon and the Red Sox can only hope he has one of the worst starts of his baseball life.
A victory by the Red Sox, with or without Miley's contribution, would get them off to a 7-2 start. Sounds like a nice way to begin the season, except that the last four times Boston has gone 7-2 in its first nine games, it has finished below .500.
That would be in 1993 (80-82), 1952 (76-78), 1936 (74-80) and 1920 (72-81).
The Sox would not quite be making history if they turned a 7-2 start into a successful season, but they'd be digging deep into the past. The 1918 world champions started 7-2 and won it all, and the 1904 Sox were 7-2 after nine games and won the American League pennant, although there was no World Series that season.
Closing in the afternoon
Game time is 1:35 this afternoon, then the Red sox have an off day. The teams do not play a matching series in Washington, so they will not meet again unless it is in the World Series.
While this will be Miley's first career appearance in Fenway Park, he faced Washington five times in the National League. Miley is 1-2 with a 2.03 ERA against the Nationals.
Nationals starter Gio Gonzalez has made four previous starts, three with Oakland and one with Washington, in Fenway Park and has yet to lose. He is 2-0 with a 4.84 ERA in Boston.
Not that regular
Daniel Nava was the Red Sox' starting right fielder on Tuesday night, meaning that Shane Victorino -- who manager John Farrell said would be Boston's regular in right given good health -- has started four of Boston's eight games.
"Vic is well aware in advance of when he'll be on the field,'' Farrell said before the game. "He's working back into everyday play. There's a balance to do with that -- the schedule, matchups. It goes into the number of games in a week, and we're working to give him a concrete number.''
When Pablo Sandoval had to exit early after being hit by a pitch, Victorino came off the bench to play right field, Nava went to left, and Hanley Ramirez came in to play third base.
The Red Sox remembered longtime executive Dick Bresciani, a Hopedale native, by naming the press box after him. It is the Bresh Box now. Bresciani was assistant director of public relations, then head of PR, for years before...