Red Sox Opening Day

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Updated: April 6, 2015
clay-buchholz

The 2015 Red Sox open up the regular season today in Philadelphia against Cole Hamels and the Phillies.  Many questions surround the Red Sox this season.  They went from first to worst and if the trend continues they will be the top team in the league this year.  The Red Sox added the 2 best hitters on the free agent market in Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval.  The Red Sox needed to do something at the hot corner and Sandoval should be an upgrade at the position. Starting pitching seems to be the biggest question heading into the season.

Here are my top 5 things to watch this year for the Red Sox

1. Pitching staff- Without an Ace on this team,  Manager john Farrell is going to have to be the pitching mind that most consider him to be.  Clay Buchholz gets the opening day start with many questions about his health and mental toughness.  The team traded for Rick Porcello who is an innings eater and has shown the potential to be a top of the rotation pitcher. Justin Masterson signed a 1-year deal after pitching well for Cleveland but was traded at the deadline last year and did not do much for the Cardinals in the playoffs.  Wade Miley comes over from Arizona where he was an innings eater.  He has pitched over 200 innings in a season and is left handed. he in the 4th spot in the rotation could be great value for the team but he pitches to contact and the defense needs to be strong behind him.  Finally Joe Kelly will start the season the the DL. He showed glimpses of being a power pitcher with St. Louis and at the end of last season.  He will have his innings monitored but could be develop into a top of the rotation pitcher and with a 97-MPH fastball, he could excel in the colder months and in the playoffs.

2. Bullpen.  Koji Uehara is now 40 years old. He has a hamstring injury that will start his season on the shelf.  Edward Mujica will be the opening day closer and that is just a scary situation for the Red Sox.  They will have 3 left handers in the bullpen. The addition of Alexi Ogando and Bobby Ross from Texas should give more support to Junichi Tazawa in the late innings. Anthony Vavaro comes over from Atlanta and should give stability in the bullpen pitching over 50 innings last season

3. Outfield.  All 3 starters in the outfield are playing out of position. Hanley Ramirez will play LF to reduce the wear and tear from his days as an infielder.  Shane Victorino who missed over 130 games last season will get the start over Rusney Castillo who will start the year in Pawtucket.  Mookie Betts will be the lead off man and center fielder. He earned the job out of camp and has big expectations for the team this season. The team is putting the kid right to the fire and Jackie Bradley JR will be in the minors. Allen craig and Daniel Nava will also open the season with the big club.

4. Manager. John Farrell was awarded a contract extension during spring training.  Many people like myself were curious about the signing considering they had a team option in 2016. If the team struggles out of the gate many question will come to the foot of management about the extension, and questions will arise if Farrell is the right manager for this club.  He has had 1 winning season and granted it was a World Series championship. The Manager has a lot to prove this season. Especially without an Ace on the staff

5. Xander Bogaerts- He will finally be the every day shortstop.  The excuses of moving to third base are over for this kid.  He his only 13 home runs last year and his batting average was low.  There are huge expectations surrounding him and a subpar spring training has many wondering about his true potential.  He still needs work in the field, but if he hit about .280 and close to 20 home runs a season he is exactly what people thought he would be.  Bogaerts will bat 8th in the lineup and could be the spark at the bottom of the lineup.

 

Here is the opening day lineup

CF Mookie Betts

2B Dustin Pedroia

1B David Ortiz

LF Hanley Ramirez

3B Pablo Sandoval

RF Shane Victorino

SS Xander Bogearts

P Clay Buchholz

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