After Opening Day festivities, Red Sox begin 2017 campaign

(WPRI) – The Boston Red Sox kicked off their 117th American League season on Monday, playing host to the Pittsburgh Pirates in interleague play. It marks just the fourth time in the last 22 years that the Red Sox begin the season at Fenway Park. The last time was in 2010.

Reigning Cy Young Award winner Rick Porcello took hill for the Red Sox while the Pirates started Gerrit Cole. The Red Sox are garnering buzz as the team is predicted to win the American League East for the second year in a row.

The team finished first in the AL East last season but fell short in the playoffs. David Ortiz then retired at the end of last season. The Red Sox traded for White Sox Ace Chris Sale, who is slated to pitch the second game on Wednesday.

Photos: Opening Day at Fenway Park »

Manager John Farrell says he’s happy with this year’s roster.

“We love the group that’s here,” he said. “This is I think a very diverse lineup. It’s balanced. We feel like there’s guys in the rotation that are going to establish what we need on a nightly basis. While there are still some moving parts to our roster, this is a team that is certainly built to win.”

The Red Sox honored the world champion Patriots as part of the pre-game festivities.