You get the feeling this is what is going to have to happen fairly often.

A pure offensive onslaught.

You had to be a dummy not to realize the Boston Red Sox had built one hell of an attack over the offseason, tossing in Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval with an already-formidable group of David Ortiz, Mike Napoli and Dustin Pedroia. Them scoring was never in doubt.

Pitching? Well, that was, and still is, plenty uncertain.

But on this Opening Day, facing the man the franchise so positively wanted pitching this game for them, everything worked to perfection. That includes the men on the mound, but mostly that ungodly offense that just put the entire American League on notice.

The Red Sox’s 8-0 decapitation of Cole Hamels and the Philadelphia Phillies was just the first game of a grinding summer that wears on every man in uniform at some point. But watching that lineup pound five home runs—two each by Pedroia and Ramirez—in an opener for the second time in franchise history and the first since 1965, you got the sense this kind of overbearing production might become commonplace by the midway point of the season.

And that would be quite the change from last season when the team was 12th out of 15 in home runs hit and never put on the kind of show it did this Opening Day.

The process started at the top, as the Red Sox hope it will all season. Mookie Betts went 2-for-4 with a walk and two runs scored, one of those occurring when he drove himself in with a solo homer in the third inning.

Of course, he won’t reach base at a .600 clip all year, but the fact that he did not look overmatched against one of the game’s true aces is a huge plus. If the Red Sox’s guns are going to fire rapidly, Betts has to be ammunition.

Pedrioa went 3-for-5 with a couple of RBI and a couple of runs. Two of those knocks came via the long ball, with a solo shot in the first inning and another in the fifth, both off Hamels.

Finally, there was Hanley. A player who has recently proved he can be one of the best hitters in the sport when healthy, Ramirez made his second Red Sox debut with some thump. His first home run was a solo job off Hamels in the fifth. The second, a grand slam that he muscled out down the left-field line with faulty lumber, put the game away in the ninth.

Really, the only offensive spoilers were the rotund duo of Ortiz and Sandoval.

Combined, they went 0-for-9 with six strikeouts and no walks. Ortiz was hitless in four at-bats with three strikeouts. Sandoval, making his Red Sox debut after signing a five-year, $95 million deal despite declining numbers as he left San Francisco, went hitless in five at-bats, striking out three times as well.

Sandoval has had sliding production for a few seasons now, and Ortiz is 39. Still, you figure those two to be fine with the bat, especially if everyone around them continues to pound opposing pitchers into submission after submission. Plus, Hamels is still a fine pitcher, which is why the Red Sox wanted to make him and all his torturers teammates over the winter.

Alas, the price for Hamels was too high for Boston’s personnel budget, and Jon Lester chose to take his left arm to Chi Town.

So Clay Buchholz of the Jekyll-and-Hyde and Two-Face mold got the ball for this season opener. What he would give the Red Sox, no one could foresee. This is a guy who has been all or nothing over his entire seven-year career, and last year, he compiled a 5.34 ERA in 28 starts.

But right on cue, Buchholz was good again. He rolled through the Phillies and their mostly putrid lineup for seven innings, giving up just three hits and striking out nine.

This was undoubtedly a promising start to his season, and it gives the Red Sox and their Nation a night to dream about what could happen if their pitching is as steady as their offense ought to be. Then again, Boston’s pitching is difficult to love for legitimate reasons, meaning those dreams and this season will go about as far as the bats allow.

After this first day of the season, one that came with such high hopes, pressure and expectations, it is looking like the hitters are up to the task as they opened in grand fashion.


All quotes, unless otherwise specified, have been acquired first-hand by Anthony Witrado. Follow Anthony on Twitter @awitrado and talk baseball here.

Read more MLB news on