Pedroia will be all ears
He expects fans to help the cause
Dustin Pedroia is eager to hear some fans on his side after the Red Sox started the season with six games on the road. He does not expect the team’s slow start to dull the roar at Fenway Park Friday.
“The fans in Detroit were incredible,’’ he said. “It’s tough to play on the road when it’s loud for the other team and you’re getting booed.
“We hope that when we come back, it’ll be great. We need all the support that we can get.’’
The Sox have dropped 25 of their last 33 games. But Pedroia believes the players will show the fans they’re going in the right direction.
“We’re going to try and convince people with our play,’’ he said. “It’s a long season. I feel if you play the game the right way for 162 games, you should be there at the end. Hopefully we can do that.
“As long as I have been in Boston, fans have been so supportive of our team through the ups and downs.’’
The Sox start a nine-game homestand with the Rays. Games against the Rangers and Yankees will follow.
“I feel fine,’’ said Pedroia. “I feel like we have a great team. We lost a couple of tough games on the road trip.
“We have a long, long way to go. Hopefully we look back in a few weeks and we’ve forgotten what happened. We’ll be fine.’’
In his weekly spot on ESPN Radio in New York, Bobby Valentine said he was busy moving into his new place in Boston and had heard from a few fans in his travels.
“Didn’t sense a lot of anger,’’ he said. “Sensed a lot of caring, that’s for sure. Heard a lot more words of support than anything else.’’
Valentine said he has no long-term concerns with the team despite its 1-5 start.
“I don’t see anything wrong with this team,’’ he said. “I think a lot of things will go right real soon. They’re as professional a group as I’ve ever been around.’’
Maddon a fan, too
The official celebration for Fenway Park’s 100th anniversary won’t be until April 20. But Rays manager Joe Maddon is excited that his team is kicking off the landmark season in Boston. “That’s cool,’’ Maddon told reporters in Detroit. “I was a Fenway fan prior to going up there; 1994 was my first year in the major leagues, and I had never been to Boston, period.’’ Maddon expects the crowd to be supportive of the Red Sox. “Red Sox fans are great fans, and they understand baseball and baseball tradition, so I would anticipate and believe they’re going to show up and support their team,’’ he said . . . The Rays will be starting David Price, who is 6-3 with a 3.16 earned run average in 10 career starts against the Sox, including 3-1, 2.93, in five starts last season. “They’ve got a very good team and Fenway is a tough place to play,’’ Price said. “I’m there to pitch and I’m there to win.’’ Price beat the Yankees in his first start, allowing two runs in 6 1/3 innings.
Members of the Boston Pops and the Tanglewood Festival Chorus will perform the national anthem. There will be a flyover of F-16 jets by the “Green Mountain Boys’’ of the Air National Guard’s 134th Fighter Squadron out of Burlington, Vt. Military personnel from Hanscom Air Force Base will present the colors . . . Eleven-year-old Rosie Newton of St. Albans, Vt., will sing “God Bless America’’ during the seventh-inning stretch . . . The ceremonies are scheduled to begin at approximately 1:30 p.m. Game time is scheduled for 2:05 p.m. The Sox did not announce who will throw out the first pitch . . . The gates to Fenway will open two hours before game time, as they will on weekend games this season (Fridays through Sundays). On weeknights (Mondays through Thursdays), the gates will open 1 1/2 hours before game time.