Catching Up With The Red Sox As The 2017 Season Looms

Need a quick primer on the team as we launch into another season? Don’t worry, everyone; there is life after Big Papi.

Don’t look now, but the Boston Red Sox open the 2017 season at Fenway Park in just ten days. TEN DAYS! If you haven’t been following the fun at JetBlue Park in Fort Myers for the past month-plus – heck, if you haven’t kept up since the team was swept by Cleveland in the ALDS – then here is a quick summary to get you caught up with the local nine before they return north from sunny Fort Myers to chilly New England.

The Rotation

The Red Sox may have won the offseason last December when they sent top prospect Yoan Moncada and three other players to the White Sox in exchange for five time All-Star southpaw Chris Sale. Sale has not disappointed this spring; in 16 innings pitched in Grapefruit League action, he has struck out 20 with a WHIP of 1.06, and even held the Yankees, Boston’s biggest rival, to just two runs over six innings pitched on Tuesday in Tampa. Coupled with 2016 Cy Young Award winner Rick Porcello, David Price, Eduardo Rodriguez, and Steven Wright and backed by Drew Pomeranz and Kyle Kendrick, this rotation is arguably one of the best in the league, making the team early favorites to win another World Series.

Price will begin the season on the DL due to elbow issues that popped up during camp, but he is gaining strength day-by-day and, with effective monitoring and a full-blown throwing program, should return to the team within a month after the season begins. One pitcher who won’t return is Clay Buchholz whom, after ten up-and-down seasons with the Red Sox, Boston traded to the Phillies in December.

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Did You Know – Red Sox Opening Day Home Runs

Hitting a round tripper on Opening Day, like hitting one in the World Series or an All-Star Game, is not an unusual feat, but doing it more than once is noteworthy in some respects.

Hitting a round tripper on Opening Day, like hitting one in the World Series or an All-Star Game, is not considered unusual, but doing it more than once is noteworthy in some respects. In the ninth inning of Tuesday afternoon’s 6-2 win for Boston over Cleveland, Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz hit what proved to be his fifth career home run on Opening Day, his third with the Red Sox after hitting two with the Minnesota Twins earlier in his career. After what was a quiet spring (4-for-35 with three extra base hits), the sight of him launching one into the bleachers was a welcome sight to Red Sox fans looking for a positive start to the 2016 season.

The home run also proved to be number 504 in Big Papi’s career, which ties him with Eddie Murray for 26th all-time in MLB history. After Murray, his next target on the all-time list would be Gary Sheffield (509), followed by Mel Ott (511), Ernie Banks (512) and Eddie Matthews (also 512). He now also has 446 home runs with the Red Sox, which puts him six behind Carl Yastrzemski for second place (452) and well behind Ted Williams with 521, whom he has a chance to catch only in the career total category.

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Opening Day Renews Our Love For Baseball And The Red Sox

For New England baseball fans, there is one day that we look forward to every year. After toughing out a long winter in New England, one of the first signs of spring for us is neither the return of the robins nor the sound of lawn mowers starting up in yards in your neighborhood.  It isn’t melting snow piles in the mall parking lots or the discarding of winter jackets.  It’s Opening Day for the Red Sox at Fenway Park.

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2012 Red Sox Opening Day Roster Set

With Jon Lester and the Boston Red Sox set to square off against reigning AL MVP and Cy Young Award winner Justin Verlander and the Detroit Tigers at 1:05 PM this afternoon at Comerica Park, manager Bobby Valentine has announced his Opening Day roster (asterisk denotes starters).

Pitchers (13)
Alfredo Aceves, Matt Albers, Scott Atchison, Daniel Bard, Josh Beckett, Michael Bowden, Clay Buchholz, Felix Doubront, Jon Lester*, Mark Melancon, Franklin Morales, Vicente Padilla, Justin Thomas

Catchers (2)
Jarrod Saltalamacchia*, Kelly Shoppach

Infielders (6)
Mike Aviles, Adrian Gonzalez*, David Ortiz*, Dustin Pedroia*, Nick Punto, Kevin Youkilis*

Outfielders (4)
Jacoby Ellsbury*, Darnell McDonald, Cody Ross*, Ryan Sweeney*

On the disabled list to begin the season are outfielders Carl Crawford (left wrist) and Ryan Kalish (left shoulder) and pitchers Andrew Bailey (thumb), Chris Carpenter (right elbow), Rich Hill (left elbow), Daisuke Matsuzaka (right elbow), and Andrew Miller (left hamstring).  Crawford, Hill, Matsuzaka, and Miller begin the season on the 15-day DL, while Bailey, Carpenter, and Kalish are on the 60-day DL.