VERY LATE RECAP: Hanley Ramirez’s Go-Ahead 2 RBI Double Gives #RedSox the 4-2 Win in Extras.

Well I am very late with this recap blog. The game ended about 20 hours ago, so my thoughts on the game aren’t that fresh anymore. Instead of breaking down the entire game like I usually do, I guess I’ll just give the SparkNotes version of what went down last night to go along with some videos.

Chris Sale tossed five innings last night and gave up one run.

Jackie Bradley Jr. made a fantastic catch.

JD Martinez drove in the first run of the game in the top of the first for his second RBI of the season.

After the Marlins tied the game in the fourth, the next run of the game was not scored until the top of the eleventh, when Andrew Benintendi drove in Eduardo Nunez from second with a one out RBI single, his first of the season.

Later in that inning, it looked like Matt Barnes was about to get the save for the Red Sox, but he allowed the tying run to score. Luckily, Andrew Benintendi and Xander Bogaerts were able to get Justin Bour out at the plate, leaving the game tied heading to the twelfth.

Hanley Ramirez continued his mean streak against his former team, as he finished the game with two hits, including this very clutch two-run double in the top of the thirteenth.

That would all but lock up the victory for the Red Sox in this one. Heath Hembree was rewarded with his first win of the year, thanks to the two shutout innings he pitched. Here’s his last pitch:

Before I forget, JBJ was not the only center fielder to make an impressive catch last night. Marlins rookie Lewis Brinson robbed Mookie Betts ofΒ  a potential go-ahead solo blast back in the eleventh.

Impressive to say the least. Good thing the Marlins never got the chance to capitalize on it.

Five straight wins for the Red Sox heading into Opening Day at Fenway Park. I will not be there, but I will be watching. And I will have a normal recap blog to post after, hopefully.

Okay, that will do it for this shortened recap. Shoutout Hanley Ramirez, the real Mr. 305. Dale!

 

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RECAP: Hanley Ramirez and Mookie Betts Both Go Yard as #RedSox Win Fourth Straight.

Making a quick stop in South Beach, the Red Sox looked to take advantage of their matchup against a Marlins team not expected to do much this season. In the first of their two game set, Brian Johnson was matched up against Trevor Richards, who was making his Major League debut for Miami.

Like Hector Velazquez, Johnson is most likely an injury fill-in in the Red Sox rotation. The former Florida Gator got the job done on Monday, as he allowed one earned run over six full innings pitched, striking out five along the way. There were times where it looked like the Marlins were about to get to Johnson, since they did reach base eight times on him, but the southpaw avoided any major damage. The only run he gave up came on a solo shot off the bat of third baseman Brian Anderson in the second inning, which put the Marlins up 1-0 at the time. When he departed after retiring the side in the sixth, Johnson had thrown 82 pitches, 49 of which went for strikes.

The Red Sox only needed two relief pitchers to wrap up the win last night. Heath Hembree tossed a scoreless seventh inning, and Marcus Walden allowed two runs to score while pitching the last two innings. Not a great look for Walden, honestly. He has got hit pretty hard in the two games he has pitched in, but he was able to finish the game. The Red Sox did not have to go to Craig Kimbrel in this one, that’s alwaysΒ  a good thing when you can save him for more appearances later in the season.

Offensively, the Red Sox lineup had its best day of the season so far. They scored a season high seven runs on 12 hits and three walks. After Trevor Richards held them scoreless through the first three innings, the bats woke up in the fourth. With two outs in the inning, Xander Bogaerts got the rally started with an infield single down the third base line. Eduardo Nunez then drove Bogaerts in from first on an RBI double. A Jackie Bradley Jr. walk set up Christian Vazquez for an ideal RBI opportunity with runners on first and second. On the first pitch he saw, the catcher ripped a line drive down the third base line, scoring both Nunez and Bradley for his first RBIs of the season.

In the very next inning, the Red Sox tacked on two more runs to up their total to five. With one out and Andrew Benintendi at first thanks to his first hit of the season, Hanley Ramirez did some damage. The former Marlin must enjoy playing in Miami, because he looked really comfortable at the plate and at first base last night.

On a 1-1 slider, Ramirez took Richards deep to left field for his first long ball of the season, putting his team up by four runs.

Ramirez guaranteed a 30 HR, 30 SB season earlier in Spring Training, and he’s only 29 home runs and 28 stolen bases away from that now with the performance he put on last night.

Hanley wouldn’t be the only one to hit his first home run of the year. Fast forward to the top of the seventh, and Mookie Betts went yard to left field as well. He golfed it to put the Red Sox up by five at the time.

The last run the Red Sox scored came two innings later. Wanting to add to his team high of four RBI’s, Rafael Devers ripped a double to center for his second hit of the game, scoring Hanley Ramirez from from second after he stole his second base of the season, and all but guaranteeing the win for his club.

That makes four straight wins for the Red Sox, and by all means they should be 5-0. That’s in the past though, so I’ll take 4-1. Through their first go around in the rotation, Red Sox starters own a line of 30 IP, 22 H, 3 ER, 7 BB, and 28 K’s. With two-fifths of their regular starters missing, those are some impressive numbers.

Chris Sale gets the start an hour earlier than usual tonight. He’ll be squaring off against Marlins “ace” Jose Urena. First pitch is at 6:10 PM.

Also, almost forgot to mention the fact that the greatest Designated Hitter of all time was in attendance for last night’s win.

 

RECAP: #RedSox Win First Series of Season Thanks in Part to Hector Velazquez.

For the fourth straight day, the Red Sox got a quality outing out of the starting pitcher for that game. Chris Sale, David, Price, Rick Porcello, and now Hector Velazquez. In the 24 combined innings they have pitched, the Rays have scored a grand total of two times. Velazquez got the start today, and even though he is just a fill in right now, he still impressed in his 2018 regular season debut. The Mexican League veteran finished his outing with a line of 5.2 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, and 5 K’s. The only real costly mistake Velazquez made came in the second inning, where he served up a leadoff home run to Brad Miller, which put the Rays up 1-0 at the time. That second inning was pretty tough for the righty, but he got out of it with just the one run allowed.

After he recorded the first two outs of the sixth and gave up a single to Matt Duffy, Alex Cora went to Marcus Walden to get out of the inning. Walden, 29 and making his Major League debut, had a one run lead to work with and one out to get. The first batter he faced, Joey Wendle, ripped an 0-1 fastball to right field, advancing Duffy to third. It looked like Duffy could have scored to tie the game, but he was held up at third. Walden then got Wilson Ramos to fly out to Mookie Betts, ending the inning. The righty would go on to retire the side in order in the seventh, flashing the leather and putting the exclamation point on his first relief appearance as a big leaguer.

Bobby Poyner got the call next, and he retired the only batter he faced in one pitch. He was replaced by Matt Barnes, who appears to have an early hold on the eighth inning role, as he ended the inning by walking one and striking out two. Fast forward to a half inning later, and the Rays nearly came back again.

With Craig Kimbrel unavailable, Joe Kelly got the call to close out things in the ninth. Making his first appearance since Thursday, Kelly looked shaky yet again. The flamethrower started the inning by recording the first two outs in simple fashion. Things started getting shaky after though, as the next two batters reached on back to back singles. With two outs, runners on first and third, and the count full, Kelly was able to get Denard Span to swing at what looked like ball four, thus ending the game and giving the Red Sox the series win. It wasn’t easy by any stretch, but Kelly did record the first save of his major league career today, so credit to him for that.

Offensively, the Red Sox could muster just two runs. The first came in the fifth, on an important milestone. With no outs and runners on first and second, JD Martinez pulled a single to left, scoring Mookie Betts from second and giving Martinez his first regular season RBI as a member of the Red Sox.

That RBI tied the game at the time. The go-ahead and final run of the game was scored in the very next inning, when Rafael Devers scored Jackie Bradley Jr. from third on an RBI single. Once again, that was all the Red Sox needed to pick up their third win of the season. Devers currently leads the team in RBIs with four. Xander Bogaerts surprisingly had a quiet day at the plate, lowering his OPS to only 1.412.

Next up for the Red Sox is a quick two game series against the Miami Marlins. Brian Johnson gets the start tomorrow against Marlins rookie Trevor Richards. First pitch is at 7:10 PM at Marlins Park.

RECAP: Xander Bogaerts Collects Three Hits as #RedSox Defeat Rays by a Score of 3-2.

As famous rapper DMX once said, “X gon’ give it ya” and X gave it to the Tampa Bay Rays last night. That’s right, Red Sox short stop Xander Bogaerts continued his hot start to the season by adding three more hits, including his first home run of the season. We’ll get to that later. For now though, let’s discuss Rick Porcello’s start.

Making his 2018 regular season debut, the 2016 American League Cy Young Award winner put together a solid outing at the Trop. He tossed 5.1 innings of one run ball, allowing six hits, one walk, and fanning four along the way. That lone run came with no outs in the sixth, ending the scoreless innings streak for Red Sox starting pitchers at 18 to begin the season. Porcello wasn’t on the mound for the run, as he departed with one out and runners on first and third. The righty finished the night with 89 pitches, 61 of which went for strikes.

Heath Hembree would come on for Porcello with one out in the sixth, and he got the first batter he faced, Joey Wendle, to pop out to left field. That pop fly did allow the runner on third, Carlos Gomez, to score, giving the Rays their first run of the game. Hembree would proceed to close out the sixth and record the first two outs of the seventh before walking Denard Span. With Kevin Kiermaier, a lefty, due up next, Alex Cora made the decision to go to his lefty specialist, Bobby Poyner, to get the last out of the inning.

Poyner, making his MLB debut, got the speedy Kiermaier to pop out to third on the fifth pitch of the at bat, thus ending the inning. In the eighth, Rays outfielder Carlos Gomez welcomed Poyner to the big leagues by taking him deep to left field, cutting the Red Sox lead to just one run. The 25-year-old southpaw got the next batter he faced, Brad Miller, to pop out to first base, and that ended his night.

Carson Smith got the call next, and he was looking for retribution after his sub par Opening Day performance. Smith gave up a single to the first batter he faced, but followed that up by recording the last two outs of the inning, preserving the lead for Craig Kimbrel. Although he wasn’t as sharp as he was on Friday, the Red Sox closer still got the job done, in part because of sloppy base running by the Rays. Kimbrel walked the first batter he faced in the inning, Mallex Smith, another speedster. The very next batter, CJ Cron, lined out to Xander Bogaerts for what looked like the first out of the inning. However, Mallex Smith was hung out to dry in between first and second base, and Bogaerts doubled him up on a hard throw back to Mitch Moreland. With two outs, Kimbrel got Denard Span to pop out to the man of the night (Bogaerts), and guaranteed the Red Sox at least a split in their first series of the season.

Offensively, the Red Sox were held in check by Rays pitching yet again. The oddest part about last night’s game was the fact that the Rays did not use a starting pitcher. Andrew Kittredge, last night’s “starter”, has been a reliever for the majority of his professional career. In total, the Rays used four pitchers last night, one less than the Red Sox did.

Xander Bogaerts got the Red Sox on the board first in the top of the second. The native of Aruba took a 3-1 fastball from Kittredge and smoked it over the left field wall, giving him his first home run of the new season.

Bogaerts would go on to add two more hits after this, including an RBI double in the sixth, scoring JD Martinez from second. Speaking of Martinez, the 30-year-old outfielder made his first start in left field on Saturday night, and he finally got a hit, two actually. The first came in the sixth, when Martinez led the inning off with a double and eventually scored.

The second came in the eighth, when Martinez singled to right field. After a frustrating two games to start his Red Sox career, I’m sure Martinez is feeling relieved that he finally got his first hit out of the way. First home run is up next.

As the series wraps up later this afternoon, it would be nice to see the top of the Red Sox lineup pick up some of the slack. Mookie Betts, Andrew Benintendi, and Hanley Ramirez have combined for a grand total of four hits and three games. Xander Bogaerts has been great, he currently owns a .667 Batting Average, but the top of the order needs to start setting the table.

Hector Velazquez faces off against Jake Faria today with first pitch at 1:10. Easter and day baseball make for a great combination.

RECAP: David Price Pitches Seven Shutout Innings as #RedSox Pick up First Win of the Season.

That is how you get it done. After blowing a four run lead in the eighth inning on Thursday, David Price and the Red Sox made sure not to let that happen tonight.

Making his first regular season start since July of last season, David Price got the nod against his former team in the Tampa Bay Rays for the second game of this series. Tropicana Field is a place Price has owned in the past, and that was evident tonight. The lefty tossed seven scoreless innings, scattering four hits and striking out five along the way. The most impressive part of Price’s night? No walks, and that made things decently simple. To complete those seven innings, Price only needed 76 total pitches, 55 of which he threw for strikes. He very easily could have gone back out for the eighth inning, but I respect the approach new manager Alex Cora has had with his rotation so far. Save your top starters for later in the season, preserve them as much as possible now. Speaking of the rotation, Chris Sale and David Price have combined to pitch 13 total innings without giving up a single run. The best part about that is the fact that the Red Sox bullpen didn’t implode for Price like it did for Sale.

Matt Barnes got the call for the start of the eighth inning. Appearing in his second game in two days, Barnes pitched another scoreless inning while walking one and striking out another. That made way for the return of Craig Kimbrel, the 2017 American League Reliever of the Year. In his 2018 debut, Kimbrel was lights out. He struck out all three batters he saw, needing only 15 pitches to notch his first save of the season.

Offensively, the Red Sox couldn’t do much against Blake Snell and the Rays bullpen, but luckily, they didn’t need to. It wasn’t until the top of the seventh when they scored their first and only run of the game. After a Xander Bogaerts leadoff double, Rafael Devers followed that up by driving in his third run of the season on a single to center off of Rays reliever Jose Alvarado. That was it for scoring, still some positives to take away though. Like how Xander Bogaerts has hit four doubles in two games and has a 1.750 OPS. Hanley Ramirez also picked up his first two hits of the season tonight. Still waiting for JD Martinez to hit a home run or something, he’s 0-for-6, but I can wait a little longer.

These two teams face off again tomorrow night at 6:10 PM. Rick Porcello gets the ball for the Red Sox while the Rays have yet to name a starter.

RECAP: #RedSox Kick off the New Season by Embarassing Themselves in Tampa Bay.

It may be early, but man, did this one hurt. In their first matchup of the season, the Red Sox outplayed the Tampa Bay Rays for approximately 7.5 innings and they found a way to lose. Embarrasing stuff to say the least.

Chris Sale made his first Opening Day start in a Red Sox uniform and he was as impressive as ever. The southpaw allowed only four baserunners to reach over six innings while striking out nine. Out of those four to reach, only one was via a hit, the rest all reached on walks. This was an important start for Sale. Remember, in his last spring training start on Saturday, Sale took a line drive off the hip in the first inning of that game. He said he was going to be good to go for today and it was reassuring to see him out there performing at a high level. Perhaps that line drive off the hip was why Sale only tossed six innings today. He was at 92 pitches by the time he got out of the sixth, so they could just be preserving him for later in the season as well. Either way, it was a positive first step into the 2018 season for the Red Sox ace, it’s just too bad his team couldn’t give him the win he deserved.

With Sale’s day ending after six innings, Matt Barnes got the ball for his first appearance of the season in the bottom half of the seventh. He too got his season off to a good start, as the Connecticut native retired the side while only needing 13 pitches to do so. It was after Barnes where things got away from the Red Sox.

Joe Kelly came out to start the eighth, and he was wildly inaccurate. Facing five batters, Kelly allowed three of them to reach via walks while recording only one out before getting yanked. In that span, the Rays managed to score once to make it a 4-1 game. New manager Alex Cora went to Carson Smith next, and he was not much better than Kelly. Entering with the bases loaded, Smith walked the first batter he saw to make it a 4-2 game. After striking out Wilson Ramos for the second out of the inning, Denard Span got the best of Smith and unloaded the bases on a triple to right field, putting the Rays on top 5-4. The very next batter, Adeiny Hechavarria, scored Span from third on an infield single to give the Rays some insurance. The disaster of an eighth inning finally ended when Smith got Joey Wendle to strike out, thus ending a humiliating day for the Red Sox bullpen.

Offensively, the lineup did not need to do much with Chris Sale on the mound. Four runs seemed like more than enough to get the Red Sox a win. Unfortunately, that’s not how things went. The top of the lineup was nowhere to be found, really. Mookie Betts, Andrew Benintendi, Hanley Ramirez, and JD Martinez combined to go 1-for-11 at the plate with two walks and zero RBIs. In fact, all four runs the Red Sox scored came off the bat of either Rafael Devers or Eduardo Nunez. Devers got the Red Sox on the board in the second inning thanks to an RBI ground out, allowing JD Martinez to score from third. The very next batter in the inning, Eduardo Nunez, followed that up by hitting an inside the park home run. Yes, an inside the park home run. Check it out:

Like the tweet says, not how you draw up the first home run of 2018, but we’ll take it. That put the Red Sox up 3-0 at the time, and they didn’t score again until the seventh inning. Xander Bogaerts led the inning off with a double off of Austin Pruitt, and Rafael Devers drove him in on a double of his own a few minutes later. Bogaerts himself had a solid day at the plate, going 3-for-4 with a double and two runs scored. That looked like that was all the Red Sox were going to need to pick up their first win of the season. It’s too bad the bullpen melted down, because that was a fun game to watch up until the bottom of the eighth inning.

David Price will look to even up the series tomorrow, as the lefty makes his first start in a regular season game since July 22nd of last year. He will be matched up against Blake Snell of the Rays, another lefty. First pitch is at 7:10 PM.

Full 2018 #RedSox Season Preview: Expectations and Predictions

It’s the day before the start of the 2018 Major League Baseball regular season. For the first time I can remember, all 30 clubs (except the Reds and Nationals) will be playing on Opening Day to start the season. The Boston Red Sox kick their season off in Tampa Bay to square off against the new-look Rays at 4:00 PM on Thursday.

This campaign looks to be a promising one for the Red Sox, and expectations are high as ever with the team owning the highest payroll in baseball at more than $234 million. With that in mind, losing in the ALDS this season really isn’t an option, no matter how many games they win in the regular season. I mean, John Farrell won 93 games each in the past two seasons, that clearly doesn’t guarantee anything. Now, with new manager Alex Cora at the helm, things are looking more optimistic. Although this will be Cora’s first go around managing a big league club, the native of Puerto Rico has three things going for him. One, he was the bench coach for the 2017 World Series Champion Houston Astros. Two, he has managerial experience in winter ball. And three, he spent more than three seasons with the Red Sox as a player from 2005-2008. The Red Sox needed a change from John Farrell and Alex Cora was the best managerial candidate available, so that’s a positive start.

Lest we forget that Cora is inheriting a team that has won the AL East two years in a row now. A team that won 93 games in 2017, yet it felt like they underachieved throughout the season. If he can rejuvenate this team the way I think he can, we may be looking at 95+ wins this year. I’ll get to that later, for now, let’s move on to the pitching.

The Rotation:

The rotation is going to look a bit different to start the year, as Drew Pomeranz and Eduardo Rodriguez are slated to miss time on the disabled list. When fully healthy though, a rotation of Chris Sale, David Price, Rick Porcello, Drew Pomeranz, and Eduardo Rodriguez can compete with any team for one of the best rotations in baseball.

Sale is coming off a year where he struck out 300+ batters and finished second in AL Cy Young Voting. Both of those results sound good, but if you watched Sale at all last season, you know he left something to be desired at the tail end of 2017. His starts may be less entertaining, but if the lefty can leave more in the tank for September and October, the starts that really matter, it would all be worth it.

As for David Price, health is key. He missed a good portion of the 2017 season, thus explaining why he only appeared in 16 games. Off the field issues were affluent as well for Price. The Dennis Eckersley “Yuck” confrontation was ugly, and that didn’t help Price in terms of what fans think of him. In my opinion, what would be best for Price would be to put your head down, avoid the distractions, and pitch your ass off. The only way he can get fans on his side now is by performing, especially in the postseason. And if he does all that, he has the option to get out of his current contract at the end of the season. It’s hard to imagine a free agent entering his age 33 season could make more than $31 million per season, but we’ll have to wait and see how this season plays out for him first.

Rick Porcello, Drew Pomeranz, and Eduardo Rodriguez all have two things in common; Upside and inconsistency. Porcello followed up his 2016 Cy Young Award winning campaign by putting together a stinker of a season. If you look at Porcello’s WHIP each year he’s been with the Red Sox, you’ll notice that it starts at 1.36, goes down to 1.01 the season he won Cy Young, then inflates back up to 1.4 last season. Does that mean the 29-year-old New Jersey native is due for another Cy Young caliber season? I doubt it. With Sale and Price on the staff, Porcello does not need to shoulder that kind of work load. He needs to be a solid No. 3 starter. That’s it.

This thing is going to be longer than I expected. Okay, next up we got Drew Pomeranz and Eduardo Rodriguez. Both have had health and consistency issues in the past and both will miss the start of the season. Surprisingly, Pomeranz exceeded expectations last year and had stretches where he looked like a top ten pitcher in the American League. He may not go deep into too many of his starts, but if he can give this team five to six innings of quality stuff on a consistent enough basis, he will be a valuable part of the rotation. As for Rodriguez, there’s not as much pressure on him as there he used to be. The combination of missing time and acquiring guys like David Price and Chris Sale have made more Rodriguez more expandable. He’s no longer a vital lefty, the Red Sox have three of those that are all arguably better than he is. I don’t mean to put ERod down, because when he’s on he is on, but I just don’t want to set my expectations too high. I would be happy if he were able to make 20-25 starts this year.

The Bullpen:

For the sake of this blog, I’m going to include Brian Johnson and Hector Velazquez in this section because that’s where I think they will be spending their time once Pomeranz and Rodriguez return from the disabled list.

The Red Sox bullpen was one of the best in the majors last year, can’t take that away from them. They finished with the second best bullpen ERA in the league, trailing only the Cleveland Indians. Craig Kimbrel is coming off one of the best seasons a Red Sox closer has ever had. Carson Smith is here for his first full season with the Red Sox since he was acquired two offseasons ago. Tyler Thornburg is alive, I think. Two of the biggest surprises of Red Sox spring training have to be Marcus Walden and Bobby Poyner making the Opening Day roster. I honestly don’t know much about them other than they performed well this month to earn those spots. All and all, I expect this unit to be just as good as they were last season. They might not be as good as the Indians bullpen, but maintaining the success they found last year would be more than enough.

The Lineup:

With the Opening Day lineup officially looking like this…

  1. Mookie Betts, RF
  2. Andrew Benintendi, LF
  3. Hanley Ramirez, 1B
  4. JD Martinez, DH
  5. Xander Bogaerts, SS
  6. Rafael Devers, 3B
  7. Eduardo Nunez, 2B
  8. Jackie Bradley Jr., CF
  9. Christian Vazquez, C

…It’s hard not to get excited for what this season could bring. The addition of JD Martinez gives the Red Sox the power threat they so very much missed last season. The success this lineup has mostly depends on if some players can bounce back from their 2017 seasons. Mookie Betts was the only everyday player to post an OPS higher than .800. Compare that to the 2016 the Red Sox lineup had and it just doesn’t make sense. If losing David Ortiz affected the team that much hopefully Martinez will revitalize them.

The top five here have a ton of potential. Betts, Benintendi, Ramirez, Martinez, and Devers. We could easily be looking at 20+ home runs for each of these guys. That may be what this lineup needs most of all, some power. Last season, the Red Sox ranked 27th in team home runs. I am hoping that the addition of Martinez as well new philosophies while at the plate will lead to a surge in those power numbers in 2018.

The Depth:

Depending on what your view is, you could make the case that the Red Sox have an above average bench and minor league depth at some positions. To start the season, it’s looking like Mitch Moreland, Sandy Leon, Blake Swihart, and Brock Holt will be coming off the bench. In Pawtucket, Tzu-Wei Lin and Sam Travis have already shown what they can do with a small sample size in the big leagues. Credit to Travis for putting together yet another solid spring training, but it’s going to be a challenge to find him any at bats with the big league club. Lin is more of an interesting case. He made the jump from Double A Portland to Boston without much notice. In his 25 games with the Red Sox, he hit .268 while playing three positions.

In terms of pitchers in the minor leagues, there really is nothing to boast about, at least not yet. Brandon Workman, Robby Scott, and maybe Roenis Elias are the only pitchers who have the most realistic chance to pitch with the Red Sox this season, and that’s mostly because all three have before. As for the others, Jalen Beeks was named the organization’s minor league pitcher of the year over the winter, and he looks to be the ace of the pitching staff in Pawtucket right now. He posted a 5.06 ERA in two starts this spring, so he may need more time to develop with the PawSox before getting a chance to start a Major League game.

Two of the biggest names to watch in the Red Sox farm system are both pitchers and both will not pitch for the Red Sox this season. Those two would be none other than Jason Groome and Tanner Houck, the last two first round selections the Red Sox have made in the last two amateur drafts. Groome’s short professional career has already been riddled with injuries, but spent his offseason training with Chris Sale. Houck spent all of the 2017 season with the Lowell Spinners, where he appeared in ten games as a starter and posted a solid 3.63 ERA and .239 BAA. They may not have been on the bubble for a roster spot this season, but I expect next spring to be very different.

The Injured:

Marco Hernandez, Dustin Pedroia, Drew Pomeranz, Eduardo Rodriguez, Tyler Thornburg, and Steven Wright. Those are all the players who will begin the season on the disabled list. For Pedroia, this will be the veteran’s first missed Opening Day since 2007, when he wasn’t on the team yet. As long as Pedroia is with the team, I’m fine. He will be traveling with the team for the start of the season, and should be making his return sometime in May, barring any setbacks.

Going into the season missing three pitchers who started for the team last year is certainly unsettling. Chris Sale, David Price, and Rick Porcello will have to carry a heavier burden on their shoulders for the time being. When everyone gets back though, I would expect Steven Wright to be the one sent to the bullpen.

My Predictions:

Here are my predictions for this year’s Red Sox team:

Record: 95-67 (1st in AL East)

Team leader in Home Runs: JD Martinez (38)

Team leader in RBIs: JD Martinez (112)

Team leader in Hits: Mookie Betts (189)

Team leader in Wins: Chris Sale (17)

Team leader in Strikeouts: Chris Sale (245)

Craig Kimbrel Saves: 32

Player most likely to win MVP: Mookie Betts

Player most likely to win Cy Young: Chris Sale

Alright, that will do it for me. Opening Day is tomorrow, get PUMPED!