From worst to first to worst… to first?
The Boston Red Sox, a season removed from a world championship, are set to open the 2015 regular reason today in Philadelphia against the Phillies, the first time in team history that Boston will open against a National League opponent. The Red Sox, who followed the 2013 championship season with a last place finish in the American League East, the second such finish in three seasons, will be managed for a third year by John Farrell. Boston will play an additional road series in New York against the Yankees before opening Fenway Park next Monday versus the Washington Nationals.
Many familiar faces return from last season, including designated hitter David Ortiz, who will start the opener at Citizens Bank Park as the first baseman, first baseman Mike Napoli, second baseman Dustin Pedroia, shortstop Xander Bogaerts, outfielder Shane Victorino, and starting pitcher Clay Buchholz. Another familiar face who returns as a starter this season is outfielder Mookie Betts, who will likely play his first full season at the major league level and has already drawn interest as a dark horse MVP candidate.
Some of the new faces are already familiar to fans of the Boston nine. Outfielder Hanley Ramirez, who came up through the Red Sox farm system as a shortstop and appeared in two games with Boston before being part of a trade in November 2005 for Josh Beckett and Mike Lowell, returns to the fold, as does starting pitcher Justin Masterson, who appeared in 67 games for Boston in 2008 and 2009. Other new players include third baseman Pablo Sandoval, who played for seven seasons in San Francisco and won three World Series with the Giants, including last season, and pitcher Rick Porcello, who came as part of a trade with Detroit for Yoenis Cespedes.