MLB.com beat reporters Bryan Hoch and Ian Browne chatted with fans prior to the Red Sox home opener against the Yankees. Topics included both team's starting pitching, Boston's dismal start and the excitement of the rivalry.
Bryan Hoch: Good morning from Boston.
yankeeduke: Brian, how confident are the Yanks in Hughes being healthy? Did the long tosses go a long way to alleviate their worries?
Hoch: They're pretty confident. He hasn't complained about any pain, which tells them it's nothing serious of that nature. If it was, he wouldn't be starting today. Right now he just needs to continue getting his arm strength up.
lrichie18: Mr. Hoch, This early in the season, how much excitement and drama that we've grown to love can we expect to see out of both teams?
Hoch: Mr. Hoch is my dad. Ha. I expect this to be a typical Yankees-Red Sox series. I could see a lot of runs being scored and the games taking a while. Every pitch seems to mean more when these teams get together.
Hoch: Ian said he was having some issues parking around Fenway, by the way. He'll be logging on very shortly.
Kickit: Bryan is there pressure on the Yanks to keep Boston out of the win column?
Hoch: It's a little early in the season for that. I think Yankees fans would love to see Boston at 0-9 when the Yankees leave town, but believe me, the Sox are going to win their share of games this year.
Ian Browne: Sorry I was late, am here now.
yankeeduke: Ian, as someone who covers the Red Sox, is their attitude more worrisome or more baffled by the 0-6 start?
Browne: Definitely more baffled than anything right now. The attitude is fine. If anything, guys are trying too hard.
romine16: With the way the Sox have opened up this year and I understand that it's a long season, but do you think that this Sox team is nothing more than a bunch of hype?
Browne: They still have 156 games to prove that they are more than hype. But if the season is anything short of the postseason, that will be the perception.
Hoch: Hard to believe we're talking about the Red Sox missing the playoffs on April 8, isn't it?
PAYankFan: To Bryan, I heard a rumor that the Yankees might be interested in Brett Myers. Just a rumor at this point?
Hoch: That popped up this spring, but it was more like he's the type of guy they could be interested in. I expect they'll kick around for starting pitching, but probably not until June or July.
Browne: You can't predict baseball, right Bryan?
Hoch: Someone once told me that, Ian.
Hoch: Just to follow up on my last response, I don't think it's a lock Freddy Garcia necessarily finishes the year in the rotation. They'll look to upgrade, of course. He hasn't even started once yet so let's not kill him too much.
Browne: Anyone else with questions?
lrichie18: Nova isn't a lock just yet either.
Hoch: Nope. But I think they like him a lot. He's going to get a little longer leash; they think he can be a winning pitcher at this level.
Kickit: Ian, what happens in Boston if the Red Sox lose today and how do the fans react?
Browne: If they lose today, it will be ugly. Fans are already, well, on edge, to say the least.
Hoch: They'll still play the game, though, right?
BNN987: Worst Red Sox season start since 1945?
Kickit: Ian, if the Red Sox don't start to perform on the field do the whispers start about Francona?
Browne: I can't imagine Francona being a scapegoat for the team not hitting and not pitching. I don't think any player in the clubhouse has a problem with the manager.
daprorod: Do you think the Red Sox will bounce back?
Browne: Honestly, I think there's too much talent on this team for them not to bounce back. I think half of this losing streak has been psychological.
rubit4luck: Lifelong Yankee fan here with a comment that I'd like to hear your opinion on. I have way too many friends that are Red Sox fans and I am always humored by their lack of faith in their team. First week in the season is far too early to write them off.
Browne: Bostonians are fatalistic by nature. It was in their blood for a long, long time.
Hoch: I would've thought 2004 would have erased a lot of that "the sky is falling" stuff.
Browne: No fan base builds a team up more when they win or tears them down more than they lose than Boston. It's part of what makes this a fun place to be.
Hoch: I will admit, I couldn't wait to see what the Boston newspapers looked like this morning. It's entertaining.
HeyItsJD: Ian, would the acquisition of new pitching coach Curt Young be partly to blame for the latest pitching woes, or is the staff merely trying to gel still?
Browne: There might be some pitchers still trying to get used to Curt Young, but from what I've heard from each pitcher, they like working with him. He did a great job in Oakland.
Kickit: Bryan, is A.J. more relaxed this season and is knowing that he will not have to throw to Posada a big help with that?
Hoch: A.J. has seemed like he's been in a good frame of mind from the first day of Spring Training. He knew last year was awful. I don't know if it's so much that he's not throwing to Posada. With the stuff he has, he should be able to win with any catcher. I think he was distracted last year.
daprorod: Mr. Browne, do you think the Red Sox will bounce back this year?
Browne: There's plenty of time left for this team to bounce back, but they need to start winning now. You can't build a double-digit lead in April or May. That's a large hole to climb in the AL East.
daprorod: Carl Crawford to me, seems pressured during every at bat. I think he needs to calm down, don't you think?
Browne: Crawford had a nice game on Wednesday night with two hits and two steals. He'll relax soon, I'm sure.
romine16: Much like the 2010-2011 Miami Heat. Lots of talent not to bounce back and be a contender.
Browne: The Heat is a great comparison. I actually thought of that earlier today but Gonzalez and Crawford didn't do "the Decision"!
daprorod: Mr. Browne, do you think Crawford seems different while on the Red Sox? His style of play seems mediocre now.
Browne: It's easy to look mediocre when you're not hitting. He's played well in left. Give him a chance to get hot.
daprorod: Ian Browne, do you think Carl Crawford is changing his game too much?
Browne: I haven't seen him change anything. He's just not hitting the ball consistently. That's all.
rubit4luck: The rest of my post was, "Given the strength of the Orioles and Blue Jays this season, do you think that the East can maintain its lock on the Wild Card team, or will there be too many potential losses amongst the four teams to pull off the Wild Card?
Browne: I still think the Wild Card comes out of the East. Bryan?
Hoch: I think it will, but wouldn't be surprised to see it come out of the Central.
daprorod: Mr. Browne, do you think the Red Sox pitching staff needs help? Except Lester, of course.
Browne: It depends on Beckett. If he isn't a very strong No. 3, this staff could have problems.
andrea91: Good morning, guys. Thanks for doing this!
Browne: You bet. Anything we can help you with?
Hoch: No problem. Send coffee!
Hoch: Got time for a few more questions before I fight my way to Fenway ...
daprorod: Ian Browne, to me Gonzalez has played great even though his average does not show it. He has been making nice plays at first and has a couple of multihit games.
Browne: Yep, he's been as advertised so far. Once the other guys start hitting, he should really get hot.
andrea91: Thanks, Ian. If I come up with a question I will let you know. Just wanted to see what was going on. I'm a Yankees fan but family is all Red Sox.
Browne: You're family must be a little on edge right now!
Hoch: Ian, how do you feel about the Boston media lineup this year? And don't you think that win at Yankee Stadium last season was a fluke?
Browne: I think I'll be comeback player of the year, Bryan, coming off a broken foot.
Kickit: Ian, do the Sox trust there starting five or are we going to see a shake up in it at the trade deadline?
Browne: I'd like to see the rotation more than one time through before making that evaluation.
Hoch: Obviously, New York's starting pitcher just had an off day. Don't you agree he should have dominated?
Browne: Lefties are always tough, especially in New York.
andrea91: Bryan, thank you for taking pictures of Spring Training. I've really enjoyed them!
Hoch: Thanks. Wish I could do it during the season but there's just not enough time.
lehme: Bryan, what about Garcia? Are the Yankees going to skip him every time they can?
Hoch: Such is life as the fifth starter. Ideally you wouldn't have him wait 17 days between starts as he's doing now ... but maybe he'll get into a game in relief.
Browne: Thanks everyone for joining us today. Should be an interesting weekend, as always.
Hoch: Gotta run, guys. Thanks -- first pitch is just four hours away! Enjoy the game.
Browne: See everyone later.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.