There is so much to be worked out between now and opening day. There will be injuries, trades, ineffectiveness and visa problems (can we make sure that Alfredo Aceves has visa problems? p.s. I'm going to go into hiding after this is published). But, if opening day were today what would the starting lineup look like? We here at redsoxmaineiacs are obsessed with lineups. So here it goes...
The opponent's opening day starter will likely be C.C. Sabathia (I wish this was an April Fool's joke) so here's John Farrell's first Red Sox lineup card:
Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Shane Victorino RF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
David Ortiz DH
Mike Napoli 1B
Will Middlebrooks 3B
Jonny Gomes LF
David Ross C
Stephen Drew SS
Jon Lester SP
Opening day may prevent Farrell from putting out his usual lineup vs. left handed hitters. I think David Ross will play against most left handed SP's assuming that he's platooning with Salty. If he's platooning with Lavarnway then he may play more against tough righties. Although, I don't see the catching being a strict left/right platoon.
Barring injury, Ellsbury, Pedroia, Ortiz, Napoli, Middlebrooks and Victorino are definitely going to be in the lineup. Becuase Sabathia is pitching I think Gomes is a shoo-in. The only real question marks are Catcher and SS. Drew probably has a 75% chance of starting, but I still give Jose Iglesias a 25% shot at being the opening day SS.
That leaves catcher and my gut is telling me that Salty is not going to be on the opening day roster. I'm confident that Lavarnway is going to have a great spring training and prove that his offensive slump of a year ago was just a fluke. If that does happen I don't think Salty makes the team, but as of right now he is on the team and has to be considered the starter going into spring training so he's in the line up. I give the three catchers an equal shot at starting on opening day. Salty 33.3%, Lavarnway 33.3% and Ross 33.3%, so pull a name out of a hat for that spot. One last thing that may give Ross the nod on Opening Day is the fact that he was likely brought in here to mentor Lester and Buchholz just as much as he was Lavarnway, so I could se him working with Lester and Buchholz a lot. You just witnessed me changing my mind in the course of a paragraph. I'm going to switch Ross to the starting catcher spot instead of Salty.
Now the order is a totally different animal. I feel pretty confident in my top 3, but I'm not sure where to put Big Papi vs. a tough lefty in Sabathia. The way that he hit lefties last year and assuming he is healthy he is your clean up hitter vs. lefties for now. Then you have 3 pretty good righties in a row with Napoli, Middlebrooks and Gomes. Salty is not a great right-handed hitter and we covered the catching situation above. Drew is your second lead off hitter in the number nine hole. Drew may very well move to the top of the line up or middle of the lineup vs. right-handed SP's.
I know that lineup speculation can be a waste of time and energy because the team has yet to hit the field, but it is a fun way to pass the time until spring training. Let's hear your thoughts on the opening day lineup in the comments section.