Attention Red Sox: How important is it to get out of the gate fast? Since wild cards were introduced in 1995, 40 of 93 teams that started 7-3 or better reached the playoffs, compared with only five of 72 teams that were 3-7 or worse. You can recover from a bad start, but in the last three years, all 24 playoff teams started 4-6 or better. … Phillies second baseman Chase Utley hasn't even been able to jog yet as he battles patellar tendinitis in his knee. He's going to be out a long time. … Closers everywhere were taking a beating during the first week of the season, but no manager proved to have less patience than Mike Scioscia. The Angels' shift from Fernando Rodney to Jordan Walden — a rookie with both a 100-mph fastball and an idea where it's going — illustrates how much respect Scioscia has for the Rangers. … The Rangers aren't sold on center fielder Julio Borbon and want to leave Josh Hamilton in left, feeling that reduces his risk of injury. They are reported to be close to signing Cuban center fielder Leon'ys Martin, who some scouts believe could help a team this season. … Clint Hurdle is a good hire for the Pirates, but when they lost to the Rockies on Thursday he became the eighth straight Pittsburgh manager to lose his first home game. The last to win his home debut was Larry Shepherd in 1968. Shepherd died at age 92 on Wednesday. … Tsuyoshi Nishioka, the Twins' second baseman who suffered a broken leg when Nick Swisher went into second base breaking up a double play, played shortstop in Japan. His injury is exactly what coaches and players fear when someone makes that switch. The Twins felt it was a hard slide, not a dirty play. … Rockies right-hander Jhoulys Chacin is the best young pitcher who flies under the radar. He outshined the Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw on Tuesday. … The Tigers miss Phil Coke in the bullpen, especially with the often-injured Joel Zumaya out.