With Opening Day just mere hours away, Red Sox manager Alex Cora on Wednesday announced the starting lineup for his team’s first game of the 2019 season against the Seattle Mariners on Thursday.
- Benintendi, LF
- Betts, RF
- Devers, 3B
- Martinez, DH
- Bogaerts, SS
- Moreland, 1B
- Nunez, 2B
- Bradley Jr., CF
- Vazquez, C
To nobody’s surprise, Andrew Benintendi will be serving as Boston’s leadoff man for the majority of the season, as announced by Cora himself last December.
In 97 career plate appearances batting leadoff for Boston, the 24-year-old outfielder, who is entering his third full big league season, is slashing .322/.381/.598 with seven doubles, one triple, five home runs, and 15 RBI.
After Benintendi, Mookie Betts will be sliding into the two-hole, which was also expected.
What may not have been expected is what comes next, with third baseman Rafael Devers getting the chance to bat in between Betts and JD Martinez.
According to Cora, the third spot in Boston’s lineup will not be reserved for one specific hitter over the course of the season, with Devers, Mitch Moreland, and Steve Pearce also in the mix depending on pitching matchups. But, with Pearce currently on the injured list back in Fort Myers, it will go to the young corner infielder for Opening Day.
“Steve is not here and (Devers) did a good job,” Cora said to reporters on Wednesday afternoon. “So go get ‘em, kid.”
Devers, 22, made his major league debut in Seattle back in July of 2017.
From there, as it reads above, we have Martinez, Xander Bogaerts, and Mitch Moreland making up a pretty solid 4-5-6 portion of the lineup
And to round it off, it will go Eduardo Nunez, Jackie Bradley Jr., and Christian Vazquez, who of course will be catching Chris Sale in Game 1 of 162 on Thursday.
Per Baseball Reference, Sale owns a 3.40 ERA and .643 OPS against in 53 total innings pitched over 11 outings with Vazquez behind the plate.
He had been mostly working with Sandy Leon in his first three seasons with the Red Sox, but with Leon now off Boston’s 40-man roster, it will be interesting to see how the left-hander performs with Vazquez, or even Blake Swihart, serving as his catcher.
Whether or not Vazquez will be Sale’s personal catcher has yet to be revealed, but I doubt that.
Anyway, it looks like I’m going to run out of time to post a huge 2019 preview blog, but first pitch against the Mariners is scheduled for 7:10 PM EDT Thursday on ESPN. Get excited.